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#4456: Re: #4444: This Week in Haiti 18:15 6/28/00 (fwd)

From: Stan Goff <stangoff@all4democracy.org>

I would add to this report that by the implicit standards of the
erstaz-oppostion and their US/OAS collaborators, US election law should be
given far greater scrutiny.  Begin with the exclusion of third parties by
expensive and complicated ballot access laws, the near complete financing
and management of the entire process by less than one percent of the
population, the single-member/winner take all districts that continue to
disfranchise black and brown voters, the antiquated electoral college system
for presidential elections, and of course the most unrepresentative body in
the nation--the Senate.

The US needs to remove the beam from its own eye.

----- Original Message -----
From: Robert Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
To: Haiti mailing list <haiti@lists.webster.edu>
Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2000 12:46 PM
Subject: #4444: This Week in Haiti 18:15 6/28/00 (fwd)

> "This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
> newsweekly. To obtain the full paper with other news in French
> and Creole, please contact us (tel) 718-434-8100,
> (fax) 718-434-5551 or e-mail at <editor@haiti-progres.com>
> Also check our website at <www.haiti-progres.com>.
>                            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
> observers.
> 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
> country."
>  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
> straight.
> 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
> irregularities."
> 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
> used?
> 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
> prerogative.
> 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
> coup.
> 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."
> All articles copyrighted Haiti Progres, Inc. REPRINTS ENCOURAGED
> Please credit Haiti Progres.
>                                -30-