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8302: Letter sent to the OAS (fwd)
His Excellency Cesar Gaviria
Secretary General of the Organization of American States
17th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Dear Mr. Secretary General:
We are a concerned group of Haitians and citizens of the world, interested in the economic and democratic future of Haiti. We thank you for your recent visit there with the former Prime Minister of Dominica, Ms. Eugenia Charles. We are also pleased with the recent OAS decision at their Costa Rica meeting, regarding the democratic future of Haiti. It is a very important step towards a final resolution to the crisis. Your common dedication at the OAS to the causes of Haiti is very much appreciated. We hope that you continue along this path, to help bring peace and prosperity to Haiti.
The final phase of the negotiations are difficult, partly because of the unrealistic proposals from some members of the contentious parties. The focus should remain however on some basic premises, which we can build on to reach a fair and reasonable agreement. We all have now agreed that last year in the May elections, seven senatorial seats were wrongly attributed to runners-up. All those seven Senators have recently resigned and the Government of Haiti (hereafter GOH) is fully committed to having new elections for their seats. However, the Democratic Convergence (hereafter CD) is still the only group that steadfastly refuses to admit to those facts. Their argument is as it was, that last year's elections had too many irregularities to be validated by the International Community and Haiti's Society as a whole.
The CD's argument of electoral irregularities is one that Haiti has been dealing with consistently over the past few years. The losing parties however, never present any irrefutable proof of such. We must not push this problem aside if we all wish to end this vicious cycle of crises. This consistently negative attitude of the losing parties can only be detrimental to Haiti's economic and democratic future. Last year for instance, as the main opposition parties had decided to stay on the sidelines for the presidential elections like they did in 1995, Jean-Bertrand Aristide won over 90 percent of the electorate. They are now demanding new presidential elections and the resignation of Haiti's new president. As the opposition is insisting with their demands, we should keep in mind that it took Haiti 14 years after the fall of Duvalier, and 10 years after the first democratic elections of 1990, to have elections for all the 7,500 elective posts as required by the 1987 Constitution. Last year's effort by the Préva
l government to do so was difficult economically and structurally. Haiti then, fortunately received logistical help from the International Community. Still, the GOH had to contribute US$25,000,000, a considerable expenditure for a country and a people so poor.
As you and your organization are helping along in the negotiating process, we wanted to share with your organization our position on those issues. We would like to suggest that perhaps, certain mechanisms could be studied by all sides in this conflict, and implemented, to monitor future elections in such a way that only valid and specific claims of irregularities can be dealt with. As it is now in the best interest of Haiti's opposition to agree on a reasonable timetable for the next elections, we hope that such monitoring process can be established to add to the credibility of these and all future elections.
We hope that you will take note of our suggestions and points of view, as you and your colleagues at the OAS are working to finally help end this dreadful crisis in Haiti.
Director and Founder, Institute for Research in the Sciences of Politics (IRSP)
Director and Founder, Windows on Haiti (http://www.windowsonhaiti.com
Haitian Street Kids, Inc. (http://www.HaitianStreetKids.com) and (http://www.restakek.org)
Anthony Rosso, Ph.D.
English Literature Professor, Southern Connecticut State University
Director, Antwan Izmery Center for Peace
Parish Twinning Program of the Americas