Following a meeting with representatives of Haitian political parties on Dec. 30, Max Mathurin, president of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), announced the postponement of the presidential and legislative elections previously scheduled for Jan. 8. “Following our work schedule, some preparation operations will go on past Jan. 8,” he said. “This explains why it is impossible for this date, set for the first round, to be respected.” He did not announce a new schedule.
This was the fifth postponement of the current elections, the first following the February 2004 ouster of left-populist president Jean-Bertrand Aristide; the most recent postponement was announced on Nov. 25. Osner Ferry, from the National Council of Political Parties, called for the dissolution of the CEP and the removal of the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States from the electoral process. According to the Reuters wire service, more than three dozen political parties have called for the resignation of Haiti’s interim government, accusing it of incompetence. The elections were supposed to have been held in time for the new president to take office on Feb. 7, as required by Haiti’s 1987 Constitution. (Haiti Support Group News Brief, Dec. 30 from Reuters; AlterPresse, Dec. 30; Haiti Press Network, Dec. 30)
Aristide ally Father Gerard Jean-Juste, imprisoned since July without formal charges, is suffering from leukemia, according to US physician Paul Farmer, who examined Jean-Juste on Dec. 24. “[I]t is essential that he be transferred to the US without delay for a more extensive work-up,” Farmer told the leftist weekly Haiti Progres. “This disease can be treated if we get him out of jail and into qualified medical care.” Jean-Juste has been held in prison without formal charges since July. Farmer operates an internationally renowned clinic in rural Haiti. (HP, Dec. 28)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 1
See our last update on Haiti.
Roots of unrest
Big kudos to Newsday and its reporter Letta Tayler for this incisive Jan. 2 piece on the structural roots of Haiti’s ongoing crisis:
Deforestation deepens agony
Another excellent dispatch from Newsday‘s Letta Tayler. Jan. 3 she reports from Gonaïves, the coastal city that was devastated by floods unleashed Hurricane Jeanne in September 2004. (See WW4R #103) Tayler’s report sheds light on the social and ecological roots of this “natural” disaster.