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Brian Concannon, executive director of the IJDH, reacts to the Haiti election results

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By Brian Concannon, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Dec. 2, 2016

The Haiti Justice Update sent on Wednesday did not adequately acknowledge the problems with Haiti’s November 20 elections. Although we do believe the voting was an improvement over the October 25, 2015 elections, there were still significant problems with the voting that call the results into question, as we have documented on our blog, twitter feeds and media interviews, including:

- a distressingly low turnout, of 21%. The turnout is evidence of both short-term problems with this year’s registration and voting, and long-term effects of what my colleague Mario Joseph calls “voter exclusion” that we have documented and advocated against in elections in 2000, 2006, 2010 and 2015. For a comparison, this year’s declared winner, Jovenel Moise, won 595,000 votes, while in 2000 the winning candidate, Jean-Bertrand Aristide received 2,600,000 votes (over 2 ½ times the total for the top 4 candidates this year);

To so many Africans, Fidel Castro is a hero. Here’s why

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By Sean Jacobs, The Guardian, Nov. 30, 2016

If Africa is a country, then Fidel Castro is one of our national heroes. This may come as a surprise to many oblivious of Africa’s postcolonial history and Castro’s role in it – especially the fate of white regimes and former Portuguese colonies in southern Africa.

In the west, Castro’s legacy is usually dismissed as an authoritarian, and Cuba as a one-party state with few freedoms. Despite the many achievements of Cuba under Castro (high quality public healthcare, as well as life expectancy, child immunisation and literacy systems parallel to those of first-world nations, and even surpassing the US), at various times the country became renowned for economic crisis, media repression, exiling and imprisoning dissidents, and discriminating against gays and people with AIDS.

Those things were a betrayal of the revolution, and it is important to acknowledge that. But history has absolved Castro when it comes to Cuba’s foreign policy, especially its Africa policy.

Deconstructing another right-wing victory in Haiti

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by Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Nov. 30, 2016

The largest and most important percentage to emerge from Haiti’s Nov. 20, 2016 election is that 78.31% of the country’s 6.2 million eligible voters did not vote.

Some could not obtain their National Identification Card (CIN) or find their name on the long voter lists posted on the gates of huge voting centers. Others could not get to their assigned center because they live or work too far away, perhaps in another part of the country. In fact, the whole “voting center” system, which is different from that used in the 1990s when participation was much higher, has objectively suppressed the votes of many poor, itinerant Haitians.

Mainstream press cheers rigged elections in Haiti

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By Dady Chery, Haiti Chery, Nov. 29, 2016

The members of Haiti’s Interim Electoral Commission (CEP) tentatively showed their faces around 11 p.m. on Monday, November 28 to announce the preliminary results of the November 20 election. They had dodged the press since 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The hiccup was that they had needed more than seven hours to pressure one of their own four refractory members to sign off on the elections. First, CEP Director, Leopold Berlanger, apologized, not for the CEP’s rigged elections, but for his tardiness. Next, as a preliminary sedative, the CEP explained its computation methods before it delivered its cooked results.

More than a week of furious computations on slightly more than a million ballots had produced the result that PHTK’s Jovenel Moise had supposedly won 595,430 votes for 55.67 percent of the total; LAPEH’s Jude Celestin had got 208,837 votes for 19.52 percent of the total; Pitit Desalin’s Moise Jean Charles had got 118,142 votes for 11.04 percent of the total; and Fanmi Lavalas had won 96,121 votes for 8.99 percent of the total.

The Experiences of a Haitian-American Unionist in Trump’s America

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By Marie-Paule Florestal, Haiti Liberté, Nov. 22, 2016

I’ve just returned to the New York metropolitan area after working as a Democratic Party campaigner in rural Michigan for the two months leading up to the Nov. 8 election. This is an account of the deep anger, ignorance, and racism I encountered in the American heartland.

Based in New York City, I am a Haitian-American organizer for the northeastern United States with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The union released me to work with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) of Michigan from September to Nov. 9, 2016 as a part of the AFL-CIO’s Working America Coalition, which sought to encourage voters to vote for Democratic Party candidates.

My job was to target specific groups of voters among Democrats, Republicans, and independents and then reach them via phone banks, mailings, and door-to-door canvassing.

Haiti election: Live updates from Haiti Elections Blog

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Today, as Haitians head to the polls, IJDH's Nicole Phillips (@BuddhistLawyer) and CEPR's Jake Johnston (@JakobJohnston), who are in Haiti with delegates from the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humainsand the National Lawyers Guild, will be providing reports throughout the day. The delegation will observe polling places throughout country, with a focus on the South and Grand’Anse Departments, which were devastated by Hurricane Matthew on October 3-4. The difficult conditions caused by the storm have called into question whether voters in these regions will be able to exercise their right to vote as protected by Haitian and international law.

Haiti elections primer, part 2: Presidential candidates and their parties

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By Jake Johnston, Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), Nov. 16, 2016

In a crowded field of 54 presidential candidates, the top two finishers in last year’s elections were Jovenel Moïse (PHTK) and Jude Celestin (LAPEH). Third and fourth were Moïse Jean-Charles (Platfom Pitit Dessalines) and Maryse Narcisse (Fanmi Lavalas). Although the earlier vote was plagued by fraud and irregularities and the results were eventually discarded, the top four finishers on October 25, 2015 are expected to lead the pack of 27 candidates participating on Sunday, November 20. Here is a closer look at the principal candidates heading into this weekend’s election: