19 April, 2009
The U.S. government has a new strategy to stop Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas party from winning elections in Haiti.
Keeping Aristide in exile and Fanmi Lavalas off the ballot in Haiti is easier than arranging another coup, like the two Washington administrations previously pulled off against Aristide.
Of course, the U.S. foreign policy operatives will never admit that this is U.S. policy. Even though it was U.S. security agents that forced President Aristide onto a U.S. plane on Feb. 29, 2004, and flew him to Africa.
Washington most certainly would disclaim having anything to do with the decisions of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) that denied Fanmi Lavalas, one of the major and most popular parties in Haiti, a chance to present candidates for the 12 vacant seats in the Haitian senate in elections whose first round is scheduled for April 19.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, in his statement on Haiti April 6 to the Security Council, insisted “on the necessity of holding free and fair elections, open to all, as part of the political stabilization of the country.” An African nonpermanent member of the Security Council expressed the hope that Fanmi Lavalas would participate in future elections.
The U.N. is going to spend $16 million on the April 19 election–a vast sum for Haiti.
When Aristide’s second government did not count the votes in a senatorial election the way the U.S. thought they should be counted, the U.S. press echoed and re-echoed the State Department’s denunciation. It became one of the justifications for the second coup against him.
Fanmi Lavalas is calling for a boycott of the April 19 elections, which Romestil Melisca, a national coordinator of local Fanmi Lavalas organizations, characterized as preordained “selections.” (Haïti-Liberté, April 1-7) Melisca called on every Lavalasian to stay home and close their doors on April 19. Lavalas has also held a number of large demonstrations throughout the country demanding the return of Aristide, defending their right to participate in elections, and pointing to the hunger, misery and unemployment ravaging Haiti.
Other progressive groups in Haiti are pointing to the substantial technical difficulties already afflicting these elections. Local CEPs are in “total disorder” and are not really responding to the tens of thousands of people who lost their documents in last year’s hurricanes. (Haïti-Progrès, March 25-31).
While Lavalas intends for Operation Closed Door to be peaceful and legal, the Haitian Press Network carried reports April 8 that indicate the government is preparing to blame a low turnout on April 19 on the threat of violence. Some past election boycotts in Haiti have been extremely successful.