- It's almost surreal following Haiti's November 28 elections,
a process elevating fraud to a new level. So bad, in fact, most candidates
demanded voiding it and starting over, but no matter. On December 9, New
York Times Deborah Sontag headlined, "Haitian Vote Results to Be Reviewed,"
- "Seeking to defuse the violent protests that have
shut down this country for two days, Haiti's electoral council (CEP) promised....to
rapidly review the widely mistrusted preliminary results...."
- Honest observers and most candidates condemned them,
citing brazen fraud, widespread ballot box stuffing, polling stations opening
late, closing early, or not opening at all, staffing them with functional
illiterates, omitting voter names from rolls, others told their ID cards
were invalid, and numerous other examples of electoral illegitimacy, mocking
a free and open process.
- Nonetheless, the recount was ordered to validate it as
well as placate angry voters and candidates. It didn't so diplomats considered
Plan B, including France's Ambassador Didier Le Bret saying alternative
solutions have been discussed to prevent Haiti from slipping into political
chaos. They include:
- -- disgruntled candidates given three days through December
15 to appeal;
- -- establishing a transitional government to organize
- -- letting all candidates participate in the scheduled
January 16 second round; and
- -- letting new approved ones participate, excluding those
representing Fanmi Lavalas.
- The Electoral Act's Section 40.1 (1) permits a runoff
possibility with more than two candidates, stating:
- "....if there is a tie between candidates who obtained
the greatest number of votes in the first round, they all participate in
the second round." An electoral tie or close to it may mean "very
similar results between two or more candidates" because contrary to
Section 42, there's no mention of "perfect equality."
- As a result, perhaps compromise is allowed, Article 40.1
saying if first round balloting produces no majority winner, a runoff between
the two highest vote getters will do so. However, in case of virtual ties
among more than two, they can all participate in a second round.
- The combination of mass protests, violence, public embarrassment,
and rare dominant media indignation dictate something be done to resolve
things, more than putting a brave face on transparent fraud, bad enough
to bother some right-wing journalists who never met
- "free market" despots they didn't love, including
- The Wall Street Journal's Mary O'Grady for one, an earlier
article describing her unmatched extremism; her space a virtual truth-free
zone; her language hateful and vindictive; her tone malicious and slanderous;
her style bare-knuckled thuggishness; and her material calculating, mendacious,
- Yet on December 13 she surprised, in part at least, headlining
her latest op-ed, "Haiti's Preval Tries to Steal an Election,"
- "....Preval seems to regard election fraud as an
entitlement." It's a refreshing change from her usual rhetoric, a
nice try, but not good enough. Washington controls Preval. Blaming him
takes the easy way out in lieu of pointing fingers where they belong -
at Obama power brokers choreographing everything, blaming Preval for what
went wrong, reportedly with marines close by aboard one or more ships ships,
ready to storm ashore if needed to restore calm and take over.
- Preval merely followed orders, what O'Grady won't admit,
even while criticizing Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary of State
for Western Hemisphere Affairs, AWOL in Honduras on other business, not
in Port-au-Prince where she wants him, resolving the electoral crisis before
it spins more out-of-control than already.
- Did he go? "Nope," and what about Haitians.
Again she surprised, saying they "displayed near-saintly patience
and stoic resilience (in spite) of Mr. Preval's dismal performance. (The
election) was supposed (to) change horses. Mr. Preval and his henchmen
had other ideas, and for good reason," ignoring the obvious, citing
instead Haiti's "legendary....government corruption."
- Nonetheless, she described a selection, not an electoral
process for Jude Celestin (Preval's choice) and ruling INITE party legislative
control. He made the runoff, finishing second while INITE candidates won
a two-thirds parliamentary majority in first round balloting, angering
even O'Grady by their brazen fraud.
- "The US may be waking up to this reality,"
she said, disingenuously expressing "concern," not outrage like
Haitians and honest observers. "The CEP responded (saying) it will
'recount' the presidential votes. That's not good enough coming from the
institution that has had custody of the ballots for two weeks, and Haitians
know it. Someone needs to break the news to Mr. Preval." More urgently,
to Washington, the real scoundrel deserving blame, one O'Grady won't name,
especially when extremist Republicans have control, her favorites.
- A Final Comment
- So far, two of top three presidential candidates, Mirlande
Manigat, finishing first, and Michel Martelly, third best (both establishment
figures) rejected the proposed recount. Others denounced the process, most
demanding new elections.
- Then on December 11, former Alaska governor, vice presidential
candidate, and caricature of a political leader, Sarah Palin, arrived in
Port-au-Prince with evangelist Franklin Graham (a pro-war, Islamophobe
hatemonger) on a bogus humanitarian mission. Likely, it was a presidential
aspirant's campaign stunt, one
- unqualified for any public office let alone the nation's
highest. AP said her "trip was largely closed to the press and she
declined to take questions at (a carefully orchestrated) news conference."
- So far, Haiti's political crisis is unresolved. Sporadic
violence continues. Greater eruptions may resume anytime. Raging cholera
keeps spreading. Aid for stricken earthquake victims remains woefully inadequate,
and Preval's CEP opened a hearing, inviting disgruntled candidates to appeal,
trying to restore calm.
- A joint US, France, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Spain, UN,
EU and OAS statement "encourage(d) the use of all legal avenues to
advance a credible electoral process to ensure that the final results fully
reflect the will of the Haitian voters," stopping well short of condemning
electoral fraud, demanding first round balloting be voided, and calling
for new elections as soon as possible.
- On December 12, AP reported that US deportations to Haiti
will resume, saying:
- ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said "the US expects
to begin flying deportees with criminal records back to Haiti in January
in coordination with Haiti's government," no matter how dire the conditions.
She left unexplained what alleged criminality she means or if something
contrived is being used to remove unwanted people, ones America never welcomed
and doesn't want now.
- US Senator Patrick Leahy (D. VT) wants Haitian aid halted
and visas for officials and their families suspended until a credible settlement
is reached, or at least the appearance of one. Senator Richard Lugar (R.
IN) blamed Preval for poor organization. Haitians demand justice, what
Washington and world leaders refuse, manipulating events for some discrete
solution, benefitting them, not popular need under real democratic governance.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
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