Aristide lands in Haiti to cheers

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand AristideFormer Haitian President Jean-Bertrand AristidePORT-AU-PRINCE —Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is getting celebrity treatment following his arrival in Haiti after seven years in exile. A small crowd of journalists, dignitaries, airport workers and former members of his security team mobbed Aristide as soon as he descended the steps of the small plane that carried him from South Africa on Friday.

He waved and blew a kiss to the crowd, but made no statement before entering a VIP lounge inside the airport terminal. His wife, Mildred, wept. Hundreds of people gathered outside the airport waving flags and photos of Aristide.

Aristide arrived with a small entourage that included actor and activist Danny Glover. Democracy Now! reporter Amy Goodman was also aboard the small plane and has been covering Aristide's route from South Africa.

Aristide's return had been expected for weeks, but remains controversial. The Obama administration has made repeated public statements urging Aristide not to return before the March 20 presidential election.

Yesterday, according to the Associated Press, White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said President Obama had personally weighed in on the matter during a phone call with South African President Jacob Zuma. President Obama told Zuma that he had ``deep concerns'' over Aristide's plans to return just before Sunday's election.