Finally we have elections in Haiti- but will this help?
Finally after many delays, Haitians are now going to be voting for a new president. For the first time in Haiti’s history, there are close to 90 candidates who are running for the presidency. It appears that at least some of the democratic process is still active in Haitian politics. However, all over Haiti the political situation is tense. People are nervous and the uneasiness is readily palpable on the streets. Haitians have been through hell with previous rulers who have ruthlessly suppressed political opponents and limited freedom in the past. Scores of Haitians have already died while fighting for their rights to democracy. Even though Papa Doc Duvalier and his son are no longer around, the country’s present ruler has not exactly been playing fair. This year alone there have been countless reports of kidnappings, violence and threats to other political party members. Many people have mysteriously disappeared. Criminal gangs continue to operate freely in Haiti, partially due to courtesy of President Martelly. In Haiti, politics is no longer a safe profession. When voices are not unheard, the government is always keen on using violence. In the past 50 years, almost every presidential leader in Haiti has freely used violence to control the people.
Under President Martelly, a colorful musician with a shadowy history, the past 4 years have been nothing short of hell. This charismatic leader. All over the country he has replaced democratically elected mayors with his own “municipal agents.” He does not believe in the democratic process.
President Martelly has distanced himself from the parliament and has been running the country by decree. There is complete anarchy in Haiti and so far there does not appear to any difference in how the country was ruled by Papa Doc. The president believes that the parliament is dysfunctional and he does not need them to rule the country. So on August 9, Haitians will be back at the polling stations trying to determine who will run the country. President Martelly is not allowed to run another term according to the Haitian constitution. Unfortunately, the present elections have also been shadowed by daily violence. The people want him out because he has been deemed corrupt, inefficient and a dictator. While Martelly may not be allowed to run for presidency, there are some who believe that perhaps his son or wife may run for the parliament. Like Martelly, his entire family has been mired with accusations of corruption; of course they have always denied these allegations. Haitians now wait in anticipation for August 9 but it is worth remembering that in past elections, turn out for voting has been less than 30%. Haitians know that no matter who is elected, it will not help them.