Fair Elections in Haiti: Imagine the Possibilities!

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Post by admin » Wed Aug 24, 2005 11:55 pm

Great article, Jaf ! There's just one thing in it that I keep wondering about... and for which I still have not found any plausible answer that is solidly grounded in reality. Here it is:

[quote]Second, Aristide's return to complete a botched second mandate is being demanded by himself and by his supporters as part of a national reconciliation process which they insist must include free elections.[/quote]

[quote]Yes to genuine and fair elections, following the release of all political prisoners and the return of Haiti's exiled constitutional president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.[/quote]

Here are my questions. They are not addressed to you in particular, as I am not trying to put you or anyone else on the spot. I simply want to air out all those questions that have been swirling in my head that no one advocating the return of the constitutional president has bothered to address.


1) The free, genuine and fair elections

- Are those predicated only on the return of Aristide from exile and the release of all the political prisoners?

- If not, what process would you put in place to be in a position to certify that the elections are free, genuine, and fair?

- Which observers would you trust? Would they include the Organization of American States and the United Nations?

- Would they receive the financial assistance of CIDA or USAID, and if not who would fund them?

- Is it even conceivable that they would take place inside of the current electoral timetable (that is, accounting for the installation of a legislative chamber and then a new president on February 7, 2006) or would the time be pushed to allow for any and all contingencies?

2) The return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide from exile

- Since the mad dogs are already out, how would they be forced back in their cages? The sni
pers are still at their positions on the rooftops, how would one go about disloging them or disabling their guns? What force would shield Jean-Bertrand Aristide from their line of fire?

- Would Aristide return tomorrow, or for the sake of argument let's say September 7, 2005 (though the logistics of his return, if it were at all politically possible, would require a much lengthier preparation, and there is absolutely no doubt about that) mark the resumption of his executive mandate for the remaining 5 months of his constitutional term, that is until February 7, 2006? Or would he benefit from the concession of the time usurped by the "de factos" ?

- If he were not to benefit from the concession of time usurped from him, what significant project might he then be able to accomplish in the remaining five months (and in all probability... far less, simply based on the logistics of his theoretical return) ?

- What would truly prevent the returning government from being subjected to a third
coup d'état?

- What force would protect the President from being killed by his political enemies?

Please do not see the above as an argumentation FOR or AGAINST the return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Haiti in any particular capacity (but most interestingly, to finish his presidential term). I firmly believe that Jean-Bertrand Aristide should not be in exile today in South Africa. He deserves to be and to live in his country. I also firmly oppose the degenerative habit of coups d'état in Haiti that always end up making matters far worse than before for the great majority of Haitians living in Haiti. Perhaps not all Haitians, but definitely most of them. There is absolutely no sign of visible progress today after the coup d'état of February 2004. The Nation, if one can speak of such, has taken a huge step backwards.

However, I see the need to express the questions above, simply because I have not seen them asked before, let alone addressed by anyone.



Food for thought.

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Post by admin » Thu Aug 25, 2005 9:24 am

Marilyn, thank you so much for your thoughts. Discussing the answers to my specific questions has been a taboo in the activist community. But, as I clearly stated, they were not a line of argumentation, they were an invitation to think seriously, very seriously, about what happens in the real word, and how we truly can effect change.

Nothing fruitful will come to be, if we do not agree to sit at a table, set aside the rigidity of ideology, and discuss strategies, tactics, and real-world objectives and their real-world implementation.

Again, thank you for your thoughts because you have begun to express the magnitude of the repair job at hand. There will be no easy fixes.

Guy

T-dodo

Post by T-dodo » Thu Aug 25, 2005 12:32 pm

Jaf,

I, too, wanted to post a message of congratulations after I read the article you wrote above. The reason I did not do it was because my post would have been just congratulatory and not advance the arguments you debated in the article, like I am doing now. In the above article, you made your points clearly and forcefully with arguments only, without name calling and frightful rhetoric. I encourage you to continue to do that, because when you do so, we all learn from you.

Cali Ruchala

Post by Cali Ruchala » Thu Aug 25, 2005 3:33 pm

[quote]- Would Aristide's return tomorrow, or for the sake of argument let's say September 7, 2005 (though the logistics of his return, if it were at all politically possible, would require a much lengthier preparation, and there is absolutely no doubt about that) mark the resumption of his executive mandate for the remaining 5 months of his constitutional term, that is until February 7, 2006? Or would he benefit from the concession of the time usurped by the "de factos" ? [/quote]


Thank you for asking them, as there are a few things that occurred to me.

Everything I've seen, read and heard has stated language to the effect of "the return of Aristide" to Haiti. I had never considered that this implied more than the physical return of a Haitian citizen to Haiti - certainly not the resumption of his mandate as president.

Is this what is implied by "the retur
n of Aristide"? If so, it doesn't make for a very strong bargaining position. At this point there are only a few more months to go. I'm assuming that the precedent he set after the first coup d'etat (i.e., serving out the remaining time without compensating for the years in exile) would serve this time as well.

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Fri Aug 26, 2005 2:53 am

Guys, I think that Aristide will return, not as President. But as a Haitian citizen, we will see another Preval or Fr Jean-Juste as President.

We will see a lot the next coming month.

Mwen ashte kat pelouz mwen, pou m swiv gwo evenman.

leonel

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