US, UN Increasing Pressure on Haiti to Accept Flawed Election

January 20, 2011

The UN joined the chorus of international actors that are pressuring Haiti to accept their choice for presidential candidates. At a UN Security Council meeting today, Under-Secretary-General Alain Le Roy, told the room:

“Having officially received the report of the OAS technical mission, the CEP must now honour its commitment to fully take into account the report’s recommendations with a view to ensuring that the results of the elections truly reflect the will of the Haitian people,”


“Should the CEP decide otherwise, Haiti may well be faced with a constitutional crisis, with the possibility of considerable unrest and insecurity.”

At the same meeting, Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, went even further. AFP reports:

The United States told President Rene Preval on Thursday to pull his favored candidate out of Haiti’s disputed presidential election race or risk losing US and international support.

“Sustained support from the international community, including the United States, will require a credible process that represents the will of the Haitian people,” Rice told a UN Security Council debate on Haiti.

“We urge the Provisional Electoral Council to implement the OAS recommendations,” Rice said, also calling for a “timely” timetable for the second round.

Despite the strong words from the United States, the OAS, which actually carried out the study on the election, has sought to downplay the Mission’s Report:

“The report, Insulza [OAS Secretary General] said, is based on “calculations” and not results. “It’s not in our power to give results,” he told The Miami Herald. “We are not publishing any kind of results.”

Perhaps the reason why the US, UN and France are pushing Haiti to accept the flawed OAS report more than the OAS itself, is that, as CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot pointed out earlier this week:

In fact, six of the seven members of the OAS “Expert Verification Mission” are from the United States, Canada, and France. France! Not a member of the OAS but the former slave-holding colonial power that was still forcing Haiti to pay for its loss of property (i.e. the slaves who liberated themselves) until the 1940s. Apparently the OAS couldn’t find any experts in all of Latin America (they got one from Jamaica) to review Haiti’s election.

This is not a matter of political correctness; rather it indicates how much Washington wanted to control the result of this OAS Mission. These are the three governments that led the effort to topple Haiti’s democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in 2004.

Making matters worse, the report that the US, UN and France are pushing on Haiti is flawed in a number of important ways. CEPR has published an analysis of the OAS report, available here, and for further commentary see Mark Weisbrot’s op-ed in The Guardian (UK) from earlier this week.

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