Lespwa has returned
February 16, 2006 6:55 AM   Subscribe

On February 7th, 2006, Haiti had its first (nearly) bloodless, democratic election Two years since Aristide fled to South Africa (with the "help" of the US), and twenty since Baby Doc Duvalier was overthrown, and the bloody reign of the Duvaliers and the Tonton Macoute were ended.[more inside]
posted by kalimac (13 comments total)

Post-election, . The frontrunner is Rene Preval, who protested the early returns as being rigged. Preval
is Haiti's best hope; he formed Lespwa(Hope), had been Aristide's "twin", and was the only president of Haiti
to ever serve out his full term, among other things. It was his connection with Aristide that opened the door, and he is immensely
among the poor of Haiti.

Preval has worked to distance himself from Aristide, though, particularly in recent years. In vodoun cosmology, twins (Marasa)
are magical; , and they are still honored at the beginning of every ceremony.

Evo Morales has said that "pachakutic", the world turned upside down, has ended. Is it time for Damballah to return his
blessing to Haiti, and turn the world rightside up again? Preval was declared the winner this morning - Ayibobo!
posted by kalimac at 6:55 AM on February 16, 2006

Of course, this post does not even begin to cover all of the layers of Haiti's troubles, and the election troubles. But I hope
I've at least provided the tools for those interested in learning more. My apologies for the masses of BBC links, and the relative
scarcity of the vodoun-related links; most of what I found was in Kreyol or French, neither of which I read with any skill, so I
was wary of posting them.
posted by kalimac at 6:55 AM on February 16, 2006


Oh Jesus. I'm sorry about the mucked-up formatting. Teach me to copy-paste and only do live preview.
posted by kalimac at 6:56 AM on February 16, 2006

Doesn't sound now as though it were very free and fair though. The CBC yesterday was reporting the discovery of boxes of ballots smouldering in a garbage dump, as well as a seemingly inordinate number of blank ballots among those that were counted.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:08 AM on February 16, 2006

Yes, I know I should go away and let the thread "sit" for awhile :) I swear, right after this comment...

Turtles - you make a good point; on the day of the election everything at least seemed to be going well. The reason Preval was declared the winner this morning (later than expected), was because the vote-counters had to be convinced to not include the blank ballots. The burned ballots in the garbage dump were what got the violence started - they were strong proof of vote tampering, and Preval used them as leverage in his declaration that he would contest if he was not the outright winner, since early Port-au-Prince returns showed him with a massive lead.

Sadly, this counts as a good election for Haiti.
posted by kalimac at 7:14 AM on February 16, 2006

I just hope we learned our lesson and don't deal one iota with any more horrible, terrorizing leaders, like Hamas.
posted by HTuttle at 8:01 AM on February 16, 2006

one wonders if Preval will finally bring some justice for the murder of Jean Dominque:

"There have been numerous inconsistencies in the investigations into the murder, including the mysterious death of a suspect. Both the management of Pharval Laboratories and Senator Toussaint came under suspicion as a result of the murder. While the former cooperated with the inquiries, Toussaint claimed parliamentary immunity and refused to testify. The first investigating judge, Claudy Gassant, fled to the United States after suggesting that Toussaint be charged over the murder. Despite this, Gassant's superiors decided that no charges would be laid."
posted by specialk420 at 8:46 AM on February 16, 2006

I just hope we learned our lesson and don't deal one iota with any more horrible, terrorizing leaders, like Hamas.

or like CIA man - Emmanuel Constant, now living happily in the Queens.

If you want to see someone who supports terrorism - I would imagine there is a mirror in your bathroom.
posted by specialk420 at 8:55 AM on February 16, 2006

Ayi bobo, joli Ayiti mwen!

This is a wonderful occasion. Preval will have a lot of work to do to restore confidence in government, and to restore faith overall. And, not to put too fine a point on it, the 'twins' are from two different parties (Aristide's is Famile Lavalas).
posted by moonbird at 9:27 AM on February 16, 2006

HTuttle, when you say "we" I assume you're an American.

Why is our country still supporting multiple "terrorizing" leaders, like the ones in Saudi Arabia? Do good economic relationships make it OK?
posted by bardic at 9:50 AM on February 16, 2006

Ever since learning a bit about Haiti's history, I've always had a deep love for the country. What can't be overlooked, it always seems to me, is how incredibly important the early years of Haiti were, and most specifically, the incredible cultural and economic isolation it was forced to undergo--by which I mean the indemnity to France, which created a debt from which, as far as I know, Haiti has never escaped. Add to that the continual scorn cast on it by virtually every country on earth, including--especially--the second republic in the western hemisphere. In fact the only country I know of that did not engage in this was Poland--which, of course, didn't exist. However, Polish soldiers sent by Napoleon revolted and assisted the Haitian army. I think, that overall, this is the fundamental tragedy of Haitian history, that as a nation it was completely ostracised for its incredibe bravery.

In any case, as far as Voudou goes, I can reccomend (with some misgivings; it always struck me as mildly... something) Mama Lola. For the history of Haiti up to the revolution, I can reccomend The Black Jacobins. It's old, certainly, and written from a very strict Marxist perspective, which causes (in my opinion) it to discount the importance of the indiginous culture that grew up in Haiti, i.e. Voudou, which in James' mind is simply a gross distortion of the French Catholicism that was (perfunctorily) given to the slaves. However, with that caveat, he seems to have gotten right for the first time the underlying dynamics of the Haitian revolution. Of course, there should be a more current account of the revolution--is there?

And then again, I really don't know anywhere near enough. Can anyone reccomend a history of Haiti that actually moves beyond the revolution?
posted by goodglovin77 at 10:32 AM on February 16, 2006

Just a quick comment for now - I've read Mama Lola, and loved it. I recommend a second go-though if you haven't already; I hated it the first time around.

I'm something like two degrees from Mama Lola (my Mambo knows someone who's friends with her). She appears to be Quite A Woman.

I'll see if I can find a good book on Haiti's history. The Marxist interpretation makes me roll my eyes more than usual - vodou played, and still plays, and immensely important part in Haitian culture, from the Bois Caiman sevis that started the Uprising to the unofficial welfare system the Houses provide today.
posted by kalimac at 11:39 AM on February 16, 2006

Other metafilter threads about the 2004 Occupation of Haiti:
hired guns?

Aristide Says He Was Kidnapped

Why are we not talking more about Haiti?

CAG spying in Haiti
And a little Vodou.
posted by Chuckles at 12:02 AM on February 17, 2006

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