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8691: Response to the Gross Errors Made in the Canadian Foundation policy paper (fwd)

From: Haiti123@aol.com


1.  While Aristide was constitutionally blocked from running for presidential
re-election after his first term ended in 1996, he handpicked a successor in
René Préval.

President René Préval was not President Aristide’s handpicked successor.  He
was duly elected by the people of Haiti in free and fair elections on December
17, 1995.

2.  The new Lavalas administration’s lack of credibility is largely due to a
failure to openly articulate its intentions.

In December 1999 a full 5 months before the May 2000 elections, a full 11
months before the November 2000 presidential elections, Fanmi Lavalas
published a white book, Investir dans l’Humain, which outlines the broad scope
of its policies.  In October, the ideas contained in the white book were
transformed and condensed into a policy paper, significant sections of which
were published in the daily newspaper Le Nouvelliste.  Upon the presentation
of his government, Prime Minister Jean Marie Cherestal formally presented his
plan of government to the National Assembly.  The extended sessions before
parliament were broadcast live on television.

3.  Haitian authorities appear less and less willing to cooperate with
anti-trafficking efforts.

The paper fails to cite ratification in January 2001 of a bi-lateral drug
interdiction agreement between Haiti and the US (the 1997 Maritime Counter
Narcotics Agreement), which gives the US permission to enter national waters
and air space to combat drug trafficking.

Although written in June of this year the paper fails to cite the drop to 8%
in the volume of drugs transshipped through Haiti destined for the US, as
reported in January 2001 by the US State Department 

4.  As a result, the PNH and the justice system as a whole have very little
public credibility, and frustrations have grown over their inability to ensure
public protection from crime or to bring suspected criminals to justice.

The paper omits to cite two major prosecutions achieved by the Haitian justice
system within the past 18 months; the Raboteau massacre of 1994 and the
Carrefour Feuilles incident where for the first time police officers were
arrested and convicted for extra judicial killings.

5.  Current figures are proof of Haiti’s growing role in the drug trade.

Statistics indicate a decrease rather than an increase in the transshipment of
drugs through Haiti.

6.  Préval dissolved both legislative houses in January 1999.

The parliamentary terms expired in January 1999.  There is no constitutional
authority to expand parliament’s term.

7.  The 2000 elections opposed a number of political parties divided into two
main blocks.

The implication is of an evenly divided electorate.  That is false. 
CID/Gallup reported to the US Government one month before the November 2000
elections that one half of the total number of respondents and 76% of those
who declared a party preference supported Fanmi Lavalas over any other
political party.

8.  The May 21, 2000 legislative elections (municipal elections were held the
same day)…

The May 21, 2000 elections were nationwide involving over 29,000 candidates
running for 7,490 plus seats.  The first in Haiti’s history.  Focusing on the
legislative elections while reducing local elections to a parenthetical
mention distorts the picture and amplifies the controversy surrounding the
10-senate seats when in fact those seats represent a miniscule percentage of
the entire election.

9.  Concern over the senatorial elections was echoed by Haiti’s Provisional
Electoral Council (CEP), an institution charged with the independent
supervision of the electoral process.  However, after having disputed the
validity of the elections, the President of the Council, Léon Manus, fled
Haiti in June 2000 (with the cooperation of the US Embassy) over concerns for
his personal safety.

The paper fails to cite the immediate response issued by Mr. Manus supporting
the method of calculation adopted by the electoral council, citing precedence
for the methodology and taking great umbrage against the OAS for questioning
an internal decision of an independent Electoral Council.

10. Democratic Convergence (CD), which now includes 15 of the principal
opposition parties in Haiti.

The paper fails to mention that even when it represents 15 opposition parties
in Haiti, Convergence lacks any popular support as demonstrated by the
CID/GALLUP poll.  

11. With its newfound strength and structure, the political opposition began
an aggressive fight against the government.

The paper fails to mention that the Convergence exists thanks to the
appropriation of up to 3 million dollar from the US Congress to anti-Aristide
political parties in Haiti.

12. The credibility of Aristide’s victory was further undetermined by the
absence of international observation missions.

There was an international observer mission in Haiti to observe the November
26, 2000 presidential elections.  They were present in all 9 geographic
departments and issued a comprehensive report of their observations.  Their
estimate of voter participation in the presidential elections matches the
Electoral Council estimates of 60%.

13. The Aristide Government now includes a number of opposition party members
and civil society leaders within its ranks.

To say that the government now includes members of the opposition is
misleading.  Immediately following his election of November 26th, President
Aristide invited the opposition and members of civil society to join in an
open government.  Certain sectors responded and have, since the Government’s
formation on March 2, 2001, been part of the government.  (Including a former
presidential candidate who ran against President Aristide in 1990).

14. For the Lavalas Family party and its leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the
first priority must be to seek reconciliation with the official opposition.

There is no formal or legal concept of an “official opposition” in Haiti.

15. Aristide should make it clear that he will abide by the Haitian
constitution and not run in the next presidential election.  Above all,
Aristide must prove a willingness to give the opposition a concrete role in
developing reform projects.

The implications of the first part of this paragraph are false.  No such
intent has ever been expressed by President Aristide.  Indeed it is President
Aristide who has consistently argued for adherence to the constitution and
respect for the electoral process outlined therein throughout the negotiations
to end the political crisis, while others attempt to gain through extra
constitutional means that which cannot be gained at the polls.