A previous business initiative had been the organization of a "Demonstration Against Violence" by shipping mogul Olivier Nadal, head of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on May 28, 1999.
Between three and five thousand people came, despite roadblocks on the approaching streets.
It was the first time the business elite came out onto the street to press for resolution of the political crisis.
Some forty organizations participated in the event.
Before the demonstration, Nadal
crossed social lines by visiting the street vendors in the Bel-Air shantytown in northern Port-au-Prince whose wares had been burned during violent demonstrations in the previous month.
took away a list of 266 alleged victims whose property was damaged.
At the rally, police watched as pro-Aristide counter-demonstrators, bussed in from the Aristide Foundation
, and coordinated by the government, violently broke up the rally.
received death threats and was threatened with arrest on trumped-up charges.
fled to exile in Florida.
These examples show that the Haitian business sector has taken significant initiatives toward addressing the political situation.
But each time, it was threatened with violence and that has tended to keep the majority of businessmen on the sidelines.
Although some parties of the Democratic Convergence have received financial support from the business sector, the support has not been enough to allow these parties to overcome their severe disabilities.
With most of the businesspeople holding U.S. passports, this sector finds it safer to move to the United States than stay and build on the political involvement by Nadal, CLED, and the eighteen associations noted above.