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 General’s 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 General’s 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 October, 2000


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 reflection."


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 Haiti’s 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 Organization’s 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 continue consultations.

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 country’s political situation to normalcy.


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 remained.


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 Council’s 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 others.


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 Council.


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 Organization’s 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.


Toward Conclusions


    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 General’s 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 the exchanges.




Reflections regarding the Components of a National Agreement


Main points compiled by the OAS from the discussions among Haitians,

in accordance with the mandate to formulate options and recommendations

contained in Permanent Council resolution CP/RES.772 of August 4, 2000

  1. Security:


    • The Executive shall ensure the professional conduct of the police, which is to provide protection for the elections and electoral activities and avoid all partisan activity.


    • 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.


  1. The issues surrounding the May 21, 2000, elections:


    • The political parties are responsible for respecting the will of the voters. They must find a legally defensible political solution to the disputes resulting from the May 21 elections, in particular, the contested Senate seats.


    • 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 agreement.


    • This mandate could be given to the re-established CEP (see section No. 4).


  1. 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, legitimate elections.


    • Observers shall have complete access to the CEP and to the polling stations.



    • The Executive shall provide protection for the elections (see section No. 1: Security), and pledges to refrain from using public funds and resources for partisan purposes.


    • All parties shall have equitable access to the media, including the government media.


  1. 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.


  1. 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 international organizations.
    • 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).


  1. The international community:


In the case of a national agreement, the international community shall examine, sympathetically and rigorously, its ability to work with Haiti.

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 community.


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




Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Former President of the Republic of Haiti

Port-au-Prince, October 20, 2000


His Excellency

Ambassador Luigi R. Einaudi

Assistant Secretary General of the OAS

Port-au-Prince, Haiti


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


  1. 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 and peace;
    • 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 media.


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 highest consideration.


Jean-Bertrand Aristide






Port-au-Prince, October 21, 2000


Ambassador Luigi Einaudi

Assistant Secretary General of the OAS

Washington, D.C


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 country’s future and threatens the region’s stability. It has been exacerbated by the electoral coup d’état 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 opposition leaders;
    • 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 meetings.


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 community;
    • 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 identical commitments.

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 purposes;
    • 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 agreement.


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 CEP’s 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.


Sincerely yours,

Gérard Pierre Charles Victor Benoit Marcel Pereira



Reynold Georges Clark Parent Luc Mesadieu



cc: Members of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States,

Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Ambassadors of friendly countries