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#3896: Where is the higher ground? (fwd)


I too was struck by the second-place Dominican presidential candidate's 
concession of victory to his opponent, sparing the country a fruitless runoff 
election.  This was an astounding event, not just for Hispaniola but for any 
country.  But was anybody in Haiti watching?

Alix Cantave wrote the other day that the election "presents an opportunity 
for the different political and economic actors to begin the process of 
consensus building. If not, the cycle of despair and turmoil is likely to 
continue at the expense of the poor and disenfranchised population."  This is 
an important appeal and one that I support, but the news since he wrote has 
turned pretty grim.

It seemed to most of the press and other election observers -- based on 
informal exit polls, from what I can tell -- that Fanmi Lavalas had won an 
overwhelming victory.  The flaws in the elections, however, from the 
confusion and late start to intimidation of some mandateurs and questionable 
results from some BVs, left opposition groups with significant grounds for 
challenging any results that bear out these initial impressions.  Thus 
Lavalas' victory could be and is already being called into question by 
opposition parties.     

On top of this, still more unfortunately, with the wave of arrests of OPL and 
Espace de Corcertation political figures, Fanmi Lavalas is in danger of 
losing the high ground it might legitimately have claimed.  Of course, it is 
the government of Rene Préval that bears the responsibility for these 
arrests, and the government that must act immediately to clarify and if 
possible, justify its actions--but the blatant partisanship of the arrests as 
reported in the press is chilling. 

I have to say it recalls the arrest of interim president Ertha Trouillot 
shortly after Aristide took office in Feb. 91.  Small-minded, ill-advised and 
bad politics.

There must be higher ground, but is anybody reaching for it?

Anne Fuller