Originally: Project Briefs U.N. Ambassadors on Eve of Security Council Trip
A delegation of the Haiti Democracy Project met with the U.S. and other ambassadors headed for Haiti as part of the historic mission of the Security Council April 13-16.
Led by Amb. Timothy M. Carney, the delegation drew the U.N. diplomats’ attention to important, specific flashpoints that will need Haitian and international attention in the coming months. Most of these points are covered at greater length in our March 2005 trip report, relaying the findings of the mission led by Ambs. Carney, Lawrence A. Pezzullo, and Ernest H. Preeg.
- Penetration of the transition regime by elements linked to violence of the former government, the ex-army, or drug traffickers. If allowed to fester, this problem could undermine prospects for the elections.
- The reality that the former president remained in contact and was clearly politically active in Haiti. This political activity needed to be squared with the conditions of exile.
- The mass unemployment and lack of prospects for young people made young men vulnerable to temptation of the gangs. There needed to be an immediate public-works program to create a sense that the democratic path could provide for the future.
- Recent political traumas had undermined Haitians’ faith in the democratic process and particularly in elections. A greater public-educational effort was needed to create a sense of anticipation for the elections and an understanding of their potential to finally deliver a legitimate, constitutional government. Top officials of the U.S. government needed to involve themselves in conveying this message.
- The police, judiciary, and MINUSTAH (U.N. mission) each needed to be reinforced by concrete inputs:
–The police should receive reinforcements from seconded or retired Haiti-American, -Canadian, or -French police personnel. They should have powers of arrest and either form an additional brigade of the police or reinforce CIVPOL.
–The judiciary, almost completely paralyzed, should be temporarily bolstered by special tribunals led by a combination of experienced foreign and Haitian judges.
–MINUSTAH should get an air-mobile capacity to enable it to quickly reinforce police stations in rural areas, where otherwise the unopposed presence of the gangs, ex-army, or drug traffickers would threaten the elections.