[News] Haiti's Election Farce Backfires

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sat Jan 15 18:09:32 EST 2011


HAITI'S ELECTION FARCE BACKFIRES by Charlie Hinton

15 January 2011

Haiti held its $30,000,000 fraudulent demonstration election on
November 28, but we still don’t know if or when a run-off will take
place, or who will be the candidates. It’s such a mess that Haiti’s
international rulers are sending in a commission to try one last time
to give a whiff of legitimacy to a totally illegitimate and corrupt
process.

The day after a visit by U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
Haiti’s Electoral Council ruled that for the 2009 Senatorial
elections, Fanmi Lavalas, Haiti’s largest and most popular party,
founded by twice overthrown and currently exiled President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, could not run candidates. This decision led to
an electoral boycott that saw fewer than 10% vote in the first round,
and far fewer in the run-off. Nevertheless, President Preval and the
“international community,” (the United States, France, and Canada,
with the United Nations acting as surrogate) recognized the results.

In these 2010 presidential elections, the Electoral Council, without
giving any explanation, ruled that neither Fanmi Lavalas nor more than
a dozen other parties could participate. Preval was reported to have
said it would take only 4% of the vote to win, indicating that the
suppression of voter turnout might be a campaign tactic. Although
Preval has ties to many of the candidates, he favors Jude Celestin,
who according to differing reports, is either engaged or married to
Preval’s daughter.

The Obama administration spent $14,500,000 on these elections,
funneled through USAID, despite 45 U.S. congresspeople’s warning they
would not be free and fair, and their call for the participation of
banned parties, in particular Fanmi Lavalas. The candidates spent
millions of dollars promoting themselves, an insult to the potential
voters they courted, huddled in miserable tent and tarp encampments.

The government used voter rolls from before the earthquake, containing
the names of many of the 250,000 people who had died. People had no
idea where to vote. One woman went to 6 polling places in
Port-au-Prince, another to 4, looking for their names on lists. People
looking for their names created long lines at polling places, falsely
reported by international media as people lined up to vote. In
addition, the number of polling places had been reduced from around
12,000 in the last genuinely democratic election in 2000, to fewer
than a thousand this time, helping to create the appearance of a large
turnout while keeping turnout low.

In a polling station in the north, one candidate said that when poll
observers arrived at 6:45 A.M., they were told that the voting was
over, reminiscent of fraudulent elections held under Duvalier and
subsequent military dictatorships when ballot boxes were stuffed
before voting began. This complaint was heard in different parts of
the country. Official results claim that 23% of the electorate voted,
but on-the-ground observers claim turnout was much lower.

By noon, 12 of the candidates, including Michel Martelly and Mirlande
Manigat, had joined together to denounce the massive fraud and demand
the elections be cancelled. That evening, however, Edmond Mulet, head
of the U.N. occupation forces in Haiti, called them both to say they
were in the run-off, and they withdrew their opposition. Then the
results were announced: Manigat, an attorney and former first lady who
represents the interests of Haiti’s elite, first, and Celestin, a
government official in charge of infrastructure reconstruction in
Haiti, second, with Martelly, a musician with close ties to Duvalier
and successor death squads and coup leaders a close third.
(http://www.haiti-liberte.com/archives/volume4-22/MichelMartelly_Stealth_Duvalierist.asp)

Protests broke out all over Haiti. The media credited the outrage to
Martelly supporters, but people from many political tendencies
protested the phony elections, the exclusion of Fanmi Lavalas, the
U.N. occupation, and the role of U.N. troops from Nepal bringing
cholera into Haiti. The “international community” has sent in an
electoral commission to “recount the votes.” The people of Haiti say
there’s nothing to recount ­ garbage in, garbage out. A report by the
Center for Economic and Policy Research states, “The amount of votes
not counted or counted wrong in this election is huge. . .Based on the
numbers of irregularities, it is impossible to determine who should
advance to a second round. If there is a second round, it will be
based on arbitrary assumptions and/or exclusions.”
(http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/reports/haitis-fatally-flawed-election)
The majority of Haitians claim there should be new free and fair
elections with all parties participating.

But this goes counter to the purpose of these “demonstration
elections” in the first place, which are designed to isolate Fanmi
Lavalas to PREVENT real grassroots democracy in Haiti, to put a
“democratic” face on a military occupation, to provide an illusion of
“democracy” to ensure a stable investment climate, and to
“demonstrate” to the populations in the occupying countries that their
troops and tax dollars serve a useful purpose.

Fanmi Lavalas and the Lavalas movement overwhelmingly have shown their
popularity and influence in every election since 1990, when Aristide
was elected with 67% of the vote.  The Haitian majority loves
President Aristide, who put the needs of poor Haitians ahead of the
demands of international bankers, though by doing so created powerful
enemies. (see WE WILL NOT FORGET: The Achievements of Lavalas)

Since the ruling elites could not defeat him through the electoral
process, they turned to other means, culminating on February 29, 2004,
when U.S military and diplomatic personnel kidnapped the President and
his family, and flew them to the Central African Republic. U.S.,
French, and Canadian troops occupied Haiti, until 8,000 U.N. troops
replaced them. That number rose to the current 11,500 personnel on the
ground (military and police) after the earthquake, and now the media
is speculating even more troops will be sent to fight “gangs” and
“unrest,” when the true purpose of these troops is to quell political
resistance to the occupation.

These foreign troops, along with Haitian police and mercenaries have
killed more than 10,000 people in a counterinsurgency operation aimed
at destroying the base of Lavalas in the poorest communities within
Haiti, but the movement for grassroots democracy continues to be so
strong that now the ruling powers have been driven to the extreme of
continually increasing the number of occupation forces and prohibiting
Fanmi Lavalas participation in the electoral process, because they
know their candidates will win.

So they spend $30,000,000 on this exercise in 
un-democracy through non-election:

     * To pretend stability exists in a profoundly unstable situation.

     * To pretend that more than a million people are living normal,
stable lives, not in tents and under tarps, because they have no
homes, no sanitation, no cooking facilities, and no clean water.

     * To pretend that more than a tiny portion of donated aid has been
delivered and distributed fairly.

     * To pretend that more than 5% of the rubble from the earthquake
has been cleared.

     * To pretend that U.N. troops from Nepal did not introduce cholera
into Haiti.

     * To pretend that Haitians want any elections in which the largest
and most popular party can’t run candidates.

     * To pretend that those “elected” will serve Haiti’s majority
before they serve Haiti’s ruling elites and international masters.

     * To pretend that President Aristide isn’t Haiti’s most popular
and respected leader, and that people don’t want him back in the
country.

     * To pretend that democracy exists in the first place. But it
doesn’t. How will this pretend electoral fantasy play itself out? Stay
tuned.

To sign the petition sponsored by the Center for Constitutional Rights
and Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti demanding fair,
inclusive elections in Haiti, CLICK
---------------------------

Charlie Hinton is a member of Haiti Action Committee and works at
Inkworks Press, a worker-owned and collectively managed printing
company in Berkeley, CA. He is the author of:

“From Jackboots to Wingtips: The evolution of Nazi Economics from
World War II to the Present,” available upon request. You may reach
him at ch_lifewish at yahoo.com.




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