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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Secretary Clinton will face 3 likely scenarios in Haiti by Stanley Lucas

The State Department Bureau of Public Affairs announced that “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Haiti on January 30 to consult with members of civil society, political actors, Haiti’s president and international partners on the ongoing electoral situation as well as reconstruction efforts.

In addition to meetings with Haitian President Rene Preval, Secretary Clinton will also meet with leaders of civil society and electoral candidates, the Special Representative of the United Nations and visit a cholera treatment clinic.”

According to the Wall Street Journal: Mrs. Clinton's visit will pressure Jude Célestin, the candidate of the ruling party, to withdraw from the second round of the presidential election, Haitian officials said Friday.

While in country Secretary Clinton is most likely to face three scenarios:

1.     President Preval’s scenarios.   While most of the INITE ruling party leadership has agreed to put aside Jude Celestin, their presidential candidate, and follow the country’s general consensus on how to move forward in order to avoid retribution or threats of unrest on February 7 (Preval’s last legal day in office), but President Preval has remained defiant.  With the support of Haiti’s elite business cartel, the Groupe de Bourdon, he is playing all sides and will focus on what happens on February 7 rather than explore electoral solutions.  President Preval has prepared two scenarios for his discussions with Mrs. Clinton.  First, he will try to convince her that he should remain in office after his term ends on February 7 until a new president is elected.  This scenario has no support in Haiti.  Everyone in Haiti and the Diaspora knows that if he tries that Haitians, who are fed up with his corruption, electoral manipulation and mismanagement, will kick him out.  Second, as a backup plan, Preval will try to call for the implementation of Article 148 of the constitution at the end of his term allowing his Prime Minister, Jean Max Bellerive, to remain in office with the same cabinet without a president.   By doing so, Preval will continue with his INITE associates to control the government and the electoral process. Preval traveled to the Dominican Republic last week to seek the support of President Fernandez for that scenario since Haiti’s current Prime Minister is very close to the Dominican establishment.  As a safety measure, Preval also negotiated with Fernandez his escape plan if the situation gets out control, which is what all Haitian analysts believe will happen if there is not a negotiated institutional solution in the next six days.  For Haitians, both of these tactics are unacceptable.

2.     Annulment of the Elections.  The political parties and coalition that boycotted the elections, twelve of the presidential candidates and some senators have called for the annulment of the elections, the implementation of Article 149 of the constitution and the organization of general elections (President, 30 senators, 99 Deputies, 140 mayors) in six months.  Article 149 of the constitution will allow a member of the Supreme Court to become the provisional president at end of Preval’s term on February 7, 2011.  The members of the provisional government will not be allowed to run for office unless they resign six month prior to the elections.  Haitian political actors have widely agreed to this plan, but have not published a plan to date.  According to several of them this plan will be unveiled next week.  We will know at that time if they secured public support for this plan by next week.  This approach has been done successfully twice before.  First in March 1989 leading to the election of Jean Bertrand Aristide in December 1990 and in 2004 leading to the election of Preval in 2006.

3.     The Runoff Scenarios.  The Organization of American States (OAS) issued a contested and largely discredited report in which they propose a runoff between two Presidential candidates, Michel Martelly, the candidate of the Repons Peyizan Party, and Mirlande Manigat the candidate of the RNDP party.  The report largely avoids the legislative elections that were even worse in terms of vote rigging by the ruling party according to a report issued by the 5,500 Haitian domestic observers.  This omission has increased the criticism of OAS report. OAS has very little credibility left in Haiti, particularly on electoral issues.  Their Electoral Observation Mission led by Ambassador Colin Granderson did a very poor job providing technical support during the pre-electoral period and on Election Day.  Two days after the elections, Ambassador Granderson gave a press conference claiming that very few places were subject to manipulations and announcing that he was certifying these elections.  The general consensus in-country is that a run-off between Martelly and Manigat should be held at the end of March or early April – in the interest of stability and with the caveat that new legislative elections should be organized in the next six months.  That scenario will also require the swearing in of a Justice of the Supreme Court on February 7, in accordance with Article 149 of the constitution.  It seems that this scenario is prevailing now.  Will this change next week with the unveiling of the transition plan and the call for the annulment of the elections?  We will need to wait and see.

Meanwhile there is a consensus that Haiti will not go back to the past and their strongmen.  Jean Claude Duvalier, Jean Bertrand Aristide and Preval (to a lesser degree) have all been accused of human rights violations and embezzlement of state funds. Aristide and Duvalier have extensive human rights violations and a track record of corruption.  They brutalized the Haitian people and enriched themselves.  Duvalier persecuted and killed many political opponents over his 14 year rule (see:  ).  After his departure, an administrative commission, led by former Minister of Finance Leslie Delatour, concluded Duvalier had stolen more than US$600 million from Haiti’s coffers.
Jean Bertrand Aristide was democratically elected in December 1990.  The people of Haiti were hopeful that this humble, poor priest meant a new era for Haiti.  But Aristide ruled as a strongman – not as a man of God.  Aristide coopted several Duvalierists that were members of the military and the now defunct Tonton Macoutes, a paramilitary group under Duvalier, during his second term in office.  The most well known was Sainvoyis Pascal, who Aristide made Speaker of the House in 2001 as the head of the Lavalas caucus in the House of Deputies.  

Aristide persecuted and killed his political opponents.  Journalists, women and youth activists, political parties and human rights activists, peasants and others that opposed his views were beaten, illegally jailed or killed (see:  and ).  After Aristide resigned in 2004, Haiti’s General Accounting Office and an administrative commission led by the current Minister of Justice Paul Denis found that he had stolen more than US$350 million from Haiti’s coffers over nine years (see: ).

Haitians hope that the United States will hear their voices and calls for justice.  Many Haitians are afraid that Duvalier and Aristide’s well paid and financed lobbying effort in the United States will be drumming up support for them.  Duvalier has hired former US Representative Bob Barr, and Aristide maintains his original cohorts that used to make each $50,000 monthly in Washington for a few 15 minute meetings (see that list here: ).

Haitians and the Diaspora want to ensure a peaceful transition of power and ensure that a legitimate government can focus on a reconstruction that includes Haitians.  The unresolved elections crisis and the return of Haiti’s strongmen has been a distraction from the real reconstruction work that needs to get done.  Haiti’s people have once again suffered as the world sits on the reconstruction money waiting to see who will emerge from this mess.  And again, the Haitian people are victimized.  It is time to do what is right in Haiti for the long term – not for the short-term interest of stability.  We need to see a real, sustainable solution to the mess Preval has made, and we need to get back to work addressing the priorities of the people:  housing and fighting cholera.  Hopefully, the US and other international actors will stand with the Haitian democrats seeking a meaningful change to business as usual in their country.

Monday, January 24, 2011

US Urges Democracy in Haiti Using Fraudulent Elections Results by Stanley Lucas

Last week, U.S. ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, addressed the heightened tensions surrounding the elections in Haiti after Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s return to the country saying that Haiti must "outline a very clear way forward" that "include[s] announcing first-round results and conducting second-round elections in a manner consistent with the recommendations and findings of the OAS technical review."  She went on to say that "sustained support from the international community, including the United States, requires a credible process that represents the will of the Haitian people, as expressed by their votes."

But the OAS technical recommendations do not fix the fact that rampant and blatant fraud occurred during the elections. Jacques Bernard a State Department consultant that worked in Afghanistan dispatched to Haiti found that 57% of the tallysheets were rigged and also see the Wall Street Journal analysis: .  

The Haitian people saw official ballots littering the streets and alleyways and empty ballot boxes thrown into ditches.  They saw people stuffing handfuls of ballots into boxes (see below).  No run-off fixes that reality.  The entire voting process was compromised.  If the US is serious about democracy and “reflecting the will of the people” they should be standing behind the Haitian political parties and Haitian democrats who are advocating for invoking Article 149 of the Constitution and installing a provisional president from the Supreme Court.  The new provisional president would be responsible for reorganizing free and fair elections in six months or a year’s time.  This process worked in 2006 and the Haitian people trust it.  To try to cobble together a solution out of this mess will be unsustainable and lack confidence at this point.  Preval has managed to drag this out for so long hoping that the longer it takes the more desperate people will become for a solution.  His term ends on February 7, 2011, so he is buying time.

Americans would never accept elections like those that occurred in Haiti.  They went to the Supreme Court for hanging chads.  Why should they be calling for Haitians to accept fraudulent elections?  Everyone argues that it is in the interest of stability, but what stability is there in country now?  This run-off solution would bring about only short-term stability.  It’s essentially “punting” on the issue or kicking the can down the road.  It leaves the job undone and leaves unresolved issues in the country.  Doing the right thing here is tough and requires more work, but it is the only sustainable solution.

Thursday, January 20, 2011



Avec le retour de Jean Claude Duvalier et les excitations d'Aristide pour imiter Duvalier, Haiti doit commencer par reflechir sur les moyens de trouver des solutions institutionnelles a ses problemes. Nous ne pouvons pas continuer dans cette spirale de defense des interets indefendables de moun panou. On ne va pas recommencer avec des slogans desuets "Mache pran yo Duvalier mache pran yo" ou bien "Pa merite bayo say o merite!" ou du "Naje pou'n soti". Il faudra finalement etablir des regles que tout le monde devra respecter, duvalieristes ou non, lavalassiens ou pas, Lespwa ou INITE, riches ou pauvres, chefs ou gouvernes. Cela passe par l'etablissement du regime de la loi. Ce sera penible mais il faudra le faire pour donner une chance a Haiti et a ses enfants. 


Apres le debarquement a l'aeoport le dimanche 16 Janvier 2011 le debat national se tourne autour de l'ancien president a vie Jean Claude Duvalier, des successeurs a la presidence et leurs modes de gouvernance , tous faconnes dans le papadocquisme, sans oublier le dossier du coup d'etat electoral du 28 Novembre.

Selon les victimes et les rapports disponibles les anciens presidents Duvalier et Aristide ont cause de grands torts au pays. Le Rapport de Leslie Delatour sur les detournements de 600 millions des Duvalier (30 ans de regne) est un classique autant que le rapport de Paul Denis sur le detournement de 350 millions d'Aristide en 9 ans et le Rapport sur le detournement de 400 millions par Rene Preval dans le dossier Petro Caribe. Pou lideu say o leta se chwal papa ...

Je n'ai ni fabrique les victimes, ni les rapports administratifs du gouvernement Haitien. Cette conversation doit etre franche. En tant que peuple nous devons garder notre calme, sans passion, avec sang froid determiner comment allons nous aborder les accusations sur les violations de droits humains et les de detournements de trois presidents de la republique: Jean Claude Duvalier (1971-86). Jean Bertrand Aristide (1991-95 - 2001-04), Rene Preval (1996-2000 - 2006-11). Comment allons-nous garantir que chacun d'eux recoit un traitement equitable devant la justice tout en envoyant un message clair aux futurs presidents? Quel modele suivre? Celui du Perou avec la mise en accusation et l'emprisonnement de l'ancien President Alberto Fujimori? Celui des Phillippines avec la mise en accusation et le renvoi du president Joseph Estrada par le parlement Phillippin? De la France ou le juge d'instruction a entame une procedure contre l'ancien President Jacques Chirac? Ou celui de la republique Dominicaine avec Joaquim Balaguer?

Pour le president Duvalier il y a le rapport de l'ancien ministre Leslie Delatour l'accusant de corruption notamment le detournement de US$600 millions  et une liste des victimes de cette ere 1957-86 a ete publiee sur l'internet, cliquez ici:   

Pour le president Aristide le rapport de l'etat Haitien sur sa corruption a montre qu'il a vole US$350 millions en neuf ans, cliquez ici: et il y a deux listes de victimes d'Aristide et de Lavalas sur l'internet (1995-2000) en plus d'une troisieme en preparation (2000-2010). La premiere liste des victimes d'Aristide a ete rendu publique par une lettre du senateur de la republique Irvelt Chery, cliquez ici:  et la seconde:  

Le president sortant le 7 Fevrier 2011, Rene Preval peut aussi faire face a des poursuites judicaires, pour la corruption des fonds du petrocaribe, voir: et l'assassinat de Robert Marcelo, le President de la Commission des Marches, cliquez ici:   

En abordant le dossier de ces anciens president nous ne devons pas oublier la partie invisible de l'iceberg dont la presence aux abords du pouvoir a ete permanente autour de ces trois presidences. Dans l'ombre le cartel economique des hommes du groupe de bourdon ont tire les avantages et "assister" les trois presidents. Ils sont les gagnants permanents du systeme et la partie de l'iceberg que nous n'arrivons jamais a mettre la main dessus. Le groupe de bourdon est le gardien de ce systeme, courir apres Duvalier, Aristide, Preval, Lavalas, Lespwa, INITE sans poser la problematique et le role du groupe de bourdon dans le soutien de ces politiques se lave main siye ate. Ces seigneurs feodaux du groupe de bourdon ne peuvent pas etre au dessus de la loi.

Tout accuse est innocent jusqu'a ce qu'il soit reconnu coupable. La justice Haitienne doit faire son travail et c'est la seule facon que notre pays peut commencer a construire un etat democratique.

Je suis sur que chacun de ces presidents maintient une base prete a crier Duvalier ou la mort, Preval ou la mort, Aristide ou la mort. Mais cela ne doit pas nous faire peur. Cela fait  partie du combat pour l'etablissement du regime de la loi, du combat contre les corrompus et les jusqu'auxboutistes qui empechent la democratie haitienne de fleurir et nos institutions de repondre aux besoins de notre peuple en lieu et place d'un petit groupe. Pour le groupe de bourdon la philosophie est differente: le roi est mort vive le roi! Comme les musiciens de palais une fois le chef dechouke, ils s'empressent toujours de faciliter l'entree d'un nouveau chef, un de leurs consultants, qui defendra leurs interets. Et ce jeu macabre qui fait des victimes et detruit Haiti est un eternel recommencement. La question centrale pouvons-nous detruire ce systeme feodal qui ensevelit notre pays au niveau economique et politique? Pouvons-nous trouver le leadership capable d'affronter ce systeme?

Ce debat a aussi un aspect politique et ideologique qu'il faudra debattre: le populisme, moun anwo, moun amba, neg nwa, milat, la classe, elatrye... Je cede la place aux membres du secteur academique. Cette conversation honnete a la fois legale et politique si elle se tient permettra a Haiti de sortir du petrin. En attendant il nous faut sortir de ce feodalisme, de ce systeme qui produit des leaders qui ont les memes reflexes et les memes attitudes, incapables d’apporter des solutions aix problemes de notre societe. Il faut donc une nouvelle alternative politique et une nouvelle generation, question de sortir de la dictature pour entrer en democratie...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Duvalier Returns to Haiti; Merely a Pawn in the Political Chaos by Stanley Lucas

Three former strongmen of Haiti have been living in exile since being forced to leave the country:  Jean Claude Duvalier, better remembered as “Baby Doc”, exiled in France; General Henri Namphy in the Dominican Republic; and Jean Bertrand Aristide in South Africa.  Duvalier’s return opens the door to the return of other former corrupt leaders the Haitian people ousted and sends a message to current leaders that there are no consequences to corruption.  It is important at this time to look back at these three leaders to better frame what Duvalier’s return actually means for the Haitian people.

After a popular uprising against his regime, Jean Claude Duvalier, self-appointed President for Life, left Haiti on February 7, 1986 after 14 years in power.  Henri Namphy, General President, who headed the transition after Duvalier’s departure left the country on June 20, 1988 after a military coup.  And, Jean Bertrand Aristide left on February 29, 2004 after a popular uprising and an armed rebellion led by his former allies.

Aristide and Duvalier’s Ouster
Aristide and Duvalier have extensive human rights violations and track records of corruption.  They brutalized the Haitian people and enriched themselves.  Duvalier persecuted and killed many political opponents, see: .  During his regime thousands of political opponents had to flee the country.  Freedom of expression and civil liberties were non-existent under his rule.  Journalists were persecuted as well and political parties were outlawed under Haiti’s one party system.  After his departure an administrative commission, led by former Minister of Finance Leslie Delatour, concluded Duvalier had stolen more than US$600 million from Haiti’s coffers.

Jean Bertrand Aristide was democratically elected in December 1990.  The people of Haiti were hopeful that this humble, poor priest meant a new era for Haiti.  But Aristide ruled as a strongman – not as a man of God. Aristide lost credibility among the Haitian democrats when he recruited some of the FRAPH killers, a paramilitary group responsible for the killing hundreds of Haitians after the 1991 coup d’etat.  Aristide used those killers to assassinate a popular catholic priest that stood up against his corruption and violence, Father Ti Jean.  When the Secretary General of Haiti Human Rights Platform, Chenet Jean Baptiste, denounced the killing, he had to flee the country to save his life.  Aristide recuperated several Duvalierists that were members of the military and the now defunct Tonton Macoutes, a paramilitary group under Duvalier, during his second term in office.  The most well known was Sainvoyis Pascal, who Aristide made Speaker of the House in 2001 as the head of the Lavalas caucus in the House of Deputies. Aristide persecuted and killed his political opponents.  Journalists, women and youth activists, political parties and human rights activists, peasants and others that opposed his views were beaten, illegally jailed or killed, see:  and . After Aristide resigned in 2004, Haiti’s General Accounting Office and an administrative commission led by the current Minister of Justice Paul Denis found that he had stolen more than US$350 million from Haiti’s coffers over nine years, see: 

Both Aristide and Duvaliers have maintained with the stolen funds a base of support in-country while residing in exile.  But Aristide went a step further and has maintained a network of contacts in the U.S. comprised of his former lobbyists see: and people who made money with him during his rule via telecommunications and other business dealings.  He also has a network of academics and ideologues like Robert Maguire at the US Institute of Peace, Dr. Paul Farmer, a prominent AIDS expert and Deputy UN Special Envoy to Haiti, who actively promoted Aristide’s return under the false premise that he was  “kidnapped” by the US Government in 2004 rather than having resigned in disgrace and requested evacuation.  Aristide’s own Prime Minister has denied the kidnapping claim and stated officially and publicly that the kidnapping charge was fabricated for political purposes.

Duvalier and Aristide’s Relationship with the Preval Government
Rene Preval and Jean Bertrand Aristide were political twins when they were seeking power in the 1990s.  When Aristide became President in 1991 he ditched the coalition (FNCD) that allowed him to win the presidency and a parliamentary majority.  He handpicked Rene Preval as his Prime Minister in February 1991, in violation of the Haitian constitution, which requires that the Prime Minister be selected from the party that has the majority in both chamber of parliament.

On August 13, 1991, the FNCD caucus in parliament sought to fire Preval as Prime Minister on the grounds of incompetency.  Both men, Aristide and Preval, sent a group of thugs to burn some of the members with a common tactic of  their regime “necklacing” burning tires around their necks.  Without police intervention many members of the House of Deputies could have died that day, among them the current Haiti’s ambassador at the OAS Dully Brutus, former Speaker of the House of Deputies.  This act led to a political crisis and later an illegal military coup in September 1991.  Both Aristide and Preval went into exile.  

After Aristide requested a US military intervention for his return in 1994 and attempt to illegally stay in power after his term was over, he was forced to relinquish power and Preval became his successor.  Aristide wanted Preval to be his puppet during Preval’s first term in office as president.  When Preval started to become more independent, Aristide -- as a warning -- sent some of his thugs to kill the dogs Preval’s sister, who was serving as his Executive Assistance.  Despite the warning Preval, continued to move away from Aristide.  As a second warning, Preval’s sister was shot and wounded by Aristide’s gunmen.  Preval backed down and ceded to Aristide’s pressure following his instruction to the letter.  

At the end of his first term under Aristide’s control, Preval rigged both the legislative and presidential elections in May and November 2000.  The President of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) Leon Manus resisted and in a public letter denounced the fraud threatened by Aristide and Preval and had to flee the country for political exile in the United States.  Despite a letter written to the OAS by Manus detailing the situation, the OAS did nothing.  Aristide forced his majority in parliament and stole the presidency.  The people of Haiti stood up and said “no”, and contested the legitimacy of both parliament and Aristide as president.  On February 7, 2001, two presidents were sworn in:  Aristide who stole the elections, and Gerard Gourgue a provisional president representing the opposition.  Preval went quietly back to his hometown Marmelade. The following three years Aristide in power tried to frame and eliminate Preval. One of the key players protecting Preval against Aristide a that time was Jude Celestin who got a stock of heavy weapons from Preval before the end of his first term. From 2001 to 2004, Aristide used violence and corruption to suppress dissent among the population -- students, women, political parties, peasants,  press, humans right activists, and civil society.  His brutality failed.  The Haitian people would not stand for it.  In February 2004, a popular uprising was highjacked at the last minute by a group of gunmen, who used to serve as Aristide henchmen and allies, provoked his resignation.  He fled into exile with the assistance of the US military at his request.  Aristide’s Prime Minister Yvon Neptune invoked Article 149 of the constitution and allowed a member of the Haitian Supreme Court to become provisional president.

The provisional government organized general elections in 2006 allowing every political party to run, but they prevented any members of the provisional government to run for office unless they resigned six months prior to the elections. Preval became president and Aristide’s Lavalas party won six of the 99 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and three of the 30 seats in the Senate.  It was clear that the Lavalas party had no political support among the people.  Preval distanced himself from Aristide and captured most of his supporters and gave them government positions in his office, the cabinet and the civil service.  Preval closed all the loopholes that allowed Aristide to siphon money from the State.  Since then, Aristide has been maneuvering with his former lobbyists and allies to use Haiti’s telecommunications company to weaken Preval and promote their fabricated line that he was kidnapped all in an effort to return him to Haiti.  Aristide promised to make everyone rich – or richer as several of them have already enriched themselves with Aristide

Preval’s relationship with Duvalier began in the 1980’s through Michele Pierre Louis, Haiti’s former Prime Minister.  At that time, Pierre Louis was Deputy Director General of the airport.  They negotiated Preval’s return to Haiti (he had fled into exile in the 1960s) and gave him a job as a civil servant.  Preval knew key players at the Minister level since he grew up with several of them, attended the same schools and lived in the same neighborhood.  When as a young man he had to flee Haiti into exile in Belgium, two of Preval’s friends under the Duvalier regime went to the Dominican Embassy where Preval was seeking asylum to give him a packet of cigarettes and US$100.  One of them, a Duvalierist, is living in Long Island today and is Preval’s top political advisor and most trusted political ally.

This the context in which Jean Claude Duvalier returned to Haiti.  His return is inextricably linked with Aristide and Preval’s agendas, and most observers believe he is merely a pawn in or distraction from a larger political dynamic underway.

Duvalier’s “Inexplicable” and “Surprise” Return
Duvalier landed in Haiti on January 17, 2011 after 24 years in political exile in France.  His return is being labeled a “surprise” in press reports, but it could not have happened without international diplomatic support and Preval’s approval.  He could not have boarded a plane in France to Haiti without the approval of the French and Haitian governments.  Further, his supporters did not seem to be surprised by his return as they turned out to great him at the airport. 

News coverage of Duvalier’s return has also called his return “inexplicable”, but many Haitians are speculating about three likely scenarios:

1.     Preval is using Duvalier’s return to create political confusion and a distraction for the international community.  Preval received the OAS’s report of recommendations on how to resolve the fraudulent elections last Thursday.  On Monday, the OAS Secretary General will visit Haiti to get Preval’s official response to the report findings. 

The report recommends a run off elections between the top two candidates:  Martelly and Manigat.  International officials have stated that the report “makes sense” and the methodology is “flawless” and the credentials of the report team are “impeccable”.  Haitians are questioning what methodology would actually account for the thousands of ballots littering the streets, uncounted after the elections.  Apparently the recount process was carried out by using a small percentage of the tally sheets from the voting precincts.  It was widely reported and observed that tally sheets were manipulated before they even arrived at the tabulation center. 

In this scenario, Duvalier’s return creates an enormous distraction, serious confusion and has the added benefit of rallying his base against Duvalier.  Essentially, Duvalier is a pawn in Preval’s transparent and desperate attempts to maintain power.

2.     People believe that Dr. Paul Farmer, head of Partners in Health and Mr. Clinton’s deputy UN special envoy to Haiti, is has orchestrated Duvalier’s return behind the scenes.  Farmer is an ardent Aristide supporter and Duvalier’s return opens a window for Aristide’s return.  If Duvalier can return, why not Aristide?  Aristide has an equally despotic track record in Haiti stealing elections, trafficking drugs and overseeing political persecution, violence and murder.  His return would be disastrous for Haitians.  Ever since the earthquake, however, there has been speculation about Aristide’s return.  He has tested the waters as have his political supporters, so people believe this is their political play to get him back in country. 

3.     Duvalier’s return creates a level of political chaos that will be impossible to resolve without foreign political occupation – and someone, somewhere benefits from that with billions of aid money on the line.  The Haitian people will resolutely reject foreign occupation, however. 

Whoever is pulling the strings (Preval or Farmer/Aristide backers), it is clear that they do not want to see a run-off between Martelly and Manigat and the annulment of the legislative elections.  Duvalier is a pawn and a distraction.  And, no matter who is using Duvalier as a pawn, knows there are the only two scenarios facing Duvalier:  jail or execution. 

One thing is certain:  whoever is behind this move wants to ensure and maintain the status quo of corruption in Haiti.  Ultimately whether or not the underlying motive is billions of dollars in reconstruction contracts that are in play or newly discovered resources (it is widely speculated that the earthquake revealed an oil deposit off the coast of Haiti) that some are trying to put their hands on, Haitian reformers in Haiti and the Diaspora need to come together via an emergency political summit to put an end to this madness. The Haitian democrats in country and in the Diaspora that are trying to change the culture of corruption are caught in a nexus of power that inhibits or completely thwarts their efforts.  On the one side is the corrupt politics of Duvalier, Aristide and Preval and the Groupe de Bourdon, Haiti’s business cartel controlling more than 90% of the economy and paying only 4% of the taxes, which is basically the status quo.  And on the other side is the network of supporters in Washington, DC and other big capitals of the world.  This group is comprised of lawyer searching for large retainers, ideological academics and foreign profiteers.  In their fight for democracy and the modernization of Haiti’s economic system, they never find a support base, and worse, those members of the wealthy sector use their resource to publicly assassinate their characters and isolate them. For all Haitians, a foreign occupation will never be an option and the political instability must end.  We need to focus on rebuilding the country.  Now.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Enough Already: US Partisan Rhetoric Has No Place in the Haiti Debate by Stanley Lucas

On January 11, I participated in a panel on the Crosstalk program on Russia TV with two other panelists, Marguerite Laurent alias Zili Danto of the Haitian Lawyers’ Association and former advisor to Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and Nicolas Rossier, an independent filmmaker.  The panel was to provide an assessment of Haiti one year after the earthquake and focus on the failure of international aid.  Largely, the goal seemed to be to blame the international community for their failings in Haiti while dismissing the failure of the Haitian Government by further blaming the international community for destabilizing and delegitimizing Haitian leaders.

On the panel – and it seems throughout the coverage of the earthquake – there was consensus that international aid has failed Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake and more broadly over the past 20 years.  Recovery has been a slow, unfocused and uncoordinated.  Further, Haitians have been completely marginalized from the process (see: ).  Again, we can all agree on this.  But we should also point out that the international community played a pivotal role in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and did commit significant funding to the rebuilding process.  More than half of American households donated to the recovery for which the country is eternally grateful.

However, we cannot dismiss the total failure of Haitian governance and leaders over the past 20 years.  The Duvaliers, Aristide and Preval have all pursued personal enrichment and power by leading corrupt and violent regimes that have stolen the meager resources of the country.  Madame Marguerite Laurent rightly pointed out that Haiti’s leaders are not solely to blame for corruption; there is a ruling class in Haiti that controls all economic activity.  She says they are “light-skinned Syrians”, which is untrue, however.  The group she refers to is a corrupt business cartel known as the “Groupe de Bourdon”, comprised of 17 foreign-educated and wealthy individuals from the banking and commercial sectors who control more than 90% of the country’s economic activity while paying only 4% of the taxes.  The Haitian leaders and this cartel conspire to maintain a stranglehold on Haiti’s economy through political manipulation, monopolies, barriers to securing credit, and, when all else fails, intimidation and violence.  They are at the source of all political crises and instability in Haiti.  Typically, frustration amongst the people mounts throughout an administration and revolt and instability erupts as a result of a rigged election. 

International involvement in Haiti’s myriad political crises, however, has come at the official request of Haitian presidents when they have become desperate to preserve power or flee from the angry masses.  The US was dragged into the Aristide debacle in 2004 at his request.  Aristide requested to be evacuated because he knew the people were fed up with his corruption.  The rebels he created earlier to repress the people turned against him and were coming for him.  He manipulated and used the international community to prop up his regime many times, and then claimed his was kidnapped or the foreigners were meddling in the country.  Preval continues Aristide’s legacy.  The OAS has no authority to interject into the electoral process of Haiti.  Their involvement has came at the official request of Preval, who is gambling on being able to manipulate the organization to get a stamp of approval on his electoral coup, for more see: .  He feels he has a majority of the Latin American leadership on his side, given a number of leaders’ track records of manipulating elections in their own countries (Chavez in Venezuela, Ortega in Nicaragua and so on).  Involving the OAS in this debacle is Preval’s last-ditch effort to ram through his electoral coup. 

Perhaps the panelists do not well understand the OAS procedures and mandate here so it is worth taking a moment to elaborate the point.  Preval requested that the OAS issue a report of recommendations on how to resolve the electoral crisis.  Given the blatant fraud and public unrest, he needs a way out.  The OAS will share a draft report with the Haitian Government to get their consensus and sign off.  They cannot issue the report without the approval of the Haitian Government.  In other words, Preval can reject their report and modify all the language before it is issued ensuring that it says exactly what he wants it to.  Then the report goes to the 33 members of the permanent council for consideration and ratification.  Preval believes he has a majority of the leaders in the region on his side as they have a good track record of stealing elections themselves.  And, he is betting that the US and Canada will play a diplomatic role in the interest of stability in the country.  If and when this report destabilizes the country, the OAS has surely played a role, but the ultimate blame resides with Preval for dragging them into the fight.

The only way forward is for Haiti to show some leadership and for Haitians to work together to pull themselves out of this mess.  The panelists attempts to be divisive only distract us from the real issue:  Haiti is in shambles, and our countrymen need our help.  It seems that just when things cannot get any worse – they do. 

The international community will act in its own self-interest – and so must we.  We all agree that international organizations are ramming through their priorities for Haiti – rather than addressing the priorities of the Haitian people.  How do we fix that?  Haitians develop a plan of national priorities and then stipulate that aid programs must demonstrate a clear link to advancing Haiti’s priorities.  We all agree that international organizations are leveraging Haiti to secure funding for their organizations and programs and Haitian institutions are not benefitting at all financially or through capacity building.  How do we fix that?  The Haitian government needs to step up and stipulate that any aid programs and major projects must include Haitian participation and must demonstrate capacity building.  We all agree that former President Clinton has a confusing number of titles and has done a lot to secure his role in reconstruction but little to make sure it moves forward.  He was all over the news yesterday expressing his disappointment in how slow the process is going – a process that he largely controls!  How do we fix this?  By getting together, speaking with one voice to pressure him to step up the pace of recovery.  And, by restructuring this Haiti Interim Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), which we all agreed was ineffectual, so that the Haitian ministers, private sector and Diaspora are represented. 

Currently the Haitian government leaders have no political will to do any of this or to take real responsibility for the leadership of their country.  Why?  They benefit from the status quo.  Their priority is not Haiti – it’s themselves.  They believe that awarding no-bid contracts to international players curries favor with international players and ensures a quid pro quo down the line. 

Finally, the debate unfortunately got personal with both panelists attacking me by characterizing me as an operative of the “US right-wing imperialist white supremacists”.  This is ludicrous.  Five years ago I worked for the International Republican Institute, a non-partisan, non-governmental organization.  IRI is in no way a part of the US Government or the USAID as many have charged.  I am a Haitian citizen.  I do not have US citizenship.  So why would US partisan political agendas matter to me?  What do I stand to gain as a Haitian outsider?  I worked with IRI because the organization advances democracy worldwide and that is a mission that I believe in with every fiber of my being.  I worked there because I was aligned with the mission – not because of any non-existent partisan ties, and – I assure you – not for the non-profit paycheck.

Where does the heated US political partisan rhetoric factor into the Haiti debate?  I have seen no evidence of partisanship in the US foreign policy approach to Haiti.  All U.S. presidents have approached the country with a similar foreign policy.  Why are we dragging partisan politics into the Haiti debate?  Why is  Marguerite Laurent, a U.S. citizen, transplanting her hatred for Clinton, Bush and Obama’s domestic and foreign policies and her vision of an imperialistic America into the Haiti debate? It makes no sense.  We need to get our own house in order and take control of our own destiny.  I think we can all agree on the need to control our own destiny too.  With these fundamental areas of agreement – why are we arguing amongst ourselves about right wing agendas?  Why aren’t we working together to change the country?  Do we not all agree: “In Unity There is Strength”?  If you want the international destabilization to stop – then stop engaging in it with your “right wing conspiracy” theories and work with me on the many areas in which we agree.  Again, the divisive tactics employed by the panelists just further distract us, see:

And, to my fellow panelist, Marguerite Laurent and Nicolas Rossier:  perhaps you do not well understand the foundations upon which Haiti was built.  The race card put forward in this discussion has no place in this debate and is not part of the Haitian mindset.  If you want to understand my politics go back and study my country’s history that forged me.  Haiti is 99% black and proud to be the world's first black republic.  However, our independence was not just about race.  Haiti's founding fathers saw beyond race to the universal values of freedom and equality. Haitians fought alongside Simon Bolivar in his quest to liberate the Latin American countries.  They fought alongside Americans in the Revolutionary War for the US independence against the British.  It was not about Latinos or Americans.  During World War II my country provided Haitian passports for safe passage to the Jews persecuted by the Nazis.  Haiti subsequently declared war against Hitler’s Germany, see:’s-heroism-in-holocaust/ . For Haitians, it was about freedom and liberation.  In other words, your imperialist, white supremacist attacks make no sense and are unfounded.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Haiti: One Year After the Earthquake by Stanley Lucas

At about 5:00pm on January 12, 2010, a colleague of mine called to tell me to turn on CNN; Haiti just had an earthquake.  She did not know the scope of magnitude of the event as CNN was just getting word.  This was my worst fear coming true.  For years I had been haunted by a 2002 report by the Haitian Mining Bureau outlining the inevitability of a serious earthquake hitting the country see: .  I had been seized by this report and took every opportunity during my radio interviews to talk about the critical need for a building code, an emergency preparedness plan and civic education program for dealing with natural disasters.  I immediately began trying to reach people in Haiti.  I called at least 11 people – party and civil society leaders, ministers, journalists – before I reached anyone.  The first person I got on the phone was one of the directors of Haiti’s emergency management agency.  I knew this man to be professional, competent and well spoken, but at that moment he was dumb struck.  He was standing in the middle of the street staring at his house, which was turned half to rubble, and the other houses in his neighborhood that had pancaked and crumbled.  He was in shock.  If he was in shock, I immediately knew this was serious, and that Haiti had just faced one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in recent history.  

The loss was staggering: almost 300,000 people died, 400,000 were injured among them 30,000 required amputations, 500,000 homes were destroyed, 6,000 schools, almost all the government buildings suffered damage or total devastation, 96% of the State University buildings collapsed, along with the medical and nursing schools, and many of the hospitals.  The country, already the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, suffered an estimated $40 billion in damage.

Within hours, everyone knew that the country was facing its most serious challenge in decades – and that Haiti was ill prepared to meet the challenge.  The Haitian government was nowhere to be seen.  They had no plan for this eventuality so they were completely paralyzed.  On a human level, we all realized that the government leaders were people too and they had just witnessed devastation and death.  But on another level, it was near impossible to fathom that there was no plan or process to kick in and manage the chaos.  I remember my heart sinking seeing CNN talk to President Preval who appeared to be just wandering around the airport seeing if he could “help out”.  He was not leading; he had not gathered his cabinet; he was not there with the emergency management administration.  All of Haiti’s failings were on morbid display.

People tuning into CNN were shocked at the level of destruction and the climbing death toll.  But for seasoned Haiti watchers, there was no shock -- there was outrage, anger and frustration as we realized that the incompetence, greed and corruption of several generations of Haitian leaders had resulted in the needless death of hundreds of thousands of people.  The Haitian people had paid the ultimate price for their government’s corruption on January 12.  One year later, they continue to pay.

The chaos and ineffectiveness of the Haitian government’s response to the emergency has carried over to the recovery and reconstruction process.  Funding immediately poured in, but progress has yet to be made.  The international community responded to the disaster with unprecedented heart and generosity.  Half of the American households made donations resulting in $1.4 billion in private aid from the US alone.  The US Government immediately took charge of the emergency in the absence of any Haitian leadership.  The 82nd Airborne immediately rebuilt the port so supplies could get in.  They made the airport function, kept the peace, distributed food and medical supplies, and helped find survivors.  Local rescue teams, including my friends at the Fairfax County Fire Department in Virginia, flew down to Haiti to help pull survivors out of the rubble.  They were on the scene with a generosity of spirit that moves me to this day.  The US Government provided emergency funding and the international community made commitments totaling almost $9.9 billion to recovery and rebuilding.

The Haitian Diaspora in the US and other countries got together and responded quickly to the needs of their countrymen remitting much needed money, supplies and services. The Greater Washington Haiti Relief Committee (GWHRC) and other organizations sent medical volunteers, emergency preparedness experts, and medicine and provided other support to the victims.  Then Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty was immediately responsive to both the Haitian community and the Haitian Embassy in Washington donating resources to establish an emergency response center within the Embassy.  I was proud to play a role in organizing the GWHRC and working with hospitals and doctor’s associations to send medical volunteers to Port-au-Prince.  However, I was frustrated that I could not put my own two feet on the ground in my own country to help out.  My outspoken criticism of the Haitian government has landed me on their hit list, and I face constant threats on my life.

The US press also played a major role by creating a bridge of communications and information between the two million Haitian Diaspora in the US and their friends and family Haiti.  They put up websites to help find loved ones and did what they could to help people reconnect.  The stories were heart breaking.

Yet $10 billion and a year later, rubble has not been cleared streets, rebuilding has yet to begin, and the UN estimates that 1.7 million Haitians continue to live in 1,350 makeshift tent cities throughout the country.  The real number of people living the streets is probably closer to two million because the UN does not count camps that have less than 500 people.  To date, there is no plan to help these people get into permanent housing, and it seems there is no real plan for reconstruction.  And the situation seems to be deteriorating further and further.  Haiti has faced a massive outbreak of cholera resulting in 6,500 dead and 120,000 infected.  Enormous resources were diverted to treat this unforeseen outbreak and frustration in-country is mounting against the UN mission, MINUSTAH, for its role in introducing cholera into the country which had not seen the disease for more than 150 years, see:

And then, on November 28, Haitians turned out to register their frustration with the government by voting in the presidential and legislative elections.  Everyone knew President Preval had already rigged and manipulated the process, so it was no surprise that chaos, irregularities and blatant manipulation of results marred these elections.  But they still turned out to demonstrate their commitment to democracy.  Almost two months after the election, no results have been announced, and there is still no viable solution to the mess, see:

So what have we learned so far?  How do we turn this situation around? 

First, the Haitian leadership has been exposed as being fundamentally corrupt and inept.  We all knew this and have decried Preval’s agenda ever since he took office, but now corruption has cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives.  Like his infamous predecessor Jean Bertrand Aristide, President Preval has maintained a stranglehold on power and the meager resources of the country.  He has ensured that he and his colleagues in the Groupe de Bourdon business cartel have kept almost complete control of the Haitian economy through monopolies, denying access to credit and making it near impossible to launch a new business in Haiti.  Control of the economy is maintained through a combination of political tactics and violence, see Preval operatives killing opponents: Maintaining power and control has been the sole focus of Preval and his cronies at the expense of everything else.  Education, healthcare, economic development, job creation, and emergency preparedness have all taken a backseat to his personal quest for money and power.

With Preval exposed and frustration with politics as usual coming to a head, there is now a real opportunity to turn this around and break the cycle of corruption in Haiti.  Turning this situation around requires a fair solution to the electoral crisis.  The Haitian people voted out Preval’s INITE party, but through a comprehensive plan to execute an electoral coup, Preval ensured his Party and his candidates retained power.  The only viable solution now is to annul the November 28 elections, invoke Article 149 of the Haitian constitution and appoint a provision president from the Supreme Court, as stipulated in the Constitution, to preside over new, free and fair elections in November 2011.  A non-partisan CEP must be put in place to administer elections impartially.  Further, no member of the provisional government should be allowed to run for office.  This approach worked for Haiti in 2006, people trust the process, and there is broad consensus among political parties and civil society for this approach.  The OAS is proposes to address this crisis with a run off between the top two presidential candidates, Martelly and Manigat.  This is viable only if they annul the legislative elections and reschedule them.  Without the annulment of the rigged legislative elections, there will likely be a popular uprising and violence.  Haiti cannot afford this.

Second, Haiti lacks institutional capacity and until institutional development factors into aid programs, the country will remain mired in poverty.  Of course, building capacity has factored nowhere into Preval’s agenda.  In order to maintain his tight grip on control, he micromanages almost all aspects of government.  But what has also become apparent is that international aid has not addressed institutional development either.  More and more people are raising questions about the correlation between the lack of development in Haiti and the lack of focus on institutional development.  Aid organizations, largely with the best intentions, have administered a patchwork of programs tied to no real overall development strategy and have operated in many cases by bypassing the government.  Of course, the Haitian government is infected with corruption throughout, but there are many good people to work with and ways to ensure that funding is not squandered.  Likely because the process of working with the Haitian government is frustrating and time consuming, aid organizations have chosen to operate on their own.  On some level this is understandable, but it is becoming apparent that this oversight has likely been one of the key factors holding Haiti back.  After the earthquake, the international community was shocked at the situation in Haiti.  Questions were raised about where the $11 billion in aid money that poured into the country of the past 20 years went.  There were few if any signs of improvement for all that money.  Now it seems we are getting some insight into why the lack of progress.

Underscoring this second point are the dynamics surrounding the reconstruction process.  For every $10 in aid money, $.03 goes to Haitian institutions and $9.97 goes to international organizations and NGOs.  International NGOs have secured their funding for their operating budgets and key projects and international firms have secured contracts for rebuilding projects, but Haitians have been left of the process.  They are not only missing out on the chance to participate in the rebuilding of the country, but also on the opportunity to gain experience and expertise by partaking in the process. 

The official international government aid process has faired no better.  The international community led by UN Special Envoy to Haiti and former US President, Bill Clinton, worked with the Haitian Government to set up a commission to manage the reconstruction process.  They established the Haiti Interim Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), co-led by Mr. Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Bellerive.  The HIRC has developed a plan – without consulting Haitian ministers – and put together a process to award projects to firms.  Projects seem to be awarded mainly on the basis of political relationships with key members of the IHRC mainly foreign.  Recently, the Haitian members of the IHRC delivered a speech at a meeting of the Commission expressing frustration about how they have been left out of the process.  They contended that they have been an afterthought and treated merely as a rubberstamp for decisions already made by the leadership.  Further, they complained that all contracts have gone to foreign firms without a bidding process or clearly defined criteria for selection.  They charged that the process is simply not serving Haitians or Haiti’s long-term development. See:

Turning this around requires a fundamental restructuring of international aid.  The Haitian government is too weak to take control of the aid process and has not demonstrated the political will to set national priorities and ensure that aid programs address those priorities.  In absence of a functioning Haitian government, it is up to the aid community to reevaluate how they are providing aid and the impact they are having.  To be effective, they will need to prioritize building capacity in country, work with people in the Haitian government to set national priorities, coordinate among the aid community to ensure there is no duplication of efforts, and ensure that they are actually building up the Haitian people and institutions through their aid.  Otherwise, there are merely acting as “poverty pimps”, exploiting the poverty and dire circumstances to drum up funds in the name of charity, but then not actually providing Haitians with the tools to lift themselves out of poverty.  Haitians are just kept weak and poor and have no way to break free from their pimps.  This is a harsh analogy to be sure and most aid organizations undoubtedly have good intentions, but let’s be frank:  successfully training people to take care of themselves puts them out of a job.

Finally, I am well aware that it is easy to find problems with this process and that the coverage of Haiti is full of analyzing the things going wrong in country.  But there are things that have gone right, and we should give credit where it is due.  Some organizations have approached Haiti in constructive and beneficial ways.  Oxfam, for example, went to local farmers to buy produce for their food programs.  This was a boon to Haitian farmers.  US AID food programs did a good job of covering the camps and providing regular access to meals.  The Iron Market has been rebuilt allowing the small merchants to go and sell their products. 

But I am most proud of the Haitian people who have shown resilience and strength in the face of such devastating circumstances.  I am proud of the creativity they have shown.  There is a small watchdog group that started up in order to track the spending of aid money.  They have no resources and no training, but have shown real dedication to the issue.  They work tirelessly in the face of great odds.  The journalists who work for almost no money, but have the country wired display great professionalism even exposing their colleagues when they see corruption.  They get the story right and they expose it -- even in the face of threats from Groupe de Bourdon and government operatives.  They are real heroes and get little recognition for the work that they do.  They deserve more funding and training because they have the confidence of the Haitian people.

While there are bright spots, we have a long way to go.  Recovery and rebuilding under the current circumstances will be slow.  But there are still ways to turn the process around and rebuild Haiti into the vibrant country that we all know it can be.  The following are a few solutions that I put forward for 2011:

1.     Establish a Housing Fund:  Until Haitians can rebuild their homes, there will be little opportunity for economic development.  Most Haitians will use their homes as collateral to secure credit and loans to start new businesses or make major purchases.  Without their homes, they of course have no collateral.  I propose putting together a Haitian Housing Authority.  The Authority would be a public-private partnership raise a fund and grant low-interest mortgages for families to rebuild homes.  The funds could come from the existing donations.  Many organizations have yet to spend their funding, and this would be the most effective use of the funding.  For example, the Red Cross has only spent $200 million of the $480 million they raised.

There is an earthquake recovery expert in San Francisco, Keith Miyamoto, who estimates that it would cost about $200 million to get one million people into new houses within six months.  He has already provided technical training to local Haitian engineers and masons on how to identify and fix homes that are repairable and how to construct new homes that will withstand a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.  The training is there and ready to go, we just need the vehicle and funding to do this.  That would best be accomplished through a public private partnership.

2.     Establish a Small Business Commission:  We need to jumpstart Haiti’s small business sector, which makes up the majority of the economy.  This should be led by a Small Business Commission, which should again operate as a public-private partnership to accomplish three main functions.  First, the business regulations need to be revamped to make it easier to set up a legitimate business.  Haiti was ranked among the most difficult countries to set up a new business.  Second, this commission should assist small businesses with business plans, mentoring and providing expertise and access to all regulations and required forms.  In this function, it could be modeled along the lines of the myriad of state government business one-stop centers throughout the US.  And most importantly, this commission should provide micro-credit to entrepreneurs to get their businesses up and running.  Currently, Haitians have to pay 40% interest on their loans, which puts them beyond the reach of most small business people. 

3.     Reorganize the IHRC:  The current structure of the Haitian Interim Reconstruction Commission is just not working for all the reasons listed previously.  The Haitian members of the Commission have contended that projects are being awarded without bids and without criteria.  The overall development plan is loose and is not tied to Haiti’s long-term development.  And, most importantly, it is not building capacity.  In order to better serve Haitian interests, the HIRC should be reorganized to include Haitian Ministers, the Haitian private sector, and the Diaspora, who are all currently excluded from the process.  The international community needs to continue to play an important role providing expertise and exercising authority to ensure funding goes to key priorities.  But the current co-leadership structure is not serving Haiti’s interests.

4.     Integrate the Haitian Diaspora:  More than 83% of competent Haitians currently reside overseas.  Haitian institutions are in desperate need of this capacity; therefore, the Haitian government should create a framework to integrate Haitian Diaspora into the state institutions and private sector.  There should be a concerted effort to encourage Haitians to return to Haiti to start businesses, serve in government and support civil society institutions.

5.     Contain Cholera:  At this point, all Haitians must be vaccinated against cholera.  The cost is about $4 million, but will undoubtedly save lives and be cheaper than treating a further spread of the epidemic.  The Haitian government – with international partners – should establish a non-UN, independent expert commission to scientifically and legally establish the origin of the cholera epidemic.  It seems that the UN bears responsibility for introducing this particular strain of cholera.  If the UN is found to be the source of the outbreak, they should establish a fund to help contain and treat cholera in Haiti over the next ten years. See:

6.     Free and Fair Elections:  None of these recommendations could be implemented effectively without competent leadership that has the confidence of the Haitian people.  In short, we need real free and fair elections that produce leaders that have the support of the people.  Without this, we will only be distracted by political instability over the next year – and we will lose another year of progress.  The November 28 elections must be annulled.  As of February 7, 2011, when Preval’s term legally expires, a provision president from the Haitian Supreme Court should be put in place by invoking Article 149 of the Constitution.  The provisional government should then be tasked with organizing new elections for November 2011.  None of the members of the provisional government should be allowed to stand for election.  There is agreement on this path forward among civil society and the political party leaders.  Further, the process was successfully used in the 2006 elections and has the confidence of the Haitian public.  This is the only viable way to avert political crisis at this point.

If we could accomplish these six things in 2011, Haiti would be on the right path for marked short and long-term progress.  This is not the first time I have put forward these ideas, and I am not the only one advocating them.  There are sound and compelling reasons for each concept.  Yet it seems that no one in the international community or the Haitian government has really picked up any thread of these issues, which are so fundamental to addressing the current situation on the ground.  Given the failure of this first year, we should all be advocating for a re-examination of the current strategies and a fundamental shift in the way aid and development is being conducted in country.