It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light

Mwen se echantiyon yon ras kap boujonnen men ki poko donnen

Si vous voulez vous faire des ennemis essayer de changer les choses

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekly Haiti Electoral Update #5 by Stanley Lucas

Earthquake victims surprised by tropical storm…5 dead 57 injured

The week of September 20 has been horrible for the 1.7 million victims of the earthquake that are still living under tarps in the 1,370 makeshift tent camps. Rain and wind deluged Haiti this week causing chaos and panic for people across the island (see:  ). Earth reports indicate that five people died and 57 were injured while hundreds have lost their “tents” (see: ).  


Framework of international aid to Haiti continues to be a challenge

There is no shortage of aid money for the Haitian earthquake victims, but there is a shortage of results and impact.  Americans donated about $1.2 billion (see: ) and the United States government allocated $2.9 billion (see:  ) for a total of $4 billion from the US alone.  Additionally, billionaire philanthropists donated an undisclosed amount of money for Haiti to the Clinton Foundation.  


Internationally, the World Bank pledged $500 million (see:,,contentMDK:22664745~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html and  ).  The Inter American Development Bank provided $2.2 billion to Haiti (see:,1001.html ). 


The question asked by all Haitians is: where is all this money going since the Haitian people are only getting only seeing table scraps right now?  The first analysis shows that the money donated or borrowed in Haiti’s name is contributing to strengthen the capacity of NGOs, foreign foundations and international contractors.  The way these funds have being spent in Haiti is ad hoc and short term at best.  Foreign actors are not developing programs that contribute to Haiti’s institutional capacity and the transfer of human capacity and knowledge.  Haitian government institutions are getting less than one cent on each dollar donated, and the Haitian private sector, civil society and the Diaspora have been almost totally excluded from receiving a piece of the donations.  International foundations, NGOs and contractors are doing their “own thing” without any coordination or view to the long term rebuilding of the country.  This is shaping up to be a boon for foreign actors and yet another bust for Haitians.  This is not what President Obama promised Haiti when he said that he wanted to create a partnership between the United States and Haiti.


CEP continues mismanagement and execution of electoral coup

After lobbying Washington, the CEP President Gaillot Dorsainvil went to Venezuela to observe and learn how to manage the November 28 elections in Haiti.  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is a key ally of President Preval and has instituted a dictatorship in Venezuela controlling the media and the billions of dollars in oil revenue.  


Meanwhile several issues continue to raise concerns among the political parties and various sectors of civil society.  There is a strong belief throughout Haiti that the CEP is purposely creating disorder and chaos to facilitate the finalization of what everyone is calling an electoral coup (see:  ).  Despite the assurances provided by the number one CEP supporter, UN Haiti Chief, Edmond  Mulet, all Haitians are in agreement that this is not going to be an election.  Rather, this election will be hijacked in order to keep in place Preval and his cronies.  New developments this week include:


First, the CEP is trying to staff the polling stations.  They want to hire 30,000 people for this operation. The procedures for hiring these people are not clear (see: ).  Many questions remain unanswered: Will the partisan BEDs and BECs that are playing a key role in this process favor Preval’s party in the hiring?  Will they have time to train these people about the contents of the electoral law and how to manage a polling station?


Second, access to electoral cards required by the electoral law continues to be a challenge.  Citizens that lost their cards in January 12 and the new voters are having difficulties retrieving their cards.  For example, in the South East Department, 235,702 have not been able to retrieve their cards despite showing up with the proper identification.  The National Office of Identification (ONI) in that region can only provide 50-60 cards per day.  On this issue there is a big gap between what the CEP and the OAS are saying and reality (see: ).


Third, the CEP is working on the ballots.  However, 34 % of the candidates for president and congress have been linked to drug trafficking, corruption and kidnapping by human rights groups If they are already working on the ballot, it seems they have already dismissed this allegation without investigation or response to serious critics. (see: ).


US and Canada release partial funds for elections

This week, the United States provided $5 million and Canada provided $5 million Canadian for Haiti’s elections (see:  ). Haitians are disappointed that Senator Richard Lugar’s call for reform of the partisan CEP has been ignored.


Preval and Chavez strike a deal to raid the fuel to support INITE candidates

The Haitian government and President Chavez reached an agreement that $103 million will be used to the elections from the joint Venezuela-Petrocaribe fund that provides Haiti with low cost fuel.  Of those funds, $7 million will go to the management and organization of the elections, and the remaining $96 million will go to Preval’s INITE candidates (see:  ).  Therefore, the INITE candidates will be well funded by state funds, drug cartels and the corrupt Groupe de Bourdon business cartel.  As an aside, 78% of the drugs trafficked through Haiti come from Venezuela. 


Political parties make bold moves

This week the Louvri Barye (Open the Door) party abandoned the INITE coalition.  Originally the beneficiary of Preval’s electoral coup was former Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis fired in 2008 for corruption and incompetence.  The division that emerged within INITE has provoked a realignment of allegiances.  There is infighting among seven candidates:  Jude Celestin, Preval’s hand picked successor; Jacques Edouard Alexis, recently pushed aside at the last minute by Preval; Leslie Voltaire, former Minister of Haitian Living Abroad; Yvon Neptune, Aristide’s former prime minister; Yves Christallin, former Minister of Social Affairs; Jean Henry Ceant a prominent lawyer and public notary that met recently with Jean Claude Duvalier and Jean Bertrand Aristide; and, Gerard Blot, an independent candidate from the December 16 platform.  Preval replaced the Minister of Social Affairs, Christallin, with Gerard Germain, a man close to his hand picked successor Celestin and did the same with the Presidential Representatives around the country.  


These moves have weakened Alexis who seems to have now sought support from the pro-Cuban National Popular Party (PPN).  By embracing Cuba, Alexis has signaled a move toward the extreme anti-American left that worries many Haitians. This organization has always promoted ways to seek power outside the Haitian constitution (see: ).


Two other coalitions have changed their tactics to combat Preval’s electoral coup. COREH, a coalition of former parliamentarians, has decided to join the electoral process to fight the coup from within.  The Platform of Haitian Patriots (PLAH) coalition has decided to do the same.


MINUSTAH tries to cover up a murder in their camp; judge issues subpoenas

After a young Haitian, Gerald Gilles, 16 was “executed” in the MINUSTAH camp in the North Department, there was a widespread perception was that MINUSTAH personnel covered it up by trying to make it look like a suicide.  Since then, the relationship between the Mission and that Department is deteriorating fast with the rest of country watching the situation and becoming more concerned with the role of the UN in Haiti.  Last week, we noted that Mulet requested that the Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs grant the Mission immunity from investigation of this crime.  His letter was released this week (see my updated report from last week with the letter attached: ).  Despite the silence of the government, the judge in charge of presiding over the case has subpoenaed the parties involved (see: ).


Government under fire

This week the Minister of Youth and Sports Evans Lescouflair has been accused of raping a 16 year old boy, raping 30 year old Williot Dort at gunpoint and molesting that man’s 17 year old nephew.  This news shocked and outraged the nation this week when one of the victims recounted the crime on a Haitian radio station (see:  ).  According to three Haitian senators, Evaliere Beauplan, Youri Latortue and Edmonde Beauzile, the Attorney General acted on formal complaints filed by the victims by requesting the President Preval allow the cases to proceed against the minister, who otherwise would have immunity due to his government status.  Lescouflair is one of Preval’s closest allies so he has ignored the Attorney General’s formal requests dated August 6.  The Minister says this is part of his political opponents plot to unseat him and has refused to speak with Haitian press (see: ).  Meanwhile the Commissaire du Gouvernement has gathered medical evidence and testimonies on the issue.  Since the radio testimony of one of the victims, other victims have now come forward over the radio to state that they were also brutally and sexually abused by this minister.


This situation unfolded while Preval was in New York at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York this week.  Preval again earned low marks amongst Haitians for a speech they thought was a missed opportunity to address their continued suffering.


Simmering tensions lead to murder of a policeman and burning police headquarters

In the South East, a police officer was accused of abusing his power when he shot a young Haitian three times.  The young Haitian died and people throughout the region revolted killing the officer, Guilloteau Hubert, and burning down the police headquarters (see: ).  This situation is emblematic of the fragile and perilous situation simmering throughout the country.  The smallest perceived impropriety by the government can provoke such a strong reaction.  People are fed up with government corruption and trust is very low.  Unless the government moves to institute some accountability and demonstrate that they are addressing the needs of the people, these types of small incidents can end up galvanizing the public into organizing their own coup.


Also this week, the murder of the popular young Haitian businessman Gary Sajous has raised questions about the further deterioration of the security environment in Haiti.  There seems to be an emerging armed civilian contingent loyal to INITE.


Four candidates show up for the first President debate

On Saturday, September 18, 2010, the Haiti Aid Watchdog (HAW) held Haiti’s first 2010 Presidential Debate.  Of the 19 presidential candidates, four took part in the first event:  Jean Hector Anacacis, Pastor Jean Chavannes Jeune, Gerard Blot, and Wilson Jeudy.  In a post-debate survey, 31% of the attendees believed that Senator Anaccacis had a good understanding of governance issues, while 23% thought Wilson Jeudy and Pastor Louis Jeune somewhat understood these issues.  Only 14% thought Dr. Blot had a good notion of governance, and 4% of the participants believed none of the candidates understood what governance is about. 

 When asked “which candidate has articulated his vision clearly”, 31% said Wilson Jeudy, 30% voted for Pastor Jeune’s, 20% were for Anacasis, and 14% for Dr.Blot (5% did not respond). Most of the questions to the candidates were focused on governance issues.


This week’s polling results

Jean Henry Ceant:                         50%

Michel Martelly:                         16%

Charles Henry Baker:             16%

Mirlande Manigat:                         8%

Jacques Edouard Alexis:             2%


*  Candidates that received 2-4 votes:  Jude Celestin, Leslie Voltaire, Chavannes Jeune, Leon Jeune, Axan Abellard, Eric Charles, Genard Joseph, Garaudy Laguerre, Yvon Neptune, Yves Christallin, Josette Bijou

*  Wilson Jeudy, Jean Hector Anacacis , Gerard Blot received no votes

For more details see:



It is astounding that with Haiti in these circumstances with two months to go before perhaps the most meaningful elections in decades that no one in the international community has expressed any sort of skepticism or concern about the upcoming electoral coup.  Haitians in Haiti and abroad must redouble efforts to ensure that foreign governments providing funding to the elections understand the full scope of the situation on the ground and encourage them to withhold funds until changes are made to address the serious issues.  People are facing a tough hurricane and tropical storm season and things are likely going to get worse before the get better.  Tensions are running high and patience is running thin.


For more information, please, contact:

Stanley Lucas

Washington Democracy Project

(202) 256-6026


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weekly Haiti Electoral Update # 4 by Stanley Lucas

Earthquake victims continue to suffer… and continue to protest

The week of September 13-17 has been hard on the 1.7 million children, women, men and senior citizens victims of the earthquake that are still living in the streets. Rain has been pouring in the 1,370 camps that do not meet international standards for disaster victims. The impatience of the victims is rising. They have organized their third sit-in to protest the government inaction and inefficiency of international assistance as well the abusive expulsions from properties where they have set up camps. In absence of any official assistance or plan for the camps, where are these people supposed to go?

Preval decrees right to seize private property

Haitian human rights organizations have condemned the inhuman treatment of the earthquake victims by government officials and their associates in the business cartel known as Groupe de Bourdon for leveraging this tragic situation to enrich themselves (see: ). Preval has issued a decree (see: ) to allow the state to seize private property in Port-au-Prince commercial district. The goal of the decree is to allow the government and their associates to acquire properties and land for their personal business agenda.  The government office in charge of the issue was not aware of this decree, which violates the constitutional right of private property (see:  ). 


Meanwhile citizens in the Antibonite, considered the bread basket of the country, are facing famine (see: ). These are the conditions in which Preval and his associates are implementing what everybody is calling an electoral coup.


Growing Discontent with the CEP continues; the CEP lobbies Washington

Following a series of illegal decisions discontent against the partisan CEP continues.  Let’s recap the CEP violations:


First, the composition of the CEP does not meet the requirement of Article 289 of the constitution (see last week elections update: ). 


Second, the CEP allowed former government officials linked to corruption and drug trafficking to make the final list of presidential and legislative candidates while not providing legal explanations to legitimate candidates that meet the requirements to run, among them Mayor of Petionville Lydie Parent and Ambassador Raymond Joseph.  Around 34% of the candidates are linked to corruption and drug trafficking while Haiti has appeared again on the list of countries released by the White House and the State Department as being a major drug trafficking problem (see:  ).


Third, major coalitions, including Altenativ, Liberasyon, Fusion, UCADDE, have decided to pull out of the electoral process because of the partisanship of the CEP. The partisan CEP decided that they have no right to do so without providing a legal basis for that decision.


Fourth, the CEP remains under investigation by the ULCC, the government anti-corruption unit.  One of the charges being investigated is for the 14 million gourdes spent by the CEP president for t-shirts.


This week the CEP with the support of the Departmental and Municipal Electoral Bureaus (BED and BEC) announced they will hire thousands of people to run the polling stations.  Due to the partisanship of the BEDs and BECs people worry that supporters of the ruling party INITE would have the control of the majority of the polling stations.


Gaillot Dorsainvil, president of the CEP, was in Washington this week to meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), including Chairman John Conyers, and Cara McDonald at the State Department. Dorainvil provided his “reassurances” that everything was on track with the elections. Observers found it strange that he would reassure the State Department and the CBC and not the Haitian people and various sectors of the Haitian Diaspora that believe he is in the process of rigging the elections for Preval. It appears as if the Preval team is worried about ensuring they receive the $30 million the US has promised to support the elections. If the CBC and the State Department asked the tough questions, it is unclear how he could provide any meaningful reassurances.  Meanwhile, the Haitian Diaspora have redoubled efforts to call their Representatives and Senators to urge the Congress to freeze the funding for the elections until the CEP is reformed.

Where are we supposed to vote?

The MINUSTAH launched a civic education campaign this week to inform people where they should go to register for the elections. MINUSTAH has come under fire over the past few years for spending $2.1 billion in the country with nothing to show for that investment.


Security concerns heighten scrutiny of MINUSTAH

This week Haitians have accused MINUSTAH of being responsible for the increasing insecurity in Haiti. There is a strong belief among Haitians who have seen a pattern of increasing violence in Haiti every time the renewal of the MINUSTAH mandate come up. In the popular mind, MINUSTAH is behind rising levels of violence, which are used to justify its presence. MINUSTAH Chief Edmond Mulet dismissed these claims in a press conference (see:  ).  Other analysts familiar with the country believe that the government is behind the increase of violence because they need the presence and protection of the UN forces so they can continue to focus on organizing their electoral coup. MINUSTAH is viewed as a necessary tool to prop up the government. Following the hanging of a young Haitian Gerald Jean Gilles in the MINUSTAH Nepalese camp in the north, relations between MINUSTAH and the population in that region have deteriorated.

MINUSTAH Chief Mulet heightened tensions when he sent a letter to Haitian authorities requesting that the Haitian judge cease his investigation of the murder (see: letter below and  ).  This situation has created a strong reaction among the population and the popular radio talk shows of the region.


Separately, the Haitian National Police (PNH) successfully captured two prominent gang chiefs responsible for kidnappings around the country.


Political parties hold a strategy summit

Hundreds of delegates from the countryside of four political party coalitions, Rasanble, Altenativ, Liberasyon and UCADDE, participated in a three-day convention to analyze the deteriorating situation in-country and develop solution. At the conclusion of the summit, the parties issued a resolution, which serves as a roadmap against: 1. the corruption that is undermining reconstruction; 2. future actions to stop Preval’s electoral coup; and 3. proposed the application of Article 149 of the constitution at the end of Preval’s constitutional mandate on February 7, 2011 (see: ).

Widening gap between Haitian civil society and UN and the OAS

The OAS responded to last week’s criticism by Haitian civil society with a press release (see:  ) that has angered Haitians and widened the gap between OAS, which is supporting the government’s management of the elections, and the rest of Haitian society that believes the process is being rigged while OAS has done nothing to correct the partisanship of the CEP and call out the irregularities. Haitian civil society has written a letter to the Secretary of the United Nations citing the irregularities, the manipulations and the technical realities that make it impossible to organize elections in November. Further, they advocated the postponement of the elections (see:  ).  Two days later MINUSTAH’s Mulet gave a satisfaction sheet to the government and the CEP.


Meanwhile former French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has visited the country and has showed a great sense of political sensitivity toward Haitians acknowledging the  huge political and technical problems within the electoral process that need to be fixed. He did not take sides in the debate and kept his comments factual.


Exclusion and radicalization of the Diaspora

Since the exclusion of the Diaspora from Haiti’s political process, there is a strong sense of frustration and animosity toward the Haitian government, the CEP and the Groupe de Bourdon. After eight months of attempting to engage in reconstruction, various elements of Haitian Diaspora report that the Haitian Government, MINUSTAH and the Interim Reconstruction Commission have excluded Diaspora organizations and businesses from participating in the reconstruction process. Many Diaspora organizations have reached out to the offices of Senators Kerry and Lugar requesting that funds for the elections should be put on hold until irregularities are addressed. Haitian Diaspora are upset by the fact that after eight months there are still 1.7 million of their family and friends living in dangerous conditions. There are some estimates circulating that about 30,000-35,000 Haitians have died since the earthquake due to a lack of medical and humanitarian assistance.


Tentative Presidential Debates

For the past four weeks the Haitian Diaspora have organized a series of virtual presidential debates to educate Haitians in-country and in the Diaspora on the importance of debates on issues. There were three debates: one on economic issues such as job, investments, privatizations, fiscal policies, and reconstruction as a whole; one on political issues such as corruption, drug trafficking, amending the constitution, security and national sovereignty; and one on social issues such as education, access to health care, inclusion of the Diaspora, and emergency preparedness. These Diaspora virtual debates pushed Haitian civil society to organize a real debate with the candidates. Of the 19 presidential candidates only four responded. Most of the candidates close to the government linked to corruption boycotted the debate. In addition the Groupe de Bourdon used their economic monopolies to pressure radio station not to broadcast the debate and leaned on the government to shut down electricity to prevent the broadcast of the debate to the population. According to insiders, a real debate would interfere with the electoral coup. In addition analyst have learned that Groupe de Bourdon has scheduled their own debate with the candidates under the banner of an “economic forum”. When analysts found that Groupe de Bourdon had already provided the questions in advance to their chosen candidate, they had to back track and announce that the questions would be provided to all candidates. For information on both virtual and live debates see:



The environment in Haiti is uncertain and dangerous. In the near term, more complications will arise with the reopening of the schools. No efforts have been made to address the issues raised by various sectors of Haitian society. Valid questions based in constitutional law have been completely dismissed.  The disconnect between the international community and the valid concerns on the ground is spiraling into a perception that they are in cahoots with the government in the election rigging. And the international community has done nothing yet to dispel these perceptions.  The only thing that is certain is that uncertainty will prevail over the next 45 days.


For more information, please, contact:

Stanley Lucas

Washington Democracy Project

(202) 256-6026


Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly Haiti Electoral Update # 3 by Stanley Lucas

Eight Months – Still under Rubble

Haiti continues to struggle after the January 12 earthquake. Sunday will mark eight months since that tragic day, and, unfortunately, will mark little progress on the reconstruction front.  Only 2% of the rubble has been removed.  Port-au-Prince has an estimated 28 million cubic meters of debris.  Worse, more than 2 million people are living in 1,370 makeshift camps with no estimate of when they might receive more permanent housing.  Most of the aid organizations on the ground – while very good in intention – are inefficient with little coordination among the organizations and almost no accountability for spending the money.  There have also been reports that some programs are being used to meet the political goals of the Preval Administration.  This is in that context that we released last week electoral update, see:      


Growing Discontent with the CEP

This week the CEP representative of the Catholic Church, Enel Desir, resigned leaving eight members of the contested CEP in office.  The constitutionality, legality and partiality of the CEP continue to be challenged.  Of the eight remaining members representing various sectors of society only one has legal status.  Article 289 of the constitution stipulates that, “Awaiting the establishment of the Permanent Electoral Council provided for in this Constitution, the National Council of Government shall set up a Provisional Electoral Council of nine (9) members, charged with drawing up and enforcing the Electoral Law to govern the next elections, who shall be designated as follows:


1.     One selected by the Executive Branch, who is not an official;

2.     One from the Episcopal Conference;

3.     One from the Advisory Council;

4.     One from the Supreme Court;

5.     One from an agency defending human rights, who may not be a candidate in the elections;

6.     One from the Council of the University;

7.     One from the Journalist’s Association;

8.     One from the Protestant religion; and

9.     One from the National Council of Cooperatives.”


Only one of the current members represents one of these sectors.  Preval appointed the others from sectors, such as voodoo and women’s organizations, that are not stipulated in the constitution.


1.     Ginette Chérubin was delegated to the CEP by a woman’s organization, Fanm Yo La, headed by Madame Lassegue the current Minister of Culture. Madame Cherubin is also a former Minister of Women’s Affairs under Preval.  While it is of course important to have women well represented on the CEP, women’s organizations are not one of the nine sectors.


2.     Laurette Croyance is a close ally of Preval and was picked by the Anglican Church, which of course is not one of the nine sectors.


3.     Leonel Raphaël was supposedly picked by the Protestant Federation; however, a network of Protestant members of the Federation has demanded his recall because of the immoral management of the elections by the CEP (see: 


4.     Jacques Belzin was designated by a union, Confédération des Travailleurs Haïtiens (CTH).  Prior to his appointment, Belzin worked as an advisor to Preval traveling with him on all his overseas delegations.  Unions are not one of the nine sectors.


5.     Gaillot Dorsainvil was selected by the Centre d’Education Spéciale (CES), which is a member of MORENO, one of Preval’s political organizations.  Gaillot is a close associate of Preval.  This is not one of the nine sectors.


6.     Anthenor Guerrier represents the voodoo community.  This is not one of the nine sectors. 


7.     Ribel Pierre represents the National Council of Political Parties.  This is not one of the nine sectors.


8.     Jean Theleve Pierre Toussaint is a friend of Preval nominated by the Minister of the Interior, Paul Antoin Bien Aime, on behalf of the Federation of Locally Elected Officials (CASECs), which is affiliated with the Ministry.  This is not one of the sectors and furthermore he represents a quasi-governmental agency.


Meanwhile all the managers of the Departmental Electoral Bureaus (BEDs) and Municipal Bureaus (BECs) that were recruited on the basis of interviews and exams have been fired and replaced by partisan elements of Preval’s INITE Party.


In the court of public opinion, 8% believe that the elections will be free and fair and 92% believe that Preval will conduct an electoral coup.  When asked what should be done to stop the coup, 53% believe civil disobedience should be the course of action while 46% believe that the international community should freeze the funds for elections until the appropriate reforms in the CEP take place.  Protest against the CEP is growing, people went after one member of the Council, Ginette Cherubin the South (see: and the Haitian Protestant Federation Network have asked the Protestant Federation to recall their representative for the “immoral management of the elections” (see: ).


Voter Lists Cannot Be Updated in Time for the Elections

Access to the registration offices to obtain an electoral card remains a huge challenge.  Furthermore, the spokesperson of the National Office of Identification (ONI) stated this week that prior to the elections it would not be possible for the CEP to update the registration list to account for the 300,000 people who lost their lives in the earthquake.  Not cleaning the list will certainly result in massive electoral fraud.  


Electoral Identification Confusion

Adding fuel to the fire are conflicting reports on electoral card issuance coming out of the ONI.  On the one hand, Jean Francois claimed that the institution has distributed 48,000 electoral cards but then later revised the number to 800,000.  Between 2007 and 2010, the institution said it had identified 928,000 new voters.  On top of that, nearly 45% of the registered voters lost their electoral cards in the earthquake.  When asked how they intend to reach out to the 2 million potential voters and displaced persons to ensure that every single voter can reapply for their electoral cards, the office said that the OAS was going to do a civic education campaign and offered no details.


Security Concerns Escalate

Security continues to be an issue with violence up 33%.  A senior member of the United Nations stated they were greatly concerned about the security situation in light of the huge amount of illegal arms circulating around the country.  A senior Brazilian diplomat added that looking at the conditions in-country, elections will not take place in November.


This week, the Haitian police captured a major gang leader, responsible for the kidnapping and killing dozens of Haitian, while he was visiting the Ministry of Finance.  This again raises questions about the link between the government and the gangs (see  Since 2006 Preval’s security advisor, Jean Phillippe Jean Baptiste alias Samba Boukman, has been under fire for being a gang leader and head of Operation Bagdad (see while serving as the head of the Disarmament Commission (CNDDR).  The Commission is supposed to collect arms from the gang leaders to get them off the streets.  In practice, they are collecting arms to distribute them to their own gangs (see  The police are doing their best, but are constantly undermined by criminal elements in the governments.


Criminal elements linked to former President Aristide continue to pose a threat to the elections through their ongoing involvement in kidnapping and drug trafficking.  The CEP has allowed many human rights violators, people involved in corruption and drug trafficking to run for the presidency, Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. These candidates are part of a heavily armed civilian network of the government – and of Aristide – that will use violence and intimidation in the run up to the elections.  Because of their political connections, the police will be very timid toward them.

Political Parties to Hold Political Strategy Meeting

Political parties continue to call for a new independent and non-partisan electoral council to manage the elections. They are organizing a political summit next week to decide a unified course of action.  The majority of them seem to tilt toward a civil disobedience campaign, while some would prefer that international funding for the elections be frozen until the CEP is changed.  So far, the Canadian government has not provided the funds that they promised for the elections yet.  


Preval and Aristide’s coalitions have splintered into many groups.  Many presidential candidates from that old coalition are distancing themselves from both men.  Preval’s corruption and mismanagement of the country since 2006 and especially after January 12 earthquake has plunged his job approval rate into the single digits eroding his political support.  There is renewed outrage with Aristide’s corruption as Haitians are reminded of the fact that Haiti’s General Accounting Offices established that he stole $350 million from the state coffers (see official reports on Aristide’s corruption:




Among the 19 candidates, at least five are from the former Preval-Aristide coalition. They include: Jacques Edouard Alexis, a former prime minister fired for corruption and incompetence by the Haitian Senate in April 2008; Leslie Voltaire, former Minister of Haitians Living Abroad; Preval and Aristide advisor, Yves Christallin, Preval’s Minister of Social Affairs; Yvon Neptune, former Prime Minister under Aristide and close ally of Preval; Jean Henry Ceant, an Aristide lawyer and, Preval’s handpicked successor, Jude Celestin.  Preval had initiated a series of meetings characterized as “briefings” for the presidential candidates.  Most of the candidates have declined the invitation, and the one that did meet with him released a statement denouncing his management of the country and the partisanship of the CEP (see


Civil Society Criticizes the Silence of the UN and the OAS

The major organizations of civil society came out this week against all the irregularities and technical failures of the electoral process and the partisanship of the CEP.  They have also focused their criticism on the poor performance of OAS Secretary General Miguel Insulza for acting in violation of the institution’s Democratic Charter that requires free and fair elections for the transfer of power.  They cannot fathom why the OAS is silent on Preval’s obvious attempts at an electoral coup.  The organizations also went after Colin Granderson, the head of the OAS electoral observation mission, which they perceive as partisan (see  The organization has been criticized for providing technical assistance to the CEP to organize the elections while simultaneously observing and evaluating the process (see




Haitians believe that the OAS is acting as both judge and jury.  The organization has not addressed any of the criticisms and tried to meet privately with the actors who responded that until the OAS starts issuing reports on each step of the process, they are wasting money and will not be taken seriously.


Using International Aid to Campaign

It is becoming increasingly clear that the government is using humanitarian aid to support its candidates. The “cash for work” program has been under fire this week because Rene Momplaisir, a gang leader advising Preval, has been distributing favors with aid money in the first, second, third districts in Port-au-Prince as well in Croix des Bouquets, Leogane, Grand Goave and La Gonave.  Several NGOs and aid organizations close to the government have been implicated.


Exclusion of the Diaspora

All presidential candidates from the Diaspora community have been excluded from the process, and it seems that the four million Haitians living in 20 countries will not have representation and will not be able to vote.  That has created a growing anger within the Diaspora community particularly in the United States, who are calling their Members of Congress requesting that the United States freeze the funds they agreed to provide for the elections until the necessary reforms to ensure that the elections are managed fairly are taken.



After eight months living in camps among rubble in primitive conditions, tempers are wearing thin.  Everyone knows aid money poured into to support the Haitian people and no one is seeing the affect of that money.  They are aware of the election rigging underway and are fed up.  This is becoming a highly volatile situation with a strong prospect of erupting into a violent and chaotic political mess.  Meanwhile, the international community is sitting on the sidelines.  It is time for them to back up the Haitian people and insist on a free and fair electoral process – particularly since they are footing the bill. 


For more information, please, contact:

Stanley Lucas, Washington Democracy Project, (202) 256-6026 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Weekly Haiti Electoral Update # 2 by Stanley Lucas


The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12 resulted in devastating losses to the Haitian people, but it also destroyed the weak electoral infrastructure of the country.  The headquarters of Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) was destroyed along with 66% of the polling stations.  Approximately two million voters (out of 4.6 million) lost their electoral cards, national identity cards and birth certificate.


Even before the earthquake, Haitian political parties, civil society, voters, and the Diaspora perceived the CEP as partisan.  There is overwhelming evidence that the current CEP manipulated the results of the senatorial elections in favor of President Rene Preval ruling party in 2009.  The turnout was a mere 2.6% because voters knew Preval was manipulating results.  The former Vice President of the CEP, Rodol Pierre confirmed the manipulation and resigned in protest. The partisanship of the CEP resulted into political violence in 2009.


Despite protests by the parties and civil society, Preval has maintained the current partisan composition of the CEP.


The United States provides 85% of the funding for Haiti’s elections.  Despite calls from Senator Richard Lugar to revamp the CEP, Preval has steadfastly resisted any changes to the CEP – or the local BEDs and BECs – and has proceeded to put in place the structure to implement an electoral coup.  Senator Lugar based his recommendations on an electoral evaluation made by IFES and his staff’s assessment mission to Haiti.


Preval has already a poor record on democracy and elections in Haiti see: .  Because of Preval, four past elections have been rigged.  Haitians overwhelmingly do not believe that elections will take place in November.  Citizens are bracing for a confrontation with Preval and his partisan CEP.


Preval is worried about a potential uprising of the population against his electoral coup, his Administration’s gross mismanagement of the country and rampant corruption.  This week, he dispatched his wife to Washington to lobby the Administration and Congress and reassure them that proper and democratic conditions exist for an election.  In effect, this was merely another move to secure his coup and ensure that he ascends to “Putinesque” stature in Haiti. He is also counting on MINUSTAH military force for the implementation of the electoral coup.

Illegal Composition of the CEP

We learned this week that of the nine sectors to be represented on the CEP, only three have representation.  This is a clear violation of Article 289 of the Constitution, which sets out the nine sectors.  Notably, this formulation was created by President Preval who now refuses to adhere to this guideline and steadfastly supports the partisan CEP.


Further, members of the CEP are under official investigation by the corruption unit of country (ULCC).  Enel Desir, a member of the CEP, has already resigned and issued a seven-page report chronicling several specific acts of corruption by the CEP members see:  The president of the CEP, Gaillot Dorsainvil, has been accused of diverting 14 million gourdes (US$350,000), and is also under investigation.

92% Believe Preval is Organizing a Coup

A new poll shows that only 8% of Haitians believe that the current CEP will organize free and fair elections while 92% believe that they are organizing an electoral coup for Preval.  

Voter Registration Chaos

Almost 45% of Haitian voters lost their electoral cards in the earthquake.  Article 31 of the Voter Law makes voter registration cards mandatory.  The CEP has yet to provide information to these voters – and to new voters – on how and where to obtain their new cards.  An IFES report noted that there was no physical way the CEP had the capacity to reissue this number of cards.  The National Office of Identification (ONI), run by the OAS, received this week materials to print 150,000 electoral cards.  Currently, ONI has 141 registration offices around the country, which is insufficient (by contrast, Haiti had 800 offices for the 1995 elections).  Furthermore, there have been no civic education efforts to publicize where the offices are so no one even knows where to go.  


The CEP has also not addressed the death of 220,000 voters.  Electoral lists have not been updated with the loss of these voters opening the door to massive voter fraud.

CEP Approves Corrupt Officials and Human Rights Violators

The CEP disqualified 15 candidates and allowed 19 to run for President.  The decision seems to be politically motivated as no legal basis was provided for the disqualifications of many of the candidates. Of the 19 allowed to run, 14 are affiliated with the ruling party and nine have been linked to corruption.  The constitution and Haiti’s laws prohibit such individuals from running.  


The following is the list of Presidential and Legislative candidates:


For copies of the official reports finding several candidates guilty on corruption charges, see: and


The following is a human rights report detailing several candidates’ abuses:


Essentially, corruptors, drug dealers, and human rights violators are running for office in Haiti, supported by U.S. taxpayer’s money.

Political Parties Boycott

The Organization of the People in Struggle (OPL), Rasanble, Fusion, Altenativ, MDN and other major political parties announced a boycott of the elections this week.  Other parties have chosen to fight the electoral coup, among them are COREH, RDNP and others.  Consultations among parties continues while they determine the best strategy to fight the electoral coup.


Civil Society Skeptics

Deliberations are underway this week among unions, peasant, youth, women organizations and others on the best way to confront the electoral coup.  Most organizations of civil society have expressed varying levels of skepticism.  Students remain by far the most active against what they call the electoral coup.  Women organizations remained divided.  Of the 40 key women’s organizations, five are supportive of the elections.  These five are linked to the Minister of Women Affairs from which they receive the majority of their resources.


Security Deteriorates

The security situation deteriorated measurably this week is up 33%.  Security threats are mainly political as the ruling party increases the level of violence to intimidate voters and political actors.  Gangs involved in kidnappings, drug trafficking and other violence are mainly linked to the people in power.  The testimony of gangs members that were involved in kidnappings and political killings reveals that every time they returned their arms to the government disarmament commission (CNDDR) they were redistributed by the same people (see:  )

Media Black Out

The state run media outlets have barred all candidates, except for Preval favorite Jude Celestin, to participate in popular radio and television programs. For media outside the state run sector, the Groupe de Bourdon business cartel has put revenue pressure on the radio and TV stations to support only Celestin or face them pulling their ad support.  This Groupe controls at least 90% of the economic activity on the island so media outlets would face financial ruin if they speak to other candidates.  Still, several popular radio stations are steadfastly resisting the economic bullying.


State Resources Funneled to Favored Candidates

Preval has instructed ministries and official state organs to use state resources and funding to support the favored candidates.  About 85% of the state resources are going to Jude Celestin. 


Former Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis (fired by parliament in 2008 for corruption and incompetence) is using the current Minister of the Interior, Paul Antoine Bien Aime (a relative of Alexis), and his friends Minister of Finance Ronald Baudin and Minister of Agriculture Jonas Gue to get access to State resources.  However, a rift that was created with Minister of Social Affairs and presidential candidate Yves Cristallin when Alexis asked Ronald Baudin to cut Cristallin’s funding at the Social Affairs Ministry.  Cristallin will resign this week.  


Under pressure resulting from the realization that 14 of the presidential candidates are linked to the ruling party, the Minister of Finance announced this week that he would provide general funding for all presidential candidates.


Humanitarian Aid as a campaign tool?

The use of humanitarian funds and aid to support candidates has become an issue.   With the rejection of Wyclef Jean’s candidacy this week, several began asking where he got the money to run in the first place?  Other highly partisan aid organizations, including Paul Farmer (deputy UN Special Envoy under Clinton) collected an estimated $100 million for his foundation.  Brian Concannon of the Celebrity Telethon has also come under fire for funneling funds to groups known to have political ties with them.  The debate has been raging in the Diaspora community this week as people begin to see hints that aid will go to supporting favorite candidates faster than it will get to the people in need.

OAS Observation Mission Says Everything is OK?

The official “International Observation Mission” is already in-country.  The mission is comprised of representatives from the OAS and CARICOM.  They have been surprisingly silent on all the controversy surrounding the elections.  OAS Secretary Miguel Insulza after his visit this week in Haiti stated that the process was acceptable to him.  This statement created a strong backlash in various sectors of Haitian society and the Diaspora community.  Political parties and civil society groups have condemned Secretary Insulza’s statement that seems to give a blank check to Preval’s Electoral coup (see:  

and and

Diaspora Organize their own Observation Mission

The Haitian Diaspora is organizing a mission to evaluate the electoral process and will brief the United States Congress on their findings.  Several groups of the Haitian Diaspora have already called on Congress to hold the US$40 million funding for the elections until the CEP and local electoral authorities are reorganized.


For more information, please, contact:

Stanley Lucas, Washington Democracy Project, (202) 256-6026 For last week report see: