Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Is the United States Undermining Haiti’s Democracy?

Now that the United States has decided to withdraw funding from the redo of Haiti’s presidential elections, Haitians are starting to unite to find a way to fund the elections themselves. Unfortunately, the U.S. withdrawal, as well as the country’s continual denouncing of Haiti’s attempt at a more democratic process, may be detrimental to the credibility of the elections. While many take Haiti funding its own elections as a step towards sovereignty and improving the process, the electoral process is still being blocked by a portion of Parliament and there are also many concerns about what the U.S. will do once the elections have taken place.

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Will a Haiti election without U.S. dollars undermine the vote?

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

July 18, 2016

Supporters of presidential candidate Maryse Narcisse chant slogans against legislators in front of a police barricade at the entrance to the parliament building during a demonstration in support of interim President Jocelerme Privert, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. Haiti's legislators will decide whether to pave way for a new interim leader until elections can be resolved or extend the term for Privert, whose 120-day mandate is due to expire today.

For months, the United States has stressed the importance of Haiti scheduling elections, holding them and quickly inaugurating a democratically-elected government.

But as Haiti now prepares to complete the election cycle that began last year, the Obama administration has said it won’t finance the effort a second time. It won’t underwrite the Oct. 9 vote. It’s demanding the return of unspent elections dollars it granted. And it’s asking two U.S.-based elections organizations to stop supporting the process.

In Haiti, the combination of those moves is adding up widespread concern over one question: Is the U.S. undermining the election?

“We find it bizarre that they don’t want to support the democratic process,” said Léopold Berlanger, president of Haiti’s nine-member Provisional Electoral Council charged with organizing the vote for president, members of parliament and thousands of local seats. “I don’t see how their behavior is rational.”

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