FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail