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#5039: NYTimes.com Article: U.S. to Withhold Money for Haiti's Presidential Election (fwd)

From: bwharram@umich.edu

This article from NYTimes.com 
has been sent to you by Bryan L. Wharram bwharram@umich.edu.

U.S. to Withhold Money for Haiti's Presidential Election

September 6, 2000



IAMI, Sept. 5 ? The United States will not send observers or
financial aid to Haiti for that country's presidential elections in
November, a senior American diplomat said today, citing the Haitian
government's unwillingness to recalculate the results of recent
legislative elections that gave an overwhelming and disputed
majority to the party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

 Washington will also scrutinize all other development aid to Haiti
to ensure that it does not go directly to the Haitian government,
but through private nongovernmental organizations, said Luis
Lauredo, the American ambassador to the Organization of American
States. And it will review hundreds of millions of dollars in loans
pending before international financial institutions.

 The measures were announced during a meeting in Washington of the
O.A.S., which issued its own critical report of a recent mission to
Haiti that failed to nudge the Haitian government towards resolving
the political crisis. Other countries have repeatedly criticized
the Haitian government for installing a Parliament chosen using a
controversial methodology that gave Mr. Aristide's Family Lavalas
party 18 of 19 Senate seats. Electoral observers said that 10 of
those seats should have gone to a runoff, but Haitian electoral
officials have rejected their demands.

 "Absent new concrete steps to end the impasse, the United States
will not be able to conduct `business as usual' with Haiti," Mr.
Lauredo said at today's meeting.

 A senior State Department official said that American diplomats
visited Haiti last week to warn Haitian officials, including Mr.
Aristide and his protégé, President René Préval, of the impending
measures. Among the points they pressed were the need to reconsider
the contested election results as well as to name an electoral
council that would have the confidence of the Haitian people.

 The last president of the provisional electoral council resigned
and went into exile soon after the May elections, saying he had
been pressured to ratify questionable results.

 However, the Haitian government's decision to proceed with the new
Parliament, the first since January 1999, left the United States
with few other options.

 While the official could not specify how much money would be
withheld, the United States provided about $25 million for the last
elections. The American refusal to provide financial assistance for
the presidential elections could further hamper the image of Mr.
Aristide, who is presumed to be seeking re-election to the office.
"Without aid it is going to cast further doubts on the credibility
of the process," the official said.

 It would also present logistical problems, because
poverty-stricken Haiti needs to register voters and candidates, set
up polling places and hire poll workers. Many poll workers have yet
to be paid for their work in the May elections, American officials

 César Gaviria, the secretary general of the O.A.S., said that
while the international community was willing to help foster a
dialogue, the Haitian government needs to show its willingness to

 "It seems there is no political will to resolve the problems of
the May elections," he said. "That increases the skepticism and the
worries of the international community and some segments of Haitian
society about democracy in Haiti and democratic institutions in

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