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#3397: Haiti: destruction of genuine democracy attempt nearly complete (fwd)

From: mole mole <ki_nouvel1@hotmail.com>

Haiti: destruction of genuine democracy attempt nearly complete

Port-au-Prince (Alternative News Wire - ANW) - 30th April - One of the most 
cynical, sophisticated and long-running campaigns to destroy a genuine 
attempt at participatory democracy is nearing its successful completion in 
the Caribbean republic of Haiti.

Ever since an unprecedented grassroots mobilisation brought about the end of 
the notorious dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier in February 1986, the 
endless manoeuvres of both reactionary domestic and international forces 
have conspired to block popular efforts to create a real and meaningful 
democracy in Haiti.

Today, the battleground is the elections for the Parliament, and the urban 
and rural councils. The elections are being run by the U.S.-funded 
International Federation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in conjunction with a 
Haitian electoral council (CEP). The CEP is considered to be succeptible to 
pressures from both foreign powers and rightist political groupings in 
Haiti. According to sources that do not wish to be identified, together the 
IFES and CEP have conspired to delay the elections that were due to take 
place in 1999. Democracy activists in Haiti say that the IFES - responding 
to orders from its funders - cannot contemplate elections until they are 
sure of being able to manipulate the results.

Earlier this year, one of the only grassroots organisations that has 
remained outside of party politics, Tet Kole Ti Peyizan, announced that it 
could not support participation in elections that were being held for the 
benefit of the international community and not for the benefit of the 
majority of Haitians.

In early April, one of the few Haitian journalists who dared speak out 
against reactionary elements in Haitian politics, Radio Haiti Inter's Jean 
Dominique, was shot dead by unidentified assassins. Only days before, he had 
revealed that the CEP had concluded a secret deal with a Haitian election 
observation group headed by long-time U.S. ally, and right wing businessman, 
Leopold Berlanger. According to the deal, Berlanger's election monitors are 
allowed extensive control of the election process.

In 1994, 20,000 U.S. troops intervened in Haiti to restore the democratic 
government, and unseat the military regime in power since October 1991. 
Although the restored government disbanded the army, the U.S. dominated the 
creation of a new police force, and continued to protect its former assets 
in the right wing death squads. As a result, political violence has 
continued to plague Haiti. The U.S. also controlled the failed judicial 
reform process. Cocaine smuggling from Colombia to the U.S. via Haiti - 
established by U.S. assets such as Colonel Michel Francois, and FRAPH leader 
Emmanuel Constant - has increased in volume, and is now significantly 
undermining the local political system.

Attempts to regenerate the failing Haitian economy by supporting the 
agricultural production practiced by two-thirds of Haitians were abandoned 
by economic planners beholden to the plans dictated by the International 
Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Since 1996, IMF and World Bank plans to 
force Haiti into the new world economic order have brought economic disaster 
to this already poor country. The minority economic elite has grown richer, 
while the vast majority has fallen even further into poverty.

The 1990 elections were the first time that the majority of Haitians had the 
chance to vote for candidates who declared their aim to transfer economic 
and political power from the elite to the majority. These candidates, 
standing under the Lavalas banner, secured a landslide victory. Ever since 
then, all the efforts of the local elite and its U.S. allies have been 
directed towards the demobilisation of the population, and the overturning 
of this victory for real democracy.

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