Under cover of giving more rights to Haiti Diaspora, the coup d'etat/Duvalierist overseers unconstitutionally amended the Haiti Constitution to extend the power of the Prime Minister of Haiti, normally chosen by foreign powers. The amended Constitution effectively eradicates the power of local governments & municipalities, including taking out the position of mayor. Extended the terms of said parliamentarians. Gives the incoming president the right to control Haiti's Supreme Court and therefore the laws of the land. Then, on May 14, 2011, Haiti's cholera democracy formally inaugurated a "bad boy" Mickey Mouse to govern under the newly adopted occupation constitution" -- Ezili DantÃ² of HLLN, May 14, 2011
***********Occupied Haiti: A Prefab President, Parliament and Constitution
Michel Martelly's inauguration on May 14th brings into effect a new Haitian constitution. This document was drafted and voted on so quickly that, when the parliamentary session closed, the president of the assembly had no time to reread to the lawmakers the amendments on which they had voted the two previous days. The new constitution will be published in French. The version of the old 1987 Constitution in Haitian Creole will not be amended. In effect, this will leave Haiti with one constitution for the rich and another for the poor.
Michel Martelly, Haiti's Prefab President now has
his very own prefab parliament and constitution.
Yes. In Haiti, metaphor and reality casually commingle. One glance at the surface of things often reveals the rest.
Haiti's Prefab Parliament
Let us consider in more detail Haiti's parliament. To replace the original structure laid low by the earthquake, MINUSTAH (the UN force) financed a spanking new prefab version for U.S. $800,000. It took less than two months to assemble this prefab parliament. The building, I mean. The actual parliament, that is Haiti's 49th legislature, took slightly longer. It is this prefab parliament that drafted the constitutional amendments.
How Haiti's 49th legislature came to be:
Aristide's majority party Fanmi Lavalas, which enjoys support from 80% of the electorate, was excluded from Haiti's elections and therefore boycotted them. November's elections were a fiasco by all accounts, and the subsequent runoffs in March were a travesty. The presidency was won with fewer than 20% voting, and the parliamentary elections were a complete debacle. The president-elect's party, a prefab cult of personality called "Tet Kale" (bald head) got only 3 parliamentary seats. More than 70 of the parliamentary seats were contested. The outcomes of the contests were rapidly decided by a special prefab court set up by the Office of National Election (BCEN). Its indefatigable prefab judges heard as many as 8 to 10 cases per evening, and their decisions superceded those of the regional electoral courts in the towns where the votes took place.
Despite all this rush, 19 congressional seats (17 house and 2 senate) were still unfilled for the first session of the 49th legislature. The contested seats were initially granted to INITE, the party of Haiti's outgoing president Rene Preval, but the international community, wanting to check INITE's power, declared itself "shocked, shocked, shocked" that there was cheating in Haiti's elections. By the time a decision was reached to yank 15 of INITE"s seats, the prefab parliament had already concluded an extraordinary session to amend Haiti's Constitution.
For years Haiti's 1987 Constitution, written immediately after Duvalier's ouster, has stuck in the craw of colonial powers. When this Constitution was drafted, its text was published in Creole and in French for all to examine. This was followed by a popular referendum in which nearly 90% of the people voted in favor of the document.
The 1987 Constitution:
- Protects human and socioeconomic rights. For all Haitian nationals, the rights to life, security (from forced exile, capricious visa requirements from one's own country, etc.), and freedoms of expression, conscience, assembly, and association are guaranteed. The rights to education, information, ownership, and work are protected. Haitian nationality however is considered to be permanently lost on naturalization in a foreign country and continuous residence abroad without authorization, or on tenure of a political post in the service of a foreign country.
- Promotes decentralization. In addition to a central government, the Constitution defines three levels of government. Specifically, the country is divided in ten Departments. The Departments are in turn divided into 140 Municipalities, and the Municipalities into 568 Communes.
- Minimizes executive power. The Constitution splits the executive between a President who is popularly election and a Prime Minister who is appointed. The President's tenure is limited to two non-consecutive 5-year terms, and all his actions (treaties and agreements etc.) must be countersigned by a Minister or approved by the Parliament. The Primer Minister is chosen from the majority party; the choice of Primer Minister, his program of government, and members of his cabinet must be approved by the Parliament.
- Promotes legislative powers. The Parliament (whose members are chosen by popular vote) can impeach the President or Prime Minister. On the other hand, the Parliament cannot be dissolved or adjourned or have any of its members' mandates extended.
- Promotes a judiciary independent from the executive. Supreme Court Judges are appointed by the Senate and the Communal Assemblies. Should the president become incapacitated, it is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who assumes the presidency.
Though I much prefer Haiti's first Constitution for its poetry and great anti-colonialist passions, one can easily see that a great deal of thought, and not a little knowledge of Haitian history, went into the 1987 document. Nevertheless, as early as 2009, Haiti's legislators, together with USAID, declared Haiti to be undergoing "constitutional crisis" and began agitating to amend the Constitution. The stated reason was its failure to recognize diaspora Haitians despite their remittance of about U.S. $1.7 billion per year to the country in money transfers to their families.