The paradox in the drive toward the adoption of Democracy as the 21st century’s pre-eminent system of government is the frequency in which rigged elections are used by intransigent autocrats to legitimize their rule or disenfranchise their citizenries. Because the international community, the primary advocate of Democracy, is colluding with these autocrats and apprentice despots to corrupt the system’s most sacrosanct precept in the name of “stability”, the experiment may be short-lived. In countries unaccustomed to Democracy’s fundamental principle (government of the people by means of elected representation), myopic self-indulgence of their leaders and fraudulent elections are destroying the system’s credibility and will ultimately bring its demise.
What did the international community stand to gain in portraying the November 28th vote in Haiti, which it knew would neither be free nor fair, as essential to restoring stability (subjective) in that country? These elections were a clear instance of deception based on strategic considerations of the international community rather than a genuine attempt at fostering Democracy, which many view as the only form of government that guarantees stability and economic development. Hence closing the door to uncertainties, a standard feature in democracy, mattered most to the international community whose aversion to political power being in the wrong hands emboldened René Préval and his minions in the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP).
This manifest subversion of the democratic process could have long-term negative consequences for Haiti for which the international community will have itself to blame. Responding to street manifestations demanding the resignation of René Préval for his subversion of the November 28th vote, the ever pompous, impertinent and paternalistic Raymond Mulet, the U.N-General Secretary representative in Haiti, authoritatively declared “The UN and the international community will never accept that a legitimate Haitian president leaves under pressure from the street. It would be a coup.” These precedents in Haiti must stop. An elected government must be replaced by an elected government,” added Mulet. Determined not to be overshadowed by Mulet’s clownish remark, the French ambassador Didier Le Bret told Radio Metropole “we cannot demand to depose a legitimately elected authority under the pretext of elections not being completed successfully. It would be a coup.”
Theatrics aside, these statements, emanating from two authentic representatives of the international community, can be construed as the apex of arrogance and disdain for the truth or both Mulet and Le Bret need to take a crash course in recent Haitian history. According to an Associated Press dispatch, Mulet also indicated that the United Nations will leave Haiti and world powers will stop supporting the impoverished nation if the government fails to honor the elections results. How can these elections, which have been recognized as fraudulent by Ban KI-Moon, the UN-General Secretary, be concurrently declared legitimate by his subordinate? This confusion highlights a new chapter in the already convoluted situation in Haiti: Mulet may have lost some of his marbles or the occupiers are at odds over what to make of the tainted results which, according to unofficial tallies, tilted in favor of the opposition.
Given that the CEP did not perpetuate the fraud in favor of the opposition, the incoming December 7th results will be an indictment of the regime which obviously could not perform the most basic task associated with autocracy: stuffing ballot boxes. Though there are no Afghans in MINUSTAH, the government could have nonetheless made use of the Egyptian police officers serving with the mission, in order to get it right. Adding to the confusion was the volte face of Myrlande Manigat and Michel Martelly, who initially rejected the vote and then reversed themselves upon learning they might be the top vote-getters in the UN-sponsored, fraud-marred elections.
Naturally, both appeared as power-hungry politicians, thus discredited themselves as mature leaders when credibility and self-control are the two most important attributes needed to handle Haiti’s delicate situation. Like Wyclef Jean, who was manipulated into lending his patriotism and prestige to these elections, both Manigat and Martelly were victims of insidious tactics conceived to damage their credibility and make their fitness to lead the impoverished nation a question mark. In the end, the loser was the Haitian people whose travails will not end with these elections. The winner being, of course, the international community whose self-appointed mission to restructure Haitian society was somehow validated by the travesty of November 28th and infantile attitude of the country’s politicians.
With the cholera epidemic threatening to overwhelm the dysfunctional state at par with the January 12th earthquake, few Haitians, particularly the politicians on the verge of inheriting Préval’s mess, would be willing to call Mulet’s bluff. Against such backdrop of misery, impotence and continual power struggle, MINUSTAH could emerge, in the eyes of the disillusioned population, as the only alternative to total chaos, hence Mulet’s melodramatic declaration threatening the departure of MINUSTAH.
Democracy is a troublesome process whose success cannot be gauged by cyclical elections as the international community wants people to believe. Like the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the Haitian people have been to the mountaintop but may never enter the Promise Land, with MINUSTAH acting as guide. As for René Préval, the likelihood of his inherent fear of exile becoming a reality has increased as per the diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks, which showed the man was ever determined to subvert the November 28th elections. He should nevertheless look at it on the bright side, since his prostate will get better treatment overseas than in Haiti.
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