…ex-Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, called on the governments of South Africa and Haiti to allow him to return to his Caribbean homeland.

Aristide, who was flown into African exile aboard a U.S. plane after being ousted in 2004, said in a Wednesday statement from South Africa that he is willing “to leave today, tomorrow, at any time.”

“The purpose is very clear: To contribute to serving my Haitian sisters and brothers as a simple citizen in the field of education,” Aristide said. “Let us hope that the Haitian and South African governments will enter into communication in order to make that happen in the next coming days.”

A former lawyer for Aristide said Wednesday that the ousted leader has repeatedly applied for a Haitian passport but has never heard back from his homeland’s government.

Haitian leaders have apparently feared letting Aristide return, fearing clashes between his many backers and foes.

Brian Concannon, the head of the Boston-based Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, said President Rene Preval’s government “simply refuses to respond” to Aristide’s requests for a passport.

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