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#4444: This Week in Haiti 18:15 6/28/00 (fwd)

"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
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                           HAITI PROGRES
              "Le journal qui offre une alternative"

                      * THIS WEEK IN HAITI *

                      June 28 - July 4, 2000
                          Vol. 18, No. 15


Former President Jean Bertrand Aristide has been shot. Prime
Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis is resigning. Aristide?s thugs
tried to burn down the home of Dr. Debussy Damier, who just
resigned from the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP).

These are just some of the wild rumors which raced around Haiti
and its diaspora this past week, reflecting the tremendous
political tensions in the country.

The source of the tensions, however, is not from within, but from
without. The French and US governments joined bureaucrats from
the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations
(UN) in pressing Haitian President René Préval to overrule the
CEP and scrub the May 21st election results, which were made
official Jun. 19-20. Aristide?s Lavalas Family party (FL) was the
big winner, much to Washington?s chagrin.

The presidential veto being pushed for would be unconstitutional,
and Préval has stood steadfast behind the CEP, whose members have
become more and more exasperated with brazen foreign
interference. The OAS has questioned the CEP?s method of
calculating Senate-seat winners. ?It is the same method used in
?90, ?95, and ?97, and we don?t need to rehash the matter
anymore,? sighed CEP member Carlo Dupiton. ?Haiti is an
independent and sovereign nation, and the electoral institution
doesn?t receive orders from anybody.?

This kind of spunk is driving Haiti?s increasingly unpopular and
puny opposition to ever more desperate rhetoric. ?In Haiti, we
are ruled by a terrorist and President Clinton knows very well
that one doesn?t negotiate with terrorists,? declared ultra-right
wing MPSN alliance spokesman Reynold Georges, who was the
mouthpiece for real terrorists during the 1991-94 coup d?état.
?We are calling for an international action against the
government just as was done against Mr. Noriega.?

Less shrill US allies are maneuvering more stealthily to isolate
the CEP and the Préval government. The National Council of
Electoral Observers (CNO), a disparate coalition of forty-odd
civic observer groups headed by opposition Radio Vison 2000 owner
and Washington-darling Léopold Berlanger, has said that it will
not observe the election?s second round, which the CEP has
scheduled for Sunday, Jul. 9.

But the Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations has
chastised the CNO?s pull-out as ?justified by nothing in the
CNO?s bylaws? and ?incorrect.? The Platform said it will deploy

So will CNO member organization KOZEPEP, an Artibonite Valley-
based peasant organization. KOZEPEP?s Charles Suffrat denounced
the CNO leadership as ?wanting to become a political party? and
having secret dealings with the OAS. ?Some members of the CNO
asked the OAS to prevent those named in the election results from
being seated,? Suffrat charged, saying his organization would
pull out of the CNO. ?That is very serious.?

CNO spokesperson Gérard Thibérice denied the charge, but said
that the May 21st elections suffered from a ?credibility
problem.? Previously, the CNO, like the OAS, had characterized
the elections as ?free and fair.?

Numerous popular organizations have also made declarations
proclaiming Haiti?s sovereignty. ?These are Haitian elections
carried out by Haitians to resolve Haitian problems,?declared
Yvon Bonhomme of the Operation to Save Haiti (OSA). ?Today we
condemn with all our might that the so-called friends of the
country are not respecting the principles of international law
and are poking their nose deep into the internal affairs of the

 Meanwhile, in New York, two former Haitian diplomats denounced
?massive foreign meddling? in Haiti?s elections. Ben Dupuy,
former ambassador at large for the government of President Jean-
Bertrand Aristide from 1991-1993, and Guy Ferdinand, former vice-
consul of Haiti in New York from 1991-1996, held a Jun. 26 press
conference at the United Nations Church Center in Manhattan. At
the event, they issued a joint statement calling on Washington,
the Organization of American States, and the mainstream media to
?leave Haiti in peace.?

Mr. Dupuy and Mr. Ferdinand condemned foreign officials for
presuming to act as ?the umpire of Haitian elections,? and
challenged the corporate press propaganda that Haiti is becoming
a one-party state. ?When French President Mitterand had a Social
Democratic parliament was that a one-party state?? they asked in
their statement. ?When U.S. President Johnson had a Democratic
Congress, was that a one-party state?? They might have added that
the Johnson years (1964-1968) were some of the most productive
and progressive in terms of U.S. legislation, seeing the passage
of the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Economic Opportunity
Act, and two education acts as well as the creation of the Job
Corps, Operation Head Start, Volunteers in Service to America
(VISTA), Medicaid, and Medicare.

Citing Haitian and international law, the two former diplomats
laid bare the hypocrisy and arrogance of foreign pressure on
Haiti?s sovereign electoral process. Here we present their
statement in its entirety.

New York, June 26, 2000

In recent days, there has been massive foreign meddling in
Haitian internal affairs accompanied by a concerted
disinformation campaign about Haiti?s political situation,
orchestrated by certain U.S. politicians and media outlets. As
former diplomats of the Haitian government, we are appalled by
these developments and are speaking out to set the record

First, the May 21st elections in Haiti were a success, even
according to critics of the Haitian government. Listen to the
words of James Morrell of the Center for International Policy
(CIP), a think-tank headed by former U.S. Ambassador Robert
White: ?The majority of the Haitian electorate went to the polls
in an impressive, dignified manner and delivered former president
Aristide?s Lavalas party a massive popular mandate. Election day
was virtually violence - free and OAS observers reported few

Despite this favorable assessment, Mr. Morrell goes on to accuse
Haiti?s Provisional Electoral Council, or CEP, of being a tool of
the Lavalas Family party of former President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide and claims that ?in their haste to seize control of the
senate, they defied an OAS injunction to count all the votes and
just counted the top four vote-getters in determining the winning
percentage of the Lavalas candidates.?

What ?injunction? has the CEP ?defied?? Mr. Morrell is certainly
referring to the June 20 statement of Organization of American
States Secretary General Cesar Gaviria, who ?expressed his
concern about the calculation of the percentages for the recent
Haitian senatorial elections, released by the [CEP] in Haiti on
June 19. According to the OAS Electoral Mission, these
calculations do not follow either the provisions of the
Constitution of Haiti or the Electoral Law, which was expressly
drawn up to cover these elections.?

We would like to ask both Mr. Morrell and Mr. Gaviria: Who
appointed the OAS to be the umpire of Haitian elections? Where
does the Haitian Constitution or Electoral Law give it the right
to issue an ?injunction? to Haitian election officials? Who are
they to interpret Haitian laws? Which law says that electoral
observers will determine the method of voting tabulation to be

In fact, Article One of the July 1999 Electoral Law states that
the CEP ?is responsible for the organization and the control, in
complete independence, of the elections across the entire
territory of the Republic until the proclamation of the voting
results. It enjoys administrative autonomy. It is the final
arbiter of any disputes raised either about the elections or
about the application or the violation of the Electoral Law...?

Furthermore, according to Article 11, ?to guarantee candidates?
rights, there exists the Central Office of Electoral
Litigation... whose responsibility is to deal with, as a last
resort if necessary, any disputes over electoral operations being
dealt with by the Departmental Office of Electoral Litigation...
All disputes which are not administrative and result from the
electoral operations are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the
[Central Office of Electoral Litigation],? an agency of the CEP.

 So our Electoral Law is very clear as to how disputes are to be
handled and by whom, and it is clearly not by the OAS or the
Associated Press or Reuters.

Furthermore, we challenge the OAS and their opinion-makers to
show us in the electoral law which article stipulates how the
vote is to be tabulated. They cannot. The law is clear. This is
the exclusive prerogative of the CEP.

The CEP?s determination on electoral matters is just like that of
the Supreme Court in the U.S.. It is the final word, whether you
like it or not. We certainly did not agree with, in fact we were
horrified by, the U.S. Supreme Court?s decision to not reopen the
case of Gary Graham, known as Shaka Sankofa, the almost surely
innocent man who was executed by Gov. George W. Bush?s State of
Texas last Thursday. But that was the Supreme Court?s

Some media also point to the resignation of CEP president Léon
Manus and two other members from the nine-member body. But once
again, the Electoral Law is clear. Decisions of the body are to
be made by the majority. The departure of three dissidents, bent
on complying with Washington?s dictates, does not invalidate the
decisions taken by the majority of the CEP.

Finally Article 163 gives the CEP, not the OAS, the power to
?proclaim the definitive election results.?

In fact, the OAS should be more concerned with abiding by its own
precepts rather than lecturing Haiti. For example, Article 3 of
the OAS Charter states that ?every State has the right to choose,
without external interference, its political, economic, and
social system and to organize itself in the way best suited to
it, and has the duty to abstain from intervening in the affairs
of another State.?

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has come to the OAS?s
side saying that CEP officials must ?strictly adhere to the
procedures stipulated in the electoral law,? as if they weren?t.
He would do better to ?strictly adhere to the procedures
stipulated? in the UN Charter which explicitly forbids the body
from meddling in member states? internal affairs.

The truth of the matter is that both the OAS and the UN are
acting on behalf of the U.S. government, which since the first
election of President Aristide in 1990, has worked to obstruct
and overturn the will of the Haitian people. Washington opposed
Aristide both before and after his election, and it had a hand in
the Sept. 1991 coup d?état against his government.

The U.S. government is also obstructing justice in Haiti. U.S.
officials refuse to return 160,000 documents seized by U.S.
troops from Haitian military and paramilitary headquarters. These
documents belong to the Haitian government and people, but the
U.S. refuses to return them without editing out the names of its
own citizens implicated in crimes against humanity during the

We note that U.S. troops entered Haiti in Sept. 1994 under the
aegis of the UN. If the Secretary General wants to make an
?injunction,? he should demand that the U.S. return Haiti?s
documents, not meddle in Haitian elections.

The U.S. government and some of its stenographers (we wouldn?t
call them journalists) seem to have adopted the Goebbels?
propaganda formula: ?Lie, lie, lie and something always will
stick.? For example, they keep repeating that President René
Préval dissolved the Haitian parliament and is ruling by decree.
This is a lie. The terms of the parliamentarians expired in Jan.
1999, and President Préval refused to condone their
unconstitutional attempt to extend their terms.

The new lie, as formulated by Michael Norton, the Associated
Press? correspondent, is that Haiti is ?on the road to becoming a
virtual one-party state.? Why? Because Washington fears that
Aristide will win November?s presidential election in Haiti. When
a president enjoys a parliamentary majority, does that make a
nation a one-party state? When French President Mitterand had a
Social Democratic parliament was that a one-party state? When
U.S. President Johnson had a Democratic Congress, was that a one-
party state?

Using such lies and distortions, Washington is trying to pressure
some members of the OAS to take sanctions against Haiti if the
CEP doesn?t bow to foreign dictates to change the election
results officially declared on June 19-20. We salute CARICOM,
which is refusing to go along with this thoroughly unjustified
punitive action.

In summation, we are asking the OAS, the UN, Washington, and also
the large mainstream media to show some decency. Stop attacking
the country and its leaders. Leave Haiti in peace and let the
country, whose slave revolution sparked the independence
struggles of all Latin America, enjoy its sovereignty. Let the
Haitian people decide their destiny on their own.

US and European Interference Violates Recent UN Resolution

In last week?s column, we asserted, as we had two weeks earlier
when preliminary results were announced, that the OAS was wrong
in saying that the CEP had determined the percentages of
senatorial victors by totaling up only the top four vote-getters.
The first time we were right, the second time we weren?t.

In the first-round?s final count, the CEP used a formula which
calculated senatorial percentages on the basis of the top four
contenders (and the top six in the Central Plateau, where three
Senate seats are being filled), as it did in previous elections.

The CEP adopted this formula because it wanted an even multiple
of the number of seats in contention. Otherwise, by dividing an
odd number of single candidates? votes in half (or in thirds)
?you will create fictitious votes, and then you are not dealing
with votes cast,? explained Luciano Pharaon, the CEP?s director
of electoral operations. ?You end up giving a series of people
votes they did not get.?

Pharaon notes that there is a ?void at the level of procedure? in
the Constitution and Electoral Law, which says that victors need
an absolute majority of 50% plus one of the vote but doesn?t
?tell you how to arrive at this figure.?

?So the Electoral Council, which is the sole judge in this
matter, had to devise a procedure which would be the most fair to
both the electors and the candidates,? Pharaon concluded.

In short, the ?debate? over what formula to adopt is a false one,
since the CEP has the final word on electoral matters (see
accompanying article). In fact, the intrusion of the OAS,
Washington, and France into the CEP?s sovereign domain flies in
the face of a UN General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/54/168),
voted in Dec. 1999 and entitled: ?Respect for the principles of
national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs
of States in their electoral process.?

For example, Article 2 of this resolution ?reaffirms the right of
peoples, without external interference, to determine methods and
to establish institutions regarding the electoral processes...?
Article 3 ?reaffirms also that any activities that attempt,
directly or indirectly, to interfere in the free development of
national electoral processes, in particular in developing
countries, or that are intended to sway the results of such
processes, violate the spirit and letter of the principles
established in the [UN] Charter and in the Declaration on
Principles of International Law...? And as if speaking directly
to the U.S. and France, which are at their most imperious today,
Article 5 ?strongly appeals to all States to refrain from
financing political parties or groups in other States and taking
any other action that undermines their electoral processes.?

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