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