Dec 13, 2010
In Haiti, the two candidates for the run-off election for president have been finalized. They are political insiders: Mirlande Manigat, the wife of former president Leslie Manigat, and Jude Célestin, the protégé and future son-in-law of outgoing president René Préval.
Préval tapped public funds to pay for Célestin’s campaign. Together they blanketed the country with newspaper, radio and TV ads, chartered sound cars and even a plane, while bribing people to come to their meetings. The money spent on this extravagance was ten times as great as what has been spent to fight the cholera epidemic, which has already killed 2,000 people.
The representatives of the great powers, including the U.S. and France, that dominate Haiti, had hoped that these elections would give the country a certain political stability. They had dispatched observers to guarantee a fair election.
But the fraud was massive: stuffing ballot boxes, strong-arming voters, preventing people from voting by dropping names from the rolls or not sending voter cards, etc.
On November 28th, the day after the first round election, thousands of people demonstrated, especially in Port-au-Prince. They demanded the election be nullified. But the Provisional Electoral Council refused.
Meanwhile, even as the local and international authorities push the election for president and the National Assembly, they hardly seem concerned about the actual living conditions in the country. Not only do Haiti’s people continue to suffer the consequences of the January 12th earthquake, they are confronted by a devastating cholera epidemic.
There is also increasing tension between the international troops, who are deployed across the country, and the population. It was recently confirmed that United Nations forces from Nepal, who are stationed in Haiti, brought cholera to the country.
The aid to contain the cholera epidemic and reconstruct the devastated and impoverished country still hasn’t arrived.