Translated by Haiti Democracy Project (haitipolicy.org). A haitipolicy.org exclusive
Port-au-Prince, le 2 Septembre 2002
M. César Gaviria
Secrétaire Général de
L?Organisation des Etats Américains
Monsieur le Secrétaire Général,
The member institutions of the Civil Society Initiative, after meeting to discuss the problem, have decided to send you this letter to share with you our deep concerns over the general situation of the country, which is on track to gradually turn into ?a chaotic, ungovernable entity.?
The events of July 28 and December 17, 2001 and those of August 2, 2002 make it clear that the most important institutions of the country have been stripped of defense or protection from attacks of commandos, gangs, or armed groups. These institutions include the national palace, the police stations and academy, the courts, the prisons, the customs, the political-party offices, cultural centers, and private residences. The ?forces of order? provide no protection for citizens in their homes or offices or when peacefully assembling to exercise their political rights. Moreover the country has no reliable system of investigation or prosecution capable of shedding light on these troubling acts. Financial security of the citizens is in jeopardy, as attested by the cooperatives? failure, a serious blow to thousands of families and the whole economy.
In this context of the disintegration of the state a spokesman of the president, speaking to the subject of the Amyot Métayer affair, made a public statement that perpetuated impunity, anonymity of transgressors, and anarchy. The declaration can be characterized as, ?All the Haitians are guilty, so no one will be charged.?
Faced with this alarming situation the Civil Society Initiative asks these questions: Will the state of law desired by millions of Haitians never be realized? Can one still speak of a true state in Haiti? Who will today assume the obligations of the state in the spheres of the judiciary and security? What is the responsibility of the existing government for this situation?
In this situation three courses of action are available:
- Pack one?s bags and leave.
- Stick one?s head in the sand and wait to die.
- Rise and respond to the situation.
The Civil Society Initiative has decided to respond. We bring these points to your attention and through you the Permanent Council of the OAS as most imperative needs of the country at this moment:
I. Uphold the principle of a political accord.
II. Restore law and order.
III. Improve the governance of public affairs.
IV. Twelve months after signature of an accord, hold legislative and local elections.
On these four points the Initiative has elaborated a number of concrete proposals which might be transmitted to your special representative in Haiti, Ambassador David Lee.
Because of the OAS?s important contribution to the process of dialogue and negotiations, and in light of the rapid deterioration of the political situation, the Civil Society Initiative wishes to warn the organization against one of the worst errors that could be made today in Haiti, namely to allow the current government to avoid dealing with the crisis, the opposition, and civil society in favor of dealing with the international community.
The OAS should take into account one of the most important lessons drawn from the seminar organized in New York on January 23 and 24, 2002 by the International Peace Academy and the United Nations on the restoration of democracy in Haiti. The lesson can be stated as, ?Any attempt to restore democracy carried out by the government alone with the exclusion of other actors will fail.?
In the hope that these reflections may aid the OAS in its upcoming decisions, the Civil Society Initiative assures you of its highest consideration.
Pour l?Initiative de la Société Civile :
Rosny Desroches André Apaid Jr.
Directeur Exécutif Coordonnateur Général
Patrick Numas René Jolibois
Pierre Emile Rouzier Fritz De Catalogne
Cc Ambassadeurs des pays membres de l?OEA.