Democracy, Haitian Style - by Stephen Lendman
Except for Aristide's tenure, what passes for Haitian democracy would make a despot blush, thanks to America's imperial grip on the hemisphere's poorest, long-suffering people.
As a result, last November's presidential and legislative elections might best be called a cruel joke. The entire process was rigged to exclude 15 parties, including by far the most popular, Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas.
Moreover, the election was so tainted by brazen disenfranchisement and fraud, including ballot box stuffing and other irregularities, that legitimate independent observers would have demanded throwing out the results and starting over.
Most Haitians, however, weren't fooled. A scant 22%, in fact, voted, a hemispheric low since record keeping began over 60 years ago.
Since no presidential candidate won a majority, a March 20 runoff followed, pitting stealth Duvalierist Michel ("Sweet Micky") Martelly, an anti-populist former Kompa singer, against Mirlande Manigat, wife of former right-wing president, Leslie Manigat. Between them, they got about 11% support in round one, making them both illegitimate presidential choices.
Even more so for winner Martelly with fewer than 22% of Haitians voting, a new record low so embarrassing it was almost like holding a national election and no one showed up. Why bother with only US approved candidates participating, making both rounds fraudulent, illegitimate, and predictable, assuring sham democracy, continued repression, deep poverty, and exploitation for another five years.
Nonetheless, on May 14, Martelly will be inaugurated as president, by imperial selection, not popular mandate. In a nation of about 9.7 million people, he got about 700,000 votes, about 16.7% of registered voters (about 7% of all Haitians), making him perhaps Haiti's least popular president ever. The people's choice, he's not, with good reason.