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Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 23:30:07 -0500 (CDT)
From: Haiti Progres <editor@haiti-progres.com\>
Organization: Haiti Progres
Subject: This Week in Haiti
Article: 72877
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.20510.19990819121526@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

The APN become the PPN with same goals

Haiti Progres, This Week in Haiti,
Vol. 17, no. 21, 11-17 August 1999

One of Haiti's oldest and largest popular organizations has changed its name, but reaffirmed its democratic nationalist principles. It is precisely these principles which may force the group, which recently became a legal political party, to pull out of elections set for later this year.

The National Popular Assembly (APN) is now the National Popular Party (PPN), leaders Ben Dupuy and Harry Numa announced in an Aug. 10 press conference. In a national congress held in Port-au-Prince last March, the APN regrouped as a political party in order to have the option of participating in elections. One of the reasons the organization is now changing its name: so that its acronym will no longer be confused with the National Port Authority, also known as APN.

We are changing our name but our structure will remain exactly the same, said Dupuy. We maintain our same principles and ideological position. And we will continue to have local, communal, and departmental assemblies, as the organization's nationwide organizing bases are called.

The PPN, like the APN, reiterated its commitment to fight alongside the Haitian masses to liberate the country from foreign domination, which is the primary cause of Haiti's chronic underdevelopment, according to Dupuy. The PPN is a progressive and nationalist party, Dupuy said.

Thus it comes as no surprise that the PPN is outraged over the meddling of Washington in Haiti's upcoming elections. While claiming to grant $3.5 million to the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), the U.S. State Department's Agency for International Development (USAID) has in fact taken it upon itself to sign a multimillion-dollar contract with a Canadian firm, Code Canada, for the manufacture of Haitian electoral cards with photo identification to be used in the elections now scheduled for Nov. 28.

We think that it is completely unacceptable, Dupuy said. It is not only an intrusion into the internal affairs of the country, but also a very clear sign of our loss of national sovereignty . The PPN has said that it is prepared to walk away from the elections if the USAID deal stands.

The elections are supposed to be administered solely by the CEP, an independent Haitian body. Thus, many organizations have expressed shock that the CEP and the government of President Rene Preval seem willing to go along with USAID's usurpation of control over such a key electoral asset as voter cards. Already a Haitian firm which thought that it had won the bid for the contract to make the cards is charging foul play and suing the CEP in Haitian courts.

Meanwhile, the PPN and other Haitian popular organizations and politicians are concerned with the political control that Washington can exert in bypassing Haitian election officials. Nothing says that there will not be problems, not only in the fabrication of the cards, but also in the manipulation of the database, especially at the time of compiling election results, said former deputy Kelly Bastien. There is also the fear that the database could be turned over to North American intelligence agencies like the C.I.A.

This low-blow will not succeed, promised Patrick Georges of Popular Youth Power (JPP). The U.S. Embassy has no right to sign a contract for Haiti with a foreign firm.

Other problems plague the projected elections. The majority of those nominated to head the eleven Departmental Electoral Offices (BED) have been roundly denounced as partisans of right-wing parties and macoutes.

The PPN also denounced the efforts of U.S. and U.N. officials to misuse the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to maintain the presence of foreign troops and policemen in Haiti past the end of the U.N. Security Council mandate on Nov. 30 (see Haiti Progres, Vol. 17, No. 20, 8/4/99).