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Haitian President Michel Martelly bids farewell

By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, Feb. 7, 2016

Thirty years after beginning its frail democracy with the fall of President-for-Life Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, Haiti entered another period of uncertainty Sunday.

With no elected successor because of a disputed presidential vote, former President Michel Martelly gave his final farewell to the nation before passing the blue and red presidential sash to Senate President Jocelerme Privert during a special National Assembly ceremony. The sash is now headed to the national museum.

“I was here, I am here and I will always be here for you,” a somber Martelly said in the almost 19-minute address in which he said the twice-postponed presidential vote to elect a successor was “my biggest regret.”

A summary of the class struggle and history behind Haiti’s 2016 electoral crisis

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by Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Feb. 3, 2016

Extrapolating on an observation made by his teacher Hegel, Karl Marx once famously remarked that history repeats itself “the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” 

This maxim comes to mind when examining the class dynamics surrounding the final days of President Michel Martelly’s regime in Haiti today. They are similar to those of 30 years ago, when the dictatorship of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier was unraveling.

To compare the Haiti of 1986 to that of 2016, one must understand the nation’s underlying class make-up.

Haiti's fight for democracy continues

By Edna Bonhomme & Danny Katch, Socialist Worker, Feb. 4, 2016

Widespread anger over election fraud has forced Haiti's leaders--and their U.S. backers--to postpone the presidential runoff election that was supposed to take place on January 24. The weeks of protests mark the latest chapter of the Haitian people's heroic resistance--often under horrible conditions--to a venal oligarchy propped up by American government and business officials.

The first round of elections, held on October 25, saw less than 30 percent voter participation, even though 75 percent told pollsters from Brazil's Igarapé Institute that they "would vote if they were confident the elections were free and fair," according to a report from Kim Ives of Haïti Liberté.

Haiti elections news roundup - February 2

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By Haiti Election Blog, Feb. 2, 2016

Although Carnival in Haiti is well underway, the political situation continues to give Haitians little to celebrate.  Since elections were postponed indefinitely on January 22,tensions within the capital increased, several more members of the CEP resigned, a hotly contested international ‘special mission’ arrived, and Haiti’s outgoing President provoked yet another controversy. 

President Martelly’s blatantly sexist Carnival song  dominated the news over the weekend. The target of the Sweet Micky tune, titled “Bal Bannan nan” (Give her the banana), is well-known radio journalist Liliane Pierre-Paul. Radio Kiskeya, where Pierre-Paul works, was the target of an attack by unidentified gunmen, shortly after Martelly denounced the journalist and her radio station for its critical coverage of his regime. The crude and aggressive sexual innuendo of the song leaves little doubt as to Martelly’s sexist politics and is one in a series of his recent abuses and harassments directed at Haitian women.

Survey: Haitians overwhelmingly support investigation into election fraud

By Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), Feb. 3, 2016

Less than three percent of Haitians would have voted in the planned January 24 election, according to a new survey. As political leaders and international officials meet and discuss a way out of Haiti’s current political crisis, the survey sheds light on what the Haitian people would like to see happen.

Released today by the Brazilian Igarape Institute, the report, co-authored by Athena Kolbe and Robert Muggah, shows a tremendous lack of faith in the current electoral process, but indicates that it could be restored if certain actions are taken. Three quarters of all respondents said they would vote if they believed elections were free and fair. Getting there will be the tough part.

"The people are fed up": Haiti on the brink of bloody revolution (radio interview)

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By Brian Becker & Kim Ives, Sputnik News, Feb. 1, 2016
Haiti is in the midst of a political crisis, with protesters demanding new elections amid allegations of fraud in the first two rounds of elections held on August 9 and October 25. A third round was scheduled for January 24, but was canceled after tens of thousands of protestors flooded the streets of the capital city of Port au Prince.
Ives, co-founder and editor of the international weekly newspaper Haiti Liberté, said in an interview with Radio Sputnik's "Loud & Clear" that last week's uprising marked the "beginning of a revolutionary period in Haiti." However, he added, the government of outgoing President Michel Martelly, who is scheduled to leave office on February 7, may resort to "death squad tactics" to resolve the current crisis.

The Martelly regime begins deploying death squads as tens of thousands foil fraudulent elections

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By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Jan. 27, 2016

On Jan. 22, many thousands marched over ten miles up Port-au-Prince’s Delmas road to Pétionville then back down the Bourdon road to the capital’s central square to demand new elections and denounce a government ban on demonstrations that was to begin that midnight.

The marching, chanting multitude scared the daylights out of Haiti’s Pétionville elite, loudly pouring into the narrow, tony streets of the wealthy mountain enclave while young men scattered large rocks and telephone poles across roadways and set aflame cars and columns of tires. The tumultuous day forced Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), six of whose nine members have now resigned in disgrace or disgust, to indefinitely cancel the third round of widely denounced elections, which had been scheduled for Jan. 24.