24 August 2000
REPORT OF THE MISSION OF THE OAS TO HAITI
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
THE SECRETARY GENERAL
August 23, 2000
Pursuant to the mandate contained in CP/RES. 772(1247/00), I have the honour to forward to you the Report of the visit of the OAS Mission to Haiti, which I had the privilege to lead to that country from August 17 to 20, 2000.
In representation of the UN Secretary General’s Group of Friends of Haiti, I was accompanied by the Ambassadors, Permanent Representatives to the OAS, of Argentina, H.E. Juan Jose Arcuri, of Chile, H.E. Esteban Tomic Errazuriz, and of Venezuela, H.E. Virginia Contreras . Also accompanying me were the Assistant Secretary General for Foreign and Community Relations of the Caribbean Community(CARICOM) Secretariat, Albert Ramdin, and OAS Assistant Secretary General, Luigi R. Einaudi.
Members of the Mission were cordially received by officials of the Haitian Government and by representatives of political parties, of the business community and of civil society. The Report which you have before you is a faithful reflection of the exchange of information which we had with these persons and represents the collective assessment of the members of the Mission regarding the situation in Haiti.
I would appreciate it if you would arrange for the distribution of the Report to the other members of the Permanent Council.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest regard.
Ambassador Valter Pecly Moreira
Permanent Representative of Brazil
to the Organization of American States
Chairman of the Permanent Council
REPORT OF THE MISSION OF THE OAS TO HAITI
AUGUST 17-20, 2000
On August 4, 2000, a special session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) was held to continue to consider the electoral situation in Haiti. Further to the adoption of CP/RES. 772 (1247/00) during that session and at the invitation of the Government of Haiti, a mission headed by the OAS Secretary General visited Haiti from August 17-20, 2000.
COMPOSITION OF THE MISSION
OAS Secretary General Cesar Gaviria headed the mission. In representation of the UN Secretary General’s Group of Friends of Haiti, the Secretary General was accompanied by the Ambassadors, Permanent Representatives to the OAS, of Argentina, H.E. Juan Jose Arcuri, of Chile, H.E. Esteban Tomic Errazuriz, and of Venezuela, H.E. Virginia Contreras. Also accompanying the Secretary General were the Assistant Secretary General for Foreign and Community Relations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Albert Ramdin, and OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi R. Einaudi.
MANDATE OF THE MISSION
CP/RES. 772 established the mandate of the mission as to “identify, together with the Government of Haiti and other sectors of the political community and civil society, 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 of democracy in that country.”
ACTIVITIES OF THE MISSION
In compliance with the Mission’s mandate, the members of the delegation met with governmental authorities, including the President of the Republic, Rene Preval, Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis, and Foreign Minister Fritz Longchamp. The mission also met with President of the Senate Edgard Leblanc (himself a member of the opposition OPL party), as well as political party leaders, the media, and members of the diplomatic community and multilateral institutions. Some Mission members also met with the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), with business leaders and representatives of Haitian civil society. (Program and individuals met are at annexes A and B.)
At each meeting, the Mission described its mandate and emphasized that its primary objective was fact-finding to assist in the development of a constructive outcome to the political crisis. It was emphasized to meeting participants that both the size and composition of the delegation reflected the interest and concern of the hemispheric and international communities for the situation in Haiti, given that delegation members included senior representatives of the OAS and CARICOM Secretariats, as well as representatives of three of the countries which belong to the UN Secretary General’s Group of Friends of Haiti. Following opening remarks by the OAS delegation, the meetings consisted of open and useful exchanges of information and opinions, of which the Mission duly took note.
The Mission’s principal messages can be summarized as follows: The OAS has come to Haiti upon the invitation of the Government in a constructive spirit to seek ways to work together with Haitians to help strengthen democracy in that country. Like the international community as a whole, delegation members are extremely concerned about the current political climate in the wake of the May 21 legislative, municipal and local elections and the potential which this has for further polarizing Haitian society and weakening Haiti’s prospects for democracy. These developments are already having negative repercussions on the ability of some countries and multilateral institutions to maintain their support for Haiti.
The Mission reiterated the commitment of the OAS to the Haitian people and its determination to work with the Government, political parties and civil society to find solutions to current political difficulties and to the longer-term challenges for democratic consolidation in the country. Although the international community, and the OAS in particular, could play a useful role in this regard, it is up to the Haitians themselves to overcome their internal divisions and difficulties.
The Mission noted that the outcome of the May 21 elections and the deficiencies of that process, which were documented opportunely by the OAS Electoral Observation Mission (EOM), were formally presented to the Permanent Council on July 13. Member and observer states have indicated grave concerns, including the concern that it will be difficult to create adequate conditions for the credible and transparent presidential elections which are scheduled for later in the year.
The Mission made it clear that the OAS will remain receptive to assist in any constructive way in the creation of an environment in Haiti conducive to dialogue and to the identification of concrete solutions to both the current political difficulties and to the on-going challenges of democratic institution-building in Haiti. In that regard, the Mission offered its good offices for further contacts and visits to Haiti in the framework of the present mandate.
From the first moments of the Mission’s activities, the Government of Haiti expressed a willingness to facilitate the work of the Mission in any way possible. There was agreement that, despite differences in interpretations on some issues, it was possible and desirable to find the means to work together in furthering democracy in Haiti. Government spokesmen admitted that differences over interpretation of the electoral law have created a difficult political climate, but stressed the need to move forward and, in the short term, to conduct credible Presidential elections within the constitutionally-mandated timeframe (last Sunday of November). Government spokesmen acknowledged that dialogue with the opposition political parties regarding future elections was necessary, although it would be quite difficult to achieve this. The Government also reiterated that the CEP was the only entity with authority to decide upon electoral matters.
President Preval personally expressed his willingness to talk to the opposition regarding conditions for the upcoming elections. He also stressed the importance of holding the elections on schedule, and expressed a desire that the international community provide support to that end.
With regard to longer-term democratic institution-building in Haiti, government officials identified issues such as the importance of working towards a national agenda for the country, political party strengthening, and the need for clarifications in electoral laws and a strong and permanent Electoral Council.
In the meeting with political parties, the leaders present evinced a great mistrust and lack of confidence in the authorities, the CEP, and in the current possibilities for credible presidential elections. Although there was interest in the work of the Mission, there was also great skepticism with respect to what could be achieved. The parties voiced a uniform rejection of the past legislative, local and municipal elections of May 21, as well as their conviction that it was not possible to build democracy on the basis of what they viewed as seriously flawed elections, and that any national parliament that resulted from those elections would be illegitimate. Some participants acknowledged the pressing need for a dialogue, stressing repeatedly that adequate conditions would have to be created for such a dialogue to take place. Various parties agreed to continue reflecting on these issues, but all stressed their conviction that it was not possible to move forward with democratization in Haiti under the present conditions.
In a separate meeting with him, former President Jean Bertrand Aristide, leader of Fanmi Lavalas, also expressed concerns regarding the current political climate in Haiti and the implications of this situation for the transition to a new government in February 2001. Mr. Aristide declared his readiness for dialogue and emphasized the importance of the support of the international community, especially the United Nations and the OAS, for the holding of the upcoming presidential elections.
Mission members also met with representatives of the Haitian private sector, civil society groups and the intellectual community. Those individuals presented the Mission with a very somber assessment of the current political and economic situation in Haiti and displayed little optimism with respect to short- or medium-term improvements. They were particularly skeptical about the good will and the readiness of the political sectors of the country to engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue in the short term, although they agreed on the urgent need to develop a minimal consensus among all sectors on governance and basic developmental issues in order to begin to move the country forward. They also cast serious doubts about whether progress would prove possible without addressing clearly the outcome of the past elections. The civil society representatives stressed the importance of preserving political space for civil society groups in Haiti as an important element of Haitian democratization, as well as the role the international community could play in this regard.
The Mission was well received by all with whom it met. Mission members were impressed by the universality of hopes expressed for OAS support to Haitians in the task of democratization in that country. At the same time, there was recognition by all who were encountered of the serious challenges ahead and of the existence of deep political divisions that would make progress in the short term extremely difficult. There was acknowledgement that the aftermath of the May 21 elections had served to exacerbate an existing political and democratic-institutional crisis in the country rather than beginning to resolve it, as it had been hoped. The sense of the urgent need for political dialogue now coexists with doubts about whether such a dialogue is possible.
The Mission expressed to all concerned that it believes a political dialogue among all sectors of Haitian society is essential, and that it would be ready to support such a process if appropriate.
VISIT TO HAITI OF AN OAS MISSION
LED BY H.E. DR. CESAR GAVIRIA, SECRETARY GENERAL
SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS
17 – 20 August, 2000
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon Arrival in Port-au-Prince
2:30 p.m. Minister of Foreign Affairs Fritz Longchamp
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
3:30 – 3:45 p.m. Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis
5:30 p.m. President René Preval
8:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Breakfast with representatives of the UN Secretary General’s Group of Friends of Haiti and the International Community
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. President of the Senate, Mr. Edgard Leblanc
2:30 – 4:00 p.m. The Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP) –technical meeting with two (2) Mission members
4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Political party representatives
5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Private sector representatives
7:30 p.m. President René Preval
Saturday 19 August 2000
8:00 a.m. Press Conference
8:30 a.m. Departure of OAS Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM
3:00 p.m. Informal Meetings with Intellectuals and Representatives of Civil Society
Sunday 20 August 2000
10:45 a.m. Departure of remainder of Mission
21 August 2000
VISIT TO HAITI OF OAS MISSION
LED BY H.E. DR. CESAR GAVIRIA, SECRETARY GENERAL
17-20 AUGUST, 2000
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS IN MEETINGS
THE NATIONAL PALACE:
Mr. Raymond Jeanty Interpreter
THE PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE:
H.E. Mr. Jacques Edouard Alexis Prime Minister
Mr. Hermogène Durand Acting Chief of Staff
Mrs. Mirielle Apollon Advisor, Development
Mr. Arselin Charles Advisor, Communications
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS:
H.E. Mr. Fritz Longchamp Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Jean-Robert Hérard Advisor to the Minister
Mr. Jean-Ricot Dorméus Director of Political Affairs and Interim Representative-designate to the OAS
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:
Mr. Edgard Leblanc President of the Senate
Mr. Antoine Bernard Advisor
HEADQUARTERS OF THE PROVISIONAL ELECTORAL COUNCIL:
Dr. Ernst Mirville President of the Council
Mrs. Marie-Irma Rateau Secretary General
Mrs. Micheline A. Figaro Treasurer
Mrs. Yva Youance Member
Mr. Macajou A. Medard Member
Mr. Carlo Dupiton Member
Dr. Jean C. Alexandre Member
Ing. Yves F. Bertrand Member
Dr. Richard Chery Member
RESIDENCE OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT:
Mr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide Ex-President of the Republic
Mrs. Mildred Aristide Wife of the Ex-President
POLITICAL PARTY REPRESENTATIVES:
Mr. Evans Paul Espace de Concertation
Mr. Fred Brutus Espace de Concertation
Mr. Victor Benoit Espace de Concertation
Mr. Lucman Marcel Mouvement pour la Reconstruction Nationale (MRN)
Mr. Rene Theodore (MRN)
Dr. Jose J. Nicolas MOCHRENA
Dr. Luc Mesadieu MOCHRENA
Me. Gilbert N. Leger MOCHRENA
Mr. Kely Bastien ESKAMP
Mr. Jose Daniel ESKAMP
Mr. Gerard Pierre-Charles OPL
Mr. Willy Louis PLB
Me. Reynold Georges ALAH-MPSN
Mr. Hubert de Ronceray MPSN
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GROUP OF FRIENDS OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS:
H.E. Mr. Ismael Llona Ambassador of Chile
Mr. Kenneth Duncan Chargé d’Affaires Embassy of the United States
Mr. Hisanobu Hasama Chargé d’Affaires Embassy of Japan
Mr. Jean-François Charpentier Chargé d’Affaires, a.i Embassy of France
Mr. Walter Raum Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Embassy of Germany
Mr. Heraldo Fueyo Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Embassy of Spain
Mr. William Santana Chargé d’Affaires, a.i Embassy of Venezuela
Mr. L.P. Sylvestre First Secretary - Embassy of Canada
Mr. Luis Oliveros Officer in Charge a.i., United Nations International Civilian Support Mission in Haiti (MICAH)
Mr. Michael Tarr United Nations International Civilian Support Mission in Haiti (MICAH)
Mr. Stan Nkwan UNDP
HAITIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (CCIH):
Mr. Maurice Lafortune President
Mr. Fritz Kenol Board Member
CENTER FOR FREE ENTERPRISE AND DEMOCRACY (CLED):
Mr. Max Chauvet President
Mr. Georges Barau Sassine Vice-President of CLED and Vice-President of ADIH
Mr. Lionel Turnier Board Member
Mr. Roger Dunwell
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF JACMEL:
Mr. Jacques Kawly President
Mr. Frantz Large
ASSOCIATION OF HAITIAN INDUSTRIES (ADIH):
Mrs. Marie-Claude Bayard Vice-President
Mrs. Anne Hauge
FRENCH/HAITIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE:
Mr. Philippe Lahens President
Mr. Guy Alexandre General Coordinator, Initiatives Democratiques
Mrs. Sabine Manigat
Mr. Frantz Marceau Louis
H.E. César Gaviria Secretary General
H.E. Luigi R. Einaudi Assistant Secretary General
H.E.Juan José Arcuri Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Argentina
H.E. Esteban Tomic Errazuriz Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Chile
H.E. Virginia Contreras Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Venezuela
H.E. Albert Ramdin Assistant Secretary General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM
Mrs. Sandra Honoré Chief of Staff, Office of the Assistant Secretary General
Mr. Camilo Granada Advisor, Office of the Secretary General
Ambassador Colin Granderson Advisor to Mission
Ambassador Denneth Modeste Director, Office of the General Secretariat in Haiti