“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

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Dan Beeton, 202-239-1460

“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

WASHINGTON - 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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The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

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