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#4735: Burnham adds two cents concerning elections and int´l response (fwd)
From: thor burnham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
While i claim no particular insight into the specifics of the latest
election debacle (if indeed it is), i must say that i have to agree with
those on the list who are questioning the international condemnation of the
results and/or irregularities. Are we splitting hairs? Or is the criticism
justifid? And, if it is justified, does it logically lead to international
ostracism? sounds like a repeat of the Haitian revolution and some of the
international reaction to that turn of events. plus ca change...
I was recently in a country in the Americas where voting problems were
widespread. The chief electoral officer was publicly vilified for poor
organization, lack of ballots, and the fact that workers didnt show up to
the balloting stations. Polling times had to be extended, and a bomb threat
closed another polling station. Many people didnt get to vote at all. Where
was this fiasco? It was the 1999 provincial election in Ontario, Canada. And
yet, Canada, with its all too smug holier than thou attitude has seen fit to
declare Haiti once again inept. (never mind the large scale fraud that
permeated the 1995 secession referendum) And i dont remember Haiti publicly
condemning it for its election problems.
This being said, if there are problems, then certainly they need to be
investigated and corrected. But i'm having a difficult time making the
connection between Aristide´s future legitimacy and electoral problems. If
it turns out to be that FL did orchestrate fraud, then fine, deal with that.
But i do find it interesting how quickly the daggers leave their sheaths
when somebody who wants to change the status quo actually becomes percieved
as a threat.
By the way, the recent election in Mexico is another case in point.
Widely hailed as an example of democratic acheivement, there were many
problems. I was in Oaxaca in the zocalo on the night of the election. A
fairly large crowd assembled outside the election offices demanding
ballots....apparently the IFE ran out of ballots, so hundreds of people did
not get to vote. They stoned the building and tried to break down the door.
But, Fox is pretty much a status quo neo-liberal, so no one got too excited,
which was confirmed when he backed down on his promise to pull the army out
of chiapas...after all, it is a question of national sovereignty. i dont
remember reading a deluge (pardon the pun) of washington post articles
condemning the elections in Mexico, but they certainly trot out the rhetoric
for Haiti, dont they?
my two bits
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