[News] Burned ballots inflame Haitian election tensions | Congresswoman Waters
News at freedomarchives.org
Wed Feb 15 08:50:35 EST 2006
Burned ballots inflame Haitian election tensions
15 Feb 2006 03:16:25 GMT
By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Haiti's electoral council
said on Tuesday it would launch an investigation after burned
ballots, many cast a week ago for former president Rene Preval, were
found still smoldering in a state dump.
Preval, a one-time ally of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide
opposed by the same wealthy elite who helped drive Aristide from
power two years ago, said on Tuesday that only "massive fraud" had
prevented him from winning a first-round victory in the Feb. 7 election.
A few hours later, reports that hundreds and maybe thousands of
ballots had been found discarded in a massive garbage dump in
Port-au-Prince rippled through the ranks of Preval supporters,
triggering anger and demonstrations after nightfall.
"That's absolutely unacceptable," said Rosemond Pradel,
secretary-general of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) charged
with organizing the impoverished Caribbean country's presidential
election -- the first vote since Aristide was ousted by an armed
revolt and international pressure to quit.
"The CEP was not handling the ballots," Pradel said. He said securing
the ballots after they had been cast was the responsibility of the
9,000-strong U.N. force trying to keep the peace in Haiti, known by
its acronym MINUSTAH.
"I cannot answer to those problems but we are going to set up a
commission to investigate the problem," Pradel said.
U.N. spokesman David Wimhurst said ballots were supposed to have been
sealed in bags and placed in a container, protected by U.N. troops.
"It's not normal to have these ballots there."
Wimhurst suggested the discarded ballots could have come from nine
polling stations outside Port-au-Prince ransacked during the
election, with the loss of around 35,000 votes. He also acknowledged
that polling station workers, who were often of the same political
group, could have engaged in fraud.
In the district of Truitier, where the burned ballots were found,
angry Preval supporters and local residents denounced what they saw
as an attempt to deny them a voice in Haiti's fractious and fragile democracy.
"The people are not going to accept losing their Feb. 7 vote," said a
community leader who did not give his name.
He said residents had seen unfamiliar garbage trucks pulling up to
the dump since last Thursday but hadn't thought anything of it.
"They took all Preval's ballots. They threw them away in order to
prevent the vote of the people from passing. That is a crime," said
Rene Monplaisir, an official in the Preval campaign.
Release Contact: Mikael Moore
February 15, 2006, 12:01
a.m. (202) 225-2201
CONGRESSWOMAN WATERS DENOUNCES THE OBVIOUS ATTEMPTS
TO STEAL THE ELECTIONS IN HAITI AND DENY RENE PREVAL THE PRESIDENCY
Washington, D.C. - Today, on Capitol Hill, Rep. Maxine
Waters (CA-35) released a statement on the elections in Haiti. The
elections took place on Tuesday, February 7, but the results have yet
to be announced. The Congresswoman's statement follows:
The obvious attempts to steal the elections in
Haiti are blatant and shameful. It is absolutely outrageous that the
President Aristide-haters, the anti-Lavalas elites, and the United
States Government would so openly and blatantly steal these elections.
The international community is witnessing yet
another blow against the Haitian people by the same forces that
forced President Aristide out of Haiti, the same forces who are
responsible for all of the chaos and destabilization of this small
country. How much more can the Haitian people take?
The anti-Aristide forces have done everything in
their power to imprison the leaders of the Lavalas Party and deny
Lavalas leaders their right to run for office and their right to
voice their opposition to the Group of 184, the Provisional Electoral
Council, the puppet government, the International Republican
Institute, and others who are determined to undermine democracy in
Haiti. President Bush must accept responsibility for the ongoing
violence, the chaos, and the blatant attempts to steal these elections.
Early results showed an overwhelming victory for
Rene Preval. Many polling stations posted their results the day
after the elections, and Preval won between 60% and 90% of the vote
in all of these polling stations. Last Thursday, the Provisional
Electoral Council was reporting that Preval had 61.5% of the votes
counted thus far.
Since that time, 125,000 ballots or 7.5% of the
votes cast were declared invalid by the CEP because of alleged
irregularities. Another 4% of the ballots were allegedly blank but
nevertheless included in the vote count, thereby making it more
difficult for Preval to exceed 50%.
No one in their right mind could possibly
believe that Rene Preval's lead plunged so quickly below the 50%
required to avoid a runoff. What are the people of Haiti to do?
Who in the international community will step
forward and speak up against the obvious power-grab perpetrated on a
nearly defenseless people?
I am totally disgusted with my own government
and the role it played in this entire fiasco. Is their no shame? Is
their no compassion? Is their no decency?
I cannot believe the audacity of the United
Nations and others to tell the Haitian people that they should not
resist oppression and demand respect. The Haitian people have
suffered greatly at the hands of the United States, France and
Canada, powerful nations who preach democracy and yet orchestrated
the removal of the democratically-elected president of Haiti and
drove him from his own country.
Is their no shame in the fact that the United
States installed the puppet Prime Minister Gerard Latortue from Boca
Raton, Florida, who proceeded to jail former Prime Minister Yvon
Neptune on frivolous charges and jailed other Lavalas leaders like
former Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert, Haitian singer Anne
Auguste and Father Gerard Jean-Juste without cause? Is their no
shame in the fact that the United States allowed Roger Noriega to
conspire with Andy Apaid and the Group of 184 to manipulate Haitian
students in cooperation with the Haitian elites in an attempt to grab
control of that country for their own purposes?
Haven't the Haitian people suffered enough? The
man-made terror and violence coupled with natural disasters that have
been inflicted upon the people of Haiti will be recorded in history
as catastrophic events that caused tremendous loss of life and an
unbearable and tragic existence for the Haitian people.
After all of this suffering, is the United
States really prepared to stand by and deny the poorest of people who
persevered on election day, walked for miles, and waited for hours
for the right to elect persons of their choice? If so, then the
President of the United States does not deserve to use the word
"democracy," for he neither respects nor supports it, but simply
promotes the rhetoric of democracy to his own advantage.
I stand with the people of Haiti. I stand with
the Lavalas Party. I stand with Rene Preval and his Party of
Hope. I stand with President Aristide. I stand for justice,
equality and democracy. And I challenge the United States, France
and Canada to correct their destructive behavior and give democracy a chance.
Rene Preval is obviously the elected president
of Haiti. He received considerably more than 50% of the vote, and he
must be granted the right to serve without further interference,
obstacles or violence.
The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the News