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6790: Leon Manus Letter to Secretary Powell (fwd)

From: Stanley Lucas <slucas@iri.org>

				Nashua, December 27, 2000
General Colin Powell
Secretary of State-Designee
Bush-Cheney Transition Team
McLean, Virginia 

Dear General Powell:

	As the exiled President of the Haitian Provisional Electoral Council, let me congratulate you as the 65th Secretary of State of the United States.  Your integrity, character, sense of honor, and dedication remind me and other Haitians of our own roots, which include General Toussaint Louverture, one of the fathers of our independence.   At that time, for the black people of Haiti, he was the savior against oppression and slavery; he was a man of integrity, with the vision of freedom and democracy for his people.  Sir, for all the blacks of the world, you continue to carry the flag as a role model for showing that the best is yet to come.

	Almost two years ago, Haitian President Rene Preval called me out of retirement, at age 74, to serve my country with pride, honesty and dignity.  I agreed to become the President of the Provisional Electoral Council of Haiti, despite the obvious difficulties that lay ahead for a country coming out of 23 months of political crisis and the fact that since 1994 both former President Aristide and President Preval violated all the agreements on democratization with the parties, civil society, and the international community.  During that crisis period, President Preval sought to force the Parliament to accept the results of previous fraudulent elections and impose a prime minister without parliamentary approval.  Parliament was dissolved, a prime minister was appointed without constitutional legitimacy, and elections were oft-postponed and eventually were held, however fraudulently.   Political repression and assassinations were common, and regrettably, still are. 

	During the 15 months I served in office prior to fleeing the country for my own safety, I endured the difficulties of the job, wanting only to get my country out of the mess it was in and help it become part of the international democratic community.  Despite threats of violence, manipulations of the ruling party, and recriminations by the opposition, we succeeded in organizing reasonably fair elections on May 21, 2000.  Turnout was around 60 percent, extremely high by recent Haitian historical experience.  Violence was relatively minor, and for the first time since 1995, all the opposition parties and civil society fully participated.   

	But on election night, after the polls closed and the international observers went home, ballots boxes were stolen and replaced with stuffed substitute boxes. The replacement boxes were full of ballots in favor of former President Aristide's party, Fanmi Lavalas (FL). Many members of the police forces betrayed their mission of ensuring the security of the electoral process, participating in fraudulent maneuvers. Overall, the night of the elections was one of fraud, with the goal of ensuring the absolute success of the Fanmi Lavalas party. I was summoned to the National Palace, where both President Preval and former President Aristide threatened me with death if I did not publish the manipulated results.  I refused to commit such infamy against the Haitian people, and with the support of the international community,  I was taken out of Haiti and into exile in the United States.  At age 76, I m learning of the difficult conditions of exile.   Subsequent to my departure, Presidents Preval and Aristide published the bogus results, which do not reflect the will of the Haitian people.  My deepest concern is that Haiti once again has become a one-party de facto dictatorship. 

	In the name of my countrymen,  I call on you to do all you can to help Haitians organize free and fair local, legislative, and presidential elections as soon as possible and with the participation of the whole of our democratic society.  Because you understand the meaning of honor, decency, integrity, and democracy, I am confident you will hear the call of the Haitian people.  We want peace and democracy.  The Haitian people deserve no less.  Thank you for your consideration. I am glad to wish you great success as the Secretary of State of the new administration and all the best for the year 2001 and beyond


Leon Manus 
President in Exile
Provisional Electoral Council