PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – Sauveur Pierre Etienne, a university professor and presidential candidate attacked by students during a meet-the-candidate on Tuesday at the university.
The Organization of People Struggling (OPL) candidate began speaking as the university being a space where differing ideas can be presented in peace but was being overtaken by hecklers who were banging and making noise. When a member of Etienne entourage grabbed the items from one of the noisemakers, a brouhaha which included the throwing of chairs at the candidate ensued.
The OPL candidate was stunned following the event that took place at the State University of Haiti. Speaking with pro-government journalist, Garry Pierre Paul Charles, following the scrum, Etienne said the attack does not define the student population, saying only four students were responsible.
The incident is indicative of a broken electoral process in Haiti financed to the tune of $38 million from U.S. taxpayers. Many Haitians are protesting for the resignation of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) of Pierre Louis Opont for not organizing a fair, inclusive and credible electoral process. Opont admitted on July 3, 2015, that as director general of the CEP in 2010, he allowed the Chief of Staff for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to change election results.
Following a first round of elections on August 9, 2015 where a 18% voter turnout was registered in a dire mired in violence, disorder, ballot stuffing, and institutional irregularities, it is Haitians versus an electoral apparatus that only has the support of the Obama administration. Criticisms are aimed at the Haitian National Police that have become politicized and the U.N. peacekeeping force which has shown a laxity in undertaking its mission of securing democracy.