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Open Letter to General Secretary of OAS

Port-au-Prince, May 27, 2020

Mr. Luis ALMAGRO

General secretary

Organization of American States (OAS)

Washington DC, United States of America

In his offices. –

Mr. Secretary General,

On behalf of the party that I have the honor to chair, Fusion Party of Haitian Social Democrats (FUSION), member of the Socialist International and COPPPAL, I come by this open letter, to draw your attention, and that of the member states, on the worrying situation from the democratic point of view, which prevails today in my country. At the present time, a deterioration of the constitutional order, which has serious implications for the democratic order, is happening in Haiti. All this in addition to the multiple crises: social, economic, health and security that the country is going through.

Indeed, the executive power has knowingly sabotaged the democratic system that the Haitian people, at the cost of heavy sacrifices, have striven to build since the end of the Duvalier dictatorship. The regular organization of free and fair elections is one of the fundamental pillars of representative democracy advocated by the Democratic Charter of the Organization of American States. However, since taking office, President Jovenel Moïse has systematically refused to organize the elections on the dates provided for in the Constitution. Indeed, in October 2017 first, a third of the Senate should have been renewed, but no election was held. The President preferred to discreetly negotiate an agreement with certain parliamentarians to illegally extend the term of their mandate. Then in October 2019, a second third of the Senate as well as all the members of the Chamber of Deputies and the entire local elected representatives should have appeared before the voters, but once again no ballot was held. Consequently, since January of this year the people of Haiti have practically no representatives. The Parliament has become dysfunctional and the President of the Republic has succeeded in being the only master on board. He now reigns as master and lord with no account to anyone. He appointed by himself a de facto government that has no legitimacy and even less legality.

Taking advantage of this institutional vacuum, which he himself has voluntarily caused, the President of the Republic has undertaken to govern by decree, a right that the constitution does not confer on him in any way. My country is today facing a extremely serious constitutional crisis, which has obvious implications for the development of the political, institutional and democratic process and for the legitimate exercise of power.

You must certainly be informed regularly about what is going on in Haiti, but I think it is useful to underline by way of example the following. Haitians mobilized for many months to call for an end to the corruption that plagues the state apparatus, unable to move the power one inch on this issue. The institutions responsible for fighting corruption and guaranteeing financial transparency and accountability have seen, at best, their derogatory reports ignored, or, at worst, their control entrusted to followers of the regime. The government is free from the constraints of the law and does not hesitate to attack the rights of entrepreneurs and private property. It exploits the judiciary for the purpose of political persecution. The government has allowed a permanent climate of insecurity to settle to the point that several districts of the capital and parts of the territory are literally under the control of armed groups with clear official protections. The National Police of Haiti is divided and weakened because the authority of its hierarchy is undermined by unacceptable interference from the executive power.

Representatives of the de facto Haitian government recently requested OAS support for the organization of elections in the country. It is clear that it would be a fatal and irreparable blow to democracy in Haiti to entrust the organization of free and fair elections to a President who so openly flouts the constitution and laws of the Republic. You should know that this President is engaged in an all-out campaign, to try to make believe that articles 134-2 of the constitution and 239 of the electoral decree of 2015 which indicate unequivocally that his mandate ends on February 7, 2021, do not apply. His request to the OAS is a maneuver aimed at obtaining the blessing of the international community for an extension of his mandate until 2022. The Haitian democrats reject such an idea and hope that the regional organization which has distinguished itself in a recent past by placing its seal of approval on, at least, questionable elections, will not accept to support an apprentice dictator who has shown little respect for the Constitution, for the rule of law and for democracy. The OAS, this time, will have to stand on the side of the Haitian people.

FUSION will continue to lead with all Democrats, his stubborn fight for the establishment in Haiti of the democracy, which remains essential for the social, political, and economic development of the Haitian people and the peoples of the Americas.

I take the opportunity to renew to you, Mr. Secretary General, the assurance of my highest consideration.  

Edmonde Supplice Beauzile

President

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