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6770: Fwd: Correct Version of Haitian Election (fwd)

From: radman <resist@best.com>
>From: estelle jelinek <ejel@uclink.berkeley.edu>
>Hands Off Haiti: Aristide elected, Bush Selected
>          Forces are afoot to try to discredit the Haitian elections of
>November 26, 2000, perhaps to undertake policies more suitable to
>imperialistic aims.  The Bay Area Haitian American Council (BAHACO) urges
>you to recognize the will expressed by the Haitian electorate on Nov. 26
>with the election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide as president.  We are
>individuals and organizations in support of the efforts of the people of
>Haiti to rebuild a country devastated by many years of dictatorship.
>          We are greatly concerned about the misrepresentations that have
>been widely circulated in the U.S. media about the presidential elections
>in Haiti.  News stories filed early on election day prematurely reported
>low voter participation.  By the time the polls closed, however, national
>and international observers estimated varied voter turnout at over 60
>percent overall.  Later, official results reported a 60.5 percent turnout.
>Of these, President Aristide received an overwhelming 92 percent of the
>popular vote.  Claims of a successful election boycott are baseless and
>seek to tarnish the results.  The misperceptions created by these claims
>will have a negative impact on the discourse in the U.S. Congress and on
>future U.S. policy regarding the new government of Haiti.
>          The International Coalition of Independent Observers (ICIO)
>consists of the following human rights organizations: Pax Christi, Global
>Exchange in San Francisco, Quixote Center in Washington, DC, and Witness
>for Peace.  Although some U.S. and international organizations boycotted
>the monitoring of the election (for their own nefarious reasons), these
>four organizations fielded 25 observers to monitor the electoral process in
>152 polling stations in four departments in Haiti.  In a statement to the
>press on Nov. 28, the ICIO reported the conduct of the elections to have
>been open, free, and fair.
>          The exchanges we have had over the years with communities in Haiti
>have made us aware of the commitment of the people to participate in the
>democratic process to improve their miserable living conditions.  Members
>of frequent delegations to Haiti have had the opportunity to gauge
>firsthand the popularity enjoyed by President Aristide and his party, Fanmi
>Lavalas.  The massive participation and the overwhelming vote for the
>Lavalas party, as reported by Haitian electoral authorities and
>congressional, international, and local observers of the May 21
>parliamentary elections, confirmed these observations.  The similar results
>of the November 26 presidential and senatorial elections were not a surprise.
>          We are outraged that the Haitian people continue to be victimized
>for their belief and participation in the democratic process.  In an
>attempt to discourage voter participation, a number of terrorist bombs went
>off in Port-au-Prince a few days before the election.  A seven-year-old
>girl and a fifteen-year-old boy on their way to school were killed and over
>twenty people injured.  Haitian civil society, churches, labor unions, and
>community organizations condemned these acts and expressed support for the
>democratic process to move forward.
>          As Haiti moves painstakingly toward democracy, we urge you to
>extend your hand in friendship and economic cooperation with the newly
>elected Aristide administration rather than support the forces trying to
>thwart the clearly expressed will of the Haitian people.
>          Come celebrate democracy in Haiti with the inauguration of
>resident Jean-Btrand Astide on F.9 6:30 p.m., with food music, videos,
>slides, and arts and crafts.
>          At the First Presbyterian Church, 1510  Fifth Ave., San Rafael
>(Canoles Hall entrance, E & Mission).
>          $10 admission includes dinner. Wheelchair accessible.
>          Speakers include Pierre Labossiere of the BAHACO, Moria Feeney of
>the ICIO, Laura Flynn of the Aristide Foundation, and board members of the
>Marin Interfaith Task Force on Central America who monitored the Nov. 26
>          Endorsed by Global Exchange, EBSC Haiti Committee, BAHACO, and the
>Ecumenical Institute. For more information call (510) 527-2522 or (415)
>255-7296, ext. 226.