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