Originally: First Impacts from Project Report

There have been two impacts beneficial to Haiti that are attributable, in part, to the delegation’s presentation of the report in Washington during March 14-16 and afterwards:

1. The administration has decided to support political-party financing in Haiti. U.S. electoral experts have heard and accepted the concern expressed by the delegation in its recommendation, “Supplement elections assistance with political-party financing to overcome threat of drug money buying elections.”

In the body of the report we noted, “There is no plan yet to deal with drug money controlling candidates and the elections. The drug cartels were working to get the next government in their pocket. They would have their candidates. They would have keen interest also in local elections so that they could gain control of transshipment spots like Aquin. The delegation heard and commends proposals from Haitians for foreign assistance in financing political parties to counter what is certain to be a challenge from drug-financed parties and candidates.”

2. Members of the legislative branch have put in discussion language to use $10 million for temporary job creation through public works. This came after delegation members personally urged legislators to address Recommendation No. 1 of the report, “Immediately begin to create jobs through a public-service effort with temporary employment.” As noted in the Executive Summary, “More urgent is immediate employment-generation through expanded public works projects that put young men to work earning money and that address important deficiencies in urban sanitation and in inadequate roads around larger towns. Jobs can give young men a stake in the system and some hope that a genuine democratic process will provide for the future.”

The report made a number of other broader recommendations such as a more proactive MINUSTAH effort against gangs and a proposal for high-level visits, both of which have been addressed since the publication of the report: Joint police-MINUSTAH operations have neutralized some political gang and faux-FADH activity and an unprecedented visit of the U.N. Security Council is underway as we write (see web page items below). A congressional delegation led by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) is also Haiti-bound. However, the need for  these inputs had been widely discussed prior to our report and are not attributable to it.

The Haiti Democracy Project is grateful, nevertheless, that some specific recommendations have borne fruit and we believe they will strengthen preparations for the elections. A number of the broader recommendations remain to be acted on.