Haiti: board approves 19 presidential candidates

On Aug. 20 Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced that it had approved 19 and rejected 15 of the 34 people who had applied to run for the presidency in general elections scheduled for Nov. 28 [see Update #1043, where we gave the number of applicants as 33, following our sources]. The approved candidates included Jude Célestin (Unity); former prime minister Jacques Edouard Alexis (Movement for the Progress of Haiti, MPH); former senator Myrlande Hyppolite Manigat (Coalition of National Progressive Democrats, RDNP); economist Leslie Voltaire (Together We Are Strong); Chavannes Jeune (Alliance of Christians and Citizens for the Reconstruction of Haiti, ACCRHA); and singer Joseph Michel Martelly (“Sweet Micky,” Peasant Response).

The CEP has excluded the Lavalas Family (FL) party of former president Jean Bertrand Aristide (1991-1996, 2001-2004) from the ballot, but it approved several presidential candidates associated with the party: former prime minister Yvon Neptune (Haitians for Haiti ); current social affairs minister Yves Christalin (Organization Future); and Jean Henry Céant (Love Haiti). But a Florida-based Lavalas activist, Lavarice Gaudin, was rejected.

Other rejected candidates included Haitian-born US hip-hop star Wyclef Jean and his uncle, former ambassador to the US Raymond Alcide Joseph. (AlterPresse, Haiti, Aug. 20; Radio Kiskeya, Haiti, Aug. 20)

Meanwhile, more than a million people left homeless by a massive Jan. 12 earthquake are still living in some 1,000 improvised encampments in the Port-au-Prince area. On Aug. 19, the United Nations’ World Humanitarian Day, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) issued a report on the situation in the camps. “The anger of the displaced against the NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] and international agencies continues to manifest itself and to intensify in the camps,” the Catholic organization wrote, citing “conflicts between the NGOs and some camp committees [and] between the owners of private properties and the displaced.” The JRS called on the government to coordinate the activities of the NGOs and to provide for urgent needs of the displaced, and for international agencies and organizations not to exclude local people from the decision-making process. (AlterPresse 8/19/10)

On Aug. 12, exactly seven months after the earthquake, dozens of the homeless held a sit-in in front of the National Palace in downtown Port-au-Prince to demand decent housing and end to the expulsion of earthquake victims from the land where they have had to camp out. The protest was organized by seven camp committees, including committees from camps at Boyer and St Pierre Plazas east of the capital in Pétionville, and from Cote Plage 16, south of the capital in Carrefour. Also sponsoring the protest were the labor organizing group Batay Ouvriye (“Workers’ Struggle”) and Force for Reflection and Action on the Housing Problem (Fraka). (AlterPresse, Aug. 11; Radio Kiskeya, Aug. 12)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Aug. 22.

See our last post on Haiti.