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5962: Haitian 2000 Election (fwd)

From: Alix Cantave <alix.cantave@umb.edu>

Dear Folks,

Since 1994, it was clear to most observers of Haiti that Mr. Aristide would
be elected again as Haiti's president in the year 2000. Since 1996, the
opposition led by OPL and FNCD have done nothing other than demonizing the
person of Aristide. Allegations of  electoral fraud, flaws and unfairness
have been established. It should be obvious to all of us that Mr. Aristide
will win tomorrow and that result will be contested-- the cycle continues.
What we always knew would happen, is not acceptable to some-- a second
Aristide presidency. By the way, we also know that the opposition did not
have any chance  of winning tomorrow's vote. The more important question is
"what are the prospects for Haiti in the next five years? Here are some

1. There is a great deal of investment in the failure of an Aristide
presidency-- a lot of people, in and out of Haiti, want Aristide to fail
irrespective of the cost to the society.

2. The opposition will continue to cry foul and will continue to enjoy the
support of the international community. Thus the country is likely to remain
in a paralysis state for the next five years.

3. With a Bush presidency in the US, the most reactionary sector in Haiti
will use that opportunity to mobilize and strike in the name of democracy.
Such a move would be facilitated by the vacuum that the conflict and tension
among the pro-democratic forces create.

It is very tempting to compare the US presidential election to what could
happen in Haiti. The major difference is Haiti does not have an
institutional infrastructure that can mitigate the tension between the
political forces and maintain economic, political and social stability.
Therefore, it is very important for Mr. Aristide to reach out to the other
pro-democratic parties and form a government of consensus. It is equally
important for the opposition to refrain from the zero-sum mentality and
accept the fact that they can not negotiate their way into power, if they
believe that the electoral process is the legitimate channel for obtaining

Perhaps it is not above us, as Haitians, to place the interest of
collectivity before our own. Likewise, friends of Haiti may want to think
hard about how to contribute to a more fruitful dialogue about Haiti.

Alix Canatve