December 2, 2009

 

Radio Energie:

The Haiti Democracy Project has observed a number of elections in Haiti.

James Morrell, director of the Haiti Democracy Project: 

The organization has observed four elections in Haiti, three in 2006 and one in 2009. The majority of our election observers were Haitian-Americans. The last mission in 2006 was the largest observer mission of Haitian-Americans ever to go to Haiti. The Haitian-Americans brought the advantage of knowing the terrain and the language, enabling them to penetrate beneath the surface of things.

Radio Energie:

Do you intend to observe the elections in 2010?

James Morrell:

We would like to, and we are about to apply for the resources to do so. Again this would primarily be a mission of Haitian-Americans. However, we must closely monitor the preparations for elections as it would be pointless to stay and observe an election that was already rigged. In 2000, the Organization of American States had to withdraw its observation mission from Haiti when the government refused to correct fraudulent practices.

Radio Energie:

Have you been following the news in Haiti?

James Morrell:

We have been closely watching the electoral situation. Just yesterday, a prominent Haitian nongovernmental organization, the Network for the Protection of Human Rights, denounced the fact that a major political party, Fanmi Lavalas, had been excluded. We concur that this is a serious omission. All major parties have to be included for the election to have credibility and legitimacy.

There are many in Haiti who fear that this will not be an election, but a selection. There are many who also believe that the electoral commission was hand-picked by President Préval. Under the constitution, and to have a credible election, the electoral commission must be completely independent of the executive.

Radio Energie:

The international community appears set to finance the election. However, improper elections lead to chaos.

James Morrell:

The United States seems prepared to accept any election in Haiti, however false, in the belief that this will somehow bring stability. However, history indicates otherwise. The elections of 2000 were never accepted by the Haitian people and led directly to the later chaos. Before the taxpayers' money is spent on these elections, they must be ascertained to be free and fair.