- Washington's imperial boot flaunts Lavalas' slogan: "All
people are people (Tout moun se moun)." The sham elections are one
of many abuses. As a result, Haitians continue protesting for rights they've
been long denied, including leaders serving them, not monied interests.
- On December 3, Al Jazeera's Sebastian Walker said street
protests continued for the fourth consecutive day after the November 28
- "Tensions reached a level not seen in Haiti's capital
in many weeks. UN troops were powerless to keep the crowds back. At times
the city center looked more like a war zone."
- Litter bins were toppled, then used to block roads. "Frustrations
over fraudulent elections were taking on a new turn." UN officials
told several angry candidates they were ahead in the popular vote, lying
to enlist their support for a rigged process.
- "For Haitians, this is business as usual with election
politics. Everyone knew this would happen, and that Washington was aware
that (Rene Preval) would try to orchestrate votes in favor of his candidates."
People also rage about "foreign powers adding legitimacy to a fraudulent
vote. The anger on the streets is palpable. The crisis continues."
- On December 2, reporting from Port-au-Prince, independent
journalist Ansel Herz said:
- "Furious demonstrations continued across Haiti (days
after) the Nov. 28 highly contested election in which thousands (were)
unable to vote." They reacted by rock-throwing, barricading roads,
and protesting angrily in Port-au-Prince, Cap Haitien, Les Cayes, Hinche,
Petit Goave, Archaie, and elsewhere.
- On November 30, "demonstrators clashed with United
Nations peacekeeping troops in St. Marc and Gonaives." Most presidential
candidates denounced the process in favor of Preval's hand-picked candidate,
Jude Celestin, demanding new elections.
- Presidential hopefuls, observers, and journalists witnessed
brazen fraud, Canada's CBC reporting "massive fraud, blatant ballot-box
stuffing." Reporting from Port-au-Prince, Paul Hunter called it "unbelievable,"
saying he'd previously witnessed electoral fraud, but "never"
anything like this.
- "We saw ballot stuffing. We heard voters who were
intimidated into voting for a candidate. And we saw thugs, gangs of thugs,
going into polling stations, grabbing stacks of ballots, marking them with
the candidate of their choice," INITE party's Jude Celestin. He was
the only major candidate not signing a statement calling for the election's
- On December 5, the Philadelphia Inquirer gave Lamp for
Haiti.org's Regine Theodat and Ted Oswald op-ed space headlining, "Annul
Haiti's elections and have free, fair vote," saying:
- "The elections were fraught with disorganization,
corruption, and human rights abuses." In one Cite Soleil location,
"An angry mob (protested) because voting monitors supporting the INITE
party refused them entry to the poll because they (wouldn't) support Preval's
party." Many other locations had similar problems.
- "Disenfranchised and ignored, many voters resisted
the illegitimacy of the elections and found ways around" the Provisional
Electoral Council's (CEP) "failures and apparent malfeasance. Some
voted without permission; others organized street boycotts....chanting
'Arrest Preval and CEP.' Others sang Haitian freedom songs..." Haitians
were again defrauded.
- On December 3, Reuters reported about "2,000 protesters
marched in Haiti's capital demanding a rerun of Sunday's elections....skewed
by fraud." They waved red cards calling for Preval's removal and disqualification
of Celestin. "Arrest Preval," and "No to the first round,"
they shouted. "The march swelled as it passed poor city slums and
finished" at the CEP's downtown offices.
- On December 4, Miami Herald writers Jacqueline Charles
and Trenton Daniel headlined, "Ballot inspections under intense scrutiny
in Haiti," saying:
- "....if the results are not considered valid, this
already quake-battered country could plunge even deeper into crisis....Amid
accusations that widespread fraud was engineered by (Preval's INITE) coalition,
diplomats are scrambling to prevent major violence that could cause Haiti
to lose billions in reconstruction aid."
- Whatever happens, concerns are '"that Haiti's next
president could lack legitimacy...." Miami Herald staff found numerous
"elections failings, which began well before polls opened...."
- -- "many people could not get through to a call
center to learn their polling site;"
- -- "the Office of National Identification ignored
OAS requests to use text messaging to nofify 416,631 people that their
new or replaced voter (ID) cards were ready;"
- -- residents with ID cards were told they were invalid;
- -- others found no address listed for their assigned
- -- the January earthquake destroyed nearly half of 1,500
- -- people staffing them were functionally illiterate
or instructed to tell voters they were ineligible;
- -- unlike previous elections, residents couldn't vote
where they chose; nor could they with only a receipt signifying they applied,
but hadn't received an ID card; and
- -- a campaign to let camp residents vote where they were
failed; most were denied, sparking violent clashes.
- According to longtime Haitian establishment observer
Mark Schneider, it amounted to a "nefarious plan to steal the election."
Kinder critics cited bureaucratic glitches. Honest ones denounced massive
fraud. The entire process was bogus, an election in name only. As a result,
"People were frustrated - you saw thousands in the streets, screaming."
Anger continues and may explode if Preval declares Celestin the winner.
- On December 4, Haitian Truth.org headlined, "Ultimatum
for Preval," saying:
- Washington gave him until Sunday night, December 5, for
resolution, "or further steps will be taken. The American embassy
sent a team to Cap Haitien, Grande Anse and the Artibonite to see what
the reaction would be to" a Celestin victory. They "discovered
(he) has no support and the population's reaction would be immediate and
- Suggestions are "that Preval should step down, (citing)
ill health, leaving (Jean-Max) Bellerive as Prime Minister. A new CEP (could)
be created, probably with political groups having some say in the choice.
Preval is always unpredictable and may dare the Americans by choosing Celestin.
The situation is explosive!!!"
- As of early December 6, no results have been announced.
However, on December 5, protests continued, Al Jazeera headlining, "Haiti
protesters clash with police," saying:
- "Hundreds of protesters, demanding the annulment
of Haiti's elections, have clashed with riot police in (Port-au-Prince),"
stoking tensions ahead of preliminary results expected on December 7. A
likely mid-January run-off is expected unless Preval declares his man the
winner with a majority of electoral votes.
- Police fired tear gas at over 2,000 when they tried breaking
through a barrier accessing the presidential palace, still largely in rubble
from January's quake.
- Sebastian Walker said "protests, rock-throwing and
popular anger boil over" daily in Port-au-Prince, demanding fair elections.
After preliminary results are announced, "they'll likely continue
over the course of the coming week."
- Nonetheless, UN and international observers endorsed
the fraud, urging Haitians accept the outcome. They haven't, nor should
they ever, given how unfairly they've again been denied.
- Presidential hopeful Jean-Henry Ceant, the only candidate
most Haitians support, condemned the "electoral masquerade,"
saying protests will continue "as long as necessary" for justice.
Charles Henri Baker, another presidential aspirant agreed, saying: "We
will conduct the battle as long as is necessary. (Initial) results announced
on December 7 will not not stop the movement....any president from this
process will suffer from a legitimacy deficit."
- Haiti's Long Neocolonial History
- Besides oppressive centuries under Spanish and French
rule, neocolonialism cursed Haiti after revolutionary leader's Jean-Jacques
Dessalines' 1806 assassination. Presidents drafted and abolished constitutions
at will. From 1949 - 1859, "Emperor" Faustin I suspended Haiti's
republic. Debt to France hamstrung the country. Governments controlled
agricultural lands. Elites held power directly or through puppet presidents,
serving their interests.
- Coups and assassination were commonplace. Once the presidential
palace was blown up, killing the incumbent. An angry mob hacked another
to death. A third was poisoned. Relative stability was rare. America withheld
recognition until 1962, during the Civil War under Lincoln. After President
Vilbrun Guillaume Sam's assassination, US marines occupied Haiti oppressively
from 1915 - 1934 to secure America's business and imperial interests. Washington's
man was made president, Phillippie Sudre Dartiguenave (1915 - 1922).
- Stenio Vencent succeeded him in 1930, ruling until 1941,
solidifying dictatorial leadership. Elie Lescot continued it until 1945.
Elitist rule maintained relative stability until Francois "Papa Doc"
Duvalier established despotism in 1957. His son, Jean-Claude, "Baby
Doc" continued it until unseated in 1986. An interim National Council
of Government replaced him, governing repressively, including under General
Prosper Avril, a period of violence and assassinations.
- After his departure, landmark elections were held in
December 1990, Jean-Betrand Aristide winning a 67% majority, only to be
deposed by a September military coup. General Raoul Cedras seized power,
holding it until Aristide's October 1994 return. In 1996, unable to succeed
himself under Haitian law, he ran again in 2000, winning with a 92% majority.
- No matter. On February 29, 2004, US marines forcibly
deposed him at gunpoint, exiling him to the Central African Republic, then
South Africa where he now resides, eager to return. Haitians want him,
rallying publicly to no avail.
- Washington prevents it, assuring sham elections, puppet
leaders, and despotic rule unless Haitians en masse refuse, demanding fair
elections and democratic governments serving everyone, not solely oligarchs,
elites, and imperial Washington. The coming weeks may decide whether or
not that's possible. Given Haiti's troubled history, at best the odds are
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays
at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs
are archived for easy listening.