Haiti’s Sham Electoral Process
by Stephen Lendman
Haiti’s only legitimate government in over 200 years was under Jean-Bertrand Aristide (1991, 1994 – 1996, and 2001 – 2004) – twice ousted by US imperial arrogance, a true populist leader serving all Haitians equitably, dedicated to social justice.
In 2011, Washington rigged Haiti’s electoral process to install widely despised Duvalierist/anti-populist Michel (Sweet Mickey) Martelly as president. He governs extrajudicially – by decree since parliament was dissolved in January, in violation of Haiti’s constitution.
Haiti hasn’t had elections in over four years. When held they’re farcical – rigged to assure US-approved candidates win. More on this below.
Little over 20% of Haitian voters turned out for Martelly’s 2011 runoff farce. He had single-digit first round support. Anointing him president was a selection, not a legitimate process.
In 2009 legislative elections, less than 10% of Haitians voted – compared to high turnouts when Aristide ran.
Haiti is Washington occupied territory. UN Blue Helmets are deployed as imperial enforcers. They’ve been there since US marines ousted Aristide in 2004 – the first time ever supporting a coup d’etat regime, terrorizing ordinary Haitians deserving justice, responsible for importing a devastating cholera epidemic killing thousands, remaining for over a decade despite being overwhelmingly despised.
Haitians aren’t strangers to adversity and anguish. For over 500 years, they suffered oppression, slavery, despotism, colonialism, reparations, embargoes, sanctions, deep poverty, starvation, disease, unrepayable debt, and calamities like destructive hurricanes, the January 2010 earthquake still devastating the lives of many thousands of survivors, deadly cholera and longstanding misery.
Their lives and welfare don’t matter. No hemispheric people suffered more over a longer duration. Nothing in prospect suggests constructive change.
Martelly rules extrajudicially by intimidation and repression – with US approved officials in key posts. On August 9, first round legislative elections were held – marred by violence, loss of life, major irregularities and embarrassingly low turnout.
The process was a travesty. It had no legitimacy whatever. No responsible society would tolerate what’s standard practice in Haiti – anti-populist candidates, widespread ballot box stuffing and other electoral fraud, marred by rampant violence, making the entire process a disgraceful sham.
As expected, Washington, EU nations and others pronounced the first round successful. Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo Barrantes headed the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Electoral Observation Mission.
He lied claiming last Sunday rampant irregularities nationwide weren’t “generalized” and “did not affect the whole process…”
Haiti Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) head Pierre Louis Opont expressed “satisf(action) with the unfolding of election day…” He ignored an illegitimate process claiming “election day was a victory.”
Things were rigged to select US-approved Martelly Haitian Tet Kale (Bald Headed) Party (PHTK) candidates. Opposition parties denounced the process.
The Lavalas Family Political Organization (FL) called it an “electoral coup d’etat.” Haiti’s National Human Rights Defense Network, National Observation Council, Council of Non-State Actors and other groups deployed hundreds of observers nationwide.
They reported on the fraudulent process. Most polling stations opened late, some not at all, others relocated the last minute without notification or explanation, ballots weren’t delivered on time or at all, and other electoral irregularities.
Half or more of stations experienced intimidation, violence and rampant fraud. Police were complicit by doing nothing to maintain order.
Second round legislative and first round presidential elections are scheduled for October 25 – then December 27 if a presidential runoff is needed.
At stake is Haiti’s presidency (Martelly can’t run for reelection), 20 senators, 118 deputies and thousands of local officials.
Don’t expect smoother going in upcoming rounds than last Sunday. Haiti’s farcical process assures dirty business as usual.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.