PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – According to reports, three minors have died of asphyxiation due to police tear gas as days long protests in Haiti’s capitol of Port-au-Prince. The demonstrations, mostly concentrated in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods are a rejection of the November 20, 2016 elections and subsequent preliminary results.
Late Monday night, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced businessman Jovenel Moïse of PHTK as the winner of the presidential elections in the first round with 55% of the vote. The results were signed off by minimum requisite six of nine electoral councilors and all three of the top runner-ups have refused to concede and rather are challenging the findings.
While the 2nd place candidate, Jude Celestin of LAPEH, has alleged false tabulation at the Vote Tabulation Center (CTV) and his intention to seek an audit of the tally sheets, the third and fourth place candidates, Jean-Charles Moïse of Pitit Dessalines and Maryse Narcisse of Fanmi Lavalas have called for their supporters to mobilize. The latter, Narcisse, has declared the elections an “electoral coup d’etat”.
But these protests began 11 days prior, practically the evening of election day. There were sporadic reports of voters’ names not listed at polling centers and some having to travel long distances to vote during a moreover uneventful day; this is of course relative to the widespread violence and ballot-box stuffing of the first try at elections in 2015.
However, as evening fell and the verbal process of counting votes were taking place at polling stations throughout the country, a general blackout of two hours befell Haiti. A fire, seemingly election-related arson, destroyed a major flea market in Petion-Ville and a mass text message by Haiti’s larger of only two telecom companies, declaring Jovenel Moïse the winner with 64% had made matters worse.
Digicel is owned by Irish businessman, Denis O’Brien, a Clinton Foundation donor cited heavily in Peter Schweizer’s book, Clinton Cash. Along with the widely-distributed, inaccurate, preemptive and provoking text messages sent by company, numerous accounts were made that the company, or the PHTK party, was distributing Digicel cards with Jovenel Moïse campaign promotions outside of polling stations. This would be a clear violation of the Electoral Decree.
Digicel Haiti CEO, Maarten Boute, was summoned to appear before the Port-au-Prince prosecutor’s office to answer for the text messages but it is not clear if he was asked about the distribution of telephone cards at polling stations.
None the less, Haitian activists will continue to reject the election results which appear now to have, again, come from the involvement of the same usual characters, Clintons, United Nations, Digicel and politicians sympathetic to the international community.