Haiti’s Sham Elections

by BILL QUIGLEY And NICOLE PHILLIPS

Haiti needs legitimate leaders right now.  Unfortunately, the elections set for  November 28, 2010 are a sham.  Here are five reasons why the world community  should care.

First, Haitian elections are supposed to choose their new President, the entire  House of Deputies and one-third of the country’s Senate.  But election  authorities have illegally excluded all the candidates from the country’s most  popular political party, Fanmi Lavalas – and other progressive candidates.   Lavalas, the party of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has won  many elections in Haiti – probably the reason it was excluded.  If this were the  US, this would be like holding elections just between the Tea Party and the GOP  – and excluding all others.   Few Haitians will respect the outcome of these  elections.

Second, over 1.3 million Haitian survivors are struggling to raise their  families in 1,300 tent refugee camps scattered around Port au Prince.  The  broken Haitian political system and the broken international NGO system have  failed to provide Haitians with clean water, education, jobs, housing, and  access to healthcare almost a year after the earthquake.  Now cholera, a  preventable and treatable disease, has taken the lives of over 1,600 people.   Some are predicting that the infection could infect as many as 200,000 Haitians  and claim 10,000 lives.  Without legitimate leaders Haiti cannot hope to build a  society which will address these tragedies.

Third, because the elections are not expected to produce real leaders, Haiti is  experiencing serious protests on a daily basis.  Protests have occurred in Port  au Prince and Cap Haitien, where two people died in clashes with the  authorities.  In other protests, like a recent one in Port au Prince,  demonstrators representing 14 Haitian grassroots groups try to stage peaceful  protests.  But when UN peace keeping forces arrived they drew their weapons on  demonstrators.  As the crowd fled for safety, the UN and Haitian police threw  teargas canisters into the crowd and the nearby displacement camp, Champ de  Mars.   Residents were taken to the hospital with injuries from the teargas  canisters.  The media has wrongfully typecast the political demonstrations as  “civil unrest” filled with angry, drunk rioters.  No one mentions that much of  the violence has been instigated by the law enforcement, not the demonstrators.    Faux elections are not going to help deliver stability.

 Fourth, political accountability has never been more important in Haiti than  right now.  The Haitian government must guide Haiti’s reconstruction and make  important decisions that will shape Haitian society for decades.  Yet, many of  the three million Haitians affected by the earthquake are ambivalent about the  elections or do not want them to take place at all. 

 Fifth, the United States has pushed and paid for these swift elections hoping to  secure a stable government to preserve its investment in earthquake  reconstruction.  But, as Dan Beeton wrote in the LA Times, “If the Obama  administration wants to stand on the side of democracy and human rights in  Haiti, as it did in Burma, it should support the call to postpone the elections  until all parties are allowed to run and all eligible voters are guaranteed a  vote.”   By supporting elections that exclude legitimate political parties that  are critical of the current government the international community is only  assuring the very social and political unrest it hopes to avoid.

Haitians are saying that no matter which candidates win on November 28, the  political system that has failed them will not change unless there is an  election that is fair and inclusive.  They are also asking that the country  undergo a reconciliation process that includes the voices of more than just the  Haitian elite and international community.

Haiti desperately needs legitimate leaders.  The November 28 sham election will  not provide them.

Bill Quigley is Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. Contact Bill at quigley77@gmail.com

Nicole Phillips is staff attorney at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. Contact Nicole at Nicole@ijdh.org

    

 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Ron Jacobs
Daydream Sunset: a Playlist
Charles R. Larson
The Beginning of the Poppy Wars: Amitav Ghosh’s “Flood of Fire”
August 27, 2015
Sam Husseini
Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention
Brad Evans – Henry A. Giroux
Self-Plagiarism and the Politics of Character Assassination: the Case of Zygmunt Bauman
Peter Lee
Making Sense of China’s Stock Market Meltdown
Paul Craig Roberts
Wall Street and the Matrix: Where is Neo When We Need Him?
Kerry Emanuel
The Real Lesson of Katrina: the Worst is Yet to Come
Dave Lindorff
Why Wall Street Reporting is a Joke
Pepe Escobar
Brave (Miserable) New Normal World
Ramzy Baroud
‘Islamic State’ Pretence and the Upcoming Wars in Libya
Paul Edwards
Capitalism Delenda Est
Norman Pollack
The Political Culture of Rape in America: Further Thoughts on the St. Paul’s School Case
Stephen Lendman
The Monied Interests That Run America
Pedro Aibéo
Democratizing Finance (With Bitcoin?)
Alfredo Acedo
Climate Change and Capitalism: Challenges of the COP21 Paris and Climate Movements
August 26, 2015
Paul Street
Overworked and Out of Time: a Democracy Issue
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Behind the Market Crash: the Smoke and Mirrors of Corporate Buybacks
David Mihalyfy
Reform Higher Ed? Treat Badmin Like Bankers
Ruth Hopkins
Police Shootings in Indian Country: Justice or Else!
Gary Leupp
ISIL Advances While Its Foes Cannot Unite
Fred Gardner
The Psychiatrist’s Bible: Defining ‘Marijuana Use Disorder’
Yorgos Mitralias
The Catastrophic International Consequences of the Capitulation of Syriza and the Criminal Responsibility of Mr. Tsipras
Walter Brasch
Katrina: a 10-Year Review
Jim Connolly
Seven Questions and Seven Answers: a Sandernista Makes Reasonable Predictions About the 2016 Contest for the Democratic Presidential Nomination
Pedro Aibéo
Selling Austerity to Finland
Franklin Lamb
Heritage Destruction in Syria is a War Crime
Binoy Kampmark
Tourism’s Disaster Temptation: the Case of Nepal
Jeffrey D. Pugh
Trial by Fire for Ecuador’s President Correa
Vacy Vlanza
A Palestinian Novel Par Excellence
Alvaro Huerta
Confessions of an ‘Anchor Baby’: Open Letter to President Donald Trump
August 25, 2015
Gary Leupp
Why Donald Trump is So Scary
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Thug at the UN
Steve Early
How “Brother” Bernie is Making Labor’s Day
Carl Finamore
An Affordable Housing Victory: High-End San Francisco Development Implodes
Henry Giroux – Chuck Mertz
The Spectacle of American Violence and the Cure for Donald Trump
Robert Eisinger
Trivializing Anti-Semitism
Brian Platt
It is Time We Discussed Abolishing the Police
Alexander Reid Ross
Trump the Fascist
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Mohammed Allan at the Door of the Israeli Supreme Court
Ted Rall
The United States of Stupidity
Heather Gray
A Message to American Mothers About Sex in the Military
Jo Leinen – Andreas Bummel
How to Democratize the UN
Lawrence Davidson
The Iran Agreement and Israel’s Claim to Speak for the Jews
Mark Hand
A Well Pad Next to Every 3-Car Garage: Suburban Sprawl Collides with Texas Frack Jobs
John Laforge
U.S. Bows Out After Plowshares Conviction is Vacated: Appeals Court Ill-Informed on Nuclear Overkill