Diaspora

Opinion | Haiti's difficult elections – The Washington Post

The June 14 editorial “Haiti’s ‘descent into hell,’ ” which urged that elections go forward in Haiti despite the chaotic situation there, seemed to put ritual democracy ahead of real democracy. 
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has no credibility, as demonstrated by the massive protests against his rule by decree, his questionable extension of his term in office and his attempt to unilaterally rewrite the constitution. 
Mr. Moïse’s last election drew 21 percent of eligible voters because Haitians had no faith in the process and because of the heavy hand of Haiti’s so-called international community friends in choosing and eliminating candidates. Pressing the opposition parties to participate in another sham election held for the sake of having elections is guaranteed to bring greater instability and turmoil to this country. Recovery must start with a sovereign national convention that is open and transparent and that sets the rules for elections. For once, listen to the Haitian people and help them with what they want to accomplish. To move forward with elections would not only be criminal, but it also would produce more chaos and misery. Without the real involvement of the majority in determining our country’s future, Haiti has no chance to recover.
Jean-Claude Roy, Boca Raton, Fla.
The writer is a member of the Coalition for the Defense of the Rights
of the Haitian Diaspora.

The June 14 editorialHaiti’s ‘descent into hell’ ” was right to decry the fecklessness of the current Haitian president, but it missed the poor decision-making by the United States and the other powerful countries involved. 
Decades ago, U.S. policymakers developed a healthy respect for the utility of having an elected Haitian president to counter claims for political asylum. Twenty thousand U.S. troops went in, and the head of a major bank vowed, “We’re going to break the rules for Haiti!” But about five years ago, historical amnesia set in. U.S. policymakers forgot how hard you have to work just to have an elected president in Haiti. They pulled out the potent U.N. mission that had made sure that four presidents finished their terms. Before its arrival, five of the previous seven had been overthrown. Then Venezuela cut off the PetroCaribe lifeline. With oil no longer subsidized, the International Monetary Fund demanded a 50 percent price increase. It got for its pains an “IMF riot,” which has continued with little interruption ever since. 
Then the Trump administration threatened to send home 60,000 Haitians on temporary status, cutting off their remittances. Finally, that administration bludgeoned Haiti into betraying Venezuela, a deep blow to the country’s pride. Taken together, these actions completely dismantled the protective edifice erected by three previous U.S. presidents. Even a far more qualified incumbent would have been defeated by these forfeitures.
James Morrell, Washington
The writer is executive director of the Haiti Democracy Project.
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