Sunday, November 28, 2010

alors on fait quoi maintenant?

"Une fraude calculee" is what this election is being called by many. "A calculated fraud" by the ruling party and the Electoral Commission. There is no doubt in many people's minds around here that, as the thirteen candidates have claimed, this election was marred by widespread fraud including ballot stuffing and vote buying. Observer reports do in fact confirm cases of fraud, but the most reported irregularities were problems with the voter list: people did not know where to go vote (though they did turn out in great numbers to do so) and had a limited number of ways to find this information. This led to a great number of people showing up, being turned away, getting confused, getting somewhat frustrated. Perhaps this was part of the calculated fraud. Organized chaos.

But then you have those who wonder how much fraud actually happened? Enough fraud to warrant an annulment of the election? Enough that it would significantly affect the results? As we wait for provisional reports and results, there are dozens of questions begging to be asked. What will happen if one of the candidates calling for this annulment is shown to have won the election? Will that candidate accept the results? Will the country accept the results? And if it were somehow decided that another election would be held, would the international community, who seems entirely skeptical of the candidates' claims, finance these elections? Did the candidates act too quickly? Or was it a good response to a government qui 'se foue de la gueule du peuple' and supposedly tried to steal the elections?

At this point, I don't know what to think, and unless you are God, you don't know the entire truth either. But one thing is for sure, ladies and gentlemen, 'se pa yon kanaval non ki deyo a, se lavni peyi a"': this country's future is at stake., what now?

Election Day Updates

* All of this information is from local news and phone calls from family/friends.*
November 2810:00 AM: All across the country, people cannot find their names on the voter lists. (This is not shocking considering how difficult it is to find out where to go vote.) Some voting centers have still not received ballots. 
12:00 PM: Some voting centers have been completely shut down because of riots and trouble with the voter lists. 
Candidates are meeting to discuss cancelling these elections.3:00 PM: 13 candidates, including Manigat and Martelly, have called for the elections to be cancelled, claiming widespread fraud orchestrated by Preval and the Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commission says election will continue as planned. The OAS/CARICOM observation mission was scheduled to hold a press conference at 2:30 PM but have yet to say anything.
3:20 PM: Wyclef Jean and Michel Martelly are leaving the Karibe hotel and leading a march in Port-au-Prince.
5:43: Martelly calling for Preval's resignation? (Not confirmed). 5:45: The Electoral Commission says the election is not annuled, and that it will evaluate the situation later.  7:12: Still waiting for the CEP press conference, which was scheduled to begin at 6. 7:45: CEP announces that elections that took place are valid, and that they will examine complaints case by case. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

wait and see - eleksyon 2010

Less than ten hours before the polls open for Haiti's presidential and legislative elections, and I ask Titoine if he is going to go out and vote. "Map tan pou'm we," he says. "I'm gonna wait and see." Immediately my America-influenced reflexes come out and I want to answer things like "Don't let them intimidate you, go out and vote, Haiti deserves a chance!" But I don't.

I do believe that Haiti 'deserves a chance'. And I do believe that electing a good leader is crucial for this country to move forward (or at least not move backwards). I am just slightly unsure about the Haitian people's ability to choose that leader. Can a population with a literacy rate of less than 50% really know how to make an informed decision about who to choose to run a country that's been hit with every single disaster you can imagine (and some you can't imagine)? Can the right president be elected when people are voting 'out of sympathy' for this or that candidate, or plan to walk into the voting booth and decide then and there based on which picture they like better, whether or not the candidate is smiling, whether or not the background is yellow and green like their favorite soccer team? These things influence people's decisions in every single country in the world, but it is- through no fault of their own- the only deciding factor for many people here.

I am honestly ashamed of my lack of confidence in the Haitian people, and I sincerely hope that tomorrow's elections will be peaceful and that people will go out to vote. But most importantly, I hope that five years from now we will not regret the decision made. We will be proud of the person elected and will be in a situation that sure as hell does not include thousands dying of ancient biblical diseases and people living at the mercy of NGOs. Maybe then I will stop thinking that Haiti could use a dictator with a vision.

Map tan pou'm we.