by Kim Ives
20, 2013 marks the second anniversary of a patently illegal and
exclusionary election that brought President Michel Martelly to
The first round of that
election, held on Nov. 28, 2010, was a complete fiasco, marred
by disorganization, voter fraud, and disenfranchisement.
Furthermore, months earlier, Haiti’s largest party, the Lavalas
Family of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, had been
illegally and arbitrarily excluded from fielding a candidate.
Thirteen of the 18 presidential
candidates held a joint press conference and issued a joint
statement the same day calling for the election to be annulled
But Edmond Mulet, the head of
the UN military occupation force known as MINUSTAH, called two
of the candidates – Mirlande Manigat and Michel Martelly – and
assured them they were front-runners. Jettisoning principle, the
two about-faced and backtracked on their call for annulment.
Haiti’s Provisional Electoral
Council (CEP) announced first round results on Dec. 7, saying
Manigat had placed first and Jude Célestin of the ruling party,
Unity, second. Martelly had placed a close third, edged out by
about 7,000 votes, the CEP said. The Haitian Constitution says
that the CEP is the “final arbiter” of all Haitian elections.
As Martelly’s supporters
launched violent demonstrations, Washington mobilized the
Organization of American States (which Cuba wryly dubs the U.S.
“Ministry of Colonial Affairs”) to send a delegation of mostly
North American “election experts” to recalculate the vote and
pronounce Martelly the second place finisher.
“There was enormous political
pressure brought to bear by the United States and its allies –
the same countries who dominated the OAS Mission – for Haiti’s
CEP to accept the Mission’s reversal of the first round election
results,” the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)
explained in an
August 2011 report on the
OAS intervention. “U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice
threatened Haiti with a possible cut-off of aid if the
government did not accept the Mission’s recommendations...
According to multiple reports, ‘the international community ….
threatened [then Haitian President René] Préval with immediate
exile if he does not bow to their interpretation of election
Furthermore, the OAS Mission
“did not establish any legal, statistical, or other logical
basis for its conclusions,” the CEPR study found. In short, the
OAS overruled Haiti’s CEP “for political reasons,” the CEPR
However, the CEP, Haiti’s
“final arbiter” in elections, never validated the OAS findings.
And the OAS was perfectly aware of this. On Mar. 19, 2011, the
day before the election, Colin Granderson, the head of the OAS/Caricom
election observer team,
acknowledged to Haïti Liberté and
other journalists that the election was illegal because the CEP
had not signed off on the first round. “It is one of our
concerns,” he said.
Martelly went on to win the
Mar. 20 run-off, which, like the first round, drew less than 25%
of Haiti’s electorate, a record low turn-out for a presidential
election not just in Haiti, but in the hemisphere.
Having outrageously meddled in
Haiti’s sovereign electoral process, Washington continues down
the same road today with Martelly as its apparently gleeful
accomplice. This week, the U.S. Embassy tried to push the
presidents of Haiti’s Senate and Chamber of Deputies to confirm
three members proposed by a Bicameral Parliamentary Commission
to the Transitory College of the Permanent Electoral Council (CTCEP).
The CTCEP is a completely unconstitutional body concocted in
response to the outcry over Martelly’s illegal and heavy-handed
formation of a Permanent Electoral Council. Many senators and
deputies have called on Martelly to simply select, in
conjunction with the Parliament, a compromise Provisional
Electoral Council to hold long delayed elections for one-third
of the Senate’s seats, which expired last May. This is the path
prescribed by Haiti’s Constitution.
To complicate matters further,
Senate president Simon Dieuseul Desras is said to be traveling
in Haiti’s provinces. Sen. Andris Riché from the Struggling
People’s Organization (OPL) is acting in his stead and claims that
Desras gave him a green-light to proceed with the vote. But Sauveur Pierre Etienne, the OPL’s coordinator, has called
Martelly’s and Washington’s effort to establish the CTCEP, which
would be stacked with Martelly’s hand-picked representatives, an
A Haitian proverb says “A leaky house can fool the sun, but it
can't fool the rain.” The popular movement which brought
Aristide to power in 1990 and 2000 has often been compared to
water, specifically a Lavalas, meaning flood in Kreyòl. The
leaky house created by the March 2011 elections appears to be
flooding from a rising tide of protest as people around Haiti
march against Martelly’s cavalier, corrupt and repressive
regime, set in place, once again, by Washington. A bogus
electoral council, which can only produce another bogus
election, will only make matters worse.