By Vania Andre
Members of the Haitian Diaspora wrote an open letter to the Haitian government, where they urged for a transparent and effective electoral process. The letter, which was published on the Haitian Caribbean News Network (HCNN) on Tuesday, called for Haitian leaders to “rethink the intransigent positions that they have held” and contemplate the type of Haiti they want, putting forth “workable alternatives to the pattern of confrontation” that has characterized the country’s recent political turmoil.
“We urge our leaders to establish a viable and constitutional mechanism for achieving a peaceful and consensual solution to the problems that separate them,” the letter said. “In particular, we compel them to set aside their differences and together design a workable, efficient and transparent electoral process.”
The letter comes on the heels of recent political protests against President Michel Martelly. Critics of the Martelly / Lamothe administration have organized several demonstrations, calling for the resignation of President Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe over their failure to hold long-overdue elections. Last Friday, roughly 3,000 protesters assembled in Haiti’s capital to demand the president’s and prime minister’s departure. The demonstration became violent after police fired tear gas at protesters burning tires and throwing rocks.
Elections were to be called in 2011, however, have been postponed several times as a stalemate between the government and a group of opposition senators continues. The senators are blocking a necessary approval of amendments to the existing electoral law, which is a prerequisite to calling elections.
“I cannot understand that senators, who have the responsibility to pass the electoral law, have categorically refused to do their job, but instead take to the streets to call for elections,” Kedlaire Augustin, a spokesman for the prime minister’s office, said to HCNN.
“You know that the election cannot be held without the law,” he said. “I believe all they really want is chaos, instability and a complete upheaval of everything that has been done.”
The letter was signed “Concerned Citizens of Haiti Living Abroad” and included signatures from notable Haitian Americans such as, Dr. Smith Joseph, North Miami mayor, Dr. Rudolph Moise and Daniel Fils-Aime, chairman of the Haitian American Historical Society. In all 27 people signed the letter, with the majority of the signatures from Florida-based Diaspora members.
“We all seek to build modern, stable, and above all a democratic Haiti so let’s take this opportunity to make sure that the politics of old does not surface again to destroy our future,” the collective of Haitians living abroad wrote.
Four protests have been held in Haiti’s capital in the last month. A fifth is planned for next week.