Showing posts tagged as "haiti"

Showing posts tagged haiti

18 Jul
Haiti Déjà Vu
Borrowing from Yogi Berra, when it comes to elections in Haiti, it is déjà vu all over again. The country’s political elite is embroiled once more in a controversy that has delayed parliamentary elections for three years, still arguing over the composition of its electoral council (CEP) and the content of an electoral law.
Secretary of State John Kerry just pulled off a compromise to save Afghanistan’s elections from yielding widespread violence. He might considering doing the same in Haiti. Here’s why.
The terms of one third of the 30-member Senate were up three years ago and the Senate has been crippled ever since. The second ten Senators’ terms will end by the end of this year. So too the terms of the 99-member Chamber of Deputies as well as the 142 mayors and members of local councils. The latter are functioning extra-constitutionally because they should have faced election more than three years ago.
As Crisis Group warned a year ago in its report, Haiti is now facing the specter of an elected president ruling by decree next January because everyone else’s terms will have ended. That would not be very democratic and donors will argue that their funds cannot flow to Haiti if that situation occurs.
Who is to blame? The political and economic elite bear a share of the blame. They are the ones who either lead parties, finance candidates, hold office or call the shots from behind the scenes. They have declined to carry out commitments made in more than one church-sponsored dialogue for a compromise CEP and a required electoral law. Some of the current parliamentarians may rightfully fear that they will lose their seats once elections are held.
But they are by no means alone. President Martelly has not been willing to make the compromises required to ensure an election occurs. Some of his coterie seem to be relishing the thought of ruling by decree come next January. The business elite, which finally seems to be coming together to do more than lament the current situation, has allowed the situation to fester.
In the absence of parliament passing an electoral law, President Michel Martelly has gone ahead and set the election date for 26 October by executive decree and the still not fully constituted CEP has set dates for parties and candidates to register. But four of the country’s major political movements with perhaps the largest number of supporters refuse to participate arguing that the agreement on a consensus CEP has not been met. They charge that new members named by the President to the CEP have not been the product of a political consensus.
The international community supports a 10-year old UN peacekeeping force and still finances substantial earthquake reconstruction aid for Haiti whose economy and government institutions were fragile even before the earth opened on January 12, 2010. Yet it has failed to harness its political resources to convince Haiti’s leaders to hold the required elections.
A civil society and church-managed negotiation — or more accurately the most recent such effort — achieved a breakthrough on 19 March when an agreement was reached between President Martelly and a portion of the opposition. However, the agreement did not include the signatures of key opposition parties including Inite, the party of former President Rene Preval; Lavalas, the party of former President Jean Bertrande Aristide; or the traditional opposition parties of OPL and Fusion.
A key point of the El Rancho agreement was the formation of a balanced CEP and its absence is now being argued by the opposition as the justification for abstention. Yet, those parties also seem committed to an illusion that the international community will move to oust Martelly if the opposition does not participate in the elections. That is not going to happen.
High-level US, UN, French, Canadian, and Brazilian leaders, public and private, need to come together again to urge the president and the opposition to agree now on a consensus, balanced CEP and an electoral law. And Secretary of State John Kerry might carry that same message on a visit to Port-au-Prince, which thankfully is a lot closer than Kabul.
Otherwise, there will be no elections in 2014, a president will be ruling by decree in January, street protests and violence will follow, and for the long-suffering people of Haiti, it will be déjà vu all over again.
Mark L. Schneider is Senior Vice President of the International Crisis Group and Special Advisor for Latin America and Tim Carney, former Ambassador to Haiti and Executive Vice President of the now-dissolved Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.
Huffington Post
Photo: European Parliament/Flickr

Haiti Déjà Vu

Borrowing from Yogi Berra, when it comes to elections in Haiti, it is déjà vu all over again. The country’s political elite is embroiled once more in a controversy that has delayed parliamentary elections for three years, still arguing over the composition of its electoral council (CEP) and the content of an electoral law.

Secretary of State John Kerry just pulled off a compromise to save Afghanistan’s elections from yielding widespread violence. He might considering doing the same in Haiti. Here’s why.

The terms of one third of the 30-member Senate were up three years ago and the Senate has been crippled ever since. The second ten Senators’ terms will end by the end of this year. So too the terms of the 99-member Chamber of Deputies as well as the 142 mayors and members of local councils. The latter are functioning extra-constitutionally because they should have faced election more than three years ago.

As Crisis Group warned a year ago in its report, Haiti is now facing the specter of an elected president ruling by decree next January because everyone else’s terms will have ended. That would not be very democratic and donors will argue that their funds cannot flow to Haiti if that situation occurs.

Who is to blame? The political and economic elite bear a share of the blame. They are the ones who either lead parties, finance candidates, hold office or call the shots from behind the scenes. They have declined to carry out commitments made in more than one church-sponsored dialogue for a compromise CEP and a required electoral law. Some of the current parliamentarians may rightfully fear that they will lose their seats once elections are held.

But they are by no means alone. President Martelly has not been willing to make the compromises required to ensure an election occurs. Some of his coterie seem to be relishing the thought of ruling by decree come next January. The business elite, which finally seems to be coming together to do more than lament the current situation, has allowed the situation to fester.

In the absence of parliament passing an electoral law, President Michel Martelly has gone ahead and set the election date for 26 October by executive decree and the still not fully constituted CEP has set dates for parties and candidates to register. But four of the country’s major political movements with perhaps the largest number of supporters refuse to participate arguing that the agreement on a consensus CEP has not been met. They charge that new members named by the President to the CEP have not been the product of a political consensus.

The international community supports a 10-year old UN peacekeeping force and still finances substantial earthquake reconstruction aid for Haiti whose economy and government institutions were fragile even before the earth opened on January 12, 2010. Yet it has failed to harness its political resources to convince Haiti’s leaders to hold the required elections.

A civil society and church-managed negotiation — or more accurately the most recent such effort — achieved a breakthrough on 19 March when an agreement was reached between President Martelly and a portion of the opposition. However, the agreement did not include the signatures of key opposition parties including Inite, the party of former President Rene Preval; Lavalas, the party of former President Jean Bertrande Aristide; or the traditional opposition parties of OPL and Fusion.

A key point of the El Rancho agreement was the formation of a balanced CEP and its absence is now being argued by the opposition as the justification for abstention. Yet, those parties also seem committed to an illusion that the international community will move to oust Martelly if the opposition does not participate in the elections. That is not going to happen.

High-level US, UN, French, Canadian, and Brazilian leaders, public and private, need to come together again to urge the president and the opposition to agree now on a consensus, balanced CEP and an electoral law. And Secretary of State John Kerry might carry that same message on a visit to Port-au-Prince, which thankfully is a lot closer than Kabul.

Otherwise, there will be no elections in 2014, a president will be ruling by decree in January, street protests and violence will follow, and for the long-suffering people of Haiti, it will be déjà vu all over again.

Mark L. Schneider is Senior Vice President of the International Crisis Group and Special Advisor for Latin America and Tim Carney, former Ambassador to Haiti and Executive Vice President of the now-dissolved Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

Huffington Post

Photo: European Parliament/Flickr

14 Jul
United Nations top official goes to Haiti to promote cholera elimination, elections | Jacqueline Charles
In his strongest statement since a deadly cholera epidemic erupted in Haiti almost four years ago, the head of the United Nations said the global body bears “a moral responsibility” to help the Caribbean nation end the outbreak.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made the declaration in an exclusive interview with the Miami Herald as he prepared to visit Haiti, where he will travel to the region where the contamination happened and meet with families hard hit by cholera. Detected 10 months after Haiti’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, the waterborne disease has killed 8,563 people and infected 704,245.
Since then, the U.N. has refused to admit responsibility for the outbreak, which scientific evidence and its own independent panel of experts suggested was brought to Haiti by Nepalese peacekeepers stationed at a military base in the Central Plateau region.
FULL ARTICLE (Miami Herald)
Photo: United Nations Photo/flickr

United Nations top official goes to Haiti to promote cholera elimination, elections | Jacqueline Charles

In his strongest statement since a deadly cholera epidemic erupted in Haiti almost four years ago, the head of the United Nations said the global body bears “a moral responsibility” to help the Caribbean nation end the outbreak.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made the declaration in an exclusive interview with the Miami Herald as he prepared to visit Haiti, where he will travel to the region where the contamination happened and meet with families hard hit by cholera. Detected 10 months after Haiti’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, the waterborne disease has killed 8,563 people and infected 704,245.

Since then, the U.N. has refused to admit responsibility for the outbreak, which scientific evidence and its own independent panel of experts suggested was brought to Haiti by Nepalese peacekeepers stationed at a military base in the Central Plateau region.

FULL ARTICLE (Miami Herald)

Photo: United Nations Photo/flickr

26 Jul
Audio: Is it Time for MINUSTAH to Leave Haiti? | Mark Schneider
Formed in 2004 to restore public order following the removal of then President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has continued its mission through this year, while also playing a key role in stabilizing Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake.  While many cite Haiti’s continued need for MINUSTAH, given remaining security challenges, many Haitians are calling for the force to leave, citing recent improvements. Many Haitians also feel that, at the least, MINUSTAH’s mission should be updated.
FULL ARTICLE (CSIS) 
Photo: newbeatphoto/Flickr

Audio: Is it Time for MINUSTAH to Leave Haiti? | Mark Schneider

Formed in 2004 to restore public order following the removal of then President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has continued its mission through this year, while also playing a key role in stabilizing Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake.  While many cite Haiti’s continued need for MINUSTAH, given remaining security challenges, many Haitians are calling for the force to leave, citing recent improvements. Many Haitians also feel that, at the least, MINUSTAH’s mission should be updated.

FULL ARTICLE (CSIS) 

Photo: newbeatphoto/Flickr

30 Apr

Watch Mark Schneider, Crisis Group’s Senior Vice President and Special Adviser on Latin America, discuss UN accountability in Haiti on CBC News 

22 Feb
Haití, Tres Años Después | Reforma
Por Javier Ciurlizza, Director del Programa Latinoamérica y el Caribe
Tres años después del terremoto que sacudió a Haití, el país se encuentra en una carrera contra el tiempo para convencer a sus ciudadanos, a donantes y a posibles inversionistas de que el progreso y la estabilidad son realmente factibles y no sólo una ilusión.
De todos los desafíos, el continuo retraso en llevar a cabo elecciones libres y justas representa el más urgente de todos. El Presidente Michel Martelly lucha desde hace 18 mesespor gobernar una nación dividida. Carece de una base política estable para obtener la aprobación a su estrategia de desarrollo de cinco puntos: empleo, Estado de Derecho, educación, medio ambiente y energía.
Ahora Martelly debe partir sobre la base del tenue acuerdo de Nochebuena de 2012 con el fin de que un órgano electoral creíble desarrolle prontamente las demoradas elecciones al senado, municipales y locales.
ARTICULO COMPLETO (Reforma)
Foto: Elyce Feliz/Flickr

Haití, Tres Años Después | Reforma

Por Javier Ciurlizza, Director del Programa Latinoamérica y el Caribe

Tres años después del terremoto que sacudió a Haití, el país se encuentra en una carrera contra el tiempo para convencer a sus ciudadanos, a donantes y a posibles inversionistas de que el progreso y la estabilidad son realmente factibles y no sólo una ilusión.

De todos los desafíos, el continuo retraso en llevar a cabo elecciones libres y justas representa el más urgente de todos. El Presidente Michel Martelly lucha desde hace 18 mesespor gobernar una nación dividida. Carece de una base política estable para obtener la aprobación a su estrategia de desarrollo de cinco puntos: empleo, Estado de Derecho, educación, medio ambiente y energía.

Ahora Martelly debe partir sobre la base del tenue acuerdo de Nochebuena de 2012 con el fin de que un órgano electoral creíble desarrolle prontamente las demoradas elecciones al senado, municipales y locales.

ARTICULO COMPLETO (Reforma)

Foto: Elyce Feliz/Flickr

14 Feb
Haiti — a state of political dysfunction | Miami Herald
By Mark L. Schneider, Crisis Group’s Senior Vice President
Three years after an earthquake devastated Haiti, its elites seem poised to produce their own man-made disaster of instability and polarization. Unless the nation’s leaders pursue a national governability accord to organize long-delayed elections, halt unconstitutional appointments and address basic needs, Haiti could become a permanent failed state.
The International Crisis Group report published last week: “Governing Haiti: Time for National Consensus” tracks the failure of will across a broad spectrum of Haiti’s national leaders to seek agreement on national challenges.
The most recent triumph of partisan over national interest has been the failure of President Michel Martelly, parliamentary leaders and the business community to implement the governance agreement signed on Christmas Eve with the support of an ad hoc ecumenical body, Religions for Peace.
The pact would have side-stepped the Catch-22 situation where the absence of a third of the senators stymied the legislature’s naming its three members to the nine-member Permanent Electoral Commission (CEP) which was supposed to organize the partial senate elections which should have been held in November 2011.
The agreement provided for a new consensual Transitory Electoral College (TEC). That also would have enabled the removal of the other widely-criticized CEP members who had been named by or were seen as partial to the president.
FULL ARTICLE (Miami Herald)
Photo: Alex Proimos/Flickr

Haiti — a state of political dysfunction | Miami Herald

By Mark L. Schneider, Crisis Group’s Senior Vice President

Three years after an earthquake devastated Haiti, its elites seem poised to produce their own man-made disaster of instability and polarization. Unless the nation’s leaders pursue a national governability accord to organize long-delayed elections, halt unconstitutional appointments and address basic needs, Haiti could become a permanent failed state.

The International Crisis Group report published last week: “Governing Haiti: Time for National Consensus” tracks the failure of will across a broad spectrum of Haiti’s national leaders to seek agreement on national challenges.

The most recent triumph of partisan over national interest has been the failure of President Michel Martelly, parliamentary leaders and the business community to implement the governance agreement signed on Christmas Eve with the support of an ad hoc ecumenical body, Religions for Peace.

The pact would have side-stepped the Catch-22 situation where the absence of a third of the senators stymied the legislature’s naming its three members to the nine-member Permanent Electoral Commission (CEP) which was supposed to organize the partial senate elections which should have been held in November 2011.

The agreement provided for a new consensual Transitory Electoral College (TEC). That also would have enabled the removal of the other widely-criticized CEP members who had been named by or were seen as partial to the president.

FULL ARTICLE (Miami Herald)

Photo: Alex Proimos/Flickr

7 Feb
Haïti a besoin d’un consensus national pour organiser des élections | RFI
Par Amélie Baron
Haïti a besoin en urgence d’un consensus national,  indispensable pour organiser des élections. C’est l’analyse faite par International Crisis Group. Cette organisation non-gouvernementale craint une paralysie du pays. Sur place, c’est la même préoccupation, pour organiser des élections.
ARTICLE COMPLET (RFI)
Photo: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador/Flickr

Haïti a besoin d’un consensus national pour organiser des élections | RFI

Par Amélie Baron

Haïti a besoin en urgence d’un consensus national,  indispensable pour organiser des élections. C’est l’analyse faite par International Crisis Group. Cette organisation non-gouvernementale craint une paralysie du pays. Sur place, c’est la même préoccupation, pour organiser des élections.

ARTICLE COMPLET (RFI)

Photo: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador/Flickr

6 Feb

Listen to Crisis Group’s latest podcast, “It’s Time for a National Consensus in Haiti”. 

Delayed elections, mistrust and public protests against Haitian President Michel Martelly threaten the country’s chance to end decades of political conflict and to recover from the 2010 earthquake. Without a national accord, the country risks ongoing crises. Javier Ciurlizza, Program Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, tells us more on the current challenges Haiti is facing.

5 Feb
"If Haiti is to pull through, the better angels in the natures of its leaders are going to have to prevail for once and prevail soon. This is a thin reed on which to float the country’s future; but it might be all it has."

—from Crisis Group’s recent report, “Governing Haiti: Time for National Consensus

4 Feb
"It is increasingly evident that functional governance is unlikely until and unless the business community, religious, professional and political leaderships can reach an accord. Otherwise Haiti faces increasing internal unrest."

—from Crisis Group’s recent report, “Governing Haiti: Time for National Consensus