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Reflections on the upcoming elections in Haiti

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 2:48 pm
by admin
In the discussion thread: "Meet IFES, part III" ( I wrote on February 2, 2005:

[quote]If you look at the people who have greatly influenced U.S. policy towards Haiti in the last five years for instance, you will be surprised to find out that it is a small core of highly energetic and dedicated individuals, but that they are not extraordinarily talented, except for their adhesion to a single-minded purpose: the dismantlement of the Lavalas movement. They have committed blunder after blunder, and have never expressed any shame over them. They have kept an eye on their prize, whatever it may have been (could it have been anything other than the death or exile of Jean-Bertrand Aristide? Nothing so far bears any trace of a high-minded ideology of their own). You've heard the expression "Hell hath no fury
than a woman scorned." Well, it's kind of like that. It often starts with petty jealousies, for not having received a sought after favor. Then we hear pretty impressive sounding non profits whose sole object is to cultivate resentment. Not a terribly hard thing to do, since much of it is raw and unsophisticated. Then they do the P.R. bit in Washington, D.C. and before you know it, they are a force to be reckoned with. But if you try to sort out their logic, you soon discover that it's all based on hate, and that they have never bothered to come up with a plan of development for the country they profess to love so much.

Truly, think of the names that match the description above. They are not that many: it's just a handful of them but they have disproportionate influence because they have learned to exploit one thing well: access to white men with power, such as congressmen and ex-ambassadors, USAID administrators, the National Endowment for Democracy and the International Republican Institute, and o
ther well-placed advisors in the State Department. They do not exhibit a lot of intellectual capacity, folks, but they have leverage. The Haitian proverb says: "Ray chen men di dan l blan." We have got to give them the credit that is theirs.

The question is: when will we exercise some leverage of our own?

As a people, we keep looking behind all the time, but we are afraid to strategize for tomorrow, or often for what is just about to hit us in the face. The United States has in the last few months, and over the furious objections of a lot of protesters, organized elections for the following people (or interjected themselves squarely in the process) : Afghans, Palestininans, Iraqis (and to a certain extent, Ukranians as well). They are set to duplicate their electoral successes in Haiti. Just who is going to stop them?

Remember that these days, for an election to be judged successful, the voters do not have to know what or even whom they are voting for. You do not even need to have secu
rity or international observers. All you need is a substantial number of people to line up and vote. Much more important than observers of the voting process and the actual counting of the votes, you need to have cameramen for the evening or early morning news, and reporters and pundits who will declare that obviously, freedom is on the march.

Freedom was also on the March back in 1967, in South Korea. Conside this story from the New York Times.

[quote]United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong. [/quote]

Haiti today is an occupied country, that some are eager to turn officially in
to a protectorate of Canada, the U.S., or the United Nations. George Bush's message to his empire, tomorrow in the State of the Union, will be clear: elections mean freedom, and freedom is on the march, even if it means the continuedl presence of the U.S. Army on oil-rich soil, or U.N. forces in lesser countries. He'll give them freedom, damn it, whether they like it or not. Besides, if they do not like it, it can only mean one thing: they hate Americans for their freedom. Those people were raised to hate American freedom, folks, not the fact perhaps that their family members have been blown to bits by American bombs and American mines. The fact that the U.S. is the greatest purveyor of arms in the world has not a thing to do with it.

So, my questions are: will we wait until after the U.S. sponsored elections in Haiti to reflect on how bad they truly were, perhaps well on our way to a civil war, like that in Vietnam in spite of their successful elections, like that that may occur between the Sunnis
and the Shias? will we try to simply ignore the elections, like "a little" tsunami that we will manage to survive? will he instead begin to strategize on how best to take advantage of those elections, if we at all can, and for those of us living in the diaspora, at least counter the private and special interests that are already aligned against the true freedom of the Haitian majority to determine their own future?

If this means opposing the elections at any price, then so be it (though I am VERY skeptical about this). But let us not pretend that elections will not take place in Haiti in October and November of this year, if we simply sidestep the issue.[/quote]

And previously in the discussion thread: "Election Brings Chance For a New Beginning" (, I wrote on January 13, 2005:

[quote]Funny, Michel, I don't remember telling you that I was against democratic elections!!

I simpl
y asked you to clarify some of your statements. That's all. Is that an impossible task?

This is exactly what I wrote, after you claimed "There is no other way!"

[quote]It's at least curious that there is no other way NOW, but a different way was found to get rid of Aristide, wouldn't you say???

Also, I must have missed a particular document that you might want to bring to light. The promise that the Occupation by the foreign forces will stop when [and only when???] Haitians line up and vote.

Do not interpret the above as an argumentation against elections in Haiti. I will formulate my position on the subject at a later time. Just see it as my spontaneous reaction to your great urgency to advocate that Haitians line up and vote.

So, don't read into my comments more than what I have said. I would simply like you to address the two points that I have raised.


Michel, you appear to be saying this:
"There is no other way, even though I have no historical precedent to show you that it works! Never mind our experience of the last 15 years!!! That experience is irrelevant. Believe me, I have a Vision. I can offer you no guarantees whatsoever, but you just have to believe me. Just line up and vote already! It's actually TRUE, folks, if the international community, the U.S. primarily, does not like our choice, THEY WILL COME AND ANNUL IT, but then we will get another chance to do it all over again, and again, and again, UNTIL WE GET IT RIGHT."</b>

Michel, I am not trying to put words in your mouth, believe me, you are not my enemy, and I have no idea where you stand ideologically. I am just pointing to the cold, logic-based value of the dialectic you offer us. I gave you a chance to refine it, so you can convince more people that there is truthfully some benefit to them, behind this evangelical zeal to jump on the elections bandwagon. I HAVE NOT TOLD YOU T
HAT I AM AGAINST ELECTIONS FOR HAITI IN 2005 OR ANY OTHER YEAR. So, I do not understand why you try to turn my request for clarification to a posture where I suddenly have to explain what options are more viable than elections. This is the equivalent of saying to anyone "Jesus IS the way. SHOW ME THAT HE IS NOT."

I am sorry, but let me tell you, I still cling to my democratic ideals, even though I live in the U.S.A. where anti-democratic forces have had a field day, both at home and abroad, since the attack of September 11, 2001 and probably even before that fateful date. You don't have to preach the value of democracy to me, but perhaps your friends at the White House, the GWU alumni, could benefit from your insights. Who knows, perhaps those ideas might percolate some day and make it to the Oval Office. Perhaps those guys might come to consider that democracy is not simply a procedural affair, but that it implies as well some demonstrable respect for the "one man one
vote" principle.

I give you enough credit, Michel, to believe THAT YOU CAN find some persuasive arguments to sell elections to Haitians. But please consider that Haitians were not born yesterday. We are not that naive, Michel. And while we are not known for our long-term memory, our short-term memory is not all that defective. How many times do you expect to sell "EX LAX" chocolates to the same people while telling them that they are simply dessert and nothing more??? Our diarrhea has not stopped, Michel, and here you are offering us more "chocolates". Can you at least show us that the ingredients are different from those you provided us the last time around? Diarrhea is not such a nice sensation, you know. We would like some basic guarantees. Are we or are we not entitled to them?

I certainly have never put myself in a position where I have to prove to anyone that elections are not the way. I have paid my dues as an electoral observer in Haiti. Could I possibly have more respect fo
r the electoral process than the evangelists that are pushing it??? There is something wrong with that picture.[/quote]

Finally, I wrote in the thread: "U.S. Politician Urges Haiti to Free Former Premier" (, the following on March 8, 2005:
[quote]I am generally IN FAVOR OF elections, in spite of all the magouilles. But no serious elections can be entertained while the leaders of a political movement are jailed, and not brought to justice in a year.

Chamblain has had his day in court (or was it in the middle of the night in a kangaroo court?) Ramissainthe Ravix is accused of killing several policemen (acts of terrorism) but continues to defy the PNH, the MINUSTHA, and all the forces of occupation. The CIA must be looking for him in the closets of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince or under some rocks at the Canadian Embassy. Jean Tatoune is free, Prosper Avril is free, every anti-Lavalas
murderer is free.

While the leaders of the political movement, formerly in power, are rotting in jail.

For this, the ursurper of constitutional legitimacy, Gérard Latortue should be impeached. The Minister of Injustice, Bernard Gousse, should be impeached. Hell, the American, Canadian, and French governments should be impeached.

They have all conspired to promote lawlessness in Haiti, while stripping it of any semblance of constitutionality.

The Haitian people are watching and learning, and they will blame it for being "uncivilized" and "utterly incapable of democracy". There is no greater sport among Haitians than that of blaming their own people, for everything under the sun.

But who have been our teachers? Where is the justice? Where is the democracy? Where is the good will? Where are the genuine efforts for reconciliation? Where are the concerns for development, no holds barred?

Sadly, they have not come from the powers that be. And the people's innate thir
st of justice has been reduced to "yon jou pou chasè, yon jou pou jibye" (one day for the hunter, one day for the prey). But as always, the Haitian people will be blamed for their various incapacities for democracy, for self-government, for orderly transitions, for justice, for self-love? How long will it be before someone picks up George Bush's absurd line "They hate us for our freedom" ?

If among the impeachables, there has been one good teacher ( or for that matter, let's even say "actor" ), I would like someone to show me earnestly who that person has been.

It has been a reptilian show, and one of the worst. Justice has never been so trivialized. There is absolutely no virtue in replacing an ineffective government with another which not only lacks the legitimacy, but has demonstrated all along its callous disregard for any notion of justice. That is no virtue, period.

They are the impeachables. And they shall be impeached.[/quote]

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:00 pm
by T-dodo

Nice to have you back. We missed you!


Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:24 pm
by admin
[quote]Thanks Guy S. Antoine for coming back to your senses. [/quote]
Coming back to my senses? Can you please tell me when I left my senses? I don't want to go down the personal road where you are trying to lead me, but I can only urge everyone to read your interventions on this forum...

[quote]Come on Guy stop whining, please!
You are embarrassing me!
People are watching us here! [/quote]
Well, if I am embarrassing you... you know where to go, don't you?