[News] Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”
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!”
by Dave Welsh <http://www.counterpunch.org/author/david-welsh/>
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
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
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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