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Date: Tue, 6 Jun 1995 09:01:11 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@crl.com>
Subject: Re: Election in Haiti - Reports?
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.950606085935.409D-100000@crl3.crl.com>

Three press dispatches on the elections

6 June 1995

Tom Driver -- one of those doing his fast today -- posted the following piece on alt.current-events.haiti .

Below are two dispatches from Reuter's and one from HAITI INFO reflecting two points of view about the elections. Witness for Peace is sending a 30-member delegation to observe the elections. It is already full, but another will go in July to observe the run-off elections. For further information, contact

Witness for Peace
110 Maryland Avenue, NE, Suite 311
Washington, DC 20002

Ph. 202 544 0781; Fax: 202 544 118

Date: Wed, 31 May 1995 07:45:14 -0700 (PDT)

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuter) - Some candidates excluded from taking part in Haiti's June 25 general elections are threatening to sabotage the electoral process and the run up to the polls could be marred by turmoil, political observers said Monday.

I think there are various groups that are angry out there, said a Western diplomat. But, at the same time, there are many groups that are angry but are still going along with the process.''

The state provisional council is organizing Haiti's first democratic local and parliamentary elections since a military coup ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991.

It has deemed nearly 1,500 candidates ineligible because they lacked proper documentation, did not represent a recognized political party, or were affiliated with the ousted Duvalier family dictatorship.

Several of those excludeds have threatened to undermine the elections.

In an apparent sign of electoral tensions, Madsen Fils Cadet, mayoral candidate for the Union of Patriotic Democrats in the southern town of Baraderes, was shot and wounded Sunday as he addressed a crowd. The motive for the crime was not immediately known.

Muller Lochard, an aspiring candidate for the neo-Duvalieriste party PAKAPALA -- loosely translated from Creole as You can't miss it—said last week that he would use all means to derail the elections if his party was kept out of the race.

Headed by Franck Romain, a former ranking-member of the dreaded Duvalier militia known as the Tonton Macoutes, PAKAPALA is widely believed to have been rejected because a constitutional amendment bars Duvalierists from political office until 1997. Electoral officials contacted by telephone were unable to specifically cite the reason for the party's exclusion.

Two other candidates from the National Agricultural and Industrial Party are staging hunger strikes to protest their exclusion.

Justice Minister Jean Joseph Exume has warned that anyone found guilty of electoral subversion could be sentenced to hard labor for life.

Looking ahead to December presidential elections, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., and Sen. Michael Dwine, R-Ohio, met Aristide during a brief visit to the Haitian capital Monday. I asked him if there was any circumstance under which he would not turn over power to the new president and he said 'No,' said Specter.

Restored to office by multinational troops in October, Aristide has been urged by many of his supporters to remain in office for the three years he lost while in exile.

Electoral officials say a total of 2,196 positions, including more than 100 seats in both houses of parliament, 133 mayoral commissions and 565 township councils will be decided by the June election. A run-off is scheduled for July 23.

Transmitted: 95-05-29 18:58:59 EDT

By Carol Giacomo

WASHINGTON, June 2 (Reuter) - A senior U.S. official, returning from Haiti, expressed confidence on Friday that planned June 25 polls would go forward and said that things in that Caribbean country are moving positively.

The official, U.S. Agency for International Development Director Brian Atwood, also said the head of Haiti's election council will meet with political parties on Saturday and take steps aimed at easing tensions and encouraging confidence among Haitians in the voting process.

The state provisional council is organising Haiti's first democratic local and parliamentary elections since a military coup ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991. He was restored to power last October 15 by U.S. military troops.

The election council has declared nearly 1,500 of an estimated 12,000 candidates ineligible because they lacked proper documentation, did not represent a recognised political party, or were affiliated with the ousted Duvalier family dictatorship.

Some of those excluded threatened to undermine the elections.

Atwood acknowledged a great deal of uncertainty over whether the June 25 date could be kept because the election council had not completed the list of candidates and needed to print and distribute ballots by June 19.

That is going to happen now so the election will be going forward, he told reporters at a briefing.

The election council and policital parties were also to sign a protocal that will allow the parties to appoint monitors at every step in the process.

Transmitted: 95-06-02 18:20:48 EDT

From HAITI INFO 6/5/95:


High-Profile Events Key to Legitimizing Occupation, Status Quo

PORT-AU-PRINCE, June 3 - Despite the continued atmosphere of impunity, murders and attacks in broad daylight and many reported irregularities, preparations are full-steam-ahead for this month's elections, with heavy support from the U.S. and the international community. The country is also being prepared to host the Twenty-fifth Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (O.A.S.)

The buildup for these two events, which provide crucial legitimation internationally and nationally of the current state of affairs here, has resulted in a barrage of press conferences, radio and television campaigns and speeches attempting to convince the Haitian people of their importance and that President Jean- Bertrand Aristide and his government are in the process of satisfying their demands for economic development, justice and democracy. The successful carrying off of the O.A.S. meeting and especially the elections are also crucial to the U.S. and other international partners who restored democracy to Haiti.

Attacks, Complaints, Irregularities

In spite of violent attacks on candidates and 800,000 missing voter registration cards, preparations are moving into their final stages for the elections scheduled for June 25 and July 23. Today the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) will meet with all of the participating political parties. It is also the last day for voter registration.

Although the government claims three million Haitias have registered, all the parties have criticized the process, and there is still discernible apathy, cynicism and sometimes even fear from people, who complain of everything from partisan voting bureau employees to a sense of hopelessness that their vote will not matter or will result in more violence.

More worrisome still are the threats and attacks. On May 30, Senate candidate Renaud Bernadin, head of Pati Louvri Barye (part of the Lavalas Platform) and an Aristide advisor, was attacked as he addressed a crowd in Cap-Haitien. He was not wounded but others were. On May 28, a candidate from Union des Patriotes Democrates (UDP) was shot and wounded at a meeting.

Last week, a member of ex-Port-au-Prince Mayor and coup-supporter Franck Romain's party, PAKAPALA (in Creole the initials mean cannot not be there) who was not cleared to run in the elections, threatened to sabotage them.

Yesterday, in an obvious provocation, vehement coup-supporter and candidate for reelection Simon Georges of Parti Agricole et Industriel National (PAIN), accused the Lavalas party of handing out weapons to people in the South. (A PAIN member was arrested last week in Les Cayes for buying up voting cards.)

Int'l Supporters Revved Up

Despite the obvious problems, however, there have been only praises from the organizers and funders of the elections - the U.S., European countries, the U.N. and O.A.S. - which for evident reasons of credit and stability have a vested interest in the successful holding of free and fair, internationally sanctioned elections which will provide the final coat of varnish to the supposed restoration of democracy. [See Haiti Info, v.3, #14]

Every time foreign dignitaries visit, they focus on the elections. U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) chief Brian Atwood said Wednesday: I continue to feel confident that this will be a free and fair process and that people will feel secure they can vote their consciences. Congresswoman Corrine Brown, who accompanied him, added: It's the key to true democracy. I encourage all my brothers and sisters to vote, vote, vote.

Last week, U.S. Embassy Spokesman Stanley Schrager called the CEP's work, which is criticized in the press almost every day, formidable, and in frequent press conferences and meetings, U.N. and O.A.S. officials continue to push forward the process, signing new accords, pledging more money, more materials and more staff. (Meanwhile, there have been no pledges to answer the Truth Commission's request .)

Two Republican visitors, here for 24 hours, revealed clearly why the U.S. is pushing the elections so insistently. Presidential candidate Senator Alan Specter and Senator Mike Dewayne said on Monday that Aristide promised again to step down on Feb. 7, 1996.

He very eloquently said that the Constitution was stronger and more important than his friends, explained Dewayne.

Not mincing words, Specter went even further to expose depth of U.S. imperialist arrogance when he noted that Haiti is under international tutelage and that President Aristide and Haiti have the duty to prove their democratic engagement. [Translated from French.]