<html>
  <head>

    <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">
  </head>
  <body bgcolor="#FFFFFF" text="#000000">
    <div class="moz-forward-container">
      <div dir="ltr">
        <div class="gmail_quote"><font face="Cambria" color="#000000"
            size="3">This report by Haiti Action Committee member
            Marilyn Langlois was published May 9th on Transcend Media
            Service <a moz-do-not-send="true"
href="https://www.transcend.org/tms/2016/05/haitis-election-verification-commission-a-step-in-the-right-direction/"
              target="_blank">https://www.transcend.org/tms/2016/05/haitis-election-verification-commission-a-step-in-the-right-direction/</a></font>
          <div dir="ltr">
            <div style="margin:0in 0in 0pt;text-align:center"
              align="center"><br>
            </div>
            <div style="margin:0in 0in 0pt;text-align:center"
              align="center"><b><font face="Cambria" color="#000000"
                  size="3">Haiti’s Election Verification Commission: a
                  step in the right direction</font></b></div>
            <font face="Times New Roman" color="#000000" size="3">
            </font>
            <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt;text-align:center"
              align="center"><b><font face="Cambria" color="#000000"
                  size="3"> </font></b></p>
            <font face="Times New Roman" color="#000000" size="3">
            </font>
            <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"><font face="Cambria"
                color="#000000" size="3">On a visit to Haiti in late
                April with Task Force on the
                Americas, a California-based organization in solidarity
                with the social justice
                movements of Latin America and the Caribbean, we
                witnessed another example of
                Haitians resisting US attempts to facilitate continued
                looting of the country’s
                resources and sabotage its democracy.</font></p>
            <font face="Times New Roman" color="#000000" size="3">
            </font>
            <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"><font face="Cambria"
                color="#000000" size="3"> </font></p>
            <font face="Times New Roman" color="#000000" size="3">
            </font>
            <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"><font face="Cambria"><font
                  size="3"><font color="#000000">Democracy has been
                    sorely missing in the island nation ever
                    since the 2004 coup d’etat backed by the US, France
                    and Canada, which ushered
                    in a 2-year reign of terror, followed by the unjust
                    exclusion of Haiti’s
                    largest and most popular political party, Fanmi
                    Lavalas, from participating in
                    any elections until August and October, 2015.<span>  
                    </span></font></font><font color="#000000" size="3">The
                  most recent president, Michel Martelly, had been
                  pushed fraudulently
                  to the forefront of sham elections in 2011 by then-US
                  Secretary of State Hilary
                  Clinton.</font><span><font color="#000000" size="3"> 
                  </font></span><font color="#000000" size="3">Haitians
                  we met with did not
                  appreciate this interference, as he stole public
                  funds, privatized valuable
                  natural resources, and instituted a paramilitary
                  security force reminiscent of
                  the notorious Duvalier era.</font></font></p>
            <font face="Times New Roman" color="#000000" size="3">
            </font>
            <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"><font face="Cambria"
                color="#000000" size="3"> </font></p>
            <font face="Times New Roman" color="#000000" size="3">
            </font>
            <div style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"><font face="Cambria"><font
                  size="3"><font color="#000000">The October 25, 2015
                    first-round presidential election was
                    riddled with massive irregularities, voter
                    intimidation, ballot-box stuffing
                    and tampering with tally sheets, as has been widely
                    reported and documented.<span>  </span></font></font><font
                  color="#000000" size="3">People we met with from
                  different sectors,
                  including two of the presidential candidates, affirmed
                  the nature and extent of
                  the electoral fraud. </font><span><font
                    color="#000000" size="3"> </font></span><font
                  color="#000000" size="3">Yet the US has pushed
                  for a quick run-off between the ostensible top two
                  vote-getters, which Haitians
                  have successfully resisted with persistent, large
                  scale street demonstrations.</font></font></div>
            <div style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"><br>
            </div>
            <div style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"><font face="Cambria"
                color="#000000" size="3"><font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt">Physical structures can
                  symbolize power or lack
                  thereof.<span>  </span>The Haitian National Palace,
                  seat of government and source of national pride for
                  200 years, was severely
                  damaged in the 2010 earthquake and has since been
                  leveled.<span>  </span>All we could see was a tall
                  fence surrounding
                  the now-empty site.<span>  </span>On the other hand,
                  shortly
                  after the 2004 coup, the US Embassy was relocated from
                  a modest downtown
                  Port-au-Prince building to a newly constructed
                  gigantic, fortress-like compound
                  outside of town, surrounded on all sides by United
                  Nations “MINUSTAH” military
                  bases.</p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"> </p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt">Our group, consisting of
                  seven US citizens and one Canadian,
                  met with Michael Gayle, Deputy Political Counselor in
                  the US Embassy, to
                  discuss the electoral crisis.<span>   </span>As we
                  underwent
                  rigorous security protocols upon entering the
                  compound—passport check, metal
                  detectors, handbag search, no cameras or cell phones
                  allowed, no wandering
                  around on your own, no going to the restroom
                  unaccompanied—I kept wondering,
                  what is it they’re afraid of?<span>  </span></p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"> </p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt">Our conversation with Mr.
                  Gayle, while cordial and friendly
                  on the surface, revealed the condescending and
                  colonialist nature of the US government’s
                  attitude towards Haiti.<span>  </span>His claim that
                  Haitians have a poor history of participation in
                  elections was refuted by one
                  of our delegation members who had observed the 1995
                  and 2000 presidential
                  elections in Haiti, both of which had gone smoothly
                  with strong voter turnout
                  and no major problems reported.<span>  </span>He
                  further suggested that “both sides” were to blame for
                  cancellation of local and
                  parliamentary elections between 2011 and 2015, and
                  that there was cheating on “both
                  sides” during the 2015 elections, when in fact
                  outgoing president Martelly and
                  his party were clearly responsible in both cases, with
                  help from well-paid
                  foreign political operatives.<span>  </span></p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"> </p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt">Mr. Gayle stressed the
                  urgency of having a stable elected
                  government in order to reassure outside investors (no
                  mention of reassuring the
                  citizens that their votes were counted!).<span> 
                  </span>When asked why the US isn’t more concerned with
                  the integrity of the
                  elections than a delay in seating the government, he
                  paused and then denied electoral
                  fraud was widespread or affected the ultimate outcome.<span> 
                  </span>His concluding remark, “When capabilities are
                  so low and challenges are so great, where do you draw
                  the line about how
                  flawless the process has to be?” was indicative of the
                  self-serving US policy
                  of dismissing Haitian people’s intelligence, skills
                  and aspirations. </p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"> </p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt">After the US Embassy
                  visit, our next appointment with one of
                  the 2015 presidential candidates offered a refreshing
                  contrast.<span>   </span>At the office of Dr. Maryse
                  Narcisse of the
                  Fanmi Lavalas party, we were warmly welcomed in an
                  open air and relaxed
                  atmosphere, where supporters from various communities
                  were engaged in lively discussions.<span>  </span>Dr.
                  Narcisse told us how all of the
                  candidates and parties except a few associated with
                  Martelly had come to
                  consensus on heeding the people’s demands and
                  proposing a framework for a verification
                  commission to do an in-depth and transparent
                  evaluation of the 2015
                  elections.<span>  </span>She said her party is not
                  afraid of the results because people were fed up with
                  the 2010-11 elections and
                  insist on free and fair elections this time. She
                  pointed out that while the
                  current Provisional President has little power, he can
                  appoint the verification
                  commission and take steps quickly to assure a fairly
                  and justly elected
                  government is in place, which could then tackle the
                  broader social and economic
                  issues the country faces.</p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"> </p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt">As a US-based delegation,
                  our message to Mr. Gayle of the US
                  Embassy in person and to the US State Department in a
                  press conference we held
                  in Port-au-Prince was to stop pressuring Haitians to
                  accept a seriously flawed
                  electoral process and respect Haiti’s sovereignty in
                  rectifying the situation.</p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"> </p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt">The day after we left
                  Haiti, on April 28, we were pleased to
                  learn that Provisional President Privert did in fact
                  convene the election
                  verification commission as proposed by the group of
                  parties and candidates,
                  giving it 30 days to complete its investigation.<span> 
                  </span>Haitians will be watchdogging the process
                  intently.</p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"> </p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt">--Marilyn Langlois</p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt">Haiti Action Committee, <a
                    moz-do-not-send="true"
                    href="http://www.haitisolidarity.net/"
                    target="_blank"><font color="#0000ff"><a class="moz-txt-link-abbreviated" href="http://www.haitisolidarity.net">www.haitisolidarity.net</a></font></a></p>
                <font face="Times New Roman">
                </font>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt">6 May 2016</p>
                <p style="margin:0in 0in 0pt"><br>
                </p>
              </font></div>
          </div>
        </div>
        <br>
      </div>
    </div>
    <br>
    <div class="moz-signature">-- <br>
      Freedom Archives
      522 Valencia Street
      San Francisco, CA 94110
      415 863.9977
      <a class="moz-txt-link-abbreviated" href="http://www.freedomarchives.org">www.freedomarchives.org</a>
    </div>
  </body>
</html>