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April 27, 2009

The Baffling Enigma Of Low Turnout In Haiti

By: John Caruso

U.S. ambassador to Haiti Janet Sanderson ponders the low turnout in Haiti's recent senatorial elections (less than 10%, according to initial reports):

U.S. Ambassador Janet Sanderson, who toured the tabulation center Monday, remarked that "Historically, off-year elections in the United States as well as in other countries tend not to be as well-attended as presidential elections. We'll have to see."

Yes, what a conundrum.  And I'm sure the boycott organized by Haiti's largest party in response to its exclusion from the election couldn't possibly have had anything to do with it, which is why Sanderson didn't even bother to mention it.  The organizers, however, foolishly believe otherwise:

A spokesperson for grassroots organizations aligned with Haiti's Fanmi Lavalas party demanded the Obama administration remove current US Ambassador Janet Sanderson. Reached by telephone in the capital of Port-au-Prince a leader of a group calling itself the Popular Initiative stated, "She is lying about last Sunday's elections by not acknowledging it was our boycott that kept voters away." He continued, "She claims it was because this was not a regular election year and that people may be tired of the political process. The only voter fatigue we have in Haiti is with undemocratic elections. Allow Fanmi Lavalas to participate and we'll show you the voters have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for an authentic democratic process. She is out of touch with reality in Haiti."

"Out of touch with reality in Haiti"?  Clearly this person has failed to understand that "reality" in situations like this is entirely determined by U.S. interests—not by piffling trifles like the facts on the ground.  We'll know if Haiti's senatorial elections were free and fair if 1) the results turn out as the Obama administration wants them to, and 2) they can be shoved down the throats of the Haitian people through the usual combination of suppression,  violence, and diplomatic subterfuge.

(Related musings on U.S. democracy suppression in Haiti here.)

— John Caruso

Posted at April 27, 2009 06:42 PM

Compare the headlines:

Associated Press:
Haiti will likely wait days for election results

Haitians largely boycott Senate ballot

Posted by: SteveB at April 27, 2009 09:31 PM

Have you read Saramago's Seeing yet?

Posted by: drip at April 28, 2009 11:54 AM

LIARS! LIARS! President Obama would NEVER NEVER NEVER let anything like that happen you liars!

Posted by: A.Pwog at April 28, 2009 12:57 PM

Alan, why don't you just post as yourself?

Posted by: Save the Oocytes at April 28, 2009 02:02 PM

Looks like someone needs to up the dosage on his medication. The Pwoggie voices in his head have taken control of his hands and are furiously typing their Obama-love all over the internets.

Posted by: SteveB at April 28, 2009 07:51 PM

What I've also never gotten is why he thinks this site is such a good site to find Pwogs anyway. It's obviously to the left of the majority of the "liberal blogosphere." I think he might manage a good run at Crooked Timber or somewhere though.

Posted by: Save the Oocytes at April 29, 2009 05:44 PM

drip: Nope, haven't (nor Blindness). Based on the description I can imagine the relevance....

Posted by: John Caruso at April 30, 2009 03:45 PM