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Congresswoman Waters Urges Secretary Kerry to Support Free, Fair and Democratic Elections in Haiti

For Immediate Release
Contact: Twaun Samuel
Phone: (202) 225-2201
Congresswoman Waters Urges Secretary Kerry to
Support Free, Fair and Democratic Elections in Haiti
Calls for Investigation of Election Violence, Fraud and Voter Intimidation
October 5, 2015
Washington, DC,  – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, expressing deep concern about Haiti’s 2015 elections and the impact they will have on Haiti’s future if the Haitian people do not perceive them to be credible. According to the State Department, Secretary Kerry will be visiting Haiti tomorrow.
Congresswoman Waters’ letter urges Secretary Kerry to take all necessary and appropriate action to support free, fair and democratic elections in Haiti.  The letter specifically calls on him to make a clear statement that the violence, fraud and voter intimidation witnessed in the first round of the elections should be thoroughly and independently investigated, that the individuals and parties responsible for the violence must be sanctioned, regardless of political party affiliation, and that the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) must make the reforms necessary to establish public trust.  A copy of the letter was sent to Kenneth Merten, the State Department’s Haiti Special Coordinator. 
During Congresswoman Waters’ thirteen terms in Congress, she has visited Haiti many times, and she has worked with her colleagues in Congress, State Department officials, Haitian political leaders, and Haitian civil society to promote political stability, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and economic and social development in Haiti.  Following the 2010 earthquake, she introduced the Debt Relief for Earthquake Recovery in Haiti Act (H.R. 4573), which was passed and signed into law by the President.
The text of the Congresswoman’s letter follows (footnotes were included in the original):

Dear Secretary Kerry:
As you know, I am a strong supporter of Haiti, and I care deeply about the well-being of the Haitian people.  I appreciate the ongoing efforts of the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide assistance to Haiti to improve health, education, nutrition, and economic development for the Haitian people. 
As a supporter of Haiti, I respect Haiti’s sovereignty.  Nevertheless, I am deeply concerned about Haiti’s 2015 elections and the impact they will have on Haiti’s future if the Haitian people do not perceive them to be credible.  Therefore, as you undertake a trip to Haiti at this critical moment, I urge you to take all necessary and appropriate action to support free, fair and democratic elections in Haiti.
The voting in the August 9 first-round parliamentary elections was marred by massive irregularities, which set a troubling precedent for Haiti’s upcoming October 25 Presidential and second-round parliamentary elections. As you stated in your press conference with Prime Minister Evans Paul, it is “imperative” that these elections be successful. To make these elections successful, I believe it is imperative that the many problems noted in the first round of the elections be addressed, so that Haiti’s next government is legitimate and is perceived as legitimate.

Haiti’s first-round legislative elections on August 9 were characterized by disorder, delays and the closing of many polling stations due to violence and fraud. Turnout was extremely low, with less than 18% of registered voters participating nationwide.
Nearly 25% of the votes cast have not been accounted for and were never counted. Political party representatives – sometimes posing as election observers – frequently attempted to influence or intimidate voters, stuff ballot boxes and violently disrupt voting, according to local observer groups.[1] The European Union Observer Mission’s deputy head concluded that the disruptions and violence were consciously planned to influence the results.[2] The election, in the words of one observer group, was “an affront to democratic principles.”[3]

Despite an outcry from Haitian civil society and political parties, the CEP has not adequately remedied these glaring problems. Final results recently released by the CEP indicate that the vote will be rerun only in 24 of the country’s 119 constituencies. The CEP ruled that they would accept the votes from constituencies where at least 70% of the tally sheets were considered valid, a distressingly low threshold for acceptability, which brings into question the legitimacy of the candidates who will eventually take office.[4]

Despite local observers reporting widespread violence and irregularities, the CEP only excluded 16 out of the nearly 2,000 candidates from the election due to their alleged involvement in election-day violence. These sanctions, however, are little more than a slap on the wrist; candidates found responsible for violence and disruption of the voting process should be prosecuted. The CEP also warned parties that further disruptions of the elections would not be tolerated and notably singled out two political parties allegedly close to President Michel Martelly -- Parti Haïtien Tet Kale (PHTK) and Bouclier -- as those most frequently responsible for irregularities and disruptions.[5] However, the CEP announced no significant sanctions to penalize these parties.  The failure of the CEP to take stronger action for blatant electoral violations that often rose to criminal offenses delivers a disturbing political lesson: in Haitian elections, crime pays.

The inability or unwillingness of the CEP to properly investigate and sanction parties and candidates responsible for election irregularities has seriously damaged the institution’s credibility. I urge you to send a clear message that electoral violence will not be tolerated.

Many political parties and Haitian civil society are now demanding, at a minimum, an impartial and independent investigation into the August 9 election irregularities. Many are calling for the resignation of the current CEP and the annulment of the entire first round.[6] Thus far, United States officials in Haiti have refused to recognize the scale of the fraud and violence that affected the August 9 elections. Disregarding the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, U.S. officials continue to insist that incidents of violence and fraud were isolated and did not affect the overall electoral process.[7]

President John Kennedy famously remarked, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Running transparently unfair elections, with the support of the international community, will leave many Haitians to once again conclude that they have no choice but to protest the elections and the consequent government through social disruption. Indeed, this is what happened in the political cycle of the past four years that began with controversial elections in 2010 and 2011 that brought President Martelly to power, and led to the current crisis where every elected office in the country is vacant save for ten Senate seats and the Presidency. Such disruption would threaten to severely limit the next government’s ability to govern and imperil United States’ past and future investments in Haiti’s reconstruction.

I call on you to make a clear statement that the violence, fraud and voter intimidation witnessed on August 9 should be thoroughly and independently investigated, that the individuals and parties responsible for the violence must be sanctioned, regardless of political party affiliation, and that the CEP must make the reforms necessary to establish public trust. The United States government should also state unequivocally that it will not provide funding for elections that do not meet these minimum, basic democratic requirements. 

Maxine Waters
Member of Congress
[1] Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains, Conseil National d’Observation des Elections and Conseil Haïtien des Acteurs non Etatiques, “Rapport sur le premier tour des élections législatives partielles,” August 25, 2015; Justice and Peace Commission, “Twazyèm pozisyon Komisyon Jistis ak Lapè sou jounen vòt 9 dawou 2015 lan,” August 12, 2015; Platforme des Organisations Haïtiennes des Droits Humains, “Rapò preliminè sou dewoulman eleksyon 9 dawout 2015 nan peyi a,” August 13, 2015.
2 Louis-Joseph Olivier, “L’Union européenne fait des propositions pour améliorer le processus électoral,” Le Nouvelliste, August 25, 2015.
3 Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains, Conseil National d’Observation des Elections and Conseil Haïtien des Acteurs non Etatiques, “Scrutin du 9 août 2015 : un accroc aux normes démocratiques !” August 10, 2015
4 Jake Johnston, “Fraud, Violence, and Protests Cloud Results of Haitian Election,” Vice News, September 6, 2015.
5 Ibid.; Conseil électoral provisoire, “Communiqué #51: Mise en Garde au Partis et Groupements Politiques,” August 24, 2015.
6 Remixon Guillaume, “Des partis politiques de tendances différentes, pour l’annulation des élections législatives,” Le Nouvelliste, September 7, 2015; Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains, Conseil National d’Observation des Elections and Conseil Haïtien des Acteurs non Etatiques, “Observation du Processus électoral : Le RNDDH, le CNO et le CONHANE exigent l'évaluation du scrutin du 9 août 2015,” September 7, 2015.
7 At her last press conference on August 27, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela A. White stated: “I am happy to see that the first round of elections occurred, and that the outcome, while not perfect, was acceptable.” On September 9, Ambassador White released a series of Tweets reaffirming this position that the first-round legislative elections did not require major correctives: “We cannot go back, because that would be ‘lave men siye atè’,” (Literally, “to wash one’s hands and then dirty them on the ground.” This Haitian proverb can be translated as “Ending up back where we started.”) The Ambassador stated her opposition to calls for the resignation of the CEP or the creation of a transitional government and accused protestors criticizing the CEP of “causing disorder in the streets.”

Kathleen Sengstock
Senior Legislative Assistant
Rep. Maxine Waters
2221 Rayburn Building
(202) 225-2201

Aristide, Chimeres and the Imperialist Stooges of Haiti

Some recite well-rehearsed lines accusing former president Jean -Bertrand Aristide of drug trafficking while others blithely repeat monstrous tales of how he armed children and killed babies. Yet others now sing that Aristide is a tool in the imperialist arsenal adding an odd syncopated dissonance to the chorus of voices in 2004 that moved from insulting the "rat pa kaka" poor of Haiti to labeling anyone in the streets supporting Lavalas as a "chimere."

Can these people from the streets of Haiti, once again demanding their right to vote in free and fair elections, be dismissed merely as either ignorant chimeres supporting a drug dealing baby killer or the unsuspecting dupes of an imperialist stooge?

Language reflects and refracts power betraying the interests of those invested in its meaning. Let this short video excerpt speak for itself and when you read Aristide's speech on September 30, 2015, the 24th anniversary of the brutal military coup against his democratic government, remember these words:

"Menm si nou foule beton an avè l, bradsou brad sa
Pou egzije anilasyon koudeta elektoral 9 Out la,
M santi nou ta renmen m di nou sa ak vwa pa m.
Mèsi pou konfyans sa a; se pou sa menm m priye,
Mwen reflechi anpil anvan m pran desizyon sa a.
Desizyon sa a pa ka tranpe nan sòs nayivte paske
Menm ti sèvèl wòwòt ki poko janm plonje nan
Dekolonizasyon mantal, deja konsate ke anverite,
Responsab yo chwazi fè seleksyon e non eleksyon."

Here's the full Kreole text of Aristide's speech given in Tabarre on September 30, 2015:

Sè m, Frè m, Ou menm ki bò isit ou k ap viv lòt bò dlo,
M kontan salye w nan lespri Mèm Amou an.
Nan lonbraj Zansèt nou yo, pèmèt mwen
Bay nou chak yon gwo akolad fratènèl e
Anbrase tout ti moun yo ak Jenès Peyi a
Ki gen yon plas espesyal nan fon kè m.
Ak anpil respè, m bese byen ba pou mwen salye

Memwa tout viktim koudeta 30 Septanm 1991 la.
Kò yo tonbe men yap toujou rete vivan nan lespri n.
Swè ak san Ero nou yo pa dwe koule pou granmesi.
Pou leve memwa tout Ayisyen ki sakrifye lavi yo
Pou delivrans Ayiti, ann manyen rasin mo Ayiti a.
Hai vle di non, pa. Tii vle di obeyi nan lang Swaili.
Haitii vle di pa obeyi. Haïti ou Haitii vle di
pa obeyi. Lontan, esklav yo te toujou ap di:
Pa obeyi kolon yo. Jodia, nou di: pa obeyi moun ki
pa respekte dwa moun. Haitii! Pa obeyi esklav
mantal ki nan koudeta elektoral.

Pa obeyi esklav mantal ki refize respekte vòt Pèp la.
Tout moun se moun. Vòt tout moun dwe konte.
Pwen. Sè m, Frè m, Pandan 3 zan silans sa yo, m
toujou koute vwa n. Lè tribilasyon lavi a ba nou
lafyèv, kò mwen cho. Lè nou swaf tande pozisyon m
aklè, m santi sa tou.
Menm si depi 19 Me 2015 Minouche deja fè n wè Ki
kandida m pra l chwazi pou pòs Prezidan Peyi a,
Menm si nou foule beton an avè l, bradsou bradsa
Pou egzije anilasyon koudeta elektoral 9 Out la,
M santi nou ta renmen m di nou sa ak vwa pa m.

Mèsi pou konfyans sa a; se pou sa menm m priye,
Mwen reflechi anpil anvan m pran desizyon sa a.
Desizyon sa a pa ka tranpe nan sòs nayivte paske
Menm ti sèvèl wòwòt ki poko janm plonje nan
Dekolonizasyon mantal, deja konsate ke anverite,
Responsab yo chwazi fè seleksyon e non eleksyon.
Ak espwa verite sa a pap fwase ou ofanse responsab yo
Ki se frè ak sè nou tou, men ki sa mwen obsève toujou:
Radyografi koudeta elektoral 9 Out 2015 la pote tras
Yon maladi ki rele: Négligence spatiale unilatérale.
Sa vle di, kategori malad sa yo wè yon sèl bò realite a.
Egzanp: Lè malad sa yo ap abiye, yo ka mete rad la
Yon bò kò yo e yo pa wè si lòt bò a rete san abiye.
Lè y ap manje nan yon asyèt, yo manje mwatye e
Yo pa wè si yo kite lòt mwatye manje a nan asyèt la.
Maladi sa a parèt biza men se konsa li manifeste paske
Pwoblèm nan chita nan yon zòn sèvo a ki rele lob parietal.
Responsab koudeta elektoral 9 Out 2015 la konpote yo
Menm jan ak malad sa yo ki wè yon sèl bò realite a.
Yon bò yo wè bilten vòt gwo zam fann fwa vle enpoze,
Men yo pa wè ke lòt bò a, se majorite Pèp Ayisyen an
K ap egzije respè dwa li genyen pou l vote nan eleksyon lib.
Tout moun se moun. Donk, vòt tout moun dwe konte. Pwen.
Radyografi koudeta elektoral 9 Out 2015 la montre
Yon 2e tras: li montre tras malad ki anozognozik.
Sa vle di: Malad ki refize aksepte ke yo malad.
Nan ka konsa, solisyon an se dabò mobilizasyon.
Mobilizasyon nou tout ki pa vle Peyi a tonbe
Nan toubiyon goudougoudou politik san parèy.

Ou menm ki depi 11 zan ap monte lesyèl pado,
Nou ki viktim ensekirite, abi, grangou, chomaj,
Jis nap file zegwi san tèt nan blakawout lamizè,
Nou menm kap soufri ak tout Ayisyen ki viktim
Rapatriman sitwayen ki soti Sen Domeng yo,
Ann met ansanm pou evite mal la vin pi mal.
Nou menm pwofesyonèl nan tout branch tankou :
Avoka, enjenyè, agwonòm, enfimyè, doktè,
Komèsan, peyizan, notab, pwofesè lekòl
K ap mare lafimen dezespwa depi 11 lane,
Ann met ansanm pou evite mal la vin pi mal.
Nou menm Jèn ki toupatou, nan pwovens kòm lavil,
Nan inivèsite kòm nan tout baz ak tout katye popilè yo
Ann mobilize pou fè chodyè a sispann bouyi yon sèl bò.
Nou pi plis. Nou se majorite a. Fòk sa bon pou nou tout.
Jan mwen te di nou jou ki te 9 Me 2013 la,
Sonje! Yon sèl machwa pa moulen vyann.
Nou youn bezwen lòt. Respè pou nou tout:
Moun save kòm analfabèt. Analfabèt pa bèt.
Rich kou malere, se antann pou n antann nou.
Aprè 11 lane, fòk nou rekoud drapo inite a.
Men nan men ak tout Ayisyen k ap viv lòt bò dlo
E ki swaf tounen lakay, ann kreye kondisyon pou
Patisipasyon tout moun debyen, tout moun serye,
Tout moun ki pa nan politik men ki konprann ke:
Si n pa sove Diyite n, Diyite n ap sove kite n.
Sè m, Frè m,
Peyi nou an malad grav e pou pi ta pa pi tris,
Fò n mobilize kont koudeta a jis nou rantre
Demokratikman nan Palè Nasyonal avèk
Dr Maryse Narcisse kòm Prezidan Peyi a.
Vote Dr Maryse ak tout kandida Fanmi Lavalas,
Bò Tab la, nimewo 54, se leve yon kokenn defi
Paske konplo a mare ak lajan ki pa rete ak lajan.

Sepandan ! Wi, sepandan !
Bouch an bouch, youn di lòt:
Konplo ki mare ak fòs lajan

Ka demare ak fòs diyite nou.
Bouch an bouch, youn di lòt:

Se pa lajan, se diyite.
Si n pa sove diyite n,
Diyite n ap sove kite n.


Dr Jean-Bertrand Aristide
30 Septanm 2015, Taba


Militarized police & new army trained as protests grow in Haiti.

Mounting protests against sham elections and corruption, newly trained
paramilitary police units and the upcoming deployment of a new military
force trained in Ecuador.



HIP coverage of elections in Haiti

Protesters hit the streets in one of many demonstrations in Port au Prince to demand
the annulment of recent parliamentary elections and an end to corruption in Haiti.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Haiti now faces a historical juncture with three rounds of new elections scheduled from August through October 2015. The election timetable is as follows:

·       Partial Legislative Elections: (20 Senators and 118 deputies)
Sunday, August 9, 2015: 1st round
·       2nd round of Legislative Elections/1st round of presidential elections and local elections
Sunday, October 25, 2015
·       If no candidate wins the 1st round all 2nd rounds held:
Sunday, December 27, 2015

I am writing to ask you to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the Haiti Information Project (HIP) and our efforts to provide news and analysis of Haiti’s next elections. HIP is a collaboration between US and Haitian journalists and is one of the few sources of alternative news and information from the perspective of grassroots communities in Haiti as they struggle for local and national sovereignty. HIP regularly informs the reporting of nationally syndicated news radio shows such as Flashpoints on Pacifica radio and Sojourner Truth at KPFK in Los Angeles. It also provides regular updates and analysis of events in Haiti through the HIP blog and the HIP Twitter account with nearly 5000 followers. You can make a tax-deductible donation to our efforts through our fiscal sponsor, the Marin Interfaith Taskforce on the Americas. Simply designate the amount you’d like to give at the top of the form and under Program, check other and type in HIP to make sure our program receives the funds.

In addition to providing news and analysis, HIP reporters on the ground in Haiti also contribute historically valuable video footage. As you may already know, my past documentary films on Haiti have focused on the context of elections in 1990 and 2000. Haiti: Harvest of Hope traces the history of elections and social movements in Haiti that ultimately led to a Catholic priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, being elected in 1990. Haiti: We Must Kill the Bandits has as its center the 2000 elections where the Lavalas party won most of the local and national contests culminating in the re-election of Aristide for a second term that same year. Both of these widely viewed documentaries cover the aftermath of these elections with Aristide overthrown in a brutal military coup in 1991 and then being ousted and forced on a plane by US Marines in 2004. Aristide’s party, Fanmi Lavalas, had been excluded from all elections following the second coup of 2004 and is only now re-emerging to participate in Haiti’s democratic process. Footage from HIP reporters on the ground in Haiti will also allow me to produce another short documentary updating and telling the real story behind mainstream news headlines.

Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

Kevin  Pina
Founding Editor
The Haiti Information Project

 Recent examples of reporting you won't see anywhere else about Haiti:


Results of Haiti's parliamentary elections

Haiti's election council held a press conference today as questions continue to mount about the legitimacy of the last parliamentary elections of August 9, 2015.


Lavalas reaction to election irregularities in Haiti

Flashpoints interviews Yvon Kernizan in Haiti about the reaction of Fanmi Lavalas to the irregularities of the August 9, 2015 parliamentary elections. We also speak with political analyst Frantz Jerome for an update.


Haiti's elections legitimate?

Polling station destroyed by masked assailants in Rue Valliant, Port au Prince, Haiti.

Flashpoints interviews Brian Concannon of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) who discusses the legitimacy of Haiti's recent parliamentary elections held on August 9, 2015.


Elections in Haiti under Martelly

Earlier in his career Haitian president "Sweet Mickey"/Michel Martelly
dresses in military garb. Martelly is accused of trying to restore
a new version of the historically brutal Haitian military.

Two Haitian analysts discuss the likely outcome of Haiti's parliamentary
elections held on August 9, 2015.


Behind Haiti's Low Voter Turnout

Voters forced to squat over bricks stacked on the floor holding cardboard
divider in Route de Freres polling station in the capital of Port au Prince.

Key polling stations were attacked by masked assailants
in the early morning hours and forced to close.

Flashpoints analysis of parliamentary elections held in Haiti on August, 9, 2015

Play Audio

Haiti Flashback - May 2000 Elections


#3771: Pina comments on the closing of the poles with conch horns blowing

From: kevin pina <>
At the closing of the polls it was reported that the sound of conch horns 
was heard in several neighborhoods of Port au Prince. The sound of the
Caribbean native conch shell has long symbolized as a call for freedom in
Haiti. It is well known as a call to arms for the maroons, communities of
escaped slaves in the country's early history, who allied themselves with
the forces that defeated Napoleon's armies, establishing Haiti as the
world's first black republic.

Tonight it is heard as the symbol of an anticipated victory for Aristide's
Lavalas party and political rectification for Haitian majority politics put
off track by the 1991 coup and the nullification of the results of the
previous parliamentary elections. There are also reports that quiet,
spontaneous celebrations have begun to break out in several neighborhoods of
Port au Prince. At a small but growing gathering in the front yard of a
small merchant, one celebrant stated, "We have tried one more time to make
them understand that what we want is change. Lavalas and Aristide are our
choice." She seemed convinced that if the elections were fair that
Aristide's Lafamni Lavalas party will emerge victorious.



The Aftermath of Haiti's Election

by Kevin Pina

Port au Prince, May 28, 2000 - There is palpable tension left in the wake of Haiti's recent parliamentary elections as many Lavalas supporters brace themselves for possible attacks by those who oppose a return of Jean-Betrand Aristide to Haiti's presidency. While a few naturally feel it could strike at any moment, others speculate it is more likely to occur closer to the final tallying when Lavalas appears to have won a majority in the Haitian parliament. This is not an irrational fear, as Haitian history will attest. For many, today is as it ever was, confronting the fear of retaliation from the wealthy elite and the military that are backed by powerful political allies in the US government.

When Jean-Bertrand Aristide emerged as the hands down winner of Haiti's presidential elections in 1990, it was at the head of a broad popular movement fomented by Haiti's poor majority known as Lavalas. After having endured years of being ruled as virtual chattel by the wealthy elite and military dictatorships which were propped up through corruption and violence, they courageously spoke with one clear voice in December of 1991 to demand real change in Haiti. Aristide and the Lavalas movement came to symbolize in the hearts and minds of most Haitians the desire to overturn the dark legacy of the past and create the possibility of a new future for Haiti's impoverished majority. Aristide's election by Haiti's poor majority was only the first challenge to the power of the country's traditional rulers. Preval and Aristide then pushed it further by throwing open the gates of Haiti's political reality to include the voice of the country's poor and dispossessed. For the first time the voices of the poor were echoed throughout Haiti's greatest symbol of power, the presidential palace.

After only seven months, this was, in the common tradition of Haiti, followed by a violent military coup financed and backed by the wealthy elite with powerful allies in Washington. This vicious military coup was prolonged by a half-hearted US led embargo that many in Lavalas believe was designed to allow time for the movement to slowly get chewed up by the army. At the same time, many within Haiti's traditional elite strengthened their position and added to their vast fortunes through profiteering during the embargo. Many Lavalas veterans view the coup as having been a "slow bleed" scenario for depleting the best resources of a popular movement for change while allowing Washington's traditional allies to grow stronger.

Those who offer this view have good reason to believe that the political machinations of Washington will not cease until they have a government to their liking in Haiti. First there was the coup of September 1991. Then, after Aristide's return there was the parliamentary elections of 1997, in which Lavalas won a clear majority, only to have them annulled following charges of fraud led by the likes of the International Republican Institute, The Carter Center for Democracy and the National Democratic Institute and the OPL. For many of in Haiti's grassroots it has become crystal clear that a government to Washington's liking does not include Aristide or Lavalas. As Haiti approaches the final tally of the ballots in this latest round of "US sponsored" elections, many are convinced it is essentially the same configuration of forces and dynamics in play today, the poor majority of Haitians opposed by the wealthy elite and their allies in the former military supported by powerful friends in Washington.

Not surprisingly, remnants of the US-trained Haitian military don't agree with the concept of popular democracy and in light of recent evidence there is growing speculation they have been plotting a comeback for quite some time. A May 11th story broke in Haiti reporting that eight former members of the Haitian military had been arrested for operating an underground recruitment network that supplied photo IDs bearing the official logo of the Armed Forces of Haiti. A warrant was also issued for the arrest of the signatory of the military IDs, identified as Mr. Serge Justafort who was working as chief of security for rental installations used by the US diplomatic mission in Haiti. Although much attention was given to this story in Haiti, confirmed by the Haitian National Police and the Ministry of Justice, not one word of it reached the international press.

The name of a Canadian national named Lynn Garrison also surfaced in connection with the busts in Haiti. Garrison was described in a June 1994 interview in the Toronto Globe and Mail as "a former Canadian born fighter pilot…playing the improbable role of advisor to the military regime, public relations man for the 1991 coup, and intelligence source for attacks by American conservatives on exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide." Garrison has made public claims he was the source for the "psychological profile" of former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide that was presented by the CIA's Brian Latelle to the US Senate in 1993. In that report, Aristide was described as mentally unbalanced, on lithium, and having been confined to a Canadian mental institution in the 1980's. On may 17th, less than one week before Haiti's scheduled election, the Haitian National Police issued an "arrest on sight" for Garrison on charges of "activities suspected of being destabilizing to democratic order." As one could have guessed, no mention was ever made of this in the international press.

The US Embassy staff, under former Ambassador Alvin Adams, used to refer to Haiti's wealthy class as the MRE's or the Morally Repugnent Elite because of their pronounced lack of concern for their fellow human beings. They too have also resurfaced in the form of Olivier Nadal, unabashed coup supporter and president of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Nadal claims to have taken refuge in Washington out of fear of reprisals from Aristide, Preval, Lavalas, and the Haitian people. Popular organizations in Haiti have publicly accused Mr. Nadal of involvement in a campaign to force small peasant farmers off their land in the Artibonite Valley in 1995. It resulted in the "sacking and burning of over 100 homes and left several dead" according to the peasant rights organization Tet Kole.

Mr. Nadal's departure from Haiti coincided with the shenanigans of American Rice Corporation, owned by the Erly Corporation based in Los Angeles California, whose company representatives staged a dramatic flight from the country after it was revealed they had under claimed imports values to avoid customs fees. Nadal is also the voice closest to the ears of Senator Jesse Helms(R-SC), the powerful chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and is known to have the favor of Congressman Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), chairman of the House International Relations Committee. On May 19, the eve of Haiti's parliamentary elections Nadal stated, " Aristide demonized Haiti's military to a point that no one commented upon its destruction, even though the army was Haiti's only structured element of law-and-order. This was replaced by an Aristide controlled police force, now coordinating much of the cocaine traffic into America. It is greatly responsible for much of the violence in Haiti as Aristide directs their activities from his 50 plus acre estate at Tabarre. Not bad for a priest who renounced his "vows of poverty" in October of 1990. He is now said to be worth over one billion dollars-much of his cocaine related"!!

 Given the recent revelations about the military and Nadal's pronouncements, to many in Lavalas it appears there is a new alliance being forged between Haiti's former military and the wealthy elite that represents a long lineage of "traditional" rulers known for their brutality and ruthlessness. They realize that the thought of a Lavalas led parliament and Aristide's return to the presidency must be a nightmare scenario to these familiar opponents. It must be the same for their allies in Washington. Early press reports from the election included scenarios of an Aristide "dictatorship" replete with a circle of "drug barons" and "political assassins" while Lavalas is portrayed as a violent mob under the control of a charismatic leader. There has, after all, been much invested in this campaign to cultivate an image of Aristide as a former priest and president transformed into a monster leading unruly mobs through the streets of Port au Prince.


Moving the Goal Posts in Haiti's Democratic Game

By Kevin Pina - Port-au-Prince, July 5, 2000
On May 21, 2000, the Haitian people once again played
by the rules of the democratic game, as directed and tutored by Washington and
the international community, only to see their hope for social change squashed
by yet another endless series of technicalities and accusations.  The current
political crisis in Haiti should come as no surprise if seen within the
context of earlier efforts at democratic change that resulted in the bloody
coup of 1991 and annulled elections in 1997.  Popular sentiment among Haiti's
grassroots organizations seems to be that each time they manage to score a
goal in the democratic game the United States and the international community
change the rules and move the goal posts farther out of reach.

Prior to the May 21st elections in Haiti, tremendous pressure was placed on
the Preval government to set a date for elections despite its official
objections that an evaluation of the process was necessary before proceeding
with the ballot.   The US anointed "political opposition" in Haiti cried foul
showing once again how their greatest constituency resides not in Haiti but
abroad.  They proclaimed loudly that Preval and Aristide were attempting to
delay the process so that parliamentary elections could coincide with
presidential elections in a plot to sweep Lavalas to victory on Aristide's
"coattails."  The Preval government ultimately relented and elections were
held on May 21st in what have been called "the most promising elections in
Haiti to date."  The international community initially embraced the May 21st
elections until it became clear that Aristide's "coattails" are so wide that
they must precede him as well as follow him.  Given the international
community's insistence on an accelerated timetable for the ballot, it made it
difficult for them to back down from initially endorsing the validity of these
elections.  This set the stage for the timely political debacle that has
ensued and what many in Haiti view as disingenuous performances by Orlande
Marville of the Organization of American States and Leon Manus the president
of the Provisional Election Council or CEP.

Given the tremendous investment involved, one cannot help but wonder at what
moment Mr. Marville was inspired to conclude that the calculations of the
ballots was based solely upon the top four vote getters and not the total
percentage of votes cast in the elections. It is difficult to believe that the
international community, and the OAS in particular, were not present to
observe the entire process of balloting and calculations of the ballot count
prior to the CEP releasing the initial results of the election.  Rather than
quietly communicating this discrepancy to the CEP and requesting a change in
the calculations prior to the release of results, the OAS chose to wait until
the CEP had committed itself to the purported incorrect calculations and timed
its "electoral revelations" in a manner that has obviously caused great damage
to the political process in Haiti.

And what of Leon Manus, president of the CEP, who has fled to a self-imposed
exile in the US claiming that his life had been threatened by the Haitian
government if he did not sign off on the "bad calculations?"  Immediately
following Mr. Marville's revelations, Mr. Manus was quoted on Radio Metropole
in Haiti stating that the results had been calculated in the same manner as
previous elections. If we are to believe Mr. Manus's first position then the
last example we have to look to are the annulled parliamentary elections of
1997.  The results of that election, which appeared to give Lavalas a
parliamentary majority, were discounted amid charges of electoral fraud led by
the International Republican Institute, the Carter Center for Democracy and
the National Democratic Institute, each closely associated with the Republican
and Democratic parties in the US respectively.  An analysis of press reports
from that period clearly show that the procedure for calculating the
percentages of ballots was never once brought into question with respect to
the 1997 parliamentary elections.  Instead, charges focused on "voting
irregularities" amidst a ramped up campaign to link Aristide and Lavalas to
violence and political assassinations in Haiti.

Presently, Mr. Manus has fled Haiti adding one more note in a well-documented
campaign to associate Preval, Aristide and Lavalas with violence as he
embraces the position of the OAS in a complete reversal of his initial
statement.  Mr. Manus's claims, whether coincidentally or by design,
overshadows the obvious error made by the "coattail" theorists and lends
support to the assertion that Aristide and Lavalas rigged the vote count in an
effort to establish a one-party dictatorship.

Haiti's poor majority has fought tirelessly since the coup of 1991 to restore
their original mandate of 1990 to transform a system of endemic,
institutionalized, predatory corruption into a modern democracy fulfilling the
aspirations of its citizenry.  A prevalent view among many Lavalas supporters
is that every imaginable obstacle has been placed before them to preclude this
restoration including a brutal military coup, charges of fraud, charges of
political violence, charges of drug running by Lavalas officials, and finally,
bad mathematics. In this context one might understand why Lavalas supporters
took to the streets in force to denounce what they view as another attempt to
overturn the results of yet another election in which they believe to have
reclaimed their original mandate for change in Haiti.

In the words of one young militant, belonging to one of the popular
organizations behind the recent show of Lavalas strength in the streets of
Port of Prince, "Haitian history will not move forward without a return of
Lavalas and Aristide to the presidency."  Many in Lavalas are convinced that
the OAS and the international community are conspiring to discredit the May
21st elections and throw them into disarray in an attempt to forestall the
coming presidential elections in which Aristide would be the hands down
winner.  Others believe that this recent political battle over the credibility
of the May 21st elections is intended to discredit the majority's popular
mandate and further isolate a Lavalas ruled Haiti from the community of
nations.  Let us hope for the sake of the Haitian people and the integrity of
US foreign policy that they are not right.

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