REPORT ON THE MISSION OF THE
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES TO HAITI
27 October, 2000
In accordance with Permanent Council resolution
CP/RES. 772 (1247/00) of August 4, 2000, the OAS Secretary General, Cesar Gaviria, led a
mission to Haiti over the period 17-20 August 2000. He was accompanied by three members of
the OAS Permanent Council representing the United Nations Secretary Generals Group
of Friends of Haiti: the Ambassador of Argentina, Juan José Arcuri; the Ambassador of
Chile, Esteban Tomic Errazuriz; and the Ambassador of Venezuela, Virginia Contreras; the
Assistant Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Albert
Ramdin; and by the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Luigi R. Einaudi. The Secretary
Generals written report is contained in document CP/doc.3349/00 dated 24 August
2000, and was personally presented to the Permanent Council on 5 September 2000. The key
finding of that mission was an acute need for dialogue to address the problems caused by
the May 21 local and parliamentary elections; to improve prospects for upcoming
presidential and senatorial elections; and, more generally, to strengthen democracy.
Activities of the Mission, 15 September 12
From 15-16 September 2000, Assistant Secretary
General Einaudi made a 24-hour consultation visit to Haiti, during which he met with
President Préval, with Foreign Minister Longchamp and with the Head of La Fanmi
Lavalas, former President Aristide. Convinced by those conversations that these
authorities were prepared to show some flexibility on a number of the points of interest
to a dialogue, the Assistant Secretary General returned to Haiti from September 21-29,
2000. On that occasion, President Preval made a strong television statement welcoming the
presence of the OAS, calling for dialogue among the political parties, and pledging to
implement the results of such a dialogue.
During this visit, the Assistant Secretary General
met with a wide variety of Haitians, parties, and members of civil society. In hopes of
generating an accord, he concentrated on the political parties and in particular on La
Fanmi Lavalas and the major grouping of opposition parties, the Convergence
Démocratique. For a week he met alternately with the Convergence and Lavalas
leaderships. In many of these meetings, the Assistant Secretary General was accompanied by
the special representatives of CARICOM (former Minister Charles Maynard of Dominica), of
the United Nations Secretary General (Ambassador Alfredo Cabral), of the governments of
Canada and of the United States (Ambassadors David Lee and Donald Steinberg respectively),
as well as by Ambassadors of OAS member and observer states and by the Director of the
Office of the OAS General Secretariat in Haiti, Ambassador Denneth Modeste.
On September 29, the Assistant Secretary General
left Haiti without an accord, indeed without even being able to bring the parties into
face to face dialogue. This said, all parties agreed on the vital importance and need for
continued dialogue; the Government and La Fanmi Lavalas renewed some signs of
flexibility, the opposition began to define their positions, and a possible framework for
negotiation began to emerge centered around what might broadly be called the problem of
freedom and, more specifically, the problems of how to overcome past electoral
difficulties and ensure successful future elections. When the Assistant Secretary General
left Haiti on September 29, he indicated that all involved had begun a "pause for
In the days that followed, during the XIX SIRG
Meeting held in Quebec, Canada from 1-3 October, 2000, and in Washington, D.C., OAS
officials met informally with a variety of Haitian delegations and with diplomatic
delegations; the Assistant Secretary General held consultations with the United
Nations, with CARICOM, with members of both the US Executive and Legislative branches, and
attended an Informal Donors Meeting on Haiti convened by the World Bank on October
5, 2000. In the interim, in Haiti, the Convergence had been further refining
written positions and the Fanmi Lavalas had indicated its willingness to do
likewise. At the same time, the Provisional Electoral Council extended the deadline for
registration for the November 26 presidential and senatorial elections from October 2 to
October 9, 2000.
On October 11, 2000, the OAS Assistant Secretary
General reported orally to the Permanent Council, indicating that major differences
remained to be overcome and that time was rapidly becoming a common enemy for all
concerned. He stressed that in the absence of a political accord on how to resolve the
differences arising from the May 21 elections and on how to ensure legitimate elections
for the presidency and the Senate, it seemed clear that the current electoral schedule
with voting on November 26 a mere six weeks away was going to be kept. He
emphasized that even if there was an accord, its provisions would need to be implemented
in conformity with the Constitution of Haiti, which calls for an end to the current
presidency and the transfer of power on February 7, 2001.
The Assistant Secretary General made clear that
while he did not know whether Haitis political forces would be able to reach an
agreement, the Permanent Council should be aware that if the parties did agree on how to
approach the very different problems posed by May 21 and November 26, such agreement
would, inevitably, have important implications for the OAS and for its member states.
He suggested that there would be a need to develop
and lead a follow-up mechanism to accompany the efforts being taken by the various sectors
of Haitian society, perhaps taking as a model the efforts which the Secretary General and
the Foreign Minister of Canada have developed in Peru with a permanent secretary and a
small mission. He suggested further that there would be a need to prepare for some kind of
active technical and observational support for a new Electoral Council. He underscored
that there would be no agreement without a new Electoral Council, and this in turn would
require the support of the international community in order to increase the confidence of
all concerned that agreements arrived at would be complied with.
The Assistant Secretary General cautioned that the
current political difficulties in Haiti developed in the midst of an economic downturn and
social tensions that are making life in that country increasingly difficult. For him, the
OAS had become the centerpiece of international efforts to help Haiti, and a great deal
was dependent on the Organizations efforts.
Activities of the Mission, 13-27 October, 2000
Because of apparent progress taking place on the
ground in Haiti and in the various contacts in Washington, and also because of the
pressure of time, the Assistant Secretary General returned to Haiti on October 13 to
Between October 13 and 16, he re-engaged in
"shuttle diplomacy" between the Convergence Démocratique and the Fanmi
Lavalas party. Over the course of these four days, the Assistant Secretary General
received written documents from each side stating their positions on the measures they
believed were necessary in order to return the countrys political situation to
During this period, the Assistant Secretary
General also met with representatives of the business community to urge their support for
a national accord. They in turn argued for greater involvement of the international
community through providing assistance as an enticement for political accord. He also met
with President Préval.
On Monday 16 October, 2000, the Assistant
Secretary General wrote to President Préval and to the heads of the Fanmi Lavalas
and the parties that make up the Convergence Démocratique, asking that they
designate representatives to a face-to-face encounter. The invitees were requested to come
prepared to discuss seven agenda points, to wit: security; the results of
the elections of May 21; conditions of the elections scheduled for November 26; the
restructuring of the Provisional Electoral Council; measures for the reinforcement of
democracy; the role of the international community; and any other points of interest to
the participants. This agenda drew upon the points contained in the written communications
previously received from the Convergence and Fanmi Lavalas.
The addressees responded positively. The Fanmi
Lavalas, through correspondence received from its leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
identified a delegation of five. Similarly, the Convergence sent formal
notification of a slightly larger delegation. The Government responded by sending, as
observers, Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis and the Chief of Staff of the President,
Mr. Guy Fleury.
The first face-to-face session took place on
Tuesday 17th October, 2000 at noon. It was the first time that the majority
party Fanmi Lavalas had sat down with members of the opposition and vice versa. The
OAS Assistant Secretary General was of the view that that discussion was
constructive and disciplined. The members of the international community present felt
further that mutual respect was evident both in the alternating initial presentations and
the comments from both sides. By the end of that meeting, it was evident that some
icebreaking had taken place. Nonetheless, it was also clear that prior differences
During the two sessions that took place on Tuesday
17th, the OAS Assistant Secretary General completed a review of all of the issues with the
parties. His hope was that once the separate issues were considered as a whole, it might
be possible to develop a global package that could lead to agreement. However, even after
review of all of the issues was completed, it was very difficult to make headway in
developing alternative solutions to particular concerns.
On October 19, to bring focus to the discussion
and to break the pending impasse, the OAS Assistant Secretary General distributed a paper
entitled "Éléments de réflexion pour un accord national" (APPENDIX I).
This document was in conformity with the Permanent Councils mandate contained in
resolution CP/RES. 772 (1247/00), which instructed, inter alia, that the
Mission identify "options and recommendations for resolving, as expeditiously as
possible, difficulties such as those that have arisen from differing interpretations of
the Electoral Law, and for further strengthening democracy in that country." The
paper formulated twenty-four options and recommendations to resolve issues involving five
categories: security, the May 21 elections, the November 26 elections, the Provisional
Electoral Council, and measures for safeguarding democracy. Four additional points were
directed at the support that the international community could give to a national accord.
The written responses by the two sides revealed
two areas of very substantial agreement with the propositions which were put forward in
the OAS paper; two areas of very substantial disagreement; one area where there was more
agreement than might be expected; and a sixth area which was clearly dependent on the
The first of the two areas of agreement was the
importance of security. There was word-for-word acceptance by both the delegation from Fanmi
Lavalas and that from the Convergence of four of the points listed under
security in the OAS paper. The second area of very substantial agreement was on
measures regarding the strengthening of democracy. These included points protecting
freedom of information and the press and the rights of and security of political parties
and civil society.
The two areas of very substantial disagreement had
to do with the May 21 elections and the projected November 26 elections. In essence, Fanmi
Lavalas wanted decisions to hold the presidential and senatorial elections within a
definite timeframe that would allow for the taking of office by a new elected President on
February 7, 2001, whereas the Convergence wanted prior decisions on the fate (and
annulment) of the elections of May 21.
The area where there was a surprising amount of
agreement was on the need for an Electoral Council with broad political representation.
Nonetheless, the disagreement caused by the relative weight to accord to the previous
elections and to the future elections carried over to the discussion on the Electoral
The final dependent point was the question of the
international community. Clearly its role would have to be dependent on there being
agreement among the Haitian parties themselves.
On Friday evening, October 20th, the
Assistant Secretary General suspended, sine die, the fifth session of the
face-to-face encounter, all sessions of which had been attended not only by the two
delegations of political parties but also by the Prime Minister and the Chief of Staff of
the President. On Saturday 21st October, after a final meeting with President
Préval, the Assistant Secretary General left Haiti.
Subsequently, the Assistant Secretary General
received two letters, both intended for distribution to the Organizations Permanent
Council. Both letters thank the Assistant Secretary General and the OAS for their efforts
and express points of view that were based on the discussions. The first (APPENDIX II),
dated October 20, 2000, is signed by the Head of Fanmi Lavalas, Jean-Bertrand
Aristide. It contains six commitments dealing with contested senatorial seats, the
Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) and funding for political parties. That letter also
lists a number of hopes and conclusions with the desire that future elections will take
place in the presence of national and international observers.
The second letter (APPENDIX III), is from the Convergence
Démocratique. Dated October 21, 2000, it was signed by the leaders of the six major
parties and groupings within the Convergence Organisation du Peuple en Lutte
(OPL), Espace de Concertation, Rassemblement des Démocrates Nationaux Progressistes
(RDNP), Mouvement Patriotique pour le Sauvetage National (MPSN), Parti Démocratique
Haitien (PADEMH), and Mouvement Chrétien pour une Nouvelle Haiti (MOCHRENA).
The letter covers many similar points but notes that the Convergence had entered
into dialogue despite the fact that a number of its preconditions had not been met either
by the Government or by Fanmi Lavalas.
- There has been appreciable progress in defining issues, in
identifying areas of agreement and disagreement, and in breaking down at least some
interpersonal barriers. These developments offer encouragement that with further efforts,
additional progress may be possible.
- As of the date of writing, however, there is no consensus broad
enough to achieve the OAS objective: namely, the negotiation of a national accord
among all parties that would resolve the political crisis and do so in a manner that would
elicit the support of the international community.
- The current electoral timetable and process continue unchanged
because of the lack of an agreement to do otherwise. However, the parties have expressed
their respective intentions to continue their efforts to resolve the crisis. From a
practical standpoint, of course, time is a critical enemy. One disturbing indication of
political polarization is that not one representative from the major opposition parties is
among the seven individuals registered as candidates for the Presidential elections (a
list which does include former President Aristide). Clearly, there is not much time
remaining for an agreement that will include a major opposition party candidate for the
Presidency, although it is to be hoped that such an agreement will be achieved.
- If further consensual evolution enables Haitians to reach
agreement, that will in turn place very substantial pressures on the international
community for support. Expectations will be highest in precisely the two areas on which
the parties have already reached some form of agreement, at least in principle. These two
areas are security and strengthening democracy. There is good potential for support from
the international community in both areas, but mainly over the longer term. Some effective
technical support and electoral observation could, however, be provided more quickly.
5. The OAS Secretariat, true to its Charter
obligations to member states, will continue to use all instruments at its disposal to
assist Haiti in its efforts to strengthen democratic institutions.
The OAS Mission to Haiti takes the opportunity to
again thank the member states and other international organizations for their very
substantial support. Special appreciation is extended to Argentina, Canada, Chile,
Trinidad and Tobago, the United States and Venezuela, whose governments contributed
resources and personnel, based both in and outside Haiti.
The presence in the five critical face-to-face
meetings, over the period 17-21 October, of the Ambassadors of Canada, France, and the
United States to Haiti, and of the Head of the United Nations Office there, symbolically
represented the concern of the countries named, as well as the European Union and
was a visible symbol of the unity of the international community, among whom must be
counted Argentina, Chile and Venezuela, active in both their capacity as members of the
United Nations Secretary Generals Group of Friends of Haiti and as members of the
Organization of American States.
Special thanks are also extended to the Caribbean
Community (CARICOM) for its accompaniment during this process.
The Mission also wishes to thank the Government of
Haiti, the political parties and the representatives of civil society who participated in
Reflections regarding the Components of a National
Main points compiled by the OAS from the
discussions among Haitians,
in accordance with the mandate to formulate options
contained in Permanent Council resolution
CP/RES.772 of August 4, 2000
- The Executive shall ensure the professional conduct of the police,
which is to provide protection for the elections and electoral activities and avoid all
- The political parties shall contribute to the climate of security
by cultivating tolerance, peace, and mutual respect.
- The political parties pledge to refrain from inciting violence and
to take measures among their supporters if they resort to violence.
- The Executive shall establish a mechanism for allowing the
political parties to cooperate in helping the police to maintain their neutrality.
- The issues surrounding the May 21, 2000, elections:
- To find a technical solution, an evaluation committee could be set
up to examine the May 21 elections. This committee would examine the challenges and
problems resulting from different interpretations of the electoral law. The committee
would submit its conclusions as soon as possible to the signatories to the national
- This mandate could be given to the re-established CEP (see section
- Conditions for the elections scheduled for November 26:
- The election for the Presidency and the Senate must be governed by
a re-established CEP (see section No. 4).
- The election date could be postponed to beyond November 26 but must
guarantee that a new president will take office on February 7, 2001.
- The parties shall encourage the nomination and registration of
candidates, while at the same time avoiding acts contrary to the holding of free,
- Observers shall have complete access to the CEP and to the polling
- The Executive shall provide protection for the elections (see
section No. 1: Security), and pledges to refrain from using public funds and resources for
- All parties shall have equitable access to the media, including the
- Restructuring of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP):
- The CEP shall be composed of representatives of the political
parties and of civil society.
- The operational section of the CEP must be changed sufficiently to
ensure its neutrality.
- The CEP must have the funds required for holding elections and
managing them in a transparent fashion.
- The CEP shall help to fund the electoral activities of recognized
political parties that are presenting candidates for election.
- The CEP shall have the power to rule on challenges; its rulings may
not be appealed.
- Measures for strengthening democracy:
- Freedom of information, including education, freedom of the press,
and the safety of journalists are prerequisites for a functioning democracy.
- The rights and the security of political parties, their leaders,
and their supporters must be explicitly recognized under the law.
- The important role played by civil society organizations in
participatory democracy must be explicitly recognized under the law.
- All parties pledge to respect government institutions and to work
toward their modernization by making use of the assistance that may be received through
- The committee mentioned in section No. 2 above could have a second
mandate, namely, to examine also the new presidential elections and the senatorial
elections of 2000 and to recommend reforms and improvements in all aspects of the
electoral process. The committee shall submit a report in one year so as to implement the
reforms prior to the next senatorial elections scheduled for 2002.
- A national committee could be established (which could be made up
of representatives of political parties, civil society, the Executive, and the Court of
Cassation), as a meeting point for the different sectors of the Haitian nation. The
national committee will also be the privileged spokesman for the international community
and, in particular, the special OAS mission (see section No. 6 below).
- The international community:
In the case of a national agreement, the
international community shall examine, sympathetically and rigorously, its ability to work
As the points contained in the national agreement
are implemented and in response to the proposals made by the signatories to this
agreement, the international community might consider such actions as the following:
- Establish a special OAS support mission for democracy in Haiti.
This mission would monitor the implementation of this agreement and could receive
challenges and allegations of violations.
- Consider an invitation to provide technical assistance to the
electoral process, in particular, with regard to the functioning of the polling stations.
- The international community could send international observers who
would have full access to the CEP and to the polling stations.
- The CEP could receive direct support from the international
This document is respectfully presented as a
possible starting point for a national agreement that would allow Haiti and the
international community to continue to make progress together.
Luigi R. Einaudi
Assistant Secretary General
October 19, 2000
Former President of the Republic of Haiti
Port-au-Prince, October 20, 2000
Ambassador Luigi R. Einaudi
Assistant Secretary General of the OAS
Fanmi Lavalas would like to express its thanks to
you for having led these negotiations in accordance with Permanent Council resolution
CP/RES. 772 of August 4, 2000. Prepared as always to sit down and participate in dialogue
and in light of the proposals made by the political parties and the OAS throughout the
week, the Fanmi Lavalas Organization
- Pledges to:
- Respect the will of the voters by seeking, together with the
Opposition, a political and legal settlement to the disputes resulting from the May 21
elections, in particular the contested Senate seats;
- Encourage government officials to establish an evaluation committee
to examine the contested Senate seats. This committee would look into the question of the
method of calculation used for the May 21 Senate elections. Any solutions found must not
violate either the Constitution or the laws of the Republic;
- Participate in the elections on November 26, 2000, with the
Provisional Electoral Council or a CEP including citizens proposed by the political
Opposition, Fanmi Lavalas, and government officials;
- Encourage funding of the electoral activities of recognized
political parties that are putting up candidates for the elections;
- Contribute to a climate of peace and security by cultivating
tolerance, moderation, and mutual respect;
- Encourage all measures intended to strengthen democracy.
2. Hopes that:
- The Executive will ensure the professional conduct of the police,
which will have to provide protection for the elections and electoral activities, while
observing the most absolute neutrality;
- The Executive will establish a mechanism for allowing the political
parties to cooperate in helping the police to maintain their neutrality;
- The Executive will launch a civic education program for security
- The political parties will contribute to the climate of peace and
security by cultivating tolerance, moderation, and mutual respect;
- The political parties will pledge to refrain from inciting violence
and to take measures against their supporters if they resort to violence;
- All political parties will have equitable access to the government
I am hopeful that the forthcoming November 26
elections will take place in the presence of national and international observers.
Accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my
Port-au-Prince, October 21, 2000
Ambassador Luigi Einaudi
Assistant Secretary General of the OAS
Dear Mr. Assistant Secretary General:
Convergence Démocratique (Democratic
Convergence) wishes to thank you for your efforts in promoting dialogue among Haitians to
solve the chronic political and socioeconomic crisis confronting Haiti. This crisis
mortgages the countrys future and threatens the regions stability. It has been
exacerbated by the electoral coup détat of May 21, 2000, carried out at the hands
of the Lavalas administration. We had cherished the hope that this dialogue, which began,
albeit with some difficulty, thanks to your good offices, would have made it possible to
arrive at a consensus on how to solve the crisis.
In support of your tireless efforts, the political
parties and groups that are members of the Convergence Démocratique demonstrated,
as you will agree, Mr. Assistant Secretary General, good will and a spirit of creativity
and openness to disentangle the crisis. We accepted to enter into dialogue despite:
- The refusal of the Lavalas administration to consider our
legitimate prerequisites, which might show their desire for a real dialogue;
- The refusal of the president of the Fanmi Lavalas party, former
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to participate directly in the dialogue with the
- The dispatch by the Fanmi Lavalas party of former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide of representatives without mandates, who were unable to commit the
party to concrete decisions;
- The refusal of President René Préval to participate in the
dialogue, contenting himself with sending observers, whereas the majority of the decisions
to be taken to solve the crisis required the active participation of the Executive.
We would ask you to inform the OAS Permanent
Council of this summary of our views, which were formally expressed during our various
To solve the crisis, the political parties and
groups of the Convergence Démocratique have pledged to:
- Entrust to a new CEP, established in a credible fashion, the
outcome of the contested elections of May 21, 2000;
- Participate in the elections, the Presidency, and all other
positions to be filled, to be carried out by a new credible CEP with security guarantees;
- Participate in the constitution of a credible CEP in accordance
with a consensus-based formula;
- Participate in strengthening democracy in cooperation with the
other political parties, civil society, government officials, and the international
- Refrain from violence and take measures to prevent and punish their
members who do so;
- Participate in information and civic education;
- Cooperate with national actors and the international community in
holding credible elections, and pursuing governance, the stability of the country, its
socioeconomic development, its modernization, and its genuine democratization.
We hope that Fanmi Lavalas might have signed
For credible elections to be held, the Executive
must pledge to:
- Accept that the CEP be established on the basis of the consensus
resulting from dialogue;
- Charge a new, credible CEP with ruling on the outcome of the
contested May 21, 2000, elections;
- Accept and respect the independence of the newly established CEP
and its decisions;
- Ensure that the police and the justice system are apolitical, in
particular during the elections, and accept the measures we proposed to ensure the
required neutrality of the agents responsible for security;
- Establish a joint committee with decision-making and enforcement
powers to ensure equitable access to the government media by all electoral contenders;
- Respect the rights of the political parties;
- Eschew the use of government funds and materials for partisan
- Respect the neutrality of the State and enforce the obligation of
civil servants to refrain from participating in electoral campaigns.
We hope that, with a view to solving the crisis,
the international community will be able to provide technical assistance to the electoral
process and support for those in charge of law and order. We also hope that the
international community will provide special support to Haiti in the wake of a possible
Unfortunately, we have noted that Fanmi Lavalas is
clinging to its "errors" and continuing to ignore the proof of what constitutes
the main problem that has aggravated the crisis, namely, the contested results of May 21,
2000, and the total loss of the CEPs credibility. Fanmi Lavalas, contrary to good
sense, pulled back from the timid concessions it seemed ready to discuss.
As we see it, the only way to extricate Haiti from
the crisis is by holding free and credible elections as soon as possible. In our opinion,
in order to hold new, credible elections, it will be necessary to instill trust in the
voters by ensuring them that there will be a real contest, that their voted will be
tallied, and that, in the entire procedure, security will be guaranteed.
The conduct of Fanmi Lavalas and of those in
power, their disdain for the opposition parties, their fear of involving civil society in
the search for a solution, their refusal to engage in genuine discussions on real problems
are all signs of their lack of resolve to find a negotiated solution to the crisis.
Even though your mediation in the process has been
interrupted, we are still committed to finding a negotiated settlement to the crisis. We
think that the efforts of the international community must continue and that their effect
may be helpful in finding once and for all, with all democrats, a positive outcome for
Haiti and the Haitians.
Gérard Pierre Charles Victor Benoit Marcel
OPL ESPACE RDNP
Reynold Georges Clark Parent Luc Mesadieu
MPSN PADEMH MOCHRENA
cc: Members of the Permanent Council of the
Organization of American States,
Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Ambassadors of friendly countries