Source : Haiti Liberte
Seventeen months after President Michel Martelly became Haiti?s head
of state with Washington?s backing, Haiti is plunged into a downward
spiral of institutional and political crisis. This crisis traces its
roots to Martelly?s illegal publication of amendments to Haiti?s 1987
Constitution earlier this year and his illegal appointment of judges
to Haiti?s Supreme Court.
Article 289 of the amended 1987 Constitution calls for a Provisional
Electoral Council until a Permanent Electoral Council can be formed,
as provided for in Article 192.
The nine-member Permanent Electoral Council (CEP) is supposed to have
three representatives designated by each of the Haitian government?s
three branches: executive, judiciary, and parliamentary. However, it
cannot be formed for two reasons. First, there are only 20 sitting
Senators (the terms of 10 expired in May). Due to opposition in its
ranks, the Senate has been unable to convene two-thirds of its members
in a National Assembly to designate its three parliamentary
representatives to a Permanent Council. Secondly, in August, four of
the nine members of the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ)
disavowed the three members appointed by their body to the CEP, saying
they were illegally chosen under the leadership of the CSPJ?s
president, Anel Alexis Joseph, who is also head of the Supreme Court.
The Senate passed a resolution demanding President Martelly recall the
three CEP representatives illegally appointed by the CSPJ.
Meanwhile, the CSPJ has appointed three new representatives to the
CEP: Applys Felix, Leopold Berlanger, and Carole Floreal Duclervil.
The CSPJ now has six representatives on the CEP, which is totally
contrary to the Constitution and has been widely denounced.
Worse still, all of these officials have been appointed by the CSPJ to
the CEP in a totally irregular manner. The three new CEP members and
the three previous appointees ? Yves Benoit Jean-Marie, Salnave
Exantus, Patrick Metellus ? are all illegal and illegitimate due to
the irregularities in the appointment of three judges to the Supreme
Court. (Exantus and Jean-Marie declared on Oct. 8 that they are
“immovable under the Constitution” because they have taken an oath).
This pyramid of illegalities committed in forming the CEP is why
leading senators and many other scholars, activists, and jurists are
calling for the formation of a Provisional Electoral Council of
Senator Steven Benoit and 16 other senators passed a resolution saying
that the appointment of the CSPJ?s six representatives to the CEP is
null and void and that Anel Alexis Joseph along with Supreme Court
Judges Kesner Michel Thermesi and Frantzi Philemon have been named to
and occupy their posts illegally and irregularly. This is because
neither Thermesi nor Philemon were on the list of Supreme Court
justices nominees which the Senate provided Martelly (the president
must name judges from that list) and Anel Alexis Joseph was older than
65, after which age new judges cannot be sworn in. The three illegally
seated justices were key to the CSPJ?s illegal seating of the CEP?s
current six members.
Haiti?s human rights organizations agree. Antonal Mortime, Secretary
General of the Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH),
called for the repeal of the Aug. 15 decree illegally appointing six
members to Martelly?s CEP and the formation instead of a Provisional
Electoral Council to organize overdue elections for Senate seats and
municipal governments. Most political parties, both on the left and
the right, favor the formation of a Provisional Electoral Council,
including the Organization of Struggling People (OPL) and the Lavalas
Despite the bitter and widespread outcry, President Martelly and his
illegally-appointed Supreme Court head, Anel Alexis Joseph, continue
to thumb their nose at Haiti?s Constitution and Parliament. Rather
than compromise, they appear to seek provocation. In an Oct. 9, 2012
decree, President Martelly summoned the Parliament to a special
session on Oct. 11 at 2:00 p.m. (just when the President knew his
nemesis, Sen. Moise Jean-Charles, would be in New York, speaking to UN
officials). Martelly?s proposed legislative agenda was to ask
Parliament to name three representatives to serve on the CEP.
But Sen. Jean William Jeanty, one of the nine senators strongly
opposed to Martelly?s arrogant and reactionary tactics, denounced the
move. “It is inconceivable” that Martelly would try to summon the
Parliament in an extraordinary session to appoint representatives to
the CEP, Jeanty said. “The controversies in Parliament surrounding the
issue of the so-called permanent CEP have not yet been resolved.”
Jeanty questioned whether President Martelly genuinely wants to hold
elections in Haiti.
Meanwhile, two different postures toward the crisis have emerged among
diplomats based in Haiti. Brazil, for example, refuses to interfere in
Haiti?s internal affairs, while France continues to meddle with
arrogance and impertinence.
“We do not express opinions about Haiti?s internal affairs, but we do
talk to leaders to encourage them to show flexibility in order not to
paralyze the country,” said Brazilian Ambassador, Luiz Machado Costa
to the Haiti Press Network (HPN), an online news agency.
The diplomat, who arrived in Haiti more than six months ago, remains
very cautious. “It is not our style of diplomacy to comment publicly
on the internal affairs of a country,” he said, “because we would not
want a foreigner landing in Brazil to tell us what to do.”
However, Costa wants a climate of peace and compromise between
political forces. “Stability is needed to move the economy and create
jobs,” he said, also calling for the strengthening of political
parties in Haiti and civil society?s involvement to prevent crisis
In contrast, Didier Le Bret, France?s Ambassador to Haiti, called the
CSPJ?s appointment of three more CEP members ?an important step?
towards resolving the pre-election crisis.
The French ambassador said that he was confident that this impasse
would soon be resolved. As proof, he said that just a few months ago,
people were wondering how Haiti was going to get out of the crisis of
President Martelly?s alleged dual nationality or the occupation by
former Haitian soldiers of some Haitian government buildings. “Well
then,” he said, “all these crises have been resolved.”
But Deputy Levaillant Louis-Jeune disagreed with the ambassador about
those crises and the current one. ?The crisis is only getting worse,?
he said. He called on President Martelly to annul the order appointing
a Permanent Electoral Council of six members and to start from
In recent anti-Martelly demonstrations, protestors have carried flyers
calling on Le Bret, as well as U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela White,
to be expelled as ?persona non grata? for their meddling in Haitian
internal affairs. Demonstrators also claim that Ambassador Le Bret
openly wears a pink bracelet, a sign of support for President Martelly
who is increasingly denounced and rejected by the Haitian people.
TWO YEARS AFTER THE OUTBREAK OF CHOLERA IN HAITI, ACCESS TO CLEAN
WATER AND SANITATION IS DESPERATELY NEEDED
Oct. 22, 2012, Washington, D.C. ? On the second anniversary of the
outbreak of the cholera epidemic in Haiti, human rights groups,
faith-based organizations, policy institutes, and humanitarian
organizations renew their call for the United Nations and U.S.
government to help Haiti install the clean water and sanitation
infrastructure necessary to control the ongoing epidemic.
The cholera epidemic in Haiti has received less U.S. attention during
the presidential campaign season, but it remains a critical problem
for this Caribbean neighbor that is not being adequately addressed and
is undermining broader aid efforts. Last month, 260 new cholera cases
were reported daily, and 2-3 children died a day. Since the epidemic
broke out in October 2010, 7,564 Haitians have reportedly died from
cholera and some 600,000 persons (6% of the Haitian population) have
been infected. The number is undoubtedly much higher, as cases in more
remote areas are often unreported. As the World Health Organization
has stated, those without access to safe drinking water, proper
sanitation, and hygiene constitute the majority of cholera cases.
Two years after the epidemic started, not enough action has been taken
to assist the Government of Haiti in acquiring essential water and
sanitation infrastructure. A regional coalition that includes the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health
Organization is developing a plan with the Government of Haiti to
build water and sanitation systems that will cost $2.2 billion.
Despite this encouraging progress, the plan still needs to be
finalized and funded before implementation can begin.
The U.N. especially has a legal and moral responsibility to play a
leadership role in helping end the epidemic. Independent scientific
studies have established that cholera was brought to Haiti by troops
from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and that the
waste disposal practices at the UN base allowed the bacteria to
contaminate Haiti?s largest river system. The undersigned groups call
on the U.N. to commit long-term resources to work with the Government
of Haiti to build water and sanitation systems that are critical to
halting the continued spread of the disease.
This July, 104 members of Congress sent a letter to Susan Rice, U.S.
Ambassador to the UN, requesting that she urge the world body to act
decisively to address Haiti?s cholera crisis. Congressional members
Chris Smith and Albio Sires made a similar plea to Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton. The undersigned groups urge Ambassador Rice and
Secretary Clinton to fulfill these important appeals and to call on
the UN to help Haiti acquire the necessary funding to develop the
water and sanitation infrastructure needed to stop the epidemic.
American Jewish World Service
Canada Haiti Action Network
Center for Economic and Policy Research
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
Environmental Justice Initiative for Haiti
Hastings to Haiti Partnership
Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
Just Foreign Policy
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Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
New Media Advocacy Project
The Haiti Support Group
In our Oct. 3 edition, we incorrectly reported in the articles on
President Martelly?s Brooklyn College address that Rodneyse Bichotte
was an assemblywoman, a post she ran for but lost this past September.
In fact, she is a District Leader/State Committeewoman in Brooklyn.