vendredi 7 août 2015

Is widespread carnage planned for Haiti elections?

In November 1987, dozens of voters around Haiti  were killed in organized
election-related violence, like those pictured here at the Argentine School
at Ruelle Vaillant. In light of recent  growing violence, could similar
bloodshed mar upcoming elections?  Photo: Tony Savino
On Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) of the government of President Michel Martelly and de facto Prime Minister Evans Paul plans to hold the first round of legislative elections to fill two-thirds of the Senate (20 seats) and the entire Chamber of Deputies (119 seats).
According to the CEP, more than 5.8 million Haitians are expected to vote, although campaigning, which ends Friday, Aug. 7, 2015, has been very restrained due to confrontations between various candidates’ supporters.
We expect a lot of trouble. As we have often warned, this electoral farce has been organized in a context of violence, corruption, and intimidation. Is there not a hidden hand that pulls the strings of violence which has already begun?
The CEP professes that it is working in good faith for the elections’ success, as does the government. But their actions suggest they are setting the stage for an electoral disaster. Having a whiff of the violence in the air, the CEP issued a statement reminding candidates that the Electoral Law’s Article 119 gives it legal authority to disqualify any candidates found guilty of violent acts and to suspend from electoral contests for a period of up to five years any political parties or groups found to be instigators. But, in addition to political parties, shouldn’t the CEP also address the verbal abuse and insults with which President Martelly publicly pelted a woman at an electoral rally in Miragoâne last week?
Fritz Jean Louis, the minister responsible for electoral affairs, has called on voters not to vote for candidates who are the cause of violence during the electoral campaign. But following Martelly’s violent public tirade in Miragoâne when campaigning for his party the PHTK, shouldn’t Minister Jean Louis urge people not to vote for Martelly’s candidates?
A few days before the elections, even Sen. Andris Riché, the Senate’s de facto president, has expressed grave doubts, saying that “the conditions are not yet ripe for the holding of good elections in the country.”
Last Sunday, Aug. 1, the military occupation force known as the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) organized a “Concert for Peace” in Fort National. During this public relations event, MINUSTAH’s chief, Sandra Honoré, called on Haiti to promote and choose peace at a time when outbreaks of electoral violence are growing. Ironically, over its 11 years in Haiti, MINUSTAH has been one of the greatest instigators and causes of violence.
The people must be vigilant and very careful. The growing violence may be planned, as it was in the Nov. 29, 1987, elections. Generalized carnage is perhaps being prepared to terrorize, confuse, and further weaken the masses, the driving force of mobilizing for change, with the same aim as the last two coups, namely to remove them from the political scene.
Here is a partial list of representative cases of violence and killings reported by the Haitian media over the last month of the electoral campaign.
July 5: Wilkenson Bazile, a family member and assistant to CEP member Jaccéus Joseph, was shot dead around 7:30 p.m. in Delmas by assailants on a motorcycle. Jaccéus calls it an “assassination.”
July 22: In the morning, Pierre Lafond, the Fusion party’s candidate for mayor in Marigot, died at the Saint-Michel hospital in Jacmel after having been shot by a security agent known as Bissainthe, who works for the Pont party’s candidate for deputy, Déus Deronette.
July 22: Around 10 p.m., in the neighborhood of Avenue Christophe Chanel (in the commune of Carrefour), Shiller Anthony (32), Roody Raphael (33) and Jackson Pierre (42) were shot to death by unidentified individuals on motorcycles. Witnesses said the three men were putting up posters for Jacques Beauvil, the VERITE platform’s candidate for deputy of Carrefour.
July 29: The Respè party’s candidate for deputy Denis Pierre Lima, for the district of Torbeck/Chantal, was attacked in the afternoon by an armed group led by former deputy Guy Gérard Georges, the Lavalas Family’s candidate.
July 31: Great tension reigned in Delmas 6, inside the Daniel Fignolé high school, where Senate candidate for the West Department, Marie Liliane Vedrigue-Hersche, of the National Unity Force party (FUN), accompanied by her campaign staff, had come to make the opening kickoff in a soccer championship. Witnesses said sporadic shooting was heard in the area. The candidate was evacuated for her protection by her security guards.
Aug. 1: Germain Fils Alexandre, the VERITE platform’s candidate for deputy in Petit-Goâve, claimed that he and his supporters had been attacked by party members of Martelly’s Bald Headed Haitian Party (PHTK).
Aug. 2: Two people were injured by gunfire and many car windshields were broken during a campaign rally for Abel Descollines, a PHTK candidate for deputy. Descollines accused unnamed supporters of some of his opponents.
This past week: in the Rivière Froide area, one of the supporters of the Fusion party’s candidate for deputy of Carrefour, Nadine Anilus, was cut in the ear by a knife or machete.

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