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5372: Re: Rumors of a coup; Simidor Responds to Antoine (fwd)

From: Karioka9@cs.com

There is much to agree and to disagree with in Antoine's reply, but for the 
sake of brevity let's just focus on one or two items.  I wrote: 

>> But people on this list will recall the pre-election violence which
>> kept everybody but the Lavalas candidates from seriously
>> campaigning.

To which Antoine replied:

> I do remember the pre-election violence and vigorously denounced
> it in previous notes to the list.  However what I refuse to do is to
> "automatically" assign the planning and execution of those violent
> acts to Fanmi Lavalas. . . .   

First, let's note that I did not attribute any of the violence to Aristide 
and his people.  I merely pointed out a known fact: that as a result of the 
pre-election violence only the Fanmi Lavalas candidates were able to campaign 
seriously for any length of time.  That fact alone should be enough, I would 
think, to invalidate any election.  

But wait. The people went out to vote in massive numbers. All the national 
and international observers agreed that what happened at the polls was kosher 
and above board.  The real question is what happened offstage, before the 
polling places opened, and afterward when the lights went out.  I repeat: 
OPL, KONAKOM, Espace de Concertation, and even the neo-Macoute MPSN, gave 
detailed accounts of vote tampering.  Some of those accounts are available on 
the internet, on the CIP website.  The Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP) also 
gave ample evidence of how Fanmi Lavalas stole the elections in the Central 
Plateau.  Ho w much tampering and on what scale?  It is telling that with 
MPP's strength in the Plateau, they were not able to "elect" a single 
senator, deputy or CASEC.  Facts are stubborn things, but people can be even 
more stubborn; they ask for proofs, but won't look them up.

The next question is why mess at all with the elections, if victory was 
certain.  The obvious answer is either that Lavalas' popularity is not what 
it used to be, or that Aristide's hegemonic ambition leaves no room for any 

In the first instance, it is worth keeping in mind that Lavalas IS the party 
in power, that they now have a demonstrated record of screwing things up and 
making life miserable for the poor and the  middle-class alike, for five 
solid years.  "Bay kou, bliye; pote mak, sonje."  My own limited experience, 
talking to ordinary people in the countryside and in Port-au-Prince, has 
revealed a depth of bitterness and disillusionment that belies the myth of 
Aristide's popularity.  Given an alternative, those people would probably 
vote for something else.  This is not to say that Aristide won't be elected 
in an honest election, but his moral authority is certainly not what it used 
to be: it no longer suffices for him to line up a bunch of cronies to get 
them elected.  

The election frauds then point to an undeniable fact: that in spite of an 
unprecedented multimillion dollar campaign, and the windfall of the 
pre-election violence, the Lavalas bosses could not expect the kind of 
overwhelming victory that would give them the absolute control they crave, 
including the power to change the Constitution.  
Again, I'm willing to believe that many of the chimères' actions are the work 
of Aristide's enemies, or were carried out without his approval.  But 
Aristide also has a clear moral obligation to speak out, in plain language 
and without doublespeak, against all reprehensible acts committed in his 
name.  This is not something that can be deputized to the lame Yvon Neptune, 
now president of the National Assembly! There comes a point beyond which 
silence becomes complicity and guilt.  Take for instance the near lynching of 
police commissioner Jackie Nau at the hands of Lavalas strongman Ronald 
Cadavre and his acolytes, which led to the bogus coup rumor of last week.  Or 
take the rampage this week in Petit-Goave by Lavalas chimères hungry for a 
place on the municipality's payroll. These are just two incidents among many. 
 If Aristide doesn't condone those actions, why is he not speaking out 
against them?  

Guy Antoine is right on one thing: the crisis in Haiti is getting worse, not 
better, and a lot of good people are washing their hands off the whole 
situation.  But that's because the man they had trusted to turn things around 
has himself become a major part of the problem.  Antoine reasons that: "We 
could decide that Bush or Gore is the wrong person to assume the office of 
President of the United States.  But are we entitled to do anything more than 
our civic duty and vote our conscience?" Well, according to the US 
Constitution, yes!  The "Founding Fathers," revolutionaries in their own 
ways, were of the opinion that whenever politicians stop representing the 
people, the people have the right to take up arms and throw out the bums.  
That's democracy for you!  Let's hope that in Haiti too, the people will 
throw all the bums out, including the jive opposition.  And let's hope they 
won't wait, dully, another five years to do it! 

Daniel Simidor