Thursday, February 16, 2006
Haiti: Preval Declared The Winner
Just heard on NPR this morning (and it's now been confirmed by the UK paper The Independent) that the very popular Rene Preval has finally been declared the winner of Haiti's presidential election. This is a welcome development, especially after seeing this. The American news media still try to avoid mentioning that Preval is one of Aristide's protégés -- unless, that is, they're doing a hatchet job on Preval -- as they're still trying to pretend that Aristide was thrown out of office by a "popular revolt" instead of a Bush-backed group of thugs and businessmen.
Added by Charles: The Electoral Council used a technicality (is a 50% plus one majority based on all ballots or only on marked ballots?) to install Rene Preval to the office he almost certainly won by a landslide.
This is not a genuinely good outcome. The election is under a cloud. The fact that the decision is arbitrary will be used to undercut Preval. There is excellent reason to believe that somewhere between 10-20% of Preval's votes were destroyed, but I suspect he will find it vanishingly difficult to investigate the circumstances under which that happened.
Yet the Haitian people have provided an inspiration to Americans. Lavalas party leadership has been in jail or in hiding. UN troops have been shooting up Lavalas strongholds on the ironic pretext that they are "violent." Meanwhile, poverty grinds down the Haitian spirit every hour of every day.
Preval prevailed by the non-violent, mass resistance of a whole people. This is a testament to the human spirit and its longing to live free. Can we Americans, who have suffered so little and kept silent about great wrongs for so long, claim that we love freedom even half as much as the Haitian people?
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