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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Will OAS Secretary General support Privert’s coup in Haiti?

On June 14, the 120-day term of Haiti’s Provisional President Jocelerme Privert officially ended. Haiti’s constitution explicitly prohibits an extension or a new mandate (Articles 98.3 and 134.3). Both the Legislative and the Judicial Branch have acknowledged the Presidential vacancy. The Interamerican Human Rights Commission has done the same. Yet Privert illegally hangs on to the Presidency.

Since June 15, like Alberto Fujimori in Peru, Privert is attempting a coup (autogolpe). He is using state institutions, violence, threats, intimidation, and corruption against the Legislative and Judicial Branches of Government as well against his political opponents to desperately cling to power. On June 21, the National Assembly was attacked Privert chimere’s who threw rocks and fired guns at the building and exiting representatives to thwart their attempts to set forth a process to fill the Presidency. Senator Jean Renel Senatus and Deputies Romel Bauge and Rony Celestin – all leading efforts to unseat the illegal President -- escaped assassination attempts. Celestin is the majority leader of the Chamber of Deputies. Eleven political opponents have been killed and 15 had their houses and/or businesses burned to the ground, including the business of Anne Valerie Timothee the President of opposition PHTK party, former President Martelly’s political party.

These tactics are consistent with Privert’s violent record which includes masterminding the massacres in Raboteau and La Scierie when he was Minister of the Interior from 2002 -04, according to human rights reports and the Haitian judicial system. His 120-day track record as Provisional President was a complete failure. His one task was to organize free and fair elections, which are nowhere on the horizon.

Parliament through a National Assembly should replace Privert to facilitate the finalization of the 2015 elections. But, first Privert needs to give back the Presidential sash and vacate the National Palace. Without that, the country is heading to more conflict and instability

This is the context in which OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro -- influenced by Privert’s special envoy and behind the scene by Sandra Honore, head of MINUSTAH and former Chief of Staff of OAS Assistant Secretary General -- issued a communique on July 15 putting pressure on the Haitian parliament instead of delegitimizing Privert’s coup. How can the OAS support an illegitimate provisional President organizing a coup in Haiti in violation of the Democratic Charter and Haiti’s constitution while undermining parliament? How can the Interamerican Human Rights Commission understand that Privert’s term ended leaving a Presidential vacuum and not the Secretary General?  If the OAS is a champion of democracy and cares about Haiti’s political stability, they will condemn Privert’s coup and encourage elections.