- On November 28, Haiti held first round legislative and
presidential elections, a previous article explaining that democracy was
off the ballot, accessed through the following link:
- The entire process was rigged, 15 parties excluded, including
by far the most popular, Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas. Under the most dire
conditions, it was a cruel joke, not even equivalent to what Edward Herman
called "demonstration elections" in his 1980 book by that title,
sham ones assuring installation of US-friendly candidates, elections in
- On November 28, it was worse, so bad, in fact, that world
headlines explained it. For example, New York Times writers Damien Cave
and Randol Archibold headlined, "Haitian Candidates Call to Void Election,"
- "Two-thirds of Haiti's presidential candidates said
Sunday's election was so tainted by fraud that it should be invalidated,
but late in the evening, national election officials ordered the vote to
stand, saying that problems at most polling sites had been minor."
- They lied. Washington orchestrated the entire process
to assure its choices take over, its usual imperial heavy-handedness, this
time including ballot box stuffing and other irregularities. Nonetheless,
initial results will be known on December 5, officially announced on December
- "At an afternoon news conference here, 12 of the
18 candidates still in the race had called on the election council to void
the results because of "massive fraud,' which they described as an
effort by (Preval's) Unity Party....to stuff ballot boxes and turn away
voters who opposed Mr. Preval's chosen candidate, Jude Celestin. The candidates,
in an unusual display of unity....urged their partisans to peacefully take
to the streets, and many did."
- Haiti's US Embassy spokesman said only that it was monitoring
the situation. Organization of American States (OAS) observers cancelled
a news conference, saying it was gathering information for "our assessment
of polling day activities." A UN statement expressed "deep concerns
over the numerous incidents that marred the election." Neither Preval
or a spokesperson said anything as expected.
- On November 30, Al Jazeera said that "The joint
observer mission from the Organization of American States/Caribbean Community
said that although there had been widespread problems, including acts of
violence and intimidation and poor organization blocking many people from
voting, this was not enough to doom the polls."
- The mission's head, Colin Granderson, said:
- "The mission does not believe that these irregularities,
serious as some were, necessarily invalidated the process."
- Nicole Phillips, observer from the Institute for Justice
and Democracy in Haiti, said at every polling station she visited there
were flaws. "Streams of people, dozens and dozens of people were unable
to vote because they couldn't find their name on an electoral list."
- In Acul du Nord and Trou du Nord, two northern towns
near Cap-Haitien, voting was cancelled after people fired gunshots in the
air and trashed one voting station. A Port-au-Prince one was also ransacked.
- Financial Times writer Benedict Mander headlined, "Haiti
poll denounced as 'massive fraud,' " saying:
- "Allegations of 'massive fraud' (challenged) the
legitimacy of a government that will have to rebuild a country decimated
by an earthquake in January," and is now dealing with a cholera epidemic
ravaging the country.
- "We denounce a massive fraud that is occurring across
the country....We demand the cancellation pure and simple of the elections."
They also accused Preval of conspiring to "perpetuate his power and
keep the people hostage to continue their misery."
- A crowd awaiting them burst into Haiti's national anthem
when they arrived and chanted "Arrest Preval!"
- A later Reuters report said two more presidential candidates
joined the others, leaving Preval's choice, Jude Celestin, "virtually
alone among the contenders in upholding the legitimacy of the polls."
- According to Markus Shultze-Kraft of Britain's Institute
of Development Studies at the University of Sussex:
- The electoral farce "is a big, potentially explosive
dilemma. Haiti's government and its international friends needed the elections
to choose a legitimate post-quake government to lead the reconstruction."
That was impossible, of course, with Fanmi Lavalas and other parties banned.
- Besides a sham process most Haitians boycotted, polling
stations opened late. Voter names were missing on electoral rolls, and
angry accusations cited ballot box stuffing. According to Alex Main, an
unofficial observer from the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy
- "Things are incredibly tense. We visited one voting
center in Carrefour where a group of PREVAL/INITE thugs got in and demolished
everything and beat people up. Everyone was pretty upset. Mostly there's
a lot of frustration. People can't find their names on the lists. They
go expecting to be able to vote and they can't."
- Main said the problem was widespread, not limited to
a few isolated cases. Official observers were from the OAS, Caribbean Community,
the association of francophone states, and the EU, not there to assure
a free, fair and open process or serve Haitian voters' interests, their
final statements to be taken with great caution.
- That's now confirmed, according to a November 30 Al Jazeera
- "The joint observer mission from the Organization
of American States/Caribbean Community said that although there had been
widespread problems, including acts of violence and intimidation and poor
organisation blocking many people from voting, this was not enough to doom
- The mission's Colin Granderson said:
- "The joint mission does not believe that these irregularities,
serious as some were, necessarily invalidated the process."
- Main, however, added that it's:
- "clear that the sentiment here is that the international
community should have done something to provide for people's basic needs"
post-quake as well as dealing with raging cholera before holding elections.
Having them under appalling conditions adds to their illegitimacy.
- On November 29, a CEPR press release headlined, "International
Community Should Reject Haiti's 'Sham' Elections," its Co-Director,
Mark Weisbrot, saying:
- "From the banning of the country's most popular
party from the ballot to election day irregularities including numerous
reports of ballot stuffing and the disenfranchisement of numerous eligible
voters, these elections were an obvious farce from start to finish."
- Short of international community condemnation and rejection,
"Haiti (will) be left with a government (seen) as illegitimate."
- Weisbrot recommended Preval's hand-picked Provisional
Electoral Council (CEP) be replaced and that new elections be held. That
prospect is exceedingly dim to say the least, leaving Haitians again stuck
with imperial Washington calling the shots, having no concern whatever
for democracy or their interests at a time millions have dire needs.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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