Ira Kurzban served as the attorney for Haiti's former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide when he was in power. And he stood by him during a 7-year exile in South Africa after Aristide was overthrown by a bloody armed rebellion in 2004.
He was also by his side - along with actor Danny Glover - when Aristdie ended his exile and flew back Friday to Haiti.
The Obama administration has hoped Aristide should refrain from returning from South Africa before Sunday's presidential election in Haiti. Washington says Aristide was within his rights to return, but doing so this week “can only be seen as a conscious choice to impact Haiti’s elections.”
Kurzban warned the U.S. to keep its nose out of Haiti's business, say the U.S. government should not seek "to dictate the terms under which a Haitian citizen may return to his country."
Never miss a local story.
Aristide’s desire to return home "is unrelated to the election but to a desire to be in Haiti to carry on his educational work," says Kurzban. But Kurzban contradicted his own words somewhat, adding that Aristide was "genuinely concerned" that a change in the Haitian government "could result in his remaining in South Africa."
Since his controversial ouster US officials have hinted that he could be slapped with a drug trafficking indictment should he try to return, though legal experts say the statute of limitations may have run out on any potential charges. Aristide’s last years in power were marred by persistent accusations of corruption, including close ties to convicted traffickers, some of whom have implicated him in their illegal dealings.
Read more of the The Miami Herald's coverage here