Robert Naiman writes today at Huffington Post:
There are many legitimate criticisms to be made of the electoral system in the United States as we know it. But it could be much worse. We could be confronted with the electoral system that Haitians are currently facing in elections scheduled for November 28.Naiman then goes on to point out that part of the U.S. influence comes from the U.S. funding for the elections, already underway, despite these political party exclusions.
In Haiti, as things are currently run, political parties are completely excluded from participation if the people currently in power don't like them, including Haiti's largest political party, the Fanmi Lavalas party of deposed and exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
It is a telling fact of our political-media culture that while American newspapers regularly carry articles, op-eds and editorials raising the alarm about democracy and human rights in countries where the U.S. has little influence, the major U.S. media are virtually silent about extreme violations of democratic rights in Haiti, a country where the U.S. has tremendous influence. (Two rare, praiseworthy exceptions have been the Miami Herald, which last month published this op-ed by Ira Kurzban, and the reporting of the AP's Jonathan Katz.)
Fortunately, Congress is starting to pay attention. Naiman also reports that
Now Representative Maxine Waters is circulating to her colleagues a letter to Secretary of State Clinton, urging Secretary Clinton to make a clear statement that elections must include "all eligible political parties" and "access to voting for all Haitians, including those displaced by the earthquake." Rep. Waters' letter urges that the US not provide funding for elections that do not meet these minimum, basic democratic requirements.Read the entire post here.
Shouldn't it be a no-brainer to say that the U.S. shouldn't pay for elections in Haiti from which the largest political party is excluded?