Haiti’s Sham Elections

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:
Weekend Edition
March 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Roberto J. González
The Mind-Benders: How to Harvest Facebook Data, Brainwash Voters, and Swing Elections
Paul Street
Deplorables II: The Dismal Dems in Stormy Times
Nick Pemberton
The Ghost of Hillary
Andrew Levine
Light at the End of the Tunnel?
Paul de Rooij
Amnesty International: Trumpeting for War… Again
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Coming in Hot
Chuck Gerhart
Sessions Exploits a Flaw to Pursue Execution of Meth Addicts
Robert Fantina
Distractions, Thought Control and Palestine
Hiroyuki Hamada
The Eyes of “Others” for Us All
Robert Hunziker
Is the EPA Hazardous to Your Health?
Stephanie Savell
15 Years After the Iraq Invasion, What Are the Costs?
Aidan O'Brien
Europe is Pregnant 
John Eskow
How Can We Live With All of This Rage?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Was Khe Sanh a Win or a Loss?
Dan Corjescu
The Man Who Should Be Dead
Howard Lisnoff
The Bone Spur in Chief
Brian Cloughley
Hitler and the Poisoning of the British Public
Brett Wilkins
Trump Touts $12.5B Saudi Arms Sale as US Support for Yemen War Literally Fuels Atrocities
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraqi Landscapes: the Path of Martyrs
Brian Saady
The War On Drugs Is Far Deadlier Than Most People Realize
Stephen Cooper
Battling the Death Penalty With James Baldwin
CJ Hopkins
Then They Came for the Globalists
Philip Doe
In Colorado, See How They Run After the Fracking Dollars
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Armed Propaganda
Binoy Kampmark
John Brennan’s Trump Problem
Nate Terani
Donald Trump’s America: Already Hell Enough for This Muslim-American
Steve Early
From Jackson to Richmond: Radical Mayors Leave Their Mark
Jill Richardson
To Believe in Science, You Have to Know How It’s Done
Ralph Nader
Ten Million Americans Could Bring H.R. 676 into Reality Land—Relief for Anxiety, Dread and Fear
Sam Pizzigati
Billionaires Won’t Save the World, Just Look at Elon Musk
Sergio Avila
Don’t Make the Border a Wasteland
Daryan Rezazad
Denial of Climate Change is Not the Problem
Ron Jacobs
Flashing for the Refugees on the Unarmed Road of Flight
Missy Comley Beattie
The Age of Absurdities and Atrocities
George Wuerthner
Isle Royale: Manage for Wilderness Not Wolves
George Payne
Pompeo Should Call the Dogs Off of WikiLeaks
Russell Mokhiber
Study Finds Single Payer Viable in 2018 Elections
Franklin Lamb
Despite Claims, Israel-Hezbollah War is Unlikely
Montana Wilderness Association Dishonors Its Past
Elizabeth “Liz” Hawkins, RN
Nurses Are Calling #TimesUp on Domestic Abuse
Paul Buhle
A Caribbean Giant Passes: Wilson Harris, RIP
Mel Gurtov
A Blank Check for Repression? A Saudi Leader Visits Washington
Seth Sandronsky
Hoop schemes: Sacramento’s corporate bid for an NBA All-Star Game
Louis Proyect
The French Malaise, Now and Then
David Yearsley
Bach and the Erotics of Spring