Black Lives Matter – from Haiti to the Bay: Join the Haiti Action Committee pre-MLK March protest in solidarity with the fighting people of Haiti on Monday, Jan. 18, 10 a.m., at the Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay St. (12th Street BART), featuring drummers and a report from Haiti by Pierre Labossiere; then join the Martin Luther King March at 11 a.m. in Oscar Grant Plaza
by Dave Welsh
The seemingly irresistible momentum of Haiti’s mass movement – combined with convincing evidence of widespread election fraud – have forced a surprise delay in the slow-motion theft of the 2015 national elections.
Faced with December’s incredible outpouring of non-stop demonstrations throughout Haiti – and daily revelations of vote rigging and voter suppression in the Aug. 9 and Oct. 25 elections – the authorities were constrained to postpone the run-off that had been set for Dec. 27. But there’s no end to the maneuvering by Haiti’s ruling elite, outgoing President Martelly and their foreign backers, determined as they are to thwart the popular will in this election.
New US ambassador gives his OK to the faked election results
Ambassador Peter Mulrean said he sees “no evidence of massive electoral fraud.” But his “see no evil” pose is contradicted by Martelly’s own new election commission.
This body disclosed Jan. 4 that they studied 1,771 vote tally sheets and found 92 percent had “serious irregularities” amounting to “massive fraud.” Then on Jan. 6 thousands marched to denounce Mulrean and Martelly: “Don’t steal our votes!” Ominously, while the people marched, a plane carrying top State Department operatives Thomas Shannon and Kenneth Merten touched down in Haiti.
The 2015 elections were plagued by endless incidents of ballot stuffing, vote buying, armed coercion and naked vote rigging all the way from polling place to final tabulation. Fanmi Lavalas, long the most popular political party in Haiti, described the Oct. 25 election as “a pre-planned fraudulent enterprise that stripped the elections of all credibility” in its petition to the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights. “These rigged elections of 2015 constitute … an attack on the national sovereignty … and a violation of the political rights of the Haitian people.”
“Mobilization is the Solution,” a singing Haiti street demonstration on Dec. 5, 2015 – a three-minute video
16 DESANB 2015 DEMOKRASI A TRIYONFE SOU DIKTATITout moun ki kwè nan demokrasi te prezan sou beton an sou demande Fanmi Lavalas. Dr Maryse Narcisse te prezan pou akonpanye pèp la nan revandiksyon li yo. Gade pou kont w koman sa ye.
Posted by Kodinasyon Depatmantal Lwes Fanmi Lavalas. on Friday, December 18, 2015
Huge march in Port-au-Prince on Dec.16, the 25th anniversary of Haiti’s first free election – a seven-minute video
Key facts about the 2015 stolen election
Seventy-eight out of 78 tally sheets tainted – Dr. Maryse Narcisse, Lavalas candidate for president, called a meeting at the Vote Tabulation Center as part of her party’s legal challenge. In attendance were election officials, observers, representatives of the ruling PHTK party and another contesting smaller party Meksepa.
They examined 78 randomly selected vote tally sheets (proces verbaux). All present agreed that every one of the 78 tally sheets was fraudulent, without exception. The U.S.-backed election commission (CEP) then abruptly ended the legally mandated verification process – invalidating those 78 particular tally sheets but failing to check the over 13,000 tally sheets still to be verified. With that, the CEP inexplicably accepted the fraudulent election “results” as legitimate.
U.N. implicated – Deputy Antoine Rodon Bien-Aime and two other PHTK candidates made a startling revelation about UNOPS, a UN agency assigned to transport ballot boxes to the Tabulation Center. They charged that while in U.N. custody, the ballot boxes were switched en route with boxes of pre-filled-out ballots.
Separately, a National Palace official was involved in a vehicle accident in which pre-filled-out ballots, marked for the presidential candidate of Martelly’s PHTK party, Jovenel Moise, spilled on the road.
Open letter to the U.N. – 15 prominent Haitian intellectuals, outraged by “clear involvement of U.N. agencies in the fraud that marred the elections,” wrote an open letter to the U.N. Mission stating, “The whole world is discovering, under pressure from the street … the truth of the biggest electoral fraud operation … for the last 30 years in Haiti.”
Experts at election rigging – Kenneth Merten was appointed U.S. special Haiti coordinator in August to deal with the election crisis. He was also on the scene as U.S. ambassador for the 2010-11 elections. Under orders from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. favorite Martelly was catapulted from third place into the run-off and ultimately the presidency. CEP chair Pierre Opont admitted last July that the U.S. “rigged the 2010 election.”
The 2015 election “cannot be decided by the street,” Kenneth Merten said recently, pointing out the U.S. had committed $31 million to fund the election, plus $2.8 million to the National Police for election “security.” Some 10,000 police and 2,500 U.N. troops had been deployed on election duty. It’s clear the U.S. embassy does not want “the street” to decide anything.
For sale: one seat in Parliament – Speaking on Radio Metropole Dec. 17, Gerald Jean, candidate for deputy (congressman) for Ferrier, admitted he had paid US$15,000 to CEP member Yolette Mengual to ensure his victory in a disputed election. He told the radio audience he was angry that despite having made his payment, he did not win the seat he’d paid for.
Coup plotters and occupiers – The self-described Core Group consists of the U.S., France and Canada, whose troops invaded Haiti in the 2004 coup; Brazil, which heads the U.N. military occupation of Haiti; the EU, OAS and Spain. The Core Group accepted CEP’s fraudulent election results as “legitimate.”
International Days in Solidarity with the Haitian People
Inspired by the Haitians’ strong response to the election debacle, the Haiti Action Committee (HAC) issued a call for solidarity actions on Dec. 16, the 25th anniversary of Haiti’s first free election in 1990. That was when Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide swept into the presidency with two-thirds of the vote on a platform of social and economic justice for the poor majority. But after barely seven months in office, Aristide was overthrown in a U.S.-backed military coup in 1991.
In 2015, after being excluded for 11 years since a second U.S.-sponsored coup in 2004, Aristide’s Lavalas party was finally able to run candidates again, headed by presidential standard-bearer Dr. Maryse Narcisse. People in poor neighborhoods all over Haiti welcomed the grassroots campaign of Dr. Narcisse with obvious joy. And they marched on Dec. 16 against the brazen attempt to steal the election – in the cities and also in smaller places like Camp-Perrin and Port-Salut in the South.
In 2015, after being excluded for 11 years since a second U.S.-sponsored coup in 2004, Aristide’s Lavalas party was finally able to run candidates again, headed by presidential standard-bearer Dr. Maryse Narcisse.
Meanwhile Haiti’s overseas supporters were organizing. The HAC call for Dec. 16 solidarity actions was widely promoted by the Haiti human rights community – activists, bloggers and organizations – on Facebook, Twitter and their websites. HAC’s Facebook post alone reached over 4,000 people.
Thanks to this significant response, U.S. officials in Washington, D.C., received a flood of emails, phone calls and tweets on Dec. 16 and beyond. The message: 1) Stop supporting dictatorship and fraudulent elections in Haiti, and 2) Stop the U.S.-financed terror against the poor majority who are fighting for democracy in Haiti.
In Los Angeles on Dec. 16, a delegation led by Global Women’s Strike visited the consulates of Brazil, which commands the U.N. military force in Haiti, and Ecuador, which supplies troops for the U.N. occupation. Ecuador also trained the special police unit BOID being used to terrorize grassroots Haitian communities. The delegation presented a letter protesting these countries’ interference in Haiti.
In Boston, the Haitian community rallied at the consulate of Haiti, along with members of the Boston School Bus Drivers’ Union, to protest the stolen election. Teach-ins about the history and current election in Haiti were held in Miami, at the meeting hall of the Haitian community organization Veye Yo, in Oakland and at a university in Windsor, Canada. In Palo Alto, students, many of whom have visited Haiti on solidarity delegations, held a teach-in and press conference.
In New York, a coalition of Haitian groups demonstrated at the United Nations, denouncing the U.N. occupation and role in perpetrating the election fraud in Haiti. In Buenos Aires, the Haitian Democratic Committee in Argentina seized on Martelly’s presence in the country to issue a statement about vote fraud in Haiti.
In London on Dec. 16, Global Women’s Strike and All African Women’s Group held a rally at the U.S. embassy. Homemade signs said, “Black Lives Matter in Haiti, Too.” Luke Daniels from Caribbean Labour Solidarity said: “Got to tell the Yankees: Get out of Haiti, get out of the Caribbean, let people have their destiny.” Then 19 members of U.K.’s Parliament signed an Early Day Motion questioning “grave irregularities” in Haiti’s election.
Use of systematic terror against the people
Fraud effectively prevented Haiti’s voters from electing candidates of their choice. Instead, the ruling party’s handpicked Jovenel Moise, a banana exporter and political neophyte, miraculously emerged as the top first-round vote-getter for president. But state violence also played a role in suppressing the vote.
National police and paramilitaries fired automatic weapons into working class areas like Arcahaie and Cite Soleil in the lead-up to the Aug. 9 and Oct. 25 elections. Scores of people were killed, including two pregnant women and a 7-year-old boy. Some were “disappeared,” never to be heard from again.
Later, hooded paramilitary gangs attacked marchers in Port-au-Prince with machetes, pipes, hammers and guns, killing young election protesters as police turned a blind eye.
Hooded paramilitary gangs attacked marchers in Port-au-Prince with machetes, pipes, hammers and guns, killing young election protesters as police turned a blind eye. During the Christmas holidays, the newly created special police unit BOID continued their killing spree in Lavalas strongholds of Port-au-Prince. But these death squad-type actions have not deterred the resistance.
Now, people are noticing a rise in killings of local neighborhood organizers. During the Christmas holidays, the newly created special police unit BOID continued their killing spree in Lavalas strongholds of Port-au-Prince. But these death squad-type actions – reminiscent of those carried out by the Duvalier dictatorship or under the murderous Latortue regime after the 2004 coup – have not deterred the resistance.
Still fighting for the goals of the 1804 Haitian Revolution
Many have commented that the Haitian people, in their vast majority, are very aware of their history – proud inheritors of the Revolution of 1791-1804, when Haiti defeated the army of Napoleon, ended plantation slavery and declared independence from France. The story of the Haitian Revolution has been passed on, in the oral tradition, from generation to generation.
How does this connect with their battle in the streets today, to stop the ongoing “electoral coup d’état” – to have their votes counted, their choices honored and their country’s sovereignty respected?
“It’s on every lip,” said one Lavalas activist we spoke with. “People are saying that in rejecting this stolen election, we are lighting the fires of struggle, continuing the fight for equality and sovereignty that our ancestors fought for 200 years ago.”
“People are saying that in rejecting this stolen election, we are lighting the fires of struggle, continuing the fight for equality and sovereignty that our ancestors fought for 200 years ago.”
Tell U.S. officials
- Stop supporting fraudulent elections in Haiti.
- Stop support for police terror in Haiti.
- White House at 202-456-1111 or @POTUS
- Members of Congress at 202-224-3121
- State Department at @JohnKerry
- S. Special Haiti Coordinator Kenneth Merten at 202-647-9510 or HaitiSpecialCoordinator@state.gov.
Dave Welsh, a delegate to the San Francisco Labor Council, was a member of a Human Rights and Labor Fact Finding Delegation to Haiti in October, which reported on systematic voter suppression, violence, fraud and intimidation in the election process. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, connect with the Haiti Action Committee: www.haitisolidarity.net, @HaitiAction1 and on Facebook.