[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#4804: Fwd: Haiti News Summary - August 7, 2000 (fwd)

From: radman <resist@best.com>

>From: HaitiNewsSummary@aol.com
>Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2000 04:17:44 EDT
>Haiti News Summary  - August 7, 2000
>The Following is a brief weekly summary of news from Haiti.  Individual
>sources, mostly from within Haiti, are cited at the end of each item.  If you
>do not wish to continue to receive this news summary please e-mail us at
>HaitiNewsSummary@AOL.com and we will remove you from the distribution list.
>Also feel free to send the addresses of anyone else you know who would like
>to be added to this list.  This summary covers the last two weeks as there
>was no summary for the week of August 1.
>Election News
>On Sunday July 30 runoff elections were held in the Grandanse and in several
>other districts in the Southeast and Northwest.  This brings the
>parliamentary election process to a close.  Fanmi Lavalas holds 63 of 83
>deputy seats and 18 of 19 Senate seats. The results for deputy seats that
>were up in last Sunday's elections will be announced in the coming days. (At
>the close of the election period AHP printed a run down of the events related
>to the elections since the appointment of the CEP in March of 1999.  See
>below for a translation of that resume.)
>Last week the President of the CEP indicated that the CEP is now engaged in
>assisting the organization of indirect elections, which will lead to the
>creation of a permanent electoral council as mandated by the Haitian
>constitution.  (The Electoral Council is supposed to be chosen by the ASEKs
>(communal assemblies) from all parts of the country - the establishment of a
>permanent electoral council has been delayed 13 years since the Haitian
>constitution was adopted in 1987.)
>On Friday August 4 the permanent council of the OAS decided to send a mission
>to Haiti led by OAS President Caesar Gaviria.  Their stated mission is to
>identify, with the government of Haiti and other political and civil actors,
>options and recommendations towards resolving the conflict over differing
>interpretations of Haiti's electoral law, with the goal of continuing to
>reinforce democracy in Haiti.  The resolution authorizing the mission was
>adopted after numerous modifications put forward by CARICOM, which has
>generally taken a position more supportive of Haiti.  The Jamaican Ambassador
>to CARICOM told the body that he regretted that Haiti had not heeded the
>advice of CARICOM and had gone forward with the second round of elections,
>however he indicated that CARICOM would remain constructively engaged at
>Haiti's side in seeking to resolve this crisis.  He also cautioned the OAS
>against appearing unjust in its treatment of Haiti compared to the attitude
>it has adopted towards Peru.   (AHP, AP)
>The United States announced on Thursday that it would end its assistance for
>programs to train the Haitian National Police and its Judicial Reform
>Program.  The US Justice Department indicated the programs are ending due to
>lack of funds.  However, the Agence France de Press reported that sources
>within the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince have said the decision is linked to
>the conflict between Haiti and the US over the legislative elections.
>Haiti's Minister of Justice tried to minimize the importance of this step,
>pointing out that the program of assistance the PNH received over the last
>few years is different from the type of training that is needed now that the
>police force is more established.  The Administration of Justice program,
>carried out by a USAID contractor in Haiti called Cheechi has been sharply
>criticized both within Haiti and in the US, notably on a 60 Minutes piece.
>The vast majority of the funds for this program went to the salaries of
>foreign experts brought in for the project.  The project's first director was
>an American attorney who had been disbarred in the United States.  (AHP)
>Conyers Speaks About Haiti in the US Congress
>On July 13 Congressman John Conyers made the following statements on the
>floor of the US congress.  "We are holding Haiti to a higher standard than we
>are holding other nations including ourselves.  Lest we forget it was only a
>few years ago that we had to send in federal re-enforcement to allow people
>to vote in my own backyard of Flint, Michigan and we, the great democratic
>country of the world had to enact not one but two voting rights acts to give
>blacks and other minorities unfettered access to the polls.  And even today,
>this access continues to be undermined by the courts determinations of
>"But for those of us who are uncomfortable examining our own struggle with
>democracy as we are the beacon of democratic values, let us examine how we
>have dealt with other countries in similar straits, such as the country of
>"Last month Peru held elections that many have touted as wholly fraudulent.
>The New York Times reported, "On the surface it appeared so familiar,
>President Albert Fugimori rode to a third term of Sunday in an election so
>full of dirty tricks that Alejandro Toledo, the opposition candidate,
>withdrew from the race, and all international election monitors backed off,
>too, before a single vote was cast."  The San Diego Union Tribune reported,
>"The elections were tainted by widespread charges of voting irregularities,
>bullying of the opposition and use of state funds to benefit Fujimori. OAS
>observers walked out a few days before the election, saying the elections
>were not fair."
>"On the other hand, in regard to Haiti's elections, the AP reported that,
>"Millions of Haitians braced under a scorching sun and the threat of violence
>and voted.  According to official records about 60 percent of the three
>million eligible voters went to the polls, surpassing many established
>democracies."   Speaking of the impressive numbers, the Associated Press said
>that "more than 2 million voters - an estimated 60% of the electorate - cast
>their ballots in the elections."  We noticed that this is considerably higher
>than the 38% turnout in the US Congressional elections of 1998."
>"Haiti's elections were relatively free of violence and we witnessed a firm
>commitment from Haitian citizens to have democratic elections.  We observed
>great levels of voter participation and an overwhelming sense of civic pride,
>and concerted efforts towards the conduct of credible elections."
>"...Why are we so quick to condemn a country that has so little but is so
>important to our country...Haiti is a fragile new democracy.  This is only
>its third election since it rid itself of over 50 years of dictatorship rule.
>  If only we could have been so perfect so early in our development as a full
>- functioning democracy. " (Exerpts from Congressional Transcript)
>Japan Denies it has Taken Sanctions Against Haiti
>Japan's Ambassador to Haiti denied reports that Japan had begun sanctions
>against Haiti.  He clarified that a shipment of medicines had been held up
>because of fear over demonstrations near the airport, but that Japan had
>taken no steps towards sanctions against Haiti.  This week the Japanese
>Agency for International Cooperation signed an agreement with Haiti to supply
>15 thousand tons of fertilizer to Haiti.  Japan is also preparing to import
>banana tree pulp from Haiti for the production of paper.  Experts from three
>Japanese companies are expected next week to visit Haiti and to sign a
>contract with the peasant organization KOZEPEP to deliver a first 15 metric
>tons of banana tree pulp for the price of $20,000.  The pulp is being
>purchased for a new paper production process being pioneered in Japan.  (AHP)
>To date no foreign government has officially announced that it will adopt
>sanctions in response to the conflict over the senatorial elections, though
>several governments continue to threaten to do so.
>On July 26 President Preval called upon the courage and patriotism of the
>population in the face of possible sanctions by the international community.
>Preval indicated that the Haitian government would continue to do everything
>in its power to help the international community to understand the
>methodology that was used to calculate the percentages in the senatorial
>elections.  But "in case the international community does impose sanctions,
>Haiti will continue to fight in favor of democracy which must necessarily
>stem from respect for the institutions of the country", said Preval,
>reaffirming that the CEP is an independent body.  Pointing out that many
>countries in the international community took more than 20 years before they
>recognized Haiti's independence in the last century, he said that these
>countries are free to decide how long they will need to recognize the vote of
>the Haitian people on May 21.  (AHP)
>On July 25 OPL issued a statement calling for the formation of a new
>government, new elections and a new CEP.  They suggested that a new Prime
>Minister be selected through consensus uniquely of "the opposition parties
>and the organized sectors civil society".  Recently other parties have also
>called for this "option zero", some have also been calling for the
>reinstatement of the Haitian military.  (AHP)
>A cartel (three person governing body) of delegates elected on May 21 under
>the banner of the Espace de Concertation were sworn into office at the court
>house in Petit Goave on July 24.  These delegates took their posts despite
>pressure from the leaders of their party who are calling for the annulment of
>the May 21 elections. The delegates indicated that they decided to take their
>posts despite the disapproval of the their party in order to aid the
>population of their town in the struggle for development.  (AHP)
>In a statement of July 24 Father Yvon Massac denounced what he called the
>hypocrisy of a large portion of the international community in regards to
>Haiti's elections.  He accused sectors of the international community of
>trying to impose a prefabricated democracy on Haiti, as if there are two
>types of democracy: one for the rich another for the poor.  He also decried
>the fact that Haiti is already paying interest on international loans which
>the country has not yet been able to use.  A large part of the funds which
>the international community has threatened to cut off have been tied up for
>years because the Haitian parliament has yet to pass the needed legislation,
>despite this Haiti pays interest on the loans as if the funds have already
>been dispersed.  (AHP, Radio Haiti-Inter)
>Yvon Feuille, the Fanmi Lavalas Senator elect from the Southeast commented
>that the international community does not have the legal means to impose
>sanction on Haiti.  Feuille pointed out that the UN and OAS can impose
>sanctions against their members states only in the cases of systematic
>violation of human rights, pro-terrorists activities, and tolerance of crimes
>against humanity.  According to Feuille, individual countries may decide to
>adopt sanctions against Haiti on a bilateral level.  "And this would not be
>sanctions, but abuse against the Haitian people who have let their will be
>known notably in the May and July 2000 elections" Feuille said.   (AHP)
>Justice for Jean Dominique
>On July 31 several hundred people, including friends and family of Jean
>Dominique attended a cultural event at the UN Plaza in downtown
>Port-au-Prince to pay homage to the director of Radio Haiti Inter who was
>assassinated on April 3.  The artists who performed included Barbara
>Guillaume, Sito Cave, Boulo Valcourt, Beethova Obas, Jean-Cluade Martineau,
>and Azor. All called for justice for Jean Dominique.
>On Monday August 1 there was a march in Port-au-Paix, and in Leogane a group
>of peasants organized a sit-in in front of the courthouse, all calling upon
>the authorities to take action in the investigation into Dominique's murder.
>On Monday July 24 1000 people marched in Port-au-Prince in a similar
>demonstration organized by KOZEPEP calling for justice for Jean Dominique.
>The leaders of the march strongly criticized the justice system for the
>slowness of the investigation.  Charles Suffrard of KOZEPEP accused the
>judicial authorities of encouraging impunity "Impunity constitutes a threat
>to democracy and to the development of the country" he said.
>Dany Toussaint, the Fanmi Lavalas Senator elect for the West met with
>investigators working on the Dominque case on Thursday, July 26.  In comments
>after the meeting Toussaint indicated that he would do everything he can to
>cooperate with the investigation, and that he intends to make this
>investigation a priority when he is in the parliament.  He stated that he had
>nothing to do with the assassination, and in reference to an editorial
>critical of him given by Jean Dominique last November which was circulated on
>the Internet just hours after Dominique was assassinated, Toussaint said the
>authors of this crime wanted to "cloud the investigation and to tarnish my
>Several other people have been questioned in this investigation to date
>including Jean Claude Nord, Reynald Georges and one of the Boulos brothers.
>Regarding the slur campaign and accusations which have come from Republicans
>in the US alleging that he is involved in drug trafficking, Toussaint said
>that he is prepared to respond to these accusations before an independent and
>impartial body, and he asked those who have made these accusations to present
>whatever proof they have to international public opinion.  (AHP)
>Grenade Thrown at Canadian Embassy
>On the evening of July 27 a Grenade was thrown at the Residence of the
>Canadian Ambassador in Port-au-Prince.  No one was hurt in the incident, and
>the Ambassador and his wife were out of the country at the time.  The police
>reported that the type of grenade used was often used by members of the
>former Haitian military.  The Haitian government strongly condemned the
>HNP Dismantles Criminal Gang
>On August 1 the HNP announced the dismantling of a criminal gang that was
>operating in the Areas of Cite Soleil, Drouillard and the airport.  Five
>arrests were made over the weekend.  Those arrested are also allegedly
>implicated in the murder of Dr. Ary Bordes on May 6.  The arrests were made
>following many complaints by the population.  (AHP, TNH)
>The following is a translation of an AHP editorial which looks back over the
>2000 parliamentary elections.
>As we reach the end of the parliamentary elections of 2000 no one can say
>that there were not difficulties throughout the process.
>The first controversies arose over the appointment of the members of the
>Departmental Electoral Bureaus (BEDs).  The names of BED members were
>proposed by political parties, and came, as did most of the members of the
>CEP, from an agreement reached between the executive and the Espace de
>Concertation in March of 1999.
>A second serious point of contention was the figures released by the CEP
>during the voter inscription.  Two weeks into the process Leon Manus, who was
>then President of the CEP, announced that close to 3 million citizens had
>already received their voting cards.  Meanwhile, in areas throughout the
>country people were protesting that no voter registration booths had even
>opened in their areas.  Many people had to walk a full day to find a
>registration bureau.  The President of the CEP refused to follow up on the
>complaints of the population, and voices were raised to denounce an
>"electoral coup d'etat" which appeared to be in the making if elections went
>forward on March 19th as planned without popular participation.
>Popular organizations, peasants, and women's groups took to the streets
>almost daily to pressure the CEP to open registration booths in all urban
>neighborhoods and in the most remote rural areas.  President Preval and Prime
>Minister Alexis supported this call.  Only a few political parties supported
>the demands of the people.  In the end some additional registration booths
>were opened.
>In the midst of this worry and confusion about the elections the President
>and Prime Minster met at the palace with technicians from IFES and from the
>UN DP who were assisting in the elections as well as with members of the CEP.
>  The technicians present aknowledged serious technical difficulties.
>Micheline Begin, who was at that time head of IFES, affirmed in a report that
>if these errors were not corrected before the election Haiti would be
>courting disaster.  They also acknowledged that there were not as many people
>registered as Manus had claimed.
>In the face of all these pressures, Leon Manus was obligated to delay the
>election date from March 19 and to open new registration bureaus in heavily
>populated neighborhoods.
>The opposition, who had until then been anxious for elections, now began to
>say they would withdraw from the process, making it clear that they wished to
>go to the polls only on March 19.  The opposition also referred to cases of
>violence that were taking place in the country to justify their position.
>Reports of attacks and disappearances of candidates, some real and some
>fabricated, were swiftly denounced by the OAS Electoral mission in Haiti
>without first confirming the veracity of the reports.
>It was in this atmosphere, that one of the most outspoken proponents of
>honest elections, Jean Dominique, director of Radio Haiti Inter, was
>assassinated on April 3.  Many people saw a relationship between this
>assassination and Dominique's numerous denunciations of the "electoral coup
>d'etat" and his positions in favor of victims of abuse of all sorts.
>In the face of the determination of the CEP and of the Executive to hold the
>elections despite the violence, and with pressure from the international
>community, the opposition parties agreed to go to the polls. In fact, at this
>juncture opposition parties echoed the declarations of the international
>community, claiming that only the holding of elections would resolve the
>crisis in Haiti.
>The first round of elections was held peacefully as scheduled on May 21st.
>Despite the dire forecasts of violence and the low turn predicted, the
>population turned out in mass.  All the observers, national and
>international, affirmed that the elections had gone without major problems
>and that the irregularities observed did not impact the results.
>But the position of certain sectors of the international community changed
>drastically after the first partial results were announced.  Orlando
>Marville, the head of the OAS electoral observer mission, dealt the first
>blow.  He claimed that the method for counting the votes did not respect the
>electoral law and that Lavalas had won only 7 senatorial seats in the first
>round.  The CEP responded that it was impossible to apply the letter of the
>law, as the Haitian constitution did not foresee the election of more than
>one third of the Senate in a single election, that is one Senator from each
>department every two years.  To resolve the matter the CEP opted for
>jurisprudence.  The most virulent response to the OAS came from Leon Manus,
>the President of the CEP.  On June 6th , in a five-page letter, he accused
>Orlando Marville of trying to undermine the credibility of the CEP and
>attempting to cause trouble in the country.  Manus explained that the CEP had
>decided upon the methodology for counting the votes long before the election
>in order to avoid any confusion after the election.  He added that the method
>for counting was used in 1990, and 1995 with the approval of the
>international community and the OAS.
>Many people wonder what happened between the day Manus sent this letter to
>Orlando Marville and June 17th the day Manus left the country.  It is
>difficult to understand the sudden about face between his scorching June 6
>letter and his remarks of June 19 made from the US.  We know only that Manus
>met with Orlando Marville on Thursday, June 15.  The subject of this meeting
>was the number of Senators elected in the first round.   According to
>reliable sources a deal was made to raise the OAS number of Senators who won
>in the first round from seven to nine.  Manus spent the next day inside a
>foreign Embassy before leaving the country in secret via the Dominican border
>on June 17.
>In the meantime, in Port-au-Prince, the opposition was already calling for
>the annulation of the elections, and some parties called for the President
>Preval to leave office.  A barrage of insults, accusations, and defamation
>was heard on the airwaves, but many listeners found it difficult to follow
>all the arguments.
>Now there are those who say no one is completely pure, even if there are
>those who are out and out dishonest and others who are better.  No one in
>this country is has amnesia.  We remember how, in the recent past, many
>politicians ran their ministries, their secretaries of state, or the mayor's
>office.  We know how some of them worked to silence the press, or to prevent
>an expression of Haitian culture through arbitrary measures.  We know how
>some of them got to power, and God knows not all of them took a peaceful
>route.  And we remember that some of them participated in, or precipitated
>the coup d'etat of September 30, 1991.  Or that others conditioned their
>participation in resolving that crisis on their own personal gain.
>We know all of this.  And we know that there are no saints.  The Haitian
>people have not simply given a carte blanche to those who are coming to power
>today.  And if, at the end of their terms, they have failed, they will
>receive the same sanction as the opposition has received today.  It is time
>to work so that all of the population will feel the impact of progress, as
>was the case during the first few months of 1991.
>Many feel the International Community should think hard before falling into
>abuse and injustice in regards to Haiti.  What explains this two pounds and
>two measures politic of the OAS?
>More than a few people have pointed out that the OAS is closing its eyes to
>Peru where the elections were judged fraudulent and controversial, but is
>striking hard against Haiti where the elections were saluted by the entire
>international community.
>If the OAS wishes to retain its credibility it is in its interest to declare
>itself in favor of aide to Haiti during its extraordinary session on Friday.
>In anycase, Haiti has not received a massive amount of aid from the
>international community despite the promises that were made in 1994 when
>President Aristide returned to Haiti.  The 500 million dollars that the
>international community has threatened to block has already been frozen for
>three years because the last parliament, paralyzed by political discord,
>never voted the laws necessary to release the funds.  According to sources
>involved in these programs most of the aid that has been given in the past
>three years has gone to the salaries of "experts" who come from the countries
>that give the aid, as in the case of the Cheechi justice reform project.
>(Cheechi is a US company given a USAID contract for judicial reform in Haiti,
>this project was the subject a searing 60 Minutes investigation).  (AHP)