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samedi 20 février 2016

JOCELERME PRIVERT ET JEAN BERTRAND ARISTIDE 1/3

Haïti se rappellera pendant longtemps ce 14 février 2016.
Cette date ne sera plus uniquement cette journée dédiée à l’amour et aux amoureux. Elle restera dans les anales la date des élections indirectes pour combler une vacance présidentielle de fin de mandat. Une situation inédite donc sans provision dans les pages de la Constitution.
Le récit serait trop long pour expliquer comment on a pu aboutir à une pareille situation.
Ceux qui suivent avec assiduité l’actualité haïtienne se passeront de cette introduction. Pour ceux qui se trouvent entrain de lire ce texte sans avoir été intéressé par Haïti, je ferai un résumé le plus succinct possible. Ce qui est déjà assez compliqué dans le cas d’Haïti car chaque fois qu’il est nécessaire de remonter à la genèse d’un problème il semble qu’il faut aller à la genèse de cette nation en faillite.
En fait le président dont le mandat a pris fin le 7 Février dernier avec une exigence de passer la main à un autre président élu démocratiquement à l’issue des élections présidentielles libres, crédibles
, inclusives et transparentes dont il avait la responsabilité.
Mais avant les joutes présidentielles, d’autres échéances électorales prévues pendant le quinquennat ont été carrément oubliées. Michel Martelly n’en n’a organisé aucune. Avec un parlement caduc il a pris son pied à gouverner par décret.
Il comptait sur les élections présidentielles et législatives de cette année, avec la bénédiction/indifférence de la communauté internationale pour choisir son successeur à qui il passerait la bande présidentielle.
Ce qu’il n’avait pas prévu arriva.
Malgré une insistance téméraire et menaçante de la communauté internationale, l’opposition rendit impossible la poursuite et la conclusion du processus électoral.
Les forces démocratiques venaient de gifler de plein fouet l’ensemble de la communauté internationale pour qui stabilité rime avec passation de pouvoir entre un président élu à un autre. Peu importe dans quelles conditions. Les standards sont tellement rabaissés en Haïti que ce qui est inacceptable ailleurs est célébré en Haïti avec Caviar et Champagne !
Toujours est-il que le 7 Février arriva sans président élu. Et il fallait bien trouver une solution car la gestion d’un pays est constante et permanente.
Le quinquennat de Martelly s’est écoulé sans que son administration n’ait pensé à aucune institution.
On sait bien qu’en théorie le pouvoir exécutif s’exerce par une structure triangulaire composée du pouvoir exécutif personnifié dans le binôme présidé de la République /Premier Ministre, le pouvoir législatif et le pouvoir judiciaire.
Au sept février 2016, aucun de ces trois pouvoirs jouissait d’un fonctionnement normal capable de lui accréditer une légitimité pour prendre le contrôle de la nation.
En fait Monsieur Evans Paul premier ministre est considéré comme un premier ministre de facto car il a été nommé comme premier ministre d’un faux consensus ou de connivence pour une énième sortie de crise.
Le pouvoir législatif venait à peine de se reconstituer dans une ultime démarche du gouvernement pour valider les résultats des élections contestées alimentant la grogne d’une grande partie de la population.
Le pouvoir judiciaire est lui aussi bancal et peu fonctionnel car Martelly n’avait pas procédé à des nominations surtout au niveau de la Cour de cassation.
Quand il a fallu trouver une solution de sortie de crise, le parlement récemment intronisé devint l’institution regroupant plusieurs identités et sensibilités politiques, se vit attribuer une étiquette de représentativité.
Le Parlement ne demandait pas mieux car certains élus sont contestés et pensent se mettre à l’abri ou en position pour négocier, avec cette prise de pouvoir.
A partir de ce moment, comme l’avait fait les Forces Armées d’Haïti au départ de Jean-Claude Duvalier, cette prise de pouvoir s’est assimilée à un coup d’état dans la mesure où on peut considérer qu’il s’est accaparé du pouvoir de façon absolue et exclusive, sans tenir compte des forces politiques ni de la population qui ont fait échec au plan de Martelly et poussé à l’annulation du processus électoral.
Dans des circonstances particulières Monsieur Jocelerme Privert président du sénat haïtien se porta candidat au poste de Président Provisoire et se fit élire le 14 Février 2016. Cet ancien fonctionnaire de l’administration lavalas de Jean Bertrand Aristide qui, à la chute de ce dernier fit de la prison, scelle avec cette élection non seulement une victoire personnelle et individuelle mais aussi marque le retour de Lavalas au palais national onze ans plus tard.
Comme preuve infaillible circule une jolie photo de famille avec l’ex première dame de la République Madame Mildred Trouillot Aristide et Madame Maryse Narcisse candidate du parti aux élections inachevées.
Ce retour de Lavalas claironne à raison par divers secteurs et acteurs de la vie politique haïtienne a permis des scénarios des plus improbables dont une action de l’actuel Président qui viserait un retour de Jean Bertrand Aristide au pouvoir avec :
- Le renvoi du parlement
- Création d’un CEP lavalaso-compatible
- Des élections parlementaires qu’emporterait avec une majorité absolue la mouvance Lavalas
- Modification de la Constitution
- Nouvelles élections avec Aristide comme candidat

Prise de but en blanc, on serait tenté de qualifier cette réflexion d’utopie caractérisée. Cependant j’ai l’habitude de dire qu’en Haïti et l’imaginable comme l’inimaginable peuvent devenir réels. Tout dépend en effet de celui qui imagine ou cesserait d’imaginer !
Il est vrai que l’aboutissement d’un tel projet relève d’une prouesse d’une envergure telle qu’elle ferait intervenir des actions et des comportements aujourd’hui difficilement acceptables.
Cependant ma réflexion sur ce scénario se porte sur les deux protagonistes : JOCELERME PRIVERT ET JEAN BERTRAND ARISTIDE… (A SUIVRE)

Finding Haiti on Vinyl: A crate-digging journey in search of a lost musical legacy.

By Vik Sohonie
In Jacmel, a sleepy beach town on Haiti’s southern coast, I hit pay dirt: In the archives of a local radio station, stuffed inside a gray metal locker, were hundreds of rare vinyl records, relics of a golden age of Haitian music. I sorted and sifted for hours, previewed each record on my portable turntable, and then entered into lengthy and sometimes frustrating negotiations over cost. Among the stacks was a holy grail of Haitian music: the debut LP of les Loups Noirs—the Black Wolves—titled Jouent Pour Vous, recorded in 1970 when the group members were still in their early 20s. Les Loups Noirs became a key part of a rich musical tradition that few people off the island or outside the Haitian diaspora know exists.

I’d come to Haiti in search of rare and obscure Haitian vinyl records just like these, mainly from the 1960s to the ’80s, in a bid to preserve, remaster, and compile them and issue an anthology of the cosmopolitan Haitian sound at its experimental, revivalist best. During what crate-diggers and curators refer to as the “modern” or “golden era” of Haitian music, musicians experimented with traditional rhythms while balancing a host of outside influences.
There was the jazz-era instrumentation, imported during the early-20th-century American occupation, which introduced horn sections to Haitian ensembles. From Cuba came meringue, mambo, son, guajira, and charanga. Accordion-driven Colombian cumbia and Dominican merengue left their marks as well.
Added to the melting pot of sound were rhythms, drum patterns, and percussion brought across the Atlantic from Africa. Haiti, like Cuba and Brazil, received a far greater number of enslaved Africans than the United States. Nago rhythms from what is today Nigeria and Benin, Kongo rhythms from Central Africa, and Petwo rhythms from the vodou traditions of Guinea, among many other influences, were revived in an age of black consciousness, driven by the Negritude and Noiriste philosophies of Afro-Caribbean intellectuals like Jamaica’s Marcus Garvey and Martinique’s Frantz Fanon and Aimé Césaire.
The lasting result is a rich, layered terrine that spawned Haiti’s Cuban-inspired meringue; the dominant kompa direct of Nemours Jean-Baptiste; the silky tenor sax-led cadence rampa pioneered by Webert Sicot; psychedelic mini jazz; and the dance-floor-filling vodou jazz compositions of the de facto national orchestra, Super Jazz des Jeunes. At its peak, Haitian music was widely distributed, proliferating its unique blend of sound across the Francophone Caribbean and West Africa.

Recordings capturing this vibrant laboratory of colliding influences were produced and pressed in Haiti, the U.S., France, and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Huge catalogs from the heavyweight record labels of the time—IBO Records, Marc Records, and Mini Records—and the smaller, private presses have been largely forgotten in recent decades. Many people have tossed their collections or left them to warp in damp basements. A unique piece of Haitian history and culture was at risk of being lost. Most of the world had never heard these sounds, and I wanted to change that.


LP cover of Ensemble Meridional des Cayes, 1972.
Vik Sohonie
 
The roads of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, are unruly and unpaved, covered in dust and soot. Communal taxis, known as tap-taps, aggressively compete with oil and water tankers, nongovernmental organization and aid agency vans, and armored vehicles carrying U.N. peacekeepers along the main roads. Police roadblocks bottleneck traffic in vital arteries of the city’s center.

But the streets are also home to a unique vibrancy. Roaming “rara” bands play folkloric rhythms with hypnotic horns and haunting percussion. Prim and proper uniformed youths flood the winding hillside roads around the capital to socialize over after-school snacks. The air is filled with smells of goat bouillon, pig feet ragout, and scotch bonnet peppers.

Radio stations were the first port of call in my search for buried recordings. The radio enjoys a special place in the Haitian imagination. It remains the most widely used conduit of information and entertainment for Haitians at home and in the diaspora. More than television, more than the Internet. “The importance of radio among Haitian-Americans has its roots in Haiti, where the illiteracy rate is about 80 percent and most people cannot afford a television,” wrote the New York Times in 1993. “In Haiti, a peasant may not wear shoes, but he has a transistor radio,” Raymond Cajuste, a radio show host, told the newspaper.

Radio’s prominence in Haitian life dates back to 1935, when Ricardo Widmaïer, a German immigrant, set up Radio HH3W, later named Radio d’Haiti, where some of the very first recordings took place. Ricardo’s son, Herby Widmaïer, established Radio Métropole in 1970. It played a key role in developing and advancing modern Haitian music. Word spread throughout certain circles in the city that I was in town looking for records. I continued to be greeted with disbelief and laughter.
Tucked away in a quieter corner of Port-au-Prince, Radio Métropole’s property is one of the best kept in the city. A garden, adorned with a range of flora, surrounds a stone lined walkway leading to the one-story building. I was given a tour by Herby Widmaïer’s son, Joel, who introduced me to a Haitian music insider: George Michelle, an aging man with a large figure and a commanding voice. Michelle was a close Widmaïer family confidant in the station’s early days.

In the backroom of their largest studio, now fitted with state-of-the-art radio technology, Michelle recalled the story of Radio Métropole and its impact on Haitian music culture. During the 1950s and early ’60s, about a dozen AM radio stations were scattered around Port-au-Prince. With the import of new technology from Japan and Europe, Radio Métropole created the first FM radio station in the country. The sound quality increased, allowing for a host of radio programs, talk shows, and phone-in shows. Better technology led to greater influence, and Radio Métropole drove the popularity of Haitian music. Bands were frequently in the studio to play live. Les Difficiles de Pétion-Ville, a seminal electric band from the upscale Port-au-Prince suburb, for example, earned the station’s highest ratings.
Métropole set the standard and inspired the growth of a broadcasting industry across the country. Radio stations like Radio Haiti Diffusion and Radio Caraibe, still standing today, began to spread the gospel of Latin music, especially Cuban music, which, in the same manner as West and Central Africa, had a huge impact on the development of Haiti’s musical identity.



Alongside Cuban sounds, Mexican Ranchera, French music, and popular American jazz and soul made its way to Haiti’s airwaves. Michelle said that at one point Haiti was “overwhelmed” by Latin music. It won by default. But by the ’60s, as more radio stations entered the market, Haitian music began to dominate.
At the time, radio stations still relied on magnetic tapes. Vinyl, Michelle said, was far too expensive and not readily available in Haiti.
 There were only three stores in Port-au-Prince at the time that sold actual LPs. Most of the records were pressed for the U.S. market and for Haitians in the diaspora, who could better afford them. Radio, as a result, played a huge role in the dissemination of popular Haitian music. This would explain the lack of vinyl culture in Haiti as oppose to other islands in the Caribbean, like Cuba and Jamaica, or Colombia’s Caribbean coast.



Super Jazz des Jeunes performing at one of the
Haitian community’s legendary dance parties
in New York, 1970s. Vik Sohonie
 
François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, Haiti’s brutal president from 1957 to 1971, used his secret police, the Tonton Macoute, against broadcasters deemed a political threat. Several radio stations closed, some by force, some voluntarily, and many radio owners and broadcast engineers left the country, Michelle told me. At Radio Jacmel, where I found the stash of rare vinyl, journalists were shot dead. Intellectuals who aired their views were also killed.

Journalists and other personalities at Radio Métropole were killed, jailed, or exiled. Music, however, was not forbidden under Duvalier. Some radio stations, according to Michelle, were forced to play political music supportive of his rule, but, indeed, some of the most exceptional interpretations of Latin and Cuban music, as well as the deepest, darkest big-band vodou jazz cuts, were recorded under Duvalier’s reign. Duvalier chose bands and organized carnivals to promote his rule and enshrine his cult of personality. Haiti’s political elite, closely allied to Duvalier, became the biggest private audience for Nemours Jean-Baptiste and Webert Sicot’s early bands. The rivalry and persistent competition between Jean-Baptiste’s kompa direct style and Sicot’s cadence rampa vitalized the Haitian music scene, inspiring a generation of young musicians to follow their example.

It was here, at Radio Métropole, and at several other radio outlets, where I placed ads for every single piece of vinyl in the city and dug through the radio’s archives. Most people I met were bewildered by my quest. Not far from the presidential palace, I made my way to an old music shop selling only CDs. In response to my queries, a voice shouted from a group of men huddled outside: “Plaques? Plaques??”—as records are known in Haiti— “W ap chèche les plaques? No plaques!”

Roughly translated: “You’re mad.” Eventually the response to my incessant and persistent requests changed from laughter to annoyance. The devastating 2010 earthquake had destroyed many of the archives, and the pain of that loss was reflected in the reaction of radio operators, who rightly cherished these artifacts.

Many radio stations were also ruined during the earthquake. But the owners who lost nearly everything set up shop in makeshift studios on building rooftops, using the most basic of microphones, sound mixing boards, and transistors. One radio operator invited me to be a guest on a show dedicated to Haitian music of the ’60s and ’70s.

“You’re searching for the 33s (33 RPM), yes?” asked the radio operator in French. He was a rotund man with a round face, specks on his cheeks, and quiet grace in his deep voice. “Yes, and 7-inch plaques,” I replied.

Debut LP of Les Loups Noirs, 1970.- Vik Sohonie


“You won’t find much in Haiti, there’s more in the U.S. and France and the other Caribbean islands. The earthquake crushed my radio’s archives and my personal collection,” he said.

Word spread throughout certain circles in the city that I was in town looking for records. I continued to be greeted with disbelief and laughter at my mission. Radio station after radio station shooed me away. My phone remained silent despite a number of ads placed.

After two weeks, a call or two came in. In downtown Port-au-Prince, I scoured old warehouses and garages, finding gems like Tabou Combo’s first LP with the track “Gislene,” a storming accordion-driven ’60s Haitian dance-floor workout.

But I still wasn’t finding the kind of variety I’d come here for. But then one day I got a phone call from a man who said he had collection of 3,000 records. It was exactly what I needed—a goldmine, albeit one covered in dust and insects.

I spent six hours with the man and his family sifting through and listening to the records. Here, in my dusty hands, was a rare piece of Haitian history, largely forgotten but still very much alive.
Vik Sohonie’s upcoming compilation, Tanbou Toujou Lou: Meringue, Kompa Kreyol, Vodou Jazz, and Electric Folklore from Haiti 1960–1981, will be released this spring onOstinato Records. This piece is adapted from the liner notes.

Based in New York and Bangkok, Vik Sohonie is a record collector, DJ, writer, and founder of Ostinato Records, a label dedicated to Afro-Atlantic sounds.
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/roads/2016/02/searching_for_haiti_s_lost_musical_legacy_in_radio_and_records.2.html

jeudi 18 février 2016

Haiti's Roadmap Towards Completion of the Electoral Cycle

Special Briefing
Kenneth H. Merten
Special Coordinator for Haiti
via Teleconference
February 17, 2016
MS PFAFF: Good morning, everyone, and thanks for joining us. We have with us here today Haiti Special Coordinator and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Kenneth Merten. He’s here to discuss the evolving state of play in Haiti’s roadmap towards completion of the electoral cycle. Today’s call will be on the record. We’ll start with some brief remarks at the top, and then we’ll open it up for your questions.
So with that, I’ll turn it over to the special coordinator.

MR MERTEN: Hi, everybody. Thanks for taking the time to join us today. I appreciate it – appreciate your interest in Haiti. I think from – some of you who I know who are on the call I know follow Haiti very, very closely; others perhaps not on such a regular basis. But I hope what we’ll be discussing today will be germane for all of you.
I think we – the United States has been interested in Haiti for – and in democracy in Haiti for a long time. And I think we recently welcomed this February 5th agreement that President Martelly and the presidents of the two chambers of parliament came to. I think we recognize that challenges remain, as Haiti moves towards the completion of its electoral cycle with voting due to take place on April 24th. But the success of the February 5th agreement between these parties depends on the interim leadership’s commitment to implement the terms of the agreement on the timeline that’s outlined in it. Our goal here is to, again, to ensure that the Haitian people have a chance to have their voice heard about who determines their leadership. Their voice has already been heard in terms of populating both the upper and lower house, largely, of parliament, and the presidential election process now needs to run its course.
As one of Haiti’s many international partners, the role of the U.S. is to support and strengthen democracy in Haiti. And we’ve been active in doing that in many different ways for over 30 years. For Haiti’s many challenges, fully functioning and legitimate democratic institutions will also facilitate and make more sustainable the work of the United States and our other international partners, with the goal of improving the quality of life and improving economic opportunity for Haitians. We support the expeditious conclusion of this electoral process with an outcome, as I said, that reflects the will and the desire of the Haitian people.
The upcoming elections and the incorporation of the recommended steps by the Independent Electoral Evaluation Commission to improve the transparency and fairness of this third round of presidential – of the elections will enhance citizens’ overall confidence, we believe. And the swift convocation by the provisional president of concerned sectors within society to designate new members of the provisional electoral council we think is very important because it will give this new CEP a chance to learn their jobs, learn – time to learn to avoid mistakes that have been made in previous CEPs.
So again, once again, we support, the United States supports credible, transparent, and secure elections that reflect the will of the Haitian people, and we believe that only a democratically elected government provides the legal legitimacy to govern Haiti and provides the Haitian people with the transparency we certainly believe that they deserve.
So that’s pretty much it for my opening statement. I’m happy to take some questions.

OPERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, if you’d like to ask a question, please press * then 1. You will hear a tone indicating you have been placed in queue. You may remove yourself from queue at any time by pressing the # key. If you’re using a speaker phone, please pick up the handset before pressing the numbers. Once again, if you have a question, please press *1 at this time. And one moment please for the first question.
Your first question comes from the line of Amelie Baron. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Yes, hi. This is Amelie Baron from Port-au-Prince. Mr. Merten, you talk about the agenda in the agreement. Are you confident that the election will happen on April 4 – 24th, as you said?
MR MERTEN: I think so. I mean, people chose those dates knowing what they represent. This is, as I mentioned, a Haitian agreement that was reached among Haitian parties. They knew what they were doing when they chose those dates. I think obviously there are chances, as in any country, for dates, deadlines not to be met, but our sincere hope and our efforts are going to be to encouraging people to meet their – the deadlines as they’ve been set, and to do what we can to help – if requested, to help facilitate that process.

OPERATOR: Your next question comes from the line of Carrie Kahn. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: This – thank you so much for doing this. But I just have a question: The statement that you just gave was really nothing changed than what you’ve been saying all along. Are you – why now are you speaking out? Are you concerned about the process as it’s going forward? And also, what gives you more confidence that they can pull off elections February – on the 20 – I’m sorry, April 24th, when they haven’t been able up to date?
MR MERTEN: Well, let’s look back here. I mean, we did have elections in August and we had elections in October, the first two rounds of the three-round series. So elections – we’ve had elections to seat a parliament, which has happened, which we were very – we think is a big step and one we’re very grateful to see. I think we know what is – what happened in the preceding months. Our position hasn’t changed. What we have always believed and continue to believe is that the Haitian president should be chosen, as reflected in the Haitian constitution, by the Haitian people. And the only way to do that is through elections, which is why we have supported elections these many years in Haiti and continue to do so and will continue to do so. So there’s nothing new. I think we – one of the reasons we’re doing this is just to get our point of view out there, to people who have questions; we want to be open and answer questions that you and your colleagues have about where the United States stands in its support for Haiti in this endeavor.

OPERATOR: Your next question comes from the line of Frances Robles. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Hi, good morning. I guess I’m wondering if you could speak a little bit about how much money the United States spent on this electoral process in Haiti, yet it was such a problematic – nonetheless. So when you look back at the 30 million that was spent, have you evaluated to think, okay, maybe we should have spent – redirected this in this direction versus that direction?
MR MERTEN: Well, I think we always do a sort of after-action review of these. And I think we are – obviously, have looked back on what is going on. I think – look, as I mentioned earlier, it is important to note that Haiti has a functioning parliament now for the first time in over a year. Our support of these elections has been in large part to ensure that that happened and that Haitian people have their – have themselves represented in both houses of parliament. So in that respect, I think it is something that we – we’ve certainly been very happy to see as a result of our investment in the elections process. I think you need to – I think we need to note that the elections in October were peaceful. I think in retrospect when we look at the work of the evaluation commission and others, I think people have pointed to things that could have been improved. Our efforts certainly since October have been to work with the then-CEP in place, to work with them, encouraging them to address the shortcomings that were noted by the evaluation commission and by others.
So I think – again, I think it is – I think we recognize that not everything worked perfectly, but I think we and all the other partners, and including the folks in Haiti who ran the election, realized that steps needed to be taken, and they were in the process of taking them to fix those challenges that existed in October. I think our efforts moving forward are going to be to work with the new CEP to give them the benefit of whatever information that our partners such as IFES and other folks on the ground can have. And hopefully they can benefit from that expertise.

OPERATOR: Your next question comes from the line of Calvin Hughes. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Mr. Merten, thank you very much for doing this. And from the last question, I just sort of wanted to follow up on the figures, the numbers for the new election. How much is the U.S. Government going to invest in making sure that the elections go off on April 24th, or whenever they decide to do it? And my second question is this new provisional government and the new president, Mr. Privert, he has the option, I believe, of not using the two candidates who are in the race – Celestin and Moise. He could actually open up the runoff, the presidential runoff, on April 24th to more candidates. Is that true? I heard that when I was over there a couple of weekends ago to interview Martelly. Is it true that he can open up the race to other candidates?
MR MERTEN: Two questions there, so make sure you hold me to answering both of them. So the first one on the expenditures, we’ve so far spent, as I understand it, $33 million in support of these – of the election process so far. I don’t think we have an analysis or a cost estimate from either the – our Haitian partners on the ground or from other folks yet as what, if any, additional funds are going to be necessary. My guess is that there will be additional money necessary, certainly from the Haitians to put into these elections and probably from international partners. I don’t think we have a good figure for that yet, so I’m not going to put out a figure until we know something concrete, until we have a good ballpark figure.
In terms of opening up the elections, I mean, that is – I don’t have the agreement in front of me, but that is not my understanding. I think, as I recall, the agreement talks about a completion of the process. And the process so far, I mean, has resulted in two candidates, Jude Celestin and Jovenel Moise, proceeding to the next round. From what I have understood from observers on the ground that – they understand that that is what the results showed, and my guess is that’s what’s going to happen moving forward.
But I think that is – we will – we’ll see what happens. But I don’t think there is any – any expectation that the election will be opened up to more candidates. I don’t think that is legal according to the electoral decree nor according to the Haitian constitution. It’s my – as I recall, it says the top two vote getters will move on to the final round if nobody gets over 50 percent. So there is no provision, as I understand it, for opening it up to more candidates.

OPERATOR: Your next question comes from the line of Amelie Baron. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Yes. In his (inaudible) speech, Preval spoke on the international – talking on the interference – U.S. and the OAS was at that time much more involved in the election, especially for Martelly, and there’s a lot of suspicion that the international community is also interfering too much in the political affair. What is your answer to Preval’s speech was letting know that the internationals should stay (inaudible)?
MR MERTEN: Well again, I think we’ve been very clear all along in emphasizing that this is a Haitian run process. These are Haitian elections. We, the international community, have been invited in to participate with technical expertise and with the money that we bring to enable these elections to take place. So I don’t necessarily agree that there’s been any interference in the process. I think I would certainly like to underscore the fact that our involvement effectively enables these elections to take place, and I think we’ve been very careful in every Haitian election to not interfere.
But to – again, our goal has been and remains to be to allow the Haitian people to have their voice heard in choosing their leadership, not to have their leadership chosen by other people who may or may not be acting on their behalf, but to have the Haitian people have the ultimate choice in who’s going to represent them in parliament and who’s going to be their leader as president.

OPERATOR: As a reminder, if you’d like to ask a question, please press * then 1. Next we’ll go to the line of David McFadden. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Yeah, thanks for having this call. Just curious if you think that there’s a strategy now by some political factions to make the transitional government last for two years.
MR MERTEN: Well, I mean, I think there are – there have been those people who have been pretty open about their belief that the need for a transitional government – in their belief that a transitional government needs to be out there and needs to be active for, say, a two-year period. That has – that is not our view. Our – again, our view is that elected officials are the ones who need to be representing the Haitian people whether that’s in parliament or whether that’s in the executive branch.
I think a lot of these recipes for transition governments don’t really necessarily follow the strictures of the Haitian constitution, and I think as a partner of Haiti our belief is that in our work that we try to do to be good partners and good neighbors with Haiti as a hemispheric neighbor, we work in a whole broad range of areas, whether it’s health, whether it’s increasing economic opportunity, whether it’s helping develop Haiti’s infrastructure. And having legitimate authorities in place in line with the Haitian constitution makes it much easier, makes it unquestionably easier for us to do that kind of work.
So that’s one of the reasons we are – we really believe that completing the electoral process, having people in power who enjoy that power because they got there legally through the Haitian constitution and through elections is really the best way forward. And I think if you look back at transitional governments in Haiti in the past, I think we have seen these periods as times when work at addressing the chronic challenges that Haiti faces doesn’t really progress very well. People spend a lot of this time focused on the politics and not really on advancing the developmental goals that we want to help Haiti achieve.
So I think – I hope that’s answered your question.

OPERATOR: Your next question comes from the line of Jacques (inaudible). Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Yes, good morning, Ambassador Merten. I am going to ask my question in English, so I will appreciate if you answer in English and Creole as well. Many sectors in Haiti think 120 days is not enough for the president to organize the elections. What is the Washington position?
MR MERTEN: As I said earlier, I think the people who organize – who came to this agreement knew what they were doing when they signed up to it. There is precedent for these dates in the past. I think if everybody is focused on meeting their deadlines, focused on doing their work and moving the process forward, I believe that these deadlines can be met.
So just to say – repeat it quickly in Creole. (In Creole.)

OPERATOR: And at this time there are no further questions.
MR MERTEN: Sure. Anyway, I just wanted to say to everybody thank you again for your interest in Haiti and discussing this. Like I said, Haiti remains of great interest to the United States, and I think getting the election process completed with an outcome that the Haitian people will feel comfortable and confident in is our goal. And we are, again, very eager to continue to work with – work with the Haitians and the Haitian Government to continue to address the challenges, the developmental challenges that Haiti has. And again, thanks again for your interest.
[This is a mobile copy of Haiti's Roadmap Towards Completion of the Electoral Cycle]
Short URL: http://m.state.gov/md252581.htm

US Expresses Confidence in Haiti's Presidential Runoff Process

February 17, 2016 5:30 PM
The United States is confident that Haiti will move forward with a presidential runoff vote on April 24, a senior U.S. official said in Washington on Wednesday, days after Haitian lawmakers chose a Senate chief as the island nation’s interim president.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State and Haiti Special Coordinator Kenneth Merten told reporters the U.S. stands ready to facilitate the electoral process if requested, adding the U.S. has spent $33 million in support of Haiti’s election process.
“As one of Haiti’s many international partners, the role of the U.S. is to support and strengthen democracy in Haiti,” Merten said.
Merten's remarks came after Haitian lawmakers selected Jocelerme Privert as the interim president over the past weekend.
Under an agreement reached by Haitian leaders to install a provisional government, Privert will serve up to 120 days. The winner of the presidential runoff vote on April 24 will take office three weeks later for a five-year term.
Haiti was left without a president when embattled former president Michel Martelly resigned on February 7 under the requirement of the constitution.
The vote to choose Martelly’s successor was postponed over fears of violence.
“The United States supports credible, transparent, and secure elections that reflect the will of the Haitian people, and we believe that only a democratically elected government provides the legal legitimacy to govern Haiti and provides the Haitian people with the transparency we certainly believe that they deserve,” Merten said.
Haiti's political crisis can be traced to last October, when Martelly's favored candidate won the first round of election. Fifty-four candidates were seeking to succeed Martelly. Opposition presidential candidates criticized the polling, saying there were signs of fraud and the ballots were being manipulated illegally.
A second round of voting has since been postponed following mass protests and the opposition's reported refusal to participate in the process.
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere. For decades it has been unable to build a stable democracy. Analysts say political turmoil has discouraged much-needed foreign investment for the country’s recovery from a catastrophic earthquake in 2010.
http://www.voanews.com/content/us-haiti-runoff-election/3195424.html

Cape Ann Forum speaker to assess aid to Haiti

Posted Feb. 17, 2016 at 8:55 PM
GLOUCESTER
Essex philanthropist and human rights activist Karen Ansara will share her experiences, both good and bad, with relief and development in Haiti since a devastating earthquake hit the island nation six years ago at the first Cape Ann Forum of 2016 on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at Gloucester City Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

The January 2010 earthquake wreaked havoc across the country, the Caribbean’s poorest, and left 220,000 dead, 300,000 injured, and two million homeless. Schools and hospitals were destroyed, the main air and sea ports were badly damaged, and debris blocked access to the worst hit areas.

The human needs and challenges were enormous. Donations poured in along with thousands of volunteers in a chaotic and often disorganized relief effort. Many lives were saved, but money was wasted and opportunities were missed. Six years later, much remains to be done.

Karen Keating Ansara, who with her husband Jim Ansara launched a Haiti Fund within hours of the disaster and remained engaged throughout the years since then, now asks what lessons can would-be donors and volunteers take from Haiti and apply to other disasters when they happen.

She boils her takeaways down to three:
• Focus on partners, not plans.
• Focus on empowerment, not impact.
• And focus on depth, not breadth.

“I care far less about measurable impact and much more about signs of empowerment,” says Ansara. “Have our grants helped Haitians find their own voices? Have we enabled and ennobled grassroots leaders to articulate their own visions and celebrate their own collective assets? Have we held these leaders and their organizations to the highest standards of ethics, professionalism, and practice—and given them the tools, training and trust needed to achieve their greatest aspirations for themselves and their communities?”

“I have learned to peel off the layers of the onion in a local context instead of trying to go quickly to scale—because poverty is undeniably multi-layered,” she adds. “It’s not just about lack of income, lack of infrastructure, lack of education, lack of health care, or lack of any particular resource.
“Poverty may also be perpetuated by entrenched social norms, by structural and internalized oppression, by lack of a political voice or right to hold one’s government accountable.
 I have seen that all of these layers must be addressed for an individual or a community to move forward.”
In 2008, Ansara co-founded New England International Donors, a network of 115 donors, grantmakers, social investors, and advisors affiliated with the Boston Foundation, to promote more innovative and effective global philanthropy. She and her husband Jim cofounded the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation in 2010, a five-year project to make grants in Haiti and in Boston’s Haitian community, and support anti-poverty efforts in Nepal, another impoverished country recovering from a powerful earthquake.

She is an advisor to the emerging Haiti Development Institute and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and a member of the board of MCE Social Capital in California, the Leadership Council of Oxfam America, the Steering Committee of the Opportunity Collaboration, and the board of Wheelock College in Boston. She recently served on the boards of Partners in Health, Essex County Community Foundation, and Harborlight Community Partners, an affordable housing organization. Ansara holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Wellesley College, a master’s in Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School, and an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Salem State University.

Future Cape Ann Forums will feature Boston-based author and policy analyst Steven Walt on Sunday, April 3, on whether the United States should or can manage the Middle East, with journalist and commentator Christopher Lydon acting as a respondent; and West Point grad and career-officer-turned-security-analyst Andrew Bacevich on Sunday, May 15 on the challenges, opportunities and limits the U.S. faces on the global stage in the years ahead.

All events are at Gloucester City Hall. For more information, visit www.capeannforum.org.
http://gloucester.wickedlocal.com/news/20160217/cape-ann-forum-speaker-to-assess-aid-to-haiti/?Start=2

Creole Connection: SWFL Haitian Football Stars

Haitian-born running back was one of the most
sought-after  recruits in the SEC.
Southwest Florida is home to thousands of immigrants from Haiti, and their children are making quite the impact on the football field.
In Collier County, the language of football isn’t just english – it’s also Creole.
Several of the area’s biggest football stars are of Haitian descent and speak the country’s native language.
“It’s like a code that only we know,” said Naples running back and Tennessee signee Carlin Fils-Aime.
Fils-Aime was born in Haiti and moved to Naples at age 7 with his father.
“When I lived with him he would always tell me about his struggles in Haiti,” said Fils-Aime.
“What he went through, and and how he doesn’t want me to go through the same thing. How he raised enough money to bring me here – so I could make something out of myself” Mackensie alexander and his twin brother Mackenroe are still the pride of Immokalee.
They helped the Indians reach the state championship game in 2012. Mackensie played for a national championship at Clemson. Mackenroe is currently training to play at South Florida.
“I feel like our parents, when they came to this country, didn’t have much. So we do our best to represent them and all our people in Haiti,” said Mackenro Alexander.
Lely High School starting running back Calerb D’Haiti is one of many Haitians on the Lely football team.
“It’s like a family,” said D’Haiti. “because we’re all trying to make it out of the struggle we were raised in.”
For Haitian football players, speaking Creole is a way to connect.
“It’s awesome,” said Fils-Aime.
It’s also a way to remember.
“Because you don’t want to forget where you came from,” said D’Haiti.
And it’s also a source of pride.
“I am proud to be Haitian,” said Fils-Aime, “and no one can take that away from me.”
http://www.winknews.com/2016/02/17/creole-connection-swfl-haitian-football-stars/

mercredi 17 février 2016

Friends and Neighbors: Haiti Jewish Refugee Project honors Holocaust survivor

- Plaza Construction Golf Invitational to again benefit Miami’s Voices For Children Foundation
- “Around The World in 80 … Minutes!” concert Sunday at the Banyan Bowl in Pinecrest Gardens
- Moonlight Garden Tour at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
BY CHRISTINA MAYO
christinammayo@gmail.com
Miriam Klein Kassenoff was awarded a Tikkun
 Olam Award for her work educating teachers
 about the Holocaust.
 
Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/community-voices/article60814861.html#storylink=cpy
Miriam Klein Kassenoff has made her life’s work teaching about the Holocaust. She learned her own first lessons as a child survivor who fled Nazi Europe with her parents.
Since then she has trained thousands of teachers as an educational specialist of Holocaust Studies for the University of Miami’s School of Education and Human Development and Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
For her passionate work, Klein Kassenoff recently received an important Tikkun Olam Award from the Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project.
“I am humbled by every award that I have received,” Klein Kassenoff said in a release. “But this one took me by surprise. It shows that if you do the work you love rewards will come to you.”
The award is named for a Jewish principle that translates to “repairing the world.” The honor is given to individuals who have made a considerable contribution to do just that.
It is granted by Bill and Harriet Mohr, who are founders and publishers of the Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project, which was established after the 2010 earthquake to gather information about Haiti’s Holocaust history.
Bill Mohr and his family were among 300 Jews who were given refuge by Haiti during the Holocaust.
“We wanted to recognize the outstanding contributions of a wide range of individuals who are working to raise awareness of important issues that need to be addressed in the context of Tikkun Olam,” said Bill and Harriet Mohr in a written statement. “They have moved forward to ‘repair the world’ and from their perspective, take action in ways that have beneficial results for society and can positively impact the general welfare of humanity.”
HELPING CHILDREN
Miami’s Voices For Children Foundation will again be the recipient of a corporate giving event by Plaza Construction, Miami. Last year, the company’s annual Golf Invitational at La Gorce Country Club in Miami Beach raised $150,000 to help abused, abandoned and neglected children in Miami-Dade County.
Plaza Construction’s Southeast Regional President Brad Meltzer presented the check in 2015 to the nonprofit organization. Last year, more than 110 Plaza Construction staff members, clients, subcontractors, and industry leaders played in the tournament, according to the company website.
This year, the Feb. 29 event will mark the 10th annual Golf Invitational and the second year that Voices For Children has been the beneficiary.
The foundation allows the Miami-Dade Guardian ad Litem Program to recruit, train and support volunteers who serve as “Voices” for children in dependency court proceedings. Voices For Children also helps with the children’s medical, educational and social needs.
Plaza Construction dedicates time to helping local and national organizations. Previous recipients of the annual golf tournament have included the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. The company also has sponsored corporate events for the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center through its participation in the Dolphin Cycling Challenge.
To learn how to become a volunteer with the Guardian ad Litem Program, visit www.weareguardians.org and to help Voices For Children, visit http://beavoice.org/.
CONCERT OF WORLD MUSIC
Enjoy a grand selection of music from around the world at the next Greater Miami Symphonic Band concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, at the Banyan Bowl in Pinecrest Gardens, 11000 Red Rd.
Bring friends and family members to the “Around The World in 80 … Minutes!” concert featuring classical and popular music from England, France, Korea, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Norway, Russia, Spain and more.
Tickets are $15 for adults, and $5 for students and children over age 5. Buy advance tickets online at www.gmsb.org/ticketsconcerts.html or at the box office day of the show. Admission includes admittance to the gardens one hour before the concert. South Florida-based musicians started the GMSB in 1979. The mission of the group is to keep alive the great American tradition of community concerts, and “to provide audiences with high quality symphonic band music, to highlight the diversity of wind band repertoire in performance, and to give regional musicians a gratifying artistic experience.”
STARGAZING AT VIZCAYA
Here’s your chance to see the stars from Vizcaya’s “backyard” following the museum’s next scheduled Moonlight Garden Tour on Wednesday, Feb. 24. The tour starts at 6:30 p.m. and the Southern Cross Astronomical Society members will have their high-tech equipment set up on the bayside plaza starting at 7 p.m.
You can experience Vizcaya at night only four times a year through a Moonlight Garden Tour. Tickets are $20 for nonmembers and $15 for members, students and seniors, and are available on-site only from 6 to 8 p.m. on the evening of the program. Note: the main house is not open during these tours.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is at 3251 S. Miami Ave. For more go to http://vizcaya.org/programs-moonlightgarden-tours.asp
The Astros also have a free family fun night scheduled for 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, at Fruit & Spice Park, 24801 S.W. 187th Ave., Homestead.
Enjoy moonlight tram rides, and a campfire. SCAS members will set up their high-tech telescopes to focus on the brilliant winter night sky in the dark outback of the park. Bring chairs and blankets, and your own binoculars and telescopes. Bug repellent is recommended. Call 305-247-5727.
WALK FOR THE ANIMALS
Remember to get out for a fun time to support our furry friends at the next big event hosted by the Humane Society of Greater Miami. More than 3,000 animal lovers gather, with and without their dogs, to help the homeless and abandoned animals of our community.
Registration for the Walk For The Animals starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at Miami’s Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd. The one-mile stroll begins at 10 a.m.
You will enjoy a morning filled with fun activities, entertainment and yummy snacks. There also will be the Adoption Center where local rescue groups will bring their puppies, kittens, dogs and cats to help them find a forever home.
To register online for this caring event, go to www.humanesocietymiami.org or call 305-749-1822.
GROWING HERBS
Tropical Fruit & Spice Park is offering a class “Growing Herbs in South Florida” conducted by Carolyne Coppolo, owner of Red-Land Herb Farm. The class is 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at 24801 SW 187 Ave. Cost is $25.
The class will give tips on winning the battle of heat, humidity, pests and diseases using organic methods. Learn about soil mixtures, fertilizers, and pesticides to use on herbs. A large selection of herbs will be on display and can be purchased after the class. To register, call 305-247-5727 or call Coppolo at 305-246-5825 or email redlandfarm@bellsouth.net.
If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at christinammayo@gmail.com.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/community-voices/article60814861.html#storylink=cpy

dimanche 14 février 2016

JOCELERME PRIVERT PRESIDENT PROVISOIRE

Ce scénario est écrit à l’haïtienne ! C’est une vraie haïti-ânerie !
Un parlement issu des élections contestées signe un pacte de résolution de crise avec le président sortant. Le parlement et seul le parlement - en excluant un autre pouvoir qui sert de base au fonctionnement du pays – propose et approuve sa solution de sortie de crise au détriment des autres propositions des autres secteurs de la vie nationale.
Dans cette proposition il est prévu la nomination d’un président provisoire. En fait pas une nomination sinon une élection avec appel à candidatures et dépôts de dossiers. Le président de ce sénat (contesté) se porte candidat. Et bien entendu ce parlement composé de mal-élus fait le choix de celui qui avait signé le pacte de sortie de crise avec Martelly.
Henry Namphy n’aurait pas mieux fait
! Les forces armées d’Haïti avaient fait la même chose mais avec d’autres artifices.
A chaque phase le parlement a eu l’occasion de gagner un petit peu de légitimité. Mais les sénateurs et les députés ont préféré le coup d’état.
Après 1991 on revient au temps des coups d’état. Le parlement a fait le choix de la crise en appliquant la politique du pire !

dimanche 7 février 2016

7 FEVRIER 2016

Ce dimanche 7 février 2016, je n’écrirai pas sur la fin du régime de Michel Martelly qui se décline plutôt en queue de poisson. Je ne fais pas partie de ceux qui suivent sur les médias locaux la retransmission du discours d’adieu du président sortant.
Ces situations viennent toujours avec leurs mots de circonstances et leurs formules clichés.
Comme autour de l’épopée des élections présidentielles avortées, il était difficile de commenter prévoir et se projeter sur le futur car en Haïti les évènements se succèdent comme par hasard sans savoir qui mène ou qui fait quoi. Impossible d’utiliser des éléments comme  LOGIQUE  et COHERENCE pour expliquer et comprendre les faits , les positions et  les comportements des différents acteurs.
Donc je resterai assez attentiste. Je prendrai le temps de savourer cette défaite de la communauté internationale qui, l’espace de ces élections aura compris que si les haïtiens toujours remarquables par leur résilience et leur aptitude à tout gober le veulent, ils peuvent faire avancer les choses.
L’avenir n’est certes pas plus radieux.
Les maîtres du pays tenteront par tous les moyens de récupérer la main mais, ce qui est fait est fait.
Le constat est là. Il faudra déplorer cette carence criante de Leadership. Ces anciens dirigeants et leaders populaires qui se referment dans un silence complice.
La population comprend qu’il faut agir. Mais la direction à prendre ne se dessine pas aussi clairement que le voudrait l’urgence de la situation.
La route sera donc très longue !
Haïti a encore le temps.

Haïti n’a que 214 ans !

vendredi 5 février 2016

Haiti urgently needs international help overcoming its political crisis

A supporter of presidential candidate Jovenel Moise
waves a Haitian national flag during a march to demand
elections be reinstated, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti,
on Feb. 2. (Dieu Nalio Chery/Associated Press)
By Editorial Board February 3

AFTER MONTHS of mounting instability and political violence, Haiti now is days away from a full-bore leadership crisis. The way out of the impasse is unclear. What is clear is that the current, failed president, Michel Martelly, must go.

Under Haiti’s constitution, Mr. Martelly, who took office in 2011, must step down when his term ends Sunday. However, a runoff election to choose his successor was canceled amid street protests and political upheaval last month, leaving no alternate date for a vote and no plan for a democratic transition.

Now Mr. Martelly is suggesting that he may remain in office if there is no consensus on replacing him. That should be a non-starter, given his record of thuggish conduct, mismanagement and poor governance, his contempt for democratic processes, and his complicity in leading the country into its current dead end. Should Mr. Martelly be permitted to retain power, there is every reason to fear that Haiti, with its history of political turmoil, would be in danger of bloody upheaval. The international community cannot allow that to happen.

There are a number of conceivable exits from the stalemate. None of them would be easily arranged in the absence of strong institutions and trusted legal bodies in Haiti. Any chance of a peaceful resolution will require timely and assertive diplomacy by the Organization of American States, the United States and other influential international actors.

One way forward would be the formation of an interim government — ideally chosen by the National Assembly, not by Mr. Martelly — charged with promptly overseeing new elections. Such a transition might be led by a Haitian Supreme Court justice, by Senate President Jocelerme Privert, by former president René Préval or by another respected figure, and would need to reorganize Haiti’s discredited electoral commission so the country can proceed to a new vote.

Granted, no such interim government would enjoy complete constitutional legitimacy, and there are precious few public figures in Haiti who enjoy broad public backing. Unfortunately, Mr. Martelly is not among them.

If an interim government is constituted, its sole task should be to organize elections as quickly as possible. That would be a difficult job given that six of Haiti’s nine electoral council members have resigned. Moreover, the country’s contentious political culture, poisoned by the autocratic Mr. Martelly, is ill-suited to compromise.

That’s why a strong international hand is required, one that can encourage or, if necessary, coerce the country’s political, civic and business leaders to come to terms on a Haitian resolution.
The history of international intervention in Haiti’s affairs is mixed, at best, and it is undeniable that many Haitians distrust outside meddling. Still, the uncomfortable truth is that Haiti, the hemisphere’s poorest and in some ways most dysfunctional nation, seems ill-equipped for now to manage a transparent democratic transition of leadership on its own. The risk of a vacuum of power is real, and the economy, beset by inflation and a weak currency, is teetering. The country desperately needs an effective government and international help in arranging elections that produce one.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/haiti-urgently-needs-international-help/2016/02/03/8c643c74-c930-11e5-ae11-57b6aeab993f_story.html

OAS mission chief says Haiti deal is near

- Haitian politicians are close to finding a solution for the country after Feb. 7
- President Michel Martelly will step down by this weekend
- The Organization of American States tells Haitians it’s not the enemy

Haitians dressed as bananas to show their support for organic banana
 farmer and presidential candidate Jovenel Moise, from the PHTK
party, march to demand elections be reinstated, in Port-au-Prince on
Tuesday. Haiti had been scheduled to hold a presidential and legislative
runoff Jan. 24. But the now-splintered provisional electoral council
canceled it for a second time amid the protests and suspicion that the
 first round was marred by widespread fraud favoring Moise,
President Michel Martelly's chosen candidate. 
Dieu Nalio Chery AP

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/article58452173.html#storylink=cpy
BY JACQUELINE CHARLES
jcharles@miamiherald.com
The head of an Organization of American States special mission to Haiti says he’s confident that all sides will reach a solution in the coming hours on how Haiti will be governed after President Michel Martelly steps down this weekend.
Still, Ronald Sanders, the Antiguan diplomat who is leading the mission and chairs the 35-nation OAS permanent council, concedes that “every day, the goal posts seem to change.”
“There is a different story about what settlement they’re going to reach, as to how they go forward after Feb. 7,” he said. “It’s been a volatile situation.”
On Thursday, Haitian lawmakers finally opened the 50th legislature. And while Senate President Jocelerme Privert, who also served as president of the National Assembly, acknowledged the imminent presidential vacuum, no decision was taken on how to address it. That could happen Saturday.
The OAS mission arrived in Haiti on Sunday at the request of Martelly, who asked the OAS to authorize a special mission following the indefinite suspension of a runoff election to choose a successor before the Feb. 7 constitutional deadline for him to leave office. Martelly also made the same request to the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which authorized a smaller mission that flew in and out of Haiti over two days to meet with the president, his presidential pick Jovenel Moïse, and leaders of parliament.
Despite the delicate nature of the discussions, Sanders said he was hopeful a peaceful settlement would soon be reached.
“I am as confident as one can be in these circumstances that the deal that is now on the table will probably come to fruition on Feb. 7,” Sanders told the Miami Herald in an interview from Port-au-Prince. He is scheduled to leave Haiti Friday.
Current negotiations focus on an interim president taking the reins, with current Prime Minister Evans Paul staying until he is either ratified by parliament or a new consensus prime minister is chosen to lead a caretaker government until the runoff is held.
Martelly will leave office by Feb. 7. That point was stressed both by Sanders in private talks with the president, and by OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, who took to Twitter this week to stress the point. Some members of the president’s entourage have suggested that he could remain in office until May 14, the date he was sworn in five years ago.
Who will be interim president and how that will be decided remains up in the air.
While Haiti’s constitution doesn’t provide a clear road map for the current situation, Sanders said both leaders of parliament have told him and the other members of the OAS special mission they are going to “try and get to as close as they can to the constitution” for a solution.
“As they said to me, and I accept, ‘This is an exceptional situation requiring an exceptional solution,’ ” Sanders said. “What I am pleased about is that it is they who are finding the solution. They are working together, desperately trying to get to a solution and that is the best thing that can happen. It is not a solution that anyone imposes on them; it is one that they devised, formulate, and it will be up to them to implement it.”
But while an agreement would take Haitians and the international community over the immediate emergency, there is still the issue of the presidential and partial legislative runoffs. The vote was supposed to happen on Jan. 24, but was postponed amid fraud allegations that sparked violent street protests and a boycott by opposition presidential candidate Jude Célestin.
An opposition alliance of eight presidential candidates, of which Célestin is part, refused to meet with the OAS. Sanders, however, said he has met privately with some members to get their view of the crisis.
Prior to the mission’s arrival, the alliance had said that it was not welcomed in the country and not needed to “meddle” in Haiti’s affairs. Sanders stressed that the role of the mission is not to interfere in the internal affairs of Haiti but support Haitians finding “a Haitian solution” to the crisis.
He said he used his meetings with senators, business leaders, and others to try to correct “a lot of false ideas” about the OAS and its role in the disputed 2010 presidential vote. That election was also marred by allegations of fraud in favor of then government-backed candidate, Célestin. The OAS was called in to verify the vote count, and Martelly was moved into the runoff spot in lieu of Célestin.
Whoever is put in charge of Haiti’s caretaker government will have to find a way to address the electoral crisis in order to allow for the vote to happen by April 14, and a new president to be sworn in by May 14, under the agreement being discussed.
A poll released Wednesday by the Brazil-based Igarape Institute, an independent research group, says despite deep voter disenchantment, most Haitians would vote if they had confidence that elections were fair. The poll was conducted prior to the scheduled Jan. 24 runoff and surveyed 1,766 randomly chosen adults across Haiti. It had a margin of error of about three percentage points.
Sanders said he doesn’t believe anyone can stop the anti-election protests, noting that “people who have a vested interest in running for the presidency will try and take advantage of any vacuum to continue their campaigns. That is going to happen anyway.”
“People who are in a political fight, struggle, they are going to remain in it,” he said. “This country is ready for an election. The people of this country want an election to put an end to this matter so that their lives can continue. At the moment, it’s dominated by the election.”
“Everybody recognizes that the sooner the election can be held, the better,” he said.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/article58452173.html#storylink=cpy