[News] Congresswoman Waters opposes plot to control Haiti/democracy in the balance

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jan 19 11:24:45 EST 2011



2 articles follow

Congresswoman Waters opposes plot to control Haiti

http://www.haitiaction.net/News/MW/1_18_11/1_18_11.html

Urges prosecution of Duvalier for human rights violations
and new elections that respect the will of the Haitian People

Washington D.C. ­ Congresswoman Maxine Waters 
(D-CA) issued the following statement today, upon 
learning that Haiti's former dictator, 
Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, returned to 
Haiti after 25 years of exile in France:

The plot to control Haiti has gone from the 
absurd to the ridiculous.  The return of 
Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier to Haiti in the 
midst of a flawed election is truly 
shocking.  The Duvalier dictatorship was 
absolutely brutal, and there is extensive 
documentation of the human rights violations 
suffered by the Haitian people during his 
reign.  I was pleased to hear that the 
authorities had taken him into custody, and I 
urge that he be tried for his 
crimes.  Nevertheless, Duvalier's return raises 
serious questions about who in Haiti facilitated 
his return and what his supporters expect to gain by bringing him back.

Duvalier's return comes in the midst of a 
desperate attempt by President Rene Préval to 
maintain control of Haiti by ensuring the 
election of Jude Celestin, his chosen 
successor.  President Préval did this by 
appointing a Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) 
that was biased in his favor, which refused to 
allow candidates from over a dozen political 
parties to participate in the elections.  Among 
those excluded was Lavalas, Haiti's largest 
political party and the party most popular among 
Haiti's poor.  The result was a deeply flawed 
election that generated widespread and sometimes 
violent protests among the Haitian people.

Had the elections truly been inclusive, the most 
likely result would have been the election of a 
President who represented the impoverished 
majority of the Haitian people.  This would have 
been contrary to the interests of the rich and 
powerful business elites of Haiti, whose main 
goal has always been the exploitation of the 
Haitian people as cheap labor.  It is these 
wealthy Haitian elites who benefited under the 
reign of the Duvalier regime and who would no 
doubt benefit if he were to return to power.
Additional confusion was created by the 
Organization of American States (OAS), which 
attempted to salvage these flawed elections by 
issuing a report based on flawed 
methodology.  The OAS did not conduct a full 
recount, but instead examined a sample of only 
919 of the 11,181 tally sheets from voting booths 
across Haiti, threw out 234 of these tally 
sheets, and then concluded that Michel "Sweet 
Micky" Martelly should advance to a runoff, along 
with Mirlande Manigat, in place of Jude 
Celestin.  The OAS report concluded that Martelly 
defeated Celestin by a margin of only 0.3 percent 
of the votes reported on those tally sheets that 
the OAS chose to count.  This would mean Préval's 
candidate, the candidate who is most likely to be 
trusted by the elites, would be eliminated.

However, according to an analysis by the Center 
for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), tally 
sheets were either missing or were discounted for 
irregularities at 1,326 voting booths or 11.9 
percent of the total.  The proportion of 
discounted votes and other irregularities is more 
than sufficient to cast doubt upon the entire 
process, especially when the difference between 
the number of votes counted for Celestin and 
Martelly is so small.  The recommendation of the 
OAS to change the names of the candidates 
included in the runoff election is an ill-advised 
and sloppy attempt to fix an election that should be scrapped entirely.

In any case, it is now clear that no runoff can 
be held this month as previously planned, and no 
successor will be elected prior to February 7th, 
the last day of President Préval's term in office 
under the constitution.  Consequently, there is 
the possibility that Haiti could find itself with 
no President, thus creating a void and the opportunity for a dictator.

I was shocked to learn that OAS officials 
discussed forcing President Préval to leave the 
country on board a plane – much the way that 
former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was 
forced to leave the country in a coup d'état in 
2004.  Ricardo Seitanfus, the former OAS Special 
Representative to Haiti, recently revealed that 
at a meeting of United Nations, OAS and donor 
country officials, some representatives suggested 
that President Préval should leave the country 
and an airplane should be provided for that purpose.

The OAS and other international agencies have no 
right to dictate the outcome of the election and 
no right to plot the exile of the current 
President of Haiti.  Despite President Préval's 
role in these failed and fraudulent elections, 
the OAS cannot be a part of a plan to try to 
determine the outcome of the elections.

It is absurd and outrageous that anyone would 
even think to take advantage of this situation to 
facilitate Baby Doc Duvalier's return to 
Haiti.  Unfortunately, he has returned, and it is 
important to ask why.  Who assisted Duvalier in 
his return?  Where did he get the money to pay 
for his return?  Were any officials of the U.S. 
Government aware of his plans to return?  Was the 
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) aware?  If so, 
was any action taken to stop him from returning 
or to ensure that he would be arrested and 
prosecuted for his crimes and not allowed to usurp power if he did return?

I am deeply concerned that the wealthy elites of 
Haiti who supported the Duvalier regime in the 
past, along with the assistance of international 
agencies, may have encouraged Duvalier to return 
in the hope that the flawed elections will create 
a power vacuum that could allow him to take power 
once again.  I am even more concerned that OAS 
officials may be wittingly or unwittingly helping 
to create precisely the type of power vacuum that would enable him to do so.

It is important that we determine what role U.S. 
officials played, if any, in facilitating 
Duvalier's return.  It is even more important 
that we determine what role the U.S. Government will play moving forward.

The U.S. Government promised to help Haiti 
recover from last year's earthquake and develop 
its economy.  I introduced legislation to forgive 
Haiti its foreign debt, and allow the country to 
secure additional aid in the form of grants so 
that it wouldn't incur further debt.  I was very 
pleased that Congress passed the legislation in a 
bipartisan manner, and that President Obama 
signed it into law just three months after the 
earthquake.  President Obama also requested and 
Congress appropriated almost $3 billion in funds 
for humanitarian assistance and long-term 
reconstruction and development for 
Haiti.  Meanwhile, donor countries committed more 
than $9 billion in aid for Haiti's reconstruction 
at an international donors' conference last March.

Haiti's next government will be called upon to 
make difficult decisions regarding the allocation 
of these resources.  If these decisions are not 
made by a credible and legitimately-elected 
government, billions in U.S. taxpayer funds could 
be wasted and many donors may refuse to 
distribute the funds that were 
promised.  Meanwhile, Haiti's recovery could be 
delayed for decades and the Haitian people will continue to suffer.

I believe the only recourse is for Haiti to 
organize new elections that will be free and 
fair, inclusive of all eligible political parties 
and candidates, and open to participation by all 
Haitian voters.  The U.S. Government should 
demand a clear statement to that effect by both 
the OAS and President Préval, and the U.S. should 
stand ready to assist Haiti in organizing new elections.
Only through free, fair and inclusive elections 
will the people of Haiti be empowered to create a 
better future for themselves and their children.

###

To view more of the Congresswoman's work on 
Haiti, <http://waters.house.gov/Issues/Issue/?IssueID=5163>click here.

Sean Bartlett
Press Secretary
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35)
2344 Rayburn HOB / Washington, DC 20515
(o) 202.225.2201
(f)  202.225.7854
www.waters.house.gov

***************************************
Haiti's democracy in the balance


----------
By <http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/markweisbrot>Mark Weisbrot

Source: 
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jan/18/haiti-usa>The 
Guardian Unlimited (UK)
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

As the infamous dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” 
Duvalier returns to Haiti after 25 years in exile 
in the south of France, the U.S. State Department 
and the French Foreign Ministry have been 
<http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=UkntpDWtGVV1fDBUbXpu9QdN6VBjKQ%2F7>ratcheting 
up the pressure on the impoverished, 
earthquake-destroyed, and cholera stricken country of Haiti.

The pressure is not to prosecute the dictator for 
his atrocities, as human rights groups such as 
<http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=GpqKARQgOKAzSV3ZFxsMKAdN6VBjKQ%2F7>Amnesty 
International and 
<http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=h8SRci0NbBHVd8TtWirvlAdN6VBjKQ%2F7>Human 
Rights Watch have recommended. The pressure is to 
force the government of Haiti to accept the 
decision of the United States and France as to 
who should be allowed to compete in the second 
round of Haiti’s presidential election.

It is worth looking at the details of this 
international subversion of the democratic 
process in Haiti just to see just how outrageous it is.

The first thing to notice is how unusual it is 
for any electoral authority to change the results 
of an election without a full recount of the 
vote. Imagine that happening in Florida in 2000, 
or Mexico in 2006, or in any close, disputed 
election with irregularities. It just wouldn’t 
happen. There could be a recount and a new 
result; the original result can stand; or the 
election can be redone. But the electoral 
authorities don’t just change the result without a recount.

Now add into the mix that the electoral body 
seeking to change the result of the election is 
the Organization of American States (OAS). More 
accurately, it is Washington, which controls the 
bureaucracy of the OAS in these situations 
(unless there is a lot of pushback from South 
America, as happened after the Honduran coup in 2009).

In fact, 
<http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=MV30r3Px%2B729xHZPYP7ZyQdN6VBjKQ%2F7>six 
of the seven members of the OAS “Expert 
Verification Mission” are from the United States, 
Canada, and France. France! Not a member of the 
OAS but the former slave-holding colonial power 
that was still forcing Haiti to pay for its loss 
of property (i.e. the slaves who liberated 
themselves) until the 1940s. Apparently the OAS 
couldn’t find any experts in all of Latin America 
(they got one from Jamaica) to review Haiti’s election.

This is not a matter of political correctness; 
rather it indicates how much Washington wanted to 
control the result of this OAS Mission. These are 
the three governments that 
<http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=MgsYSXkZZ62TaSe7PHtP4wdN6VBjKQ%2F7>led 
the effort  to topple Haiti’s democratically 
elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 
2004. 
<http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=j75mpcpMy2dWSZjeMPWqxgdN6VBjKQ%2F7>Wikileaks 
cables released this week show that the United 
States also pressured Brazil to help keep 
Aristide out of Haiti after the coup. Since 
Aristide was, and remains to this day, the most 
popular politician in the country, the Wikileaks 
cables show that Washington and its allies also 
worked to keep him from having any influence on 
the country from his forced exile in South Africa.

As it turns out, the OAS “experts” did a 
<http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=SYKDXAPEBh4XGQejhVz91AdN6VBjKQ%2F7>very 
poor job on their election analysis. They threw 
out 234 tally sheets, thus changing the election 
result. According to the OAS, the government 
candidate, Jude Celestin, was pushed into third 
place and therefore out of the run-off election. 
This leaves two right-wing candidates – former 
first lady Mirlande Manigat, and popular musician 
Michel Martelly – to compete in the runoff. The 
OAS has Martelly taking second place by just 
3,200 votes, or 0.3 percent of the vote.

The first problem with the OAS Mission’s report 
is that there were more than 1,300 tally sheets 
representing about 156,000 votes that went 
missing or were quarantined. This is about six 
times as many ballot sheets as the ones that the 
Mission eliminated. Since these areas were more 
pro-Celestin than the rest of the country, he 
would very likely have come in 
second<http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=il05kEBTNjQmT4jQHtY0JAdN6VBjKQ%2F7> 
if the missing tally sheets had been included. 
The Mission did not address this problem in its report.

The second problem is that the Mission examined 
only 919 of the 11,181 tally sheets to find the 
234 that they threw out. This would not be so 
strange if they had used statistical inference, 
as is commonly done in polling, to say something 
about the other 92 percent of ballot sheets that 
they did not examine. However this is not included in the leaked report.

Lacking the force of logic, the U.S. and French 
governments are turning to the logic of force to 
get the result that they want. Journalism 
professor and author 
<http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=WNuO8dkuGYlputOGgByBBgdN6VBjKQ%2F7>Amy 
Wilentz wrote this weekend in the L.A. Times:

According to many sources, including the 
president himself, the international community 
has threatened Preval with immediate exile if he 
does not bow to their interpretation of election results.


These are not empty threats. Preval’s 
predecessor, Aristide, was whisked out of the 
country on a U.S. plane in 2004. And now the U.S. 
Ambassador to Haiti is making it clear, in 
Godfather-mafia-style, that this is offer he can’t refuse:

U.S. ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten said in 
an interview that the U.S. government supports 
the OAS report and its conclusions. ‘The 
international community is entirely unified on 
this point. There is nothing to negotiate in the 
report,’ 
<http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=MrhuDYSkZ0TWjQVDThUljAdN6VBjKQ%2F7>Merten 
said.


The French weighed in on Friday; 
<http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=Fq52qz8mtKUAyxRxHcwv8wdN6VBjKQ%2F7>AFP 
reports:

France warned Haiti's government on Friday to 
respect a report by OAS poll monitors that is 
thought to call for President Rene Preval's 
preferred successor to drop out of the election race . . . .


So far, Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council 
(CEP) hasn’t caved. But the pressure and threats 
are very intense. Some of it appears to come from 
hard-right Republicans, whose influence on 
foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere has 
remained strong under the Obama administration 
and has increased with their takeover of the 
House of Representatives. Right-wing activists 
such as Roger Noriega, who was involved in the 
2004 Haitian coup as President Bush’s Assistant 
Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, 
are among those fighting to control the runoff 
election in Haiti. It is quite possible that the 
hard right was responsible for the leaking of the draft OAS Mission Report.

On Monday OAS Secretary of State Jose Miguel 
Insulza – embarrassed and angered by the leak and 
probably also by Washington and France’s gross 
disregard for Haiti’s sovereignty and democratic 
rights– 
<http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=15lg3XiV1bRIF%2BTVPu%2FHIS9TSysWvOKn>sought 
to downplay the Mission’s Report:

The report, Insulza said, is based on 
"calculations" and not results. "It's not in our 
power to give results," he told The Miami Herald. 
"We are not publishing any kind of results."


Of course the obvious solution would be to re-run 
the election, 
<http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=cGjp%2FWWkDa590NZf3AyZeAdN6VBjKQ%2F7>since 
nearly three-quarters of registered voters didn’t 
vote in the first round, reflecting the fact that 
the country’s largest political party – not 
coincidentally, the party of Aristide -- was 
arbitrarily excluded. But Washington and its 
allies don’t want to take any chances that they 
could end up with a free and fair election in 
Haiti, which hasn’t led to their preferred 
outcome in the very few times that it has been allowed.




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