Haiti Elections 2015/2016
February 7, 2016 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Haitian President Michel Martelly will leave office today and hand control over to a provisional government (warning: very graphic image in the link). In the face of massive protests against widespread fraud and irregularities in the election process, the January runoff election was cancelled after second place candidate Jude Celestin refused to participate in an election which he believed was rigged in favor of Martelly's chosen successor, Jovenel Moise. This leaves Haiti without a president. Martelly leaves office 30 years to the day since the end of former dictator Baby Doc's rule.
posted by molecicco (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You know, this can't be called a good solution, but at least most of the players in this crisis seem to be committed to a negotiated solution and it could have ended much, much worse. As with most news about Haiti, the best I ever hope to feel is a sense of relief at a bullet dodged. No new dictator. Martelly is stepping down, rather than using the crisis to try to hang onto power.

(warning: very graphic image in the link)

Well how graphic is graphi - oh holy christ
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:23 AM on February 7, 2016 [10 favorites]

Apparently Carnival has been suspended.
posted by molecicco at 11:38 AM on February 7, 2016

This New Yorker profile of Martelly, with a fair amount of context of post-earthquake Haitian politics, is worth looking at.

That picture, while stupendous in its way from a certain angle... I'm not sure how to feel. All we are given is--former ex-military man, cinder block, crowd of onlookers who are unwilling to intervene. What else are we given to know about this? What are the dynamics of street violence connected to politics, and their history given the role of the military in the Duvalier dictatorships? I know only that Martelly is long thought to have links with the Duvalier regime and the Tonton Macoute, and that a key point of conflict is his desire to restart the Haitian military.

Beyond that, I don't have good answers for any of this and feel uninformed, but without any of this information we are left only with a narrative of a mass of people smashing heads with piles of debris. While this kind of (unorganized?) violence surely is playing a role in the political process, it seems telling that it is the image given by the Miami Herald to sum up the situation.
posted by Stilling Still Dreaming at 12:09 PM on February 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

I propose a general moratorium on images heavily exploiting the expression of a human person in the immediate contemplation of death.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 12:36 PM on February 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

I propose a general moratorium on images heavily exploiting the expression of a human person in the immediate contemplation of death.
posted by mrjohnmuller
The motion passes, with all in concurrence as to the means of enforcement, namely the cessation of homicide either premeditated or spontaneous.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 12:42 PM on February 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

I too find the image unsettling and its usage suspect. But the Miami Herald (specifically Jacqueline Charles) has been the best English language source of information so far by a long shot.

From a different source though: A lot of anger in the street is being directed at Obama.
posted by molecicco at 12:47 PM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Haitians have repeatedly been subjected to the grossest forms of colonial and indigenous theft and rapine, although they deserve nothing but peaceful enjoyment of their island's bounty. I was astonished to learn that France received its last payment for the loss of French slaves in 1947. The USA has a great deal of responsibility for this: it occupied Haiti until 1934, and these odious debts were repaid under its authority until 1941!
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:24 PM on February 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

I propose a general moratorium

I'd agree if the adjective "gratuitous" were in that sentence. Sitting in a nice library overlooking calm white snow a deep visceral understanding of the travails of so many parts of the world are just incomprehensible, why don't those people just be nice to each other.

One of my few on degree of separation direct stories of Haiti does not involve a photo but it does involve the sound of a shotgun cartridge being loaded. It was not used but it did seem the only element that received attention and respect by "local authorities".

Can half an island have the population exported around the world for a decade, given therapy and education while the entire ecosystem is reseeded and trees allowed to grow to a point that on the return of the population the community can be self sufficient? It seems like that's the extreme that would be required to "fix" that sad corner of the world.
posted by sammyo at 1:31 PM on February 7, 2016

Maybe important for those who don't know, but Haiti's army was disbanded for its history of brutal repression during the dictatorships and for toppling democratically elected governments (Aristide, twice). Their reappearance at this time was particularly provocative. There are reports that the former soldiers fired at the demonstrators before the man was killed, according to photographer Daniel Morel (@photomorel).
posted by molecicco at 11:38 PM on February 7, 2016

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