Port-au-Prince, Haiti– Haitians will be electing a president, 10 Senators and 99 members of parliament on November 28, 2010, 16 short days from now. Democracy must prevail; the Haitian Constitution, international community and fundamental democratic principles necessitate such peaceful transfer of power. However commonsensical, dubious observers question the legitimacy and wisdom of the Provisional Electoral Council’s decision and persistence.
Free and fair elections are vital to the survival of any vibrant democracy, but under these circumstances, should we even talk about fairness and freedom. First, there was the apocalyptic catastrophe that virtually turned the capital, surrounding areas into a war zone, snatched more than 330,000 lives, and left millions limbless and/or homeless. Second, the rainy season showed no more sympathy than the magnitude 7.0 earthquakes did on January 12, sometimes so forceful as to have flooded or even blown away feeble temporary shelters housing the victims. More recently, a Cholera outbreak has claimed its share of destruction killing accumulating as many as 800 deaths, hospitalizing more than 12,100 victims.
Interestingly, while the findings are inconclusive, yahoo news reported Wednesday the source of the outbreak might be UN peacekeepers. According to the Associated Pressarticle, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) matched the Haitian cholera strand to strands found in South Asia, yet claimed that further investigation in the matter would derail efforts to fight the disease. Notably, Dr. Paul Farmer –a U.N. deputy special envoy to Haiti and expert on poverty and medicine– disagreed noting, « That sounds like politics to me, not science,” talking about the reluctance to unearth the roots of the outbreak. « Knowing where the point source is — or source, or sources — would seem to be a good enterprise in terms of public health, » he added.
Tropical storm Thomas delivered yet another devastating blow to the crippled nation, the latest of a tortuous series of phenomena that left little doubts about the impracticalities or the Haitian reality. At least 20 people lost their lives and thousands more made homeless due to massive flooding in the South
Western part of the country.
In all fairness to democracy, its ideals must live on and survive the darkest of natural and supernatural malice. Nevertheless, if sir democracy were wise, experience and logic would have revealed the improbabilities of a peaceful transfer of power, especially in an environment so ripe with uncertainties, anxiety and inconsistencies as Haiti.
Inarguably, the people of Haiti are courageous and have demonstrated, thus far, an unprecedented show of resiliency and restraint, absent any other alternatives. However, psychological strength does not translate to a readiness to reasonably elect a suitable president capable of leading them out of this hole. As demonstrated, since January 12, Haitians have been in survival mode witnessing their loved ones dying one after another. Therefore, engaging in any critical thinking process about the candidates and issues, required of an informed electorate, cannot be a priority. Nevertheless, Pierre-Louis Opont, director general of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council, told Reuters, « On November 28, at 6 a.m., the polls will open.”
Rather than a shortsighted quick fix, many have called for a more comprehensive approach to the 2010 elections. After all, as some loyalists have justifiably argued, if Haiti’s 206-year political history is any indication, its road to recovery is predictably inevitable.