The lasting impact the international community’s involvement in Haiti’s elections has proved to be harmful. Still, the lessons have not been learned as we approach the new run-off date of January 17.
The Past is Prologue with Haiti’s Elections
Jake Johnson, TeleSur
December 31, 2015
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.
As Haitians prepared to go to the polls in 2010, 45 members of the U.S. Congress wrote to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, warning that supporting such a flawed process “will come back to haunt the international community.” Five years later, as Haiti finds itself embroiled in another electoral crisis, the lasting impact of the 2010 election is clear for all to see. Unfortunately, these powerful actors, who have interfered in Haiti’s politics throughout its brief democratic history, do not seem to have learned their lesson.
Haiti was not ready for an election in 2010. The elections took place less than a year after a devastating earthquake had killed hundreds of thousands and displaced more than a million – and just a month after a virulent cholera outbreak, introduced by U.N. soldiers, began its spread throughout the country. Furthermore, 14 legitimate political parties, including the popular Fanmi Lavalas party, were barred from participating in the elections without any real justification. But with billions in aid dollars on the table, the international community wanted new leadership in Haiti. Their investment could not be jeopardized.
The election was, as predicted, fatally flawed from the beginning, but rather than heeding to the warning from the U.S. Congress and from a myriad of actors in Haiti, the international community blindly marched forward. A U.S.-financed experts mission from the Organization of American States was sent to Haiti to evaluate the results. Without conducting a recount or using statistical analysis, it recommended changing the results of the election. Jude Célestin, then President René Préval’s handpicked successor was out, and a musician, more famous for parading on stage in a diaper than for his political positions, would advance to the runoff.
Click HERE for the original article.