by Marguerite Laurent
The best and most glorious example of free, fair, democratic and pluralistic elections in Haiti was 20 years ago on Dec. 16, 1990, when the people of Haiti voted, en masse, for Haiti’s first democratically elected president.
The people of Haiti took that election and turned it into a movement called the Lavalas Movement. Its purpose was inclusion. Its purpose was to enable Haiti’s majority to use the assets of their own country to improve the public’s condition. Finally they would have schools – authentic schools, not Pepe education – roads, infrastructure, health care, job opportunities and Haitian dignity.
But the colonizers and former slave-owning nations, headed by the super powerful United States, have been trying to take back control of Haiti ever since that Dec. 16, 1990, election and return political power back into the hands of Haiti’s oligarchy, who traditionally act as middlemen for U.S.-Euro-transnational companies and wealth interests to return poor Haitians to their lives of misery through the indifference and neglect of their government.
After two U.S.-sponsored coup d’etats and with the current U.S.-U.N. occupation, this status quo is currently back in place and the colonizers cannot stop congratulating themselves on their great victory over the people of Haiti since said Blacks dared to democratically empower themselves on Dec. 16, 1990.
Fanmi Lavalas, President Aristide’s political party, the most popular and strongest political party in Haiti, has again been banned from participating in elections. Gaillot Dorsinvil, president of the Haitian Provisional Electoral Council, selected and operating at the whims of Haitian President Rene Preval, said that Fanmi Lavalas’ registration papers did not meet all legal requirements. (See below Letter from Dr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, former president of the Republic of Haiti and national representative of Fanmi Lavalas, to Gaillot Dorsinvil, president of the Haitian Provisional Electoral Council, Nov. 18, 2009.)
The U.S., U.N., Organization of American States (OAS) and European Union, who have opposed the inclusion of Haiti’s majority in participating in the national affairs of Haiti since the Dec. 16, 1990, vote where, for the first time in Haiti’s 200-year history, the people of Haiti overturned the reign of the few over the many, overturned U.S.-Euro supported dictatorship and neocolonialism to elect President Jean Bertrand Aristide in Haiti’s first free and fair elections, are today, by the point of U.S.-U.N. guns, managing, once again, without any public outcry from the world community, to effectively and conclusively EXCLUDE the majority of Haiti’s Blacks from the electoral process.
The OAS is making money off these sham elections by providing identification cards to Haitians. The U.N. is providing ballot box and polling-place security. The U.S. is putting in $18 million U.S. taxpayer dollars, which of course, as per usual, will go into the pockets of U.S. AID, State Department, IRI, NED and CIA cronies for fees, salaries and administrative expenses.
The remaining so-called “international community” will undoubtedly send international electoral observers or even Jimmy Carter to certify how successful this upcoming February-March 2010 vote will be. Everything is set for the masturbation on Black pain. They’ve done it since dis-enfranchising Haiti’s Black majority in 2004, imposing U.N. occupation and over 10,000 paternalistic foreign NGOs on the backs of defenseless Haitians. The U.N. is garnering over $600 million a year in jobs for its U.N. soldiers and the NGOs are divvying up, amongst themselves, the over 70 percent of Haiti’s national budget financed by the international community. What a racket!
The last elections, in April-June of 2009, where the Fanmi Lavalas political party was excluded, saw a turnout of from 3 percent to 11 percent in Haiti, depending on who you talk to.
Still, that the majority of Haitians are EXCLUDED from participating in elections is of no great concern to key stakeholders like U.N. Envoy Bill Clinton, George Soros, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.
In fact, these nations, their representatives and NGO heads continue to congratulate themselves, ad nauseum, on how IMPROVED Haiti is now without the majority of Black Haitians participating in the Haitian government. They continue to publish wonderful PR stories of the IMPROVEMENTS and good INVESTMENT CLIMATE in Haiti right now!
President Preval chauffeurs Special U.N. Envoy Bill Clinton around, all smiles, as the Haitian people flee to shark-infested waters on rickety, overcrowded boats where they drown or get deported back to starvation by Barack Obama’s administration, smiles while Haiti dies of starvation – Clorox hunger – dies under the weight of high food and fuel prices, curable diseases or wrongful imprisonment in overcrowded U.N.-U.S.-run prisons in Haiti.
President Preval never mentions the U.N. rapes, the unfair free trade policies that have imposed starvation in Haiti, the coup d’etat killings or indefinite detentions. In fact, the Haitian Parliament, in a rare moment, raised the minimum wage from 70 gourdes (or $1.75 per day) to 200 gourdes (about $5 a day or 63 cents per hour). President Preval, citing the U.S. HOPE II Act and his concern that U.S. businesses would make too little a profit in Haiti, vetoed it. The HOPE Act allows for duty-free exports of clothing to the U.S. for 10 years.
How did such a U.S.-Euro “improvement” and massive Haiti disenfranchisement occur in Haiti?
By the killing of over 14,000 Haitians for opposing dictatorship and U.S.-U.N. occupation from 2004 to 2006 – they had voted for President Aristide; by the rape of over 35,000 Haitian women and girls from the poor areas; by the indefinite detentions without charge, trial or conviction of 88 percent of Haiti’s incarcerated children and more than 6,440 out of the 8,204 current prison detainees. (See State Department 2008 Human Rights Report: Haiti.) And, of course, first and foremost, with the 2004 U.S. “coupnapping” that put President Jean Bertrand Aristide on a U.S. cargo plane – used for renditions – that flew President Aristide and Haiti’s first lady into forced exile.
Before the 2004 coup d’etat, Haiti barely had 3,000 prisoners throughout the country. Today in U.N.-occupied Haiti more than 6,440 still await trial, remain in jail, some going on for five years of prolonged detention, without ever having been charged, tried or convicted of any crime. Lovinsky Pierre Antoine, Haiti’s foremost human rights advocate, was disappeared in U.N.-occupied Haiti on Aug. 12, 2007, not long after he gave an interview denouncing the coup d’etat, the U.N. and the Haitian oligarchy.
President Aristide is currently in exile in South Africa, where he is essentially under house arrest, watched carefully and, for all intents and purposes, not allowed to freely express himself without the PERMISSION of the coup d’etat countries of the U.S., Canada and France before any message to the Haitian people is allowed through.
The Haitian Provisional Electoral Council requires the president of each political party to personally come to their offices to register their party for the election. Supposedly, if the president of a political party cannot personally appear, he or she must provide a party delegate with a notarized letter to act on his or her behalf.
In the case of the Fanmi Lavalas Party, the president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, has tried to meet the requirements for registration, even though those requirements are an impossibility from exile. First, President Aristide faxed a copy of the letter authorizing Maryse Narcisse as his proxy to register the Lavalas party. (See below Response to letter sent by the Provisional Electoral Council.)
Then, at the request of the electoral council, he mailed, via DHL, from South Africa, the original letter of authorization. And when that wasn’t enough, he went before the world, on a national radio show, to clearly and unequivocally state that he authorizes Maryse Narcisse as his legitimate proxy to register the Lavalas party.
President Aristide told Radio Solidarité, “It was I who wrote the mandate, signed the mandate and sent the mandate.” He called for “honest, fair and free elections” and said he would personally come before the electoral council if the Haitian government would give him travel documents.
Gaillot Dorsinvil’s reply was that the Provisional Electoral Council’s decision was final.
Thus, the Haitian electoral council will not recognize the Aristide authorization and register the Lavalas Party. The reason given is that the Aristide authorization is not technically legal presumably because the president’s signature was not properly witnessed by a Haitian notary (if he was in Haiti) or, as he is abroad in exile, by a Haitian consulate or embassy abroad.
That Aristide is in exile doesn’t escape the electoral council’s notice even though they act as if forced exile is not a logistical factor with the Lavalas registration. There is no Haitian embassy or consulate in South Africa or anywhere near where President Aristide is. The nearest Haitian counsulate is, to the best of our information, in Nigeria and then Europe. But that Nigerian office is not even open but for a few times a year.
And besides, even if President Jean Bertrand Aristide where allowed to move from his South African house-arrest-exile by the coup d’etat countries of France, Canada and the U.S., as he indicates in the Radio Solidarité interview, his Haitian passport has expired and the Haitian government knows he cannot travel without its renewal. Aristide wrote, in sum, “the green-light from the Haitian government has not yet arrived here in South Africa.”
And so, under the current disenfranchisement and coup d’etat-occupation mindset in Haiti, the largest and most powerful political party simply will not be allowed to register for elections at any time, period. It’s fair to say no matter what Lavalas does, the point of the U.N. occupation is to exclude the majority from participatory democracy and deny the Dec. 16 revolution and Lavalas movement.
That’s exactly how the international community, the U.N. and Barack Obama’s administration wants it to remain no matter that this situation defies democratic ideals, human rights, justice, equity, public law, is immoral, terrorizing, violates basic international law, the OAS charter, the U.N. charter, Caricom and other hemispheric and international treaties on human rights, Haitian sovereignty, the Haitian Constitution, and all legitimate election laws for fair, free and democratic elections.
And so, whether it’s through the 2004 coup d’etat and its reverberating repercussions or through this current Haitian provisional electoral council’s circular legalese, where the voice of Haiti’s majority is summarily excluded and fair and free elections cannot be held, this exclusion forms the foundation for the current U.S. controls in Haiti and for their Haiti improvement and “good investment environment.”
Article 21(1) of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.” Article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.”
Marguerite Laurent, an award winning playwright, performance poet, dancer, actor and activist attorney born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, founded and chairs the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, supporting and working cooperatively with Haitian freedom fighters and grassroots organizations promoting the civil, human and cultural rights of Haitians at home and abroad. Visit her website at www.margueritelaurent.com.
Letter from Dr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide
From: Dr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Former President of the Republic of Haiti, National Representative of Fanmi Lavalas
To: Mr. Gaillot Dorsinvil, President of the Provisional Electoral Council, Republic of Haiti
I salute you and thank you for the letter that you wrote to me dated 9 November 2009. I would have been happy to participate in the meeting of 13 November, but unfortunately the notice was too short. The green light from the Haitian government has not yet arrived here in South Africa; I will come for a future occasion.
Mr Dorsinvil, when you deem it necessary, you can always write to me, as you did in your 9 of November letter.
I am happy to salute you again, and I hope that this time, this new Provisional Electoral Council will find the full and complete freedom to organize elections that are free, honest and democratic.
Every person is a human being.
Every person counts.
The vote of every person counts.
Dr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide
18 November 2009
Pretoria, South Africa