[News] Haiti - The Emperor Has No Votes

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue May 31 16:08:29 EDT 2011

From: haiti action <action.haiti at gmail.com>

The Emperor Has No Votes:  The Imposition of 
Martelly, the Reconstitution of the Army, and the 
Restoration of Duvalier in Haiti
by Charlie Hinton

On April 4, the Haitian government announced that 
Michel Martelly won the recent fraudulent 
“elections” imposed on Haiti by the United 
States, France, and Canada, the so-called 
“international community,” and sanctioned by the 
United Nations. He did receive 67 percent of the 
vote, but fewer than 25 percent of the electorate 
went to the polls in a record low turnout.

Early in the process, Haiti’s electoral council 
had refused to allow Haiti’s largest party, Fanmi 
Lavalas, led by widely popular former President 
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to run candidates, 
somewhat akin to not allowing Democrats or 
Republicans to run in this country, only more so, 
since Fanmi Lavalas wins every honest election 
with overwhelming majorities. Most Fanmi Lavalas 
members boycotted these “elections.”

First round voting took place on 11/28/10. Voter 
rolls contained the names of many of the 310,000 
people who had died in the earthquake, and people 
had no idea where to vote. The number of polling 
places was 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. 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 force in Haiti, called them both to 
say they were in the “run-off,” and they withdrew 
their opposition. Then the results were 
announced: Manigat first, Jude Celestin, the 
favorite of current President Preval, second, 
with Martelly, a close third. 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 introduction of cholera into Haiti by U.N. troops.

The “international community” sent an electoral 
commission from the Organization of American 
States to “recount the votes.” A 
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.” Nevertheless, the OAS decided the 
“run-off” should be between Manigat and Martelly, 
in spite of several violations of Haitian law, 
and Hilary Clinton personally went to Haiti to enforce the message.

Significantly, on January 16, former dictator 
Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier returned to Haiti 
from France, made only more relevant by links of 
both candidates to Haiti’s Duvalierist past 
connections, which have been unreported in the international press.

Martelly’s ties to the former dictator can be 
traced to his youth -- he joined the Duvalierist 
death squad, the tonton macoutes, at the age of 
15. He later attended Haiti’s military academy. 
Under Baby Doc, Martelly, a popular musician, ran 
a nightclub patronized by army officers and 
members of Haiti’s tiny ruling class. After Baby 
Doc’s fall in February 1986, a mass democratic 
movement, long repressed by the Duvaliers, burst 
forth and became known as Lavalas, from which 
emerged Aristide, who was elected president in 
1990 by 67% of the vote, in the first free and 
fair election in Haiti’s history.

Martelly quickly became a bitter Lavalas 
opponent, attacking the popular movement in his 
songs played widely on Haitian radio. Martelly 
“was closely identified with sympathizers of the 
1991 military coup that ousted former President 
Jean-Bertrand Aristide,” the Miami Herald 
observed in 1996, and ran with members of the 
vicious FRAPH death squad from that period, 
infamous for gang rapes and killing with 
impunity. On the day of Aristide’s return to 
Haiti, two days before the “run-off,” he was 
caught in a video on YouTube insulting Aristide 
and Lavalas: "The Lavalas are so ugly. They smell 
like s**t. F**k you, Lavalas. F**k you, Jean-Bertrand Aristide."

Martelly’s candidacy had significant backing from 
an anonymous Florida supporter who hired the 
Spanish public relations firm Ostos & Sola to 
manage his campaign. This same company secured 
Felipe Calderón the presidency in Mexico, and 
worked on John McCain’s campaign, 
there are powerful forces behind Michel Martelly.

In his first visit to the United States, he met 
with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 
officials from the IMF, the World Bank, and the 
InterAmerican Development Bank, indications of 
where his allegiances lie. Clinton stated the 
U.S. is behind him “all the way.” Since his 
return Haitian police have violently obliterated 
three camps of internally displaced persons 
living on public land in the Delmas neighborhood 
of Port-au-Prince, destroying belongings and 
violently beating people with batons.

In his visit to Washington, Martelly announced 
his intention to reconstitute the Haitian army, 
disbanded by President Aristide when he left 
office in 1995, one of Aristide’s most popular 
decisions. The Haitian army grew out of the Garde 
d'Haiti, created by the United States Marines, 
after an almost two decade-long U.S. occupation 
that ended in 1934. It was developed from the 
model of the Nicaraguan National Guard, which was 
established the year before to secure the 
dictatorship of Somoza after the Marine occupation of that country.

The Garde d'Haiti operated with impunity, was 
widely hated by most Haitians, and became an 
important mechanism through which the U.S. 
controlled events in Haiti. Since Haiti has no 
external enemies, the purpose of this new army, 
like the old one, will be to repress the popular 
grassroots movement led by President Aristide, 
who was finally able to return to his homeland on 
March 18 to a massive outpouring of love from his 
supporters after 7 years of exile in South 
Africa. (See 
of the Americas: The Haitian Case by Adrianne Aron.)

Haiti now finds itself at a crossroads. On one 
side is the Lavalas movement, which has won every 
honest election in which it has participated. 
Aristide put the needs of poor Haitians ahead of 
the demands of international and national elites, 
though by doing so he created powerful enemies. 
(See Haiti Action Committee’s 
Will Not Forget.)The Haitian majority has tasted 
real freedom and democracy and will not willingly 
return to the bad old days of Duvalier, which 
makes the army restoration all the more ominous.

On the other side is Haiti’s tiny elite, 
supported by the “international community” and a 
12,318 member U.N. occupation force. They rigged 
these “elections” in a desperate effort to 
present an illusion of democracy to the world and 
to insure that transnational corporations will 
not find their power and privileges in any way 
limited in Haiti. They have selected Martelly as 
the new face of this repression, paid for by an 
anonymous millionaire in Florida. Baby Doc lurks 
in the background while he dines in fine homes, 
unable to leave the country, as a court decides 
whether or not to charge him with corruption and 
embezzlement, while ignoring his far more 
significant crimes against humanity.

The choice could not the more clear:

The twice elected Aristide v. the never elected dictator Duvalier

The impoverished majority v. an entrenched elite 
backed by international bankers

A nation born of rebellion against African 
enslavement v. the countries of the former slave masters

An economy for all v. an economy for a few

One person, one vote v. might makes right

Unarmed demonstrators v. tanks and death squads

Haiti needs to be part of the larger global 
conversation about democracy and repression, so 
present in world consciousness with the Arab 
Spring. Like in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, 
Syria, Honduras, Uganda, and other countries, 
Haitians have been shot dead in the streets 
protesting, ever since a military occupation 
overthrew the overwhelmingly popular, twice 
democratically elected President Aristide in 
2004. The obstacles remain challenging, with the 
imposition of Martelly and the restoration of the 
army and Duvalier only the latest ones, but to 
quote Dr. King, “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.”

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