“I want to congratulate you for the leadership. I know you played a very important role in the last election when you sent a team and basically helped the will of the people become a reality, because it wasn’t so before your visit.”

– Former prime minister Laurent Lamothe

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Latest Haiti Democracy News

Objecting to Petition for One Excluded Candidate Leaving out All the Others

Le Nouvelliste James Morrell Why do they call for restitution of one unjustly excluded candidate and not the others? Typical of the Haitians that they would ruin a good initiative by personalizing it. Pourquoi appellent-ils pour la restitution d’un candidat injustement exclus et pas les autres? Typique des Haïtiens qu’ils ruinent une bonne initiative en la...

Preliminary Report

Elections of August 9, 2015 The Seventh Electoral Mission deployed 120 observers in Ouanaminthe, Ferrier, Capotille, Terrier Rouge, and other locations in the Nord-Est Department, in addition to 40 observers in four other departments. All 120 in the Nord-Est submitted completed questionnaires and were closely questioned by the mission director, James Morrell. More than half also submitted photos of the polling return. The most striking finding by far was the near-universal popularity of an excluded senatorial candidate, former senator Rudolph Boulos, who was described by all as the winner had he been allowed to run. He was rejected by the electoral commission under a pretext reflecting the usual Haitian political intrigue. As a result, the mission considers the senatorial race in the Nord-Est to be false. It should be annulled and rerun with Boulos in it. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that interlocutors described Boulos as a leading exponent of change, and that this change, according to our interviews, was the main factor motivating the Nord-Est people to vote. The political intrigue spoiling the Nord-Est senatorial race overshadowed what was otherwise a creditable performance by the electoral apparatus and voters. The mechanics of election day will be quantified and further analyzed in the final report. In addition to the Nord-Est, the mission deployed in the Ouest, Nord, Centre, and Grand’Anse. These reports have yet to be evaluated. Senator Boulos is a founding member of one of the two sponsoring organizations, the Haiti Democracy Project. James Morrell, the executive director, received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University in 1977. Despite Boulos’s association with the Haiti Democracy Project,...

Avoiding a Democratic Disaster in Haiti

The Washington-based Haiti Democracy Project’s James Morrell has written: “By the time the commission is through, there will be little left for the voters to do on election day. Most of the choices will already have been made for them.” Foreign Policy magazine, July 20, 2015. By Jose R. Cardenas, former acting deputy administrator of the Agency for International Development. With no natural disasters or political violence afflicting Haiti for the past several years, it would be easy to assume that the country has finally achieved the level of relative stability that international donors and millions of Haitians have sought since the toppling of the Duvalier dynasty in 1986. Yet this perceived calm is belied by troubling signs that all is not well, as Haiti prepares for the first of up to three rounds of contentious elections.   On July 15, the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, chaired by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), held a hearing on the run-up to the elections, with the State Department’s point man on Haiti, Thomas Adams. Adams admitted the elections were significantly underfunded. That made his rather sanguine attitude towards the whole process all the more surprising. With the first round of elections scheduled for August 9, he suggested that there is a “fairly good chance” they will go on as scheduled.   But even as the Obama administration and the donor community focus primarily on the mechanics — voter education and registration, security, integrity of vote-counting — they are skirting important questions about just how free and fair the contest will actually be.   A shocking New York Times...

Fourth Senatorial Visit

On July 15 and 16, the distinguished former Haitian senator Rudolph Boulos visited Washington to discuss U.S. policy toward Haiti’s upcoming elections. He figured as one of the most popular of the many candidates excluded for thinly-disguised political reasons by the electoral commission. Elected overwhelming from the Nord-Est Department in 2006, he was a prohibitive favorite for reelection. During his two-day visit he heard the views of Washington policy-makers and others who follow Haiti, and impressed on them the long-term costs of a vitiated election, which may be imposed on Haitians but will never be accepted. Fourth Senatorial Visit web page...

Another Haiti Democracy Project Senator Dumped by Electoral Commission

Sen. Evelyne B. Chéron (Lavalas-Ouest), a member of our Second Senatorial Delegation, was disqualified by the electoral commission. Here pictured on a delegation visit with Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.). She explains: The decision of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to eliminate certain candidates leaves great doubt as to the council members’ character and their ability to carry out the electoral process in a moral fashion and achieve credible results. There are certainly candidates who are not qualified for valid reasons; some candidates even remain on the list despite their dubious morality and their involvement in subversive activities. However, there are candidates who have watched, in amazement, their applications being rejected although they have had submitted the necessary documents required for registration by the CEP. As a former senator of the Republic, my current application was rejected for reasons entirely fanciful, for all my documents are correct and are the same as what had been required of me in the elections of 2006. This indicates that the CEP members act with bias, irresponsibility, and lack of independence. Corruption exists everywhere, in all avenues, making the underclass more vulnerable while spreading an instability and insecurity that is becoming more and more severe. These negative attributes cast doubt on the achievement of elections in Haiti. The international community plays a crucial role in the Haitian electoral process. Some countries offer assistance by observing at the polls on election day while others provide security. Some of the more influential countries tend to direct the results in line with their best interests. For this reason, it is now time for the Haitians to select their own representatives. If the Haitian...

U.S. Will Take Almost Any Kind of Election

James Morrell, head of the Washington-based Haiti Democracy Project welcomes Rubio’s involvement. Morrell recently issued an open letter to Rubio asking that his amendments be applied immediately. Morrell said he was concerned about the inclusion of 35 “notorious criminals as candidates for president, senate and lower house in Haiti, in violation of Haiti’s electoral law,” and the exclusion of several high-profile candidates, including Boulos. Born in the United States, Boulos was barred from running for the Senate despite presenting documents showing he had renounced his U.S. citizenship as required under Haiti’s amended constitution. “We have to look at how constructive U.S. policy has been there,” Morrell said. The U.S. and international community, “have a habit of wanting and needing that election so badly, they are willing to take almost any kind of elections, as long as they get it. I’ve seen it happen again and again,” he added. Miami Herald, July 14, 2015. “Rubio To Hold Senate Hearing on Haiti,” by Jacqueline Charles...

U.S. Policy Toward Haiti Elections Faltering Badly

By James Morrell. In 2010 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had this to say to the Haitian people: We understand your anxieties heading into this election. The United States will be at your side. And she was as good as her word. When then-President René Préval pressed the electoral administrator to alter results in favor of his own candidate, the usually-plodding State Department sprang into action. An embassy statement deplored the fraud. Soon a Verification Mission was on its way to recommend rollback of the altered results. When Préval still resisted, his top officials found that their prized U.S. visas had been pulled. Hillary Clinton went down herself to remonstrate with Préval. Finally, the doctored votes were discarded. Whether one is going to vote for or against her, every American can be proud of Hillary Clinton’s actions that day to uphold American values and protect the Haitians against yet another vote heist. But with Clinton long gone and the top gun already overextended from Iran and Iraq to Afghanistan to Cuba, there is no one left except line officers who are not expected to fix Haiti, just keep a lid on it. That’s a recipe for driving the malaise in even deeper while maintaining surface stability, “peace on our watch.” The dilemma that the United States confronted last year was that Haitian elections were, as usual, badly overdue. But while the Haitians do not keep to their constitutional schedule, the United States does. It would not look good in a U.S. election year to have Haiti missing elections, losing its parliament, and being ruled despotically by presidential decree. Nor would...

Tabulation Center Originally Eliminated Célestin, not Martelly

Pierre-Louis Opont, president of the election commission, has been going around peddling the story that the CEP originally eliminated Martelly but restored him under foreign pressure. This is false. The Tabulation Center originally eliminated Célestin, but put more votes back in for him under President Préval’s pressure as transmitted by none other than Pierre-Louis Opont. The Verification Commission sent by the foreigners restored the Tabulation Center’s original order. Thus, it was not the foreigners who tampered with the CEP’s count, it was René Préval and Pierre-Louis Opont. Indeed, very few Haitians are aware that the Tabulation Center, in its original compilation in the days preceding the first announcement of results on December 10, 2010, ranked the top three finishers as Manigat, Martelly, and Célestin in that order. It discarded some fraudulent votes for each to reach this conclusion. Only the first two would go to the second round. Then on December 6 President Préval met with Opont, the election commission’s administrator, and Gaillot Dorsinvil, its president to complain about all the votes taken from his favored candidate, Jude Célestin. Opont then restored 19,596 of Célestin’s fraudulent votes to put him in second place for the December 10 announcement of results – in the process, eliminating Martelly. There was broad protest in Haiti. In the United States, when the elections were just getting underway amidst widespread suspicions of President Préval’s control of the apparatus, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised the Haitian people that the United States would be by their side. She was as good as her word. Immediately after the December 10 announcement the U.S. embassy issued a statement...

Senate Hearing on Haiti

Overview of U.S. Policy Towards Haiti Prior To the Elections Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, And Global Women’s Issues Date: Wednesday, July 15, 2015  Add to my Calendar Time: 02:30 PM Location: SD-419 Presiding: Senator Rubio Witnesses Mr. Thomas C. Adams Special Coordinator For Haiti U.S. Department of State Washington ,...

This Mob for Hire

The electoral commission’s exclusion of many high-profile candidates with national followings and its inclusion of criminals and corruptionists guarantees that the rent-a-mobs will be busy this season. How they do it...

Politics Behind a Candidate’s Exclusion

Acte de naissance – Archives Nationales ACTE-DE-NAISSANCERHB-1 – Certificat de naissance Recu_des_documents_de_candidat Certificate of Nationality Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship, 2007 Passeport-Mere   Rudy Boulos vs Haiti’s Electoral Council: A Matter of Rights, Freedoms, Rule of Law and Public Trust By Omega Staff Writers June 9, 2015 Haiti’s Electoral Council, an independent institution of the state of Haiti, has entrapped itself into so much controversy and serious troubles already, that it is difficult to imagine how it can continue to lead the nation into a general election, without fast becoming a major threat to peace and security in a country in which political passion runs high and political violence has deep historical roots. In Haiti’s current political atmosphere, often described as explosive by domestic political actors and international observers alike, we believe it unwise for the Electoral Council to engage its scarce resources in so many predictable problems of its own creation, battles that it can’t possibly win and will only expose its own bad faith, a penchant for abuses of power, and its insensitivity to the urgent need of the nation for great statesmanship. One case, involving candidate Rudolphe (Rudy) Boulos, a man our website sharply criticized in the past, illustrates the egregious nature of the Electoral Council’s misdeeds. Mr. Boulos, a professional pharmacist, a well-known businessman and a seasoned politician can hardly be perceived as a person who might need a lot of help in developing a basic practical understanding of the electoral law, the requirements for his own candidacy to a Senate seat, and the nature of the Electoral Council’s legal authority to administer the elections. In fact, Mr. Boulos...

Cronyism Where There Should Be Impartiality

Mirlande Manigat. La manière de fonctionner du CEP établi sur la base d’un consensus boiteux, sans aucune assise constitutionnelle – toléré par lassitude — a souligné à la fois, son incompétence, une carence de professionnalisme et une espèce de légèreté dans la manière de traiter les dossiers de candidature par ses différents organes. Ces derniers n’ont fait que plomber toute recherche de solution juridique à deux problèmes importants qui devront être réglés de manière sérieuse et objective, à savoir: la nationalité dont le traitement réclame sérénité (en tenant compte des droits de tous les haïtiens de l’intérieur comme de l’extérieur), et la décharge administrative dont les ambiguïtés juridiques au niveau de la mise en œuvre par la CSCA, ont crée de légitimes frustrations. De plus en plus, des contestations sont soulevées qui étendent un voile de doute sur les élections, si elles devaient avoir lieu. La population attendait l’impartialité de la part du CEP là ou se révèle le copinage ; elle espérait l’intégrité de ses membres, là où transpirent des soupçons; elle croyait, à tort, qu’il pourrait inspirer confiance quant à la transparence du processus – dont il se gargarise dans chaque communiqué – , là où il démontre sa soumission à certaines forces agissant à visière levée ou en sous mains; elle réclamait sa rigueur là où il fait montre de versatilité dans ses sélections et éliminations, suivies de rattrapages puis d’exclusions dans un rythme dicté par des intérêts contradictoires sans explications...

U.S. Should Criticize Dominican Expulsions

Amb. Ernest H. Preeg, Latin America Advisor, A Daily Publication of the Inter-American Dialogue. What Will Become of Undocumented Haitians in the DR? Q A deadline for Haitians living in the Dominican Republic to register with government offices or else risk deportation passed on June 17. The deadline was set following a 2013 Supreme Court decision that retroactively stripped Dominican citizenship from some people of Haitian descent who were born in the Dominican Republic. What does the future hold for those who registered, and for those who did not? What impact are Haitians having on the Dominican Republic’s economy? How is the controversy affecting bilateral relations, and how is the international community viewing the developments? A Ernest H. Preeg, chairman of the Haiti Democracy Project and former U.S. ambassador to Haiti: “The harassment and potential expulsion of as many as 600,000 undocumented Haitians working in the Dominican Republic, some of whom were born there, is not only causing severe human suffering for the Haitians, but localized disruption in the Dominican economy. One result is bribes to soldiers and immigration officials to allow longstanding Haitian day workers to continue to cross the border. The expulsion of undocumented Haitians should be suspended to give the Haitian workers adequate time to be documented based on reasonable criteria, such as years worked in the Dominican Republic. If not, the situation could worsen, with official harassment leading to violence. Another result is a deepening political divide between the two countries that share the island. Anti-Dominican rhetoric is reaching high decibels in Haiti. The thousands of destitute and hungry Haitians returning add to the terrible job-creating performance...

Préval Said to Control 3 to 5 Election Commissioners

Radio Métropole.   René Préval accusé de contrôler 3 à 5 conseillers électoraux. Plusieurs personnalités politiques, dont Camille Leblanc de Renmen Ayiti et le candidat au Sénat écarté Roudolphe Boulos, accusent l’ancien président René Préval des manœuvres déloyales pour tenter de manipuler les prochaines élections. Selon Me Camille Leblanc, René Préval aurait le contrôle de 3 à 5 conseillers électoraux.Il a cité nommément le président Pierre-Louis opont, Néhemy Joseph et Marie-Carmelle Paul Austin qui seraient entièrement dans la poche de l’ex-président. « La plateforme Vérité a été forgée de toute pièce dans le but de truquer les résultats des prochaines joutes », a lâché Me Camille Leblanc, accusant« René Préval de connivence avec le président Michel Martelly pour tenter de voler les élections ». M. Leblanc dénonce aussi les sondages-bidon actuellement en préparation pour tenter de manipuler l’opinion. Appelant la population à la vigilance, l’homme de loi dit croire fermement que l’ancien président René Préval va échouer lamentablement. De son côté, M. Boulos dit croire dur comme fer qu’au moins 5 conseillers électoraux sont contrôlés par l’ancien président René Préval, déplorant l’inexistence en Haïti d’un tribunal suprême en matière électorale où il pourrait exercer un recours contre la décision du CEP de rejeter sa candidature. Son rejet à la course est politiquement motivé, soutient-il. L’ancien sénateur Boulos avait été en 2008 forcé à la démission avant la fin de son mandat. Le sénateur Edwin Zenny, écarté pour défaut de décharge, avait en début de semaine, dénoncé des « magouilleurs » au sein de la cour des comptes et du contentieux administratif qui auraient, selon lui, reçu des pots-de-vin pour...

Qui a trahi trahira

René Garcia Préval ak trayizon dòmi nan menm kabann : se pase pran m m a pase chache w. Préval trayi Lavalas lè li chwazi kazak Lespwa pou l fè wont tounen kòlè. Aprè lamayòt INITE a, li pote yon kanaval manti bay pèp la pou verite.

Apply Rubio Amendment Now

Thank you, Senator Rubio, for adding the reporting requirement, “A description of any attempts to disqualify candidates for political office in Haiti for political reasons.”

Rubio: No Funds for Any but Free Elections

Miami Herald, Jacqueline Charles. Republican presidential candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio isn’t necessarily known for carrying the Haiti agenda in Congress. But he stepped out on a limb this week as Haitians waited to learn which candidates would make the final cut for the country’s Oct. 25 presidential ballot. [Click on Miami Herald above to see the original on-line newspaper version.] His actions came Tuesday in the form of several Haiti election-related amendments that unanimously passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Rubio’s action left some wondering whether the senator was trying to help candidates or if he was trying to bolster his Haiti expertise. “Sen. Rubio believes that it is important that the Haitian people have the opportunity to freely and fairly choose their leaders,” said Rubio spokeswoman Brooke Sammon. “The Senator is pleased that the State Department will now be required to continue to update Congress on the status of Haiti’s elections to help ensure that the Haitian government is responsive to the needs of its citizens.” The Rubio-sponsored amendments condition the release of U.S. funds to Haiti on the State Department’s reporting of whether the upcoming Haitian elections are free, fair and responsive to the people of Haiti, and on descriptions of “attempts to disqualify candidates” from office for “political reasons.” It didn’t take long for Haitians to begin discussing whether Rubio’s amendment was meant to save the candidacy of former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, whose supporters have lobbied members of Congress. “Broadly speaking, the United States would not want to be in a position of being perceived to be taking sides in national elections in Haiti...

Proposal for a Parallel Count

Plan to send Haitian observers into one of every ten polling places in the nation to photograph the polling return and upload to collection center. Also, Haiti’s first quantified incident reporting