Haitians are a unique bunch; we hailed from the only country in the world that has a surname: Ayiti Toma, in reference to Thomas the doubter who could not believe that Christ had risen from the grave unless he sees it with his own eyes. Indeed, one needs to see in order to believe what’s going on in that country which, throughout its 207 years of history, has not ceased to befuddle many Haitians and foreigners alike. If the preliminary results released this past Monday withstand the scrutiny of a legal challenge, Michel Joseph Martelly, Kompa singer, nihilist and political neophyte, has been elected president of Haiti by a whopping 67,57% of the vote, in effect trouncing the former first lady and seasoned politician, Mirlande Manigat.
Naturally, the representatives of the self-anointed nation-builders were effusive in their praise of the charade, which was touted as crucial to the rebuilding of the country, although hours after the results were announced, Ms Manigat told her supporters “you voted, and they stole your vote at the tabulation center”. She also called the results an “electoral hold-up” and decried her outrage for the country she loves. Since Ms. Manigat hardly fits the profile of the anarcho-populist politicians (a pejorative term commonly used by the anti-progressive forces) whom the international community has undertaken to eliminate from Haiti’s political theater, she is apparently in deep denial over her lost.
What really happened can be traced back to the condescending attitude of the intelligentsia (Manigat is a bona fide member) and apathy of the political class toward the impoverished majority (Préval & his clique), which have been an unsettling reality in Haiti for two centuries. For these two groups, the chicken has apparently come home to roost. Nonetheless, should Martelly’s victory be considered the revenge of the “Pieds Nus”? The victory, advertized as that of the people, is at best pyrrhic since Michel Martelly, the winner of that sham election, is in fact the candidate of the arrogant and uncompromising elite. The process of disenfranchising the impoverished majority, which started with the September 30, 1991 military coup against a popularly elected president and culminated with the February 29, 2004 infamy, has now come full circle.
With this election, the country now belongs to the Arpaids, Boulos, Bakers and the other supranational families that constitute the loathed oligarchy. To put it succinctly, the people have just been duped into digging their own graves, thanks in part to the vile actions of René Préval, a sense of divine right to rule of the intelligentsia and the policy of containment of the international community. Like most Haitians, Martelly professes to always have had a desire to change the country and no one should doubt the sincerity of his statement. The relevant question being: how does he intend to implement his ”Grand Project” when the international community remains obsessively committed to preserving the current system? Like we love to say in our colorful language “Aprè dans tambou lou.” Unless Haiti recovers its sovereignty and rejects the IMF-imposed economic solutions that advance the interests of a few families at the expense of millions, the Haitian people can expect more of the same.
In light of this made-for-history books episode, will the foreign-dominated Haiti Reconstruction Commission (HRC) shut itself out of existence at the end of its current 18-month term? What about the offensive military occupation that reinforces the notion of Haiti needing supervision? Moreover, how does the new president intend to deal with the legions of foreign NGOs that pose an obvious threat to the process of rebuilding the administrative structure of the Haitian state? The Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, Li Baodong, could not have said it better “The government and people of Haiti bear primary responsibility to maintain national security and stability, rebuild their country as well as achieve the sustainable development. The international community should respect the autonomy and leading role of Haiti.”
Great powers’ conspiracy or obligations oblige, Haitians should not expect China to veto the next Security Council resolution on extending the mission. Thus, these crucial steps are unlikely to happen. None other than Edmond Mulet, the head of the incorrectly named U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti, remains confident of its long-term presence in the country. He told the Associated Press “The UN will conduct a security study with the new government aimed at bringing the mission back to pre-earthquake staffing levels. Then, the U.N. hopes to continue downsizing the mission “so by let’s say 2015 or something we might be leaving.” Since the new president had pledged to reconstitute the defunct Haitian Armed Forces (F.A.d’H) as an indispensable tool to combat insecurity and reduce unemployment, his objective effectively coalesces with the security project of the UN, so eloquently articulated by the patronizing and pretentious Edmond Mulet.
Among the abominations that befell Haiti over the last 7 years which, naturally, include the February 29th, 2004 invasion and its occupation on behalf of the elite, this one stands out since the impoverished masses are now complicit in this undeserving fate. Nonetheless even well-thought out political decisions always failed the expectations of their creator and, in worse case scenarios, took a life of their own. Hopefully, this charade may well provide the impetus for self-introspection among the millions of Haitians, who never relinquished their inalienable right to self-determination as envisioned by their valiant ancestors, and help revive the Dessalinian spirit.
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