The Common Good

Haitians Protest Election, And So Do I

Anxiety set in for many people in Haiti long before Dec. 7, when the country's electoral board announced which two presidential candidates would likely participate in a January run-off election.

Related Reading

Take Action on This Issue

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

Apprehension began on Election Day, Nov. 28, as voting fraud was evident. Many election centers closed prematurely because of unrest, registered voters were often unable to find their names on electoral rolls, and in some cases, ballots were stolen and burned amid disruption and violence. Thus, 12 of the 18 presidential candidates called for the election to be annulled even before polls closed.

This week, immediately after election results were announced, protests ensued throughout the country. Reports from international media began describing and showing the situation, often focusing on violent protests rather than the fraudulent election results.

But the protests are only an expression of the Haitian people who feel their voice has been stolen, along with an election. And so I protest too. Our U.S. government -- which gave $14 million in election support -- must assist in reviewing the fraud and pressure the Haitian government to release legitimate final election results.

Haiti's electoral council has since invited an audit of the vote tally sheets. But according to the NY Times, "The three candidates, each of whom had questioned the results, were not quick to embrace the invitation. Michel Martelly, a singer whose partisans have dominated the street protests, said through a spokesman that he did not want to participate in an audit or file a legal challenge unless the election board's leaders stepped down. 'You don't report a theft to the thief,' said the spokesman, Damien Merlo."

I planned to share Haitians' voices during a week-long trip starting Dec. 11, but the trip was postponed due to the Port-au-Prince airport closing and turbulence in the streets. For now, here are words from two people I anticipate meeting in my rescheduled trip in early February.

On Dec. 9, Alexis Erkert Depp, Mennonite Central Committee's advocacy coordinator in Haiti, wrote:

Not only do U.N. troops continue to rain teargas and rubber bullets on protesters

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories


Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)