I wrote about the support to bring Aristide to Haiti earlier this week. This is a follow up to that post.
I received a link to an open letter posted in The Guardian the other day to an open letter that has been signed by a rather impressive list of political theorists, intellectuals, aid workers, activists, academics, lawyers, politicians, etc., both international and local to Haiti (and the diaspora). My eye was caught by the header: “Haiti needs the world’s support: Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Slavoj Žižek and others call on the US, France and Canada to keep out of Haiti’s democratic process in an open letter to the Guardian.”
It is a beautifully crafted letter:
The powers that dominate Haiti have facilitated the return of the former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier while discouraging the return of the twice-elected president (and Fanmi Lavalas leader) Jean-Bertrand Aristide. These powers, with their allies in the Haitian business community, have made it clear that they seek to delay Aristide’s return until after 20 March. They will only allow Aristide to return after a suitably pliant new government has been installed, to preside over the imminent reconstruction process.
We the undersigned call on the Haitian government to make the security arrangements that will enable Aristide’s immediate return, and we call on the international community to support rather than undermine these efforts. We call on the Haitian government to cancel the second-round vote scheduled for 20 March and to organise a new round of elections, without exclusions or interference, to take place as soon as possible.
The letter goes on – do read it.
The news is a bit grim today. For the third day this week, 2000 (well, depending on your source, from a few hundred to 3000) Haitians have taken to the streets in protest of the elections, calling for the arrest of Preval for fraud, and for annulment and a re-vote. There have been reports of clashes leading to deaths, though no one is sure how many. Unfortunately, the peaceful protests have turned violent – by whom? The news media and tweeters disagree about who started the violence. But this photo…well, it makes a person wonder.
No pithy comments. Just waiting for bated breath. The announcements are supposed to come out in two days (Tuesday 7 December).
What i find troubling in all of this is that the UN is now threatening to pull out of Haiti if the election results are not honored. (On a side note: who made Edmond Mulet the person in charge? He’s been an utter PR disaster over the past two months – or am i the only one who thinks so?) Mark Schneider of the International Crisis Group seems to be doing a much better job of trying to get to the real needs and issues of the Haitian people. In his opinion piece for The Globe and Mail, he asserts:
No matter who goes to the second round, Haiti’s political leaders, the United Nations, the OAS and donors need to immediately forge a national consensus to move past this election, accelerate earthquake recovery and contain the cholera epidemic.
Move past this election, not throw a temper tantrum and take all their toys home.
In the meantime, cholera is still making its solemn march across PaP, the country, the island. There were 16 reported cases in the Dominican Republic as of today. There was a second confirmed case in Florida earlier this week. The deathtoll in Haiti is quickly moving toward 2,000 – and a possibility that it may be twice that, according to the UN. 65,000 – 85,000 have already been infected (well, reported infected) within Haiti.They are suffering a death rate of 2.3 percent, twice the global average. Add to this the “witch hunt” killings of at least 12 Haitians accused of “cursing” people or causing them to get cholera through special powders, etc.