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5432: Events in Haiti (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

(from Caribbean Insight newsletter)

(3 November 00)

The November 26 presidential and partial senate elections are likely to be
postponed until mid-December, a spokesman for the Conseil Électoral
Provisoire (CEP) said on October 31. The date could be changed for
technical reasons, President René Préval said earlier, as long as he could
still leave office as scheduled next February 7.  Registration of new
voters, due to begin on October 2, has not yet started and the CEP
announced the official list of candidates on October 30, three weeks late. 
Apart from former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, whose landslide
election is virtually guaranteed, six minor candidates are running for the
        The main opposition parties, grouped in the Democratic Convergence,
are sticking to their boycott after the failure of negotiations over the
disputed May 21 legislative elections. Two of the country's Roman Catholic
bishops have called for the talks to resume, but the government has refused
a mediation offer by former Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez.  
        The US assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs,
Peter Romero, renewed the US appeal for the miscounted May 21 results to be
corrected and said the miscounting was organised by Aristide's Fanmi
Lavalas party to gain complete control of parliament.  But Préval said the
elections could not "depend on a political agreement."  A government
request for UNDP technical aid to hold the elections has been rejected.
        The seven police officers who fled to the Dominican Republic amid
government talk of a coup attempt said about 20 senior police officers had
been summoned by Aristide before the May 21 vote and asked to ensure he won
the election. The Aristide-controlled senate on November 26 unanimously
condemned "a plan to destabilise democratic institutions."  Two of the
seven fugitive officers have obtained political asylum in Ecuador.
        President Préval visited Cuba from October 22-24 to attend the
third meeting of the joint Cuban-Haitian cooperation commission since
diplomatic relations were restored in 1996.  He thanked Cuba for sending
experts and machinery to modernise and reopen the Darbonne sugar mill, near
Léogane.  More than 450 Cuban doctors are now working in Haiti, as well as
some 40 fisheries experts.  About 60 Cuban development projects are under
way and 240 Haitians are studying medicine at a university in eastern Cuba.
        Total tax revenue for 1999/2000 was announced as 6.1 billion
gourdes ($244 million), of which 3.7 billion (60%) was from customs
receipts (which were 4.2% down on the previous year).