[News] Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Nov 24 10:40:03 EST 2015


November 24, 2015


  Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”
  <http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/11/24/defiant-haiti-we-wont-let-you-steal-these-elections/>

by Dave Welsh <http://www.counterpunch.org/author/david-welsh/>

*http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/11/24/defiant-haiti-we-wont-let-you-steal-these-elections/*

Hooded gangs attacked a large demonstration against election fraud today 
(November 20) in the Haitian capital. A group of about 20 hooded men in 
a white pickup (license plate 1-00692), armed with machetes, pipes, 
hammers and guns, attacked marchers in the Delmas 95 district while 
police turned a blind eye, according to radio reports. One marcher was 
wounded in the head by a machete, AP reported.  In the Delmas 40 
district a young man in the march was shot and killed by a unit 
reportedly affiliated with the national police of outgoing President 
Michel Martelly.

Haitians, determined to thwart what they see as an ongoing “electoral 
coup d’etat,” have been in the streets almost daily in their tens of 
thousands since the Oct. 25^th first round Presidential elections. There 
were huge demonstrations, punctuated by police firing into the crowd, 
wounding several, on Nov. 18, anniversary of Haiti’s defeat of the 
armies of Napoleon at the Battle of Vertieres in 1803, which paved the 
way for independence from France and abolition of plantation slavery on 
the island. On Nov. 1, a big election protest in the Bel Air popular 
district, led by a Rara band, was attacked and two marchers shot dead; 
later that day a third protester was ambushed and killed on the way home.

*Massive and sustained protests*

“Only continuous mobilization throughout the country can win respect for 
the people’s rights and their votes. When one person tires, their 
neighbor must take up the fight,” said Fanmi Lavalas, widely 
acknowledged as the country’s most popular political party, although 
banned until now from running candidates ever since the coup that ousted 
former President Aristide in 2004.

Lavalas presidential candidate Dr. Maryse Narcisse, who is in the 
streets every day getting teargassed with the protesters, has officially 
challenged the results with the National Electoral Litigation Bureau. 
Other major parties have unofficially protested the fraudulent 
elections, in which President Martelly’s  handpicked candidate, a 
political neophyte,  miraculously emerged as the front-runner. A run-off 
election is due to take place in December.

[This recalled for many the 2010 election, when Martelly was illegally 
catapulted into the run-off under pressure from then-Secretary of State 
Hillary Clinton and the Organization of American States. The US and 
United Nations forces have continued their in-your-face interference in 
the 2015 election as well.]

*U.N. charged with major role in election fraud*

Haiti’s political crisis took a dramatic turn with the mid-November 
revelations  of Antoine Rodon Bien-Aime and two other candidates for 
Parliament from President Martelly’s own PHTK party. It has been 
reported that some 10,000 Haitian police and 2,500 MINUSTAH (UN military 
mission in Haiti) personnel were deployed during the Oct. 25 voting, and 
that both MINUSTAH and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) were 
involved in transporting ballots to be tallied in Port-au-Prince.

Now Deputy Bien-Aime and his two colleagues are accusing the U.N. 
Mission  in Haiti, headed by Sandra Honore, with direct involvement in 
the Oct. 25 election fraud. Specifically, they charge UNOPS and its 
Electoral Logistics Coordinator Sylvain Cote, a Canadian national, with 
being directly responsible for taking boxes of ballots actually cast by 
the people, and switching them with boxes of pre-filled-out ballots. 
Sylvain Cote scurried out of the country the day after the revelations 
surfaced.

Fifteen well-known Haitian intellectuals were so outraged by the “clear 
involvement of U.N. agencies in the fraud that marred the elections of 
October 25” that they wrote an Open Letter to Sandra Honore on Nov. 16, 
stating:  “…the whole world is discovering, under pressure from the 
street…. the truth of the biggest electoral fraud operation…for the last 
30 years in Haiti.”

But the main force  is coming from the street. Many are comparing 
today’s non-stop mass demonstrations to the uprisings that led to the 
1986 collapse of the dictatorship of “Baby Doc” Duvalier. The people are 
turning the defense of their vote into a focus of mass struggle against 
the hated neo-Duvalierists in the Haitian government and their US, 
French and Canadian backers.

On November 9^th there was another General Strike by transportation 
workers, forcing the government to rescind draconian price and fee hikes 
and effectively shutting down most of the country. Haiti is defiant and 
its people determined.

/*Dave Welsh*, a delegate to the San Francisco Labor Council, was a 
member of a Human Rights and Labor Fact Finding Delegation to Haiti in 
October, that reported on systematic voter suppression, violence and 
intimidation in the election process./

-- 
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