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Home Press Center Press Releases “Sad Day for Haitian Democracy” as U.S. Threatens to Cut Off Aid to Haiti in Order to Reverse its Election Results, CEPR Co-Director Says

“Sad Day for Haitian Democracy” as U.S. Threatens to Cut Off Aid to Haiti in Order to Reverse its Election Results, CEPR Co-Director Says

For Immediate Release: January 25, 2011
Contact: Dan Beeton, 202-239-1460

Washington, D.C.- Increasing U.S. pressure on the Haitian government for it to overturn the results of the November 28 presidential election marks another “sad day for Haitian democracy” and such a move “will do nothing to fix an inherently flawed election,” the Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) said today. The international community, led by the U.S., France, and Canada, has been intensifying the pressure on the Haitian government to to allow presidential candidate Michel Martelly to proceed to the second round of elections instead of Jude Celestin. In the past several days the U.S. government revoked the visas of several Haitian officials close to President Préval, threatened to deem Haiti’s government illegitimate if the second round of elections was not announced by February 7, and implied that aid to the desperately poor country could be cut if the government did not accept the results that it wanted.

"This is a sad day for Haitian democracy. As in the coups of 1991 and 2004, the United States and its allies are trying to reverse the results of an election and decide who can be president of Haiti,” CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said. “It will do nothing to fix an inherently flawed election that excluded several parties, and had the lowest voter participation for a presidential election in the Western Hemisphere in over 60 years.”

CEPR released two reports on Haiti’s election this month, including what appears to be the only independent recount of the 11,181 vote tally sheets from the first round of elections. CEPR also released a statistical analysis of the report [PDF] from the Organization of American States (OAS) “Experts” Mission. The OAS Mission Report provided the pretext for international pressure on the Haitian government to overturn the initial count from the November 28 elections, which had placed Celestin slightly ahead of Martelly.

CEPR’s analysis of the OAS report found it to be “methodologically and statistically flawed,” and reaching what “appears to be a political, and not a professional, decision” that favored Martelly. CEPR’s own count of the tally sheets concluded that “Based on the numbers of irregularities, it is impossible to determine who should advance to a second round. If there is a second round, it will be based on arbitrary assumptions and/or exclusions.”

"This also reflects badly on the major media, which has mostly gone along with this travesty,” Weisbrot added. “The OAS report on the Haitian election was a politically orchestrated farce, but most of the press have simply accepted it without even asking the most obvious questions.”

CEPR’s reports conclude that only new elections – including all legitimate political parties – can ensure the will of the Haitian electorate is validated. The U.S. has publicly opposed holding new elections. "We simply want the will of the Haitian people to be respected and we are certainly in favor of the continuation of the elections," U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten was reported as saying today.

The U.S. government is providing $14 million for Haiti’s elections despite the Haitian electoral authorities’ exclusion of over a dozen political parties, including the most popular, Fanmi Lavalas, and warnings from U.S. lawmakers that such unfair elections would “leave many Haitians to conclude that they have no choice but to protest the elections and the consequent government through social disruption.”

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