[News] Haiti November 20th Elections - Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Dec 9 13:41:03 EST 2016


*Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report*

*Haiti November 20^th Elections*

**

*Submitted by: *

Pierre Labossiere, Haiti Action Committee/Oakland California

Margaret Prescod, host of Pacifica Radio’s “Sojourner Truth”

*Lead Up to Election Day*

Friday, November 18^th was the last day of campaigning for Haiti’s 
Presidential and Parliamentary elections which were to be held on 
Sunday, November 20^th . On Friday we visited Delmas 2 where we met with 
activists on the ground including women and men. Preparations were 
underway for the get-out-the vote campaign.  In Delmas 2 there were 
banners and other materials for the Lavalas Presidential candidate Dr. 
Maryse Narcisse.  Several people expressed to us the widespread concern 
that the election maybe stolen, nevertheless the people we spoke to felt 
it was nevertheless important to vote.

Later on Friday, we visited Cite Soleil where a massive march was taking 
place.  The March preceded and followed a motorcade with former Haitian 
President Jean Bertrand Aristide and Dr. Maryse Narcisse.  Tens of 
thousands took part in the march.  The atmosphere was festive with music 
and dancing. The mood in the crowd was determined, although some we 
spoke to also expressed concerns about a stolen election, people 
generally seemed enthusiastic about voting.  A popular song poking fun 
at Jovenal Moise the candidate endorsed by former President Michel 
Martelly entitled “Banann” was often played and all seemed to know the 
words and sang along.

Early that evening there was a massive Lavalas rally at the old airfield 
in Delmas 2.  The crowd grew to tens of thousands. There was a notable 
lack of western media present at that rally.  The mood was joyful and 
enthusiastic, many there said, including some of the speakers, that if 
the election was not fraudulent, Dr. Narcisse would win on the first round.

On Saturday, November 19^th no election campaigning was allowed. We 
visited a few neighborhoods including various parts of  Delmas and spoke 
with people.  In one upscale neighborhood, a young man who spoke English 
said he was not going to vote because “everyone knows the US selects our 
President, no matter who we vote for.”

*Voting Process*

We started out early on election day Sunday, November 20^th .  We 
travelled in a motorcade with a couple of National Electoral Observers.  
We visited between 12-15 voting centers based in several neighborhoods, 
including the upscale Petion-Ville, and the impoverished area of Cite 
Soleil.   The Voting Centers were based in schools or similar 
facilities.  Each Voting Center housed on average   20 to 50+ polling 
stations, individual voting booths made from sturdy cardboard were 
inside the polling stations.

There was a list outside each polling center with the names of people 
who were to vote at that center.  Then within each polling station there 
was another list and one’s name had to be on both lists to vote.  After 
people voted, they were to sign next to their names or be fingerprinted; 
voters' thumbs were then stained with indelible ink to indicate that 
they voted.

On the surface, everything appeared calm since early day concerns of 
physical violence did not materialize, but as the day wore on those who 
were not able to vote were quite agitated. Most of the Voting Centers we 
visited were busy, several with lines outside.

*
*

*Voting Day Problems*

  * A number of people stated that they could not vote because they had
    no voter ID; it was simply impossible for certain people to obtain
    this ID card.

**

*Example*: One man applied over 14 months ago and after 6 or 7 
fruitless, time-consuming trips to the crowded ONI office that provides 
the voter ID cards, he could not vote in the elections.

Many voters with voter ID cards could not find their names on the voter 
lists posted /outside/ voting centers and unable to vote.

*Example*: Several voters determined to vote told us that they stopped 
after searching for their names at three or even four voting centers. A 
few voters with more resources (like a vehicle) and connections said 
that they were successful only after visiting 3 or 4 centers. One 
elderly woman in Carrefour/Kafou who was at her fourth voting center 
stated that she could find no assistance and was too tired to continue 
to try to vote.

  * Voters with ID cards could not find their names on the voter lists
    /inside/ polling stations when their names were on the lists posted
    outside. Also, many voters could not find their names on the list
    outside the voting center.

*Example*: Voters told us of their frustrating search from one polling 
station to another inside several voting centers; they were advised by 
CEP staff to try another voting center.

  * Voters with voter ID cards were inexplicably re-assigned to vote in
    other far away voting centers, miles from their place of residence
    and even in different cities

*Example*: Several voters we met faced this, including a man residing in 
the Carrefour/Kafou neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. He found out after a 
fruitless search at each of the polling stations inside the voting 
center where he had always voted that this time he could not vote there. 
He had been reassigned to vote in the locality of Haut-du-Cap about 147 
miles away.

  * Voters with voter ID cards who had been provided information by the
    CEP/KEP phone service about where to vote were not allowed to vote.

*Example*: Several frustrated voters showed us SMS messages on their 
phone from the CEP/KEP (Provisional Electoral Council) directing them to 
their respective voting center. When they got there, their names could 
not be found on the voting center lists.

  * In many cases, the CEP/KEP phone service to assist voters in
    locating their assigned voting centers and polling stations was not
    functioning on election day.

*Example*: We talked to voters who tried with no success to connect with 
the numbers of the CEP/KEP phone service, and ended up not voting 
because they did not know where to vote.

  * Voters inside a voting center were prevented from voting while
    standing in line.

*Example*: Voters in Cite Soleil/Site Soley who had entered the Voting 
Center before the 4pm voting deadline and were looking for their polling 
station or waiting in line outside their polling station were not 
allowed to vote. Officials stated that they could not vote since they we 
not inside the individualized voting booths by 4:00 p.m. Their protests 
were in vain, indeed they were met by police with large long guns.

  * The countrywide electrical blackout that occurred one hour or so
    after the polls closed during the vote counting has led to
    widespread charges of "magouy" or massive fraud, including
    vote-switching and ballot dumping during that time.

  * The Haitian elite media illegally reported results of voting at
    selected polling stations about two hours after the polls closed
    claiming a huge win for Jovenel Moise, the candidate of the PHTK
    party of former Duvalierist president Martelly.

  * We heard numerous reports that Digicel phone company was observed
    outside of voting centers illegally giving out to voters’ phone
    cards of a monetary value with the emblem and photo of Jovenel Moise
    candidate of PHTK. People were also reporting that Digicel was
    sending phone messages to its customers urging a vote for the PHTK
    candidate.

  * Voting centers in rural areas, per several reports we heard from
    rural voters, are located about 20 km or more from many voters’
    place of residence. In addition to the great distances to travel
    with none to very limited transportation, rural voters encountered
    all the other problems described above.

  * A large market in Petion-Ville that benefited impoverished market
    women and their customers was burned to the ground on election
    night.  The market women lost everything.  A member of our
    delegation visited the market and met with the women.  The women
    said the fire was “political”.

*Reports of Fraud*

**

  * There are reports (and photos) of uncounted, discarded and burnt
    ballots marked for the other candidates found in different areas of
    Haiti
  * Reports of ballot stuffing
  * Long unexplained delays for the transfer of official tally sheets of
    individual ballots from the polling stations to the central
    tabulation center
  * A large number of tally sheets were missing required authentication,
    including voter signatures or fingerprints.
  * The countrywide electrical power outage that occurred one hour after
    the polls had closed, as votes were being counted; the nearly 2-hour
    darkness raised much alarm among a knowledgeable and vigilant public
    fearing that like the 2015 elections, that a vote switching
    operation was under way.

**

**

*Conclusions*

Observations of voting activities on the day of the election, lead to 
the conclusion that there was widespread organized voter suppression 
which impacted the reported election results. Eligible voters were kept 
from voting using methods described above, this negatively impacted the 
number of voters declared to have cast their ballots.

One of the major complaints targeted ONI (Office National 
d'Identification), the only agency designated to issue required voter ID 
cards, as an estimated 2 million voters were deprived of these cards. 
Voters who had ID cards were often unable to vote because they could not 
find their assigned voting centers.

The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP or KEP) provided no organized 
assistance at most of the voting centers. The CEP/KEP phone assistance 
lines were not working. The many members of the electorate unable to 
vote complained that these actions had been orchestrated by the CEP/KEP 
to deny them their right to vote.

Despite voter suppression, large numbers of Fanmi Lavalas supporters did 
manage to go to the polls. In Cite Soleil/Site Soley alone (17% of the 
national electorate), enough Lavalas supporters voted for the election 
to have had a different result than the preliminary result put forward 
by the CEP.

Thousands of Haitians have been taking to the streets in daily massive 
protests since 11/21/16, the day after the elections. They are accusing 
the CEP/KEP of having organized an electoral coup d’état in favor of 
Jovenel Moise, the PHTK party candidate chosen by Duvalierist former 
president Martelly to be his successor.

Dr. Maryse Narcisse, Moise Jean-Charles and Jude Celestin have all 
refused to accept the results and have officially contested the results.

Three members of the nine-member CEP refused to sign off on the 
preliminary results.

Protests by the grassroots are growing each day as more of these details 
have surfaced. These protests are expected to continue in the face of 
the CEP's giving Jovenel Moise a first-round win at 55%.

Brutal police repression against peaceful demonstrators has included the 
use of tear gas, high-pressure liquid irritant, beatings, shootings and 
arbitrary arrests. The 1:00 a.m. tear gas attack on 11/29/16 by UN 
trained and supervised Haitian police against impoverished residents of 
the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Lasalin resulted in the death of 3 
babies with several people hospitalized.

Sent by Haiti Action Committee
_________________________________________________

EYEWITNESS REPORT - NOVEMBER 20TH HAITI ELECTIONS by Pierre Labossiere


http://www.haitisolidarity.net/article.php?id=672

I was in Haiti during the presidential and parliamentary elections of 
November 20th and visited over 12 voting centers in several areas of 
Port-au-Prince. A voting center is a school or similar facility that 
houses from 20 to 50+ polling stations. On the surface everything 
appeared calm since early day concerns of physical violence did not 
materialize.

My observations of voting activities on the day of the election, listed 
below, lead me to conclude that there was organized voter suppression. 
Eligible voters were kept from voting in many different ways. The 
accumulation of different planned tactics negatively impacted the number 
of voters declared to have cast their ballots. The voter suppression was 
particularly targeted at the communities who have been at the forefront 
of popular struggle and have been the backbone of Fanmi Lavalas, the 
people’s party in Haiti.

One of the major complaints targeted ONI, the only agency designated to 
issue required voter ID cards, as an estimated 2 million voters were 
deprived of these cards. Voters who had ID cards were often unable to 
vote because they could not find their assigned voting centers. The 
Provisional Electoral Council (CEP or KEP) provided no organized 
assistance at most of the voting centers. The CEP/KEP phone assistance 
lines were not working. The many members of the electorate unable to 
vote complained that these actions had been orchestrated by the CEP/KEP 
to deny them their right to vote.

In spite of these voter suppression strategies, large numbers of Fanmi 
Lavalas supporters did manage to go to the polls. In Cite Soleil/Site 
Soley alone (17% of the national electorate), enough Lavalas supporters 
voted to compel the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP/KEP) – which was 
determined to deny a victory to Lavalas – to resort to wholesale fraud 
rather than count the votes fairly.

There have been reports of uncounted, discarded and burnt ballots marked 
for the other candidates found in different areas of Haiti; claims of 
ballot stuffing, and long unexplained delays for the transfer of 
official tally sheets of individual ballots from the polling stations to 
the central tabulation center. Many of these tally sheets are missing 
required authentication, including voter signatures or fingerprints, 
clearly indicative of fraud. A suspicious countrywide electrical power 
outage occurred one hour after the polls had closed, as votes were being 
counted; the nearly 2-hour darkness raised much alarm among a 
knowledgeable and vigilant public fearing that similar to the 2015 
elections, a vote switching operation was under way.

Thousands of Haitians have been taking to the streets in daily massive 
protests since 11/21/16, the day after the elections. They are accusing 
the CEP/KEP of having organized an electoral coup d'etat in favor of 
Jovenel Moise, the PHTK party candidate chosen by Duvalierist former 
president Martelly to be his successor.

Protests by the grassroots are growing each day as more of these details 
have surfaced. These protests are expected to continue growing in the 
face of the CEP's choice to violate its own electoral law by giving 
Jovenel Moise a first-round win at 55%.

Brutal police repression against peaceful demonstrators has included the 
use of tear gas, high-pressure liquid irritant, beatings, shootings and 
arbitrary arrests. The 1:00 a.m. tear gas attack on 11/29/16 by UN 
trained and supervised Haitian police against impoverished residents of 
the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Lasalin resulted in the death of 3 
babies with a number of people hospitalized.

Dr. Maryse Narcisse, the presidential candidate of Fanmi Lavalas, is one 
of at least three candidates officially contesting the election results. 
I urge you to stand with the people in Haiti as they refuse to accept 
this stolen election and fight for their sovereignty and their right to 
vote.



-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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