Posted by hougansydney.com on Monday, April 18, 2016 Under: Haiti's Political Crisis
Recent statements from some of the highest US diplomats on elections in Haiti have caused a huge scandal in the Haitian press, social media and the political class and even Haiti's civil society; opening a large debate on the role of the international community in Haiti and the extent of its influence in the country's affairs.
Last week, during his speech on the Voice of America, Kenneth Merten, the US Special Coordinator in Haiti gave his opinion on the creation of an electoral evaluation commission recently set up by the interim president of Haiti Jocelerme Privert, in his quest to resolve the electoral crisis that brought the country to a standstill. The special envoy has called nonchalantly anyone who wanted to set up such a commission "losers."
The next day, the head of the American diplomacy John Kerry, also had words to say about the election in Haiti.
"Let me be clear, Haitian players, so-called leaders, need to understand that there are clear limits to the patience, the will of the international community to tolerate this delay process." "The people of Haiti deserve an elected government." They deserve it now. " had added the head of American diplomacy.
The country's political class has taken the statements by surprise. They were offended by the language of these American ambassadors.
The majority of the people of Haiti want an electoral assessment commission to investigate allegations of fraud that have prevented completion of the second round of the presidential election.
Prominent radio stations in Haiti's capital, such as Vision 200 had special broadcasts Saturday where human rights activists, politicians, and even ordinary citizens called to express their views on the comments.
Words of the ambassadors were described as "total interference" "orders" and those of "pro consuls instead of diplomatic partners." And as expected, the thousands of comments that flooded Haitian social media were harsh insults, too severe for me to republish.
This scandal has opened a debate on the funding of elections in Haiti; which is currently 70% funded by the international community; the US alone contributes $ 30 million in the process, 30% of the total cost of the necessary 100 million.
Impossible for Haitian officials not to bend under pressure when international community threaten to cut its support for the process, as did recently Kenneth Merten.
The political class of the country and the Haitian press needs, however, be more than being shocked if they are really serious about solving this problem. They should push the newly installed parliament to pass a law to come up with the funds in their annual budgets for managing elections in their countries.