18 presidential candidates, many of whom could not even get their wives and family members to vote for them, and 66 political parties took part in the latest scheme of the Great Experiment last Sunday, November 28th, amid calls from 12 candidates that day for the CEP to annul the vote because of massive fraud. Besides their pathological thirst for power, these candidates shared other attributes not the least of which is their belief that Haiti needs supervision, which inadvertently highlights their mental inability to lead and incompetence. Not surprisingly, they read from the same script, endorsed the policies advocated by the occupiers and, most importantly, showed utter disregard for the feelings and sufferings of their fellow countrymen.
Once more, the Haitian people were duped into participating in a futile exercise that validated this proverb “Zegwi koud rad, men se zepeng ki al nan nos.” They will have to settle for hurricanes, earthquakes, hunger and pestilence while the politicians continue to play their duplicitous game of collaborating with our enemies and peddling false hope. Because the preliminary results will not be known until December 7th and none of the candidates is expected to muster the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a run-off, the travesty will be finalized on January 16th. The two leading vote-getters, presumably Jude Célestin and Myrlande Manigat, will face each other again for the unenviable title of collaborator-in-chief.
As expected, the specter of instability, the buzzword of the occupation, was used as rationale to intimidate the electorate into participating in the charade in the midst of the cholera epidemic that has, so far, killed 1648 and infected 60-70.000 Haitians. In a clear denial of the cholera epidemic, the head of the EU diplomatic mission in Haiti, Lut Fabert-Gossens, announced at a news conference on November 22nd “At the moment, the EU sees no obstacle blocking these elections from happening.” Even China, a country unaccustomed to having its citizens go to the polls, views these elections as a maturity test for Haiti amid the wreckage and chaos wrought by last January’s earthquake and the ongoing cholera epidemic. As for Kenneth H. Merten, the U.S ambassador to Haiti, he maintained that the elections should take place, need to take place, and we are here to support that effort. As a rule, electoral politics obscure false hope with the attractive concept of stability. Sunday’s vote however increases the possibility of unrests rather than promotes stability, which can only be achieved through sustainable economic development, the missing component in the Great experiment.
In fairness, Haitian politicians are responsible for the international community’s condescension, seeing that Préval could have formed a national unity government in the aftermath of the January 12th earthquake that reduced Port-au-Prince and nearby cities into piles of rubbles, but the man, too distraught over the collapse of his palace, failed to see the implications of his actions or lack thereof. Besides the fact that René Préval’s shortsightedness facilitated the takeover of the government’s constitutional prerogatives by the foreign-dominated Haiti reconstruction Fund (HRF), it also opened a floodgate to would-be saviors who thought they could do a better job. Were it not the prohibitive cost of registration and the stringent requirements on seeking the presidency imposed by the 1987 Constitution, I presume that half of the population would have presented themselves as bona fide candidates to replace a man many consider the personification of mediocrity and failure as a politician.
Refreshingly enough, Myrlande Manigat, who stands a good chance of becoming the next collaborator-in-chief, hinted that the U.N should wrap up its mission and leave, which is a clear departure from what one expects from a Haitian politician. “MINUSTAH is a foreign military body. It’s against the constitution and it brings back bad memories. The presence of a foreign military force, even a multilateral one, is not normal”, said Ms. Manigat. Was this unexpected declaration an accurate sentiment of a genuine patriot or a well-thought out electoral posturing, meant to placate the decidedly anti-MINUSTAH segment of the population? Though the answer could be the former, the latter, or both, Ms. Manigat should be commended for tackling this delicate issue nevertheless.
Indeed, the first long-term occupation (1915-34) has had a devastating effect on Haiti as evidenced by the lost of parts of its territory (1929), which later resulted in the mass murders of Haitians by the Dominicans (1937), and the minority-rule of the mulatto elite supported by the US-trained Haitian Armed Forces (FA d’H). Obviously, the longer this occupation endures, the more likely Haiti stands to suffer from its nefarious goals of marginalizing and subjugating the proud nation. With her statement denouncing the U.N occupation of Haiti, Myrlande Manigat, a member of the intelligentsia, a group that has abdicated its role as the moral force of the nation, had redeemed herself.
Pompous as usual, Edmond Mulet, The U.N General-Secretary’s representative in “The plantation”, made a veiled reference to an eventual departure of MINUSTAH while insisting such possibility remains contingent on the elections occurring without incident and power is transferred democratically. Considering that no less than the destruction of the Republic of NGOs (2004-?) will satisfy the great majority of Haitians, Mulet’s thinking illustrates his poor understanding or downright denial of the reality. Perhaps the U.N is setting the stage for its own version of “Mission Accomplished” or the Brazilian contingent, MINUSTAH’s largest, is urgently needed in the streets of Rio de Janeiro.
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