OEA/Ser.G

CP/doc. 3349/00

24 August 2000

Original:  English

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REPORT OF THE MISSION OF THE OAS TO HAITI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This document is being distributed to the permanent missions and
will be presented to the Permanent Council of the Organization.

 


                                                                         ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES

                                                                                           WASHINGTON, D.C.

 

 

THE SECRETARY GENERAL

 

August 23, 2000

 

 

Excellency,

 

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.

 

 

                                                                                                Yours sincerely,

 

 

                                                                                                  Cesar Gaviria

 

 

His Excellency

Ambassador Valter Pecly Moreira

Permanent Representative of Brazil

    to the Organization of American States

Chairman of the Permanent Council

Washington, D.C.

 

 


REPORT OF THE MISSION OF THE OAS TO HAITI

AUGUST 17-20, 2000

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

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 message

 

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.

 

Information and comments advanced by the Mission’s interlocutors

 

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.

 

FINAL OBSERVATIONS

 

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.

 


ANNEX A

 

 

 

VISIT TO HAITI OF AN OAS MISSION

LED BY H.E. DR. CESAR GAVIRIA, SECRETARY GENERAL

 

SCHEDULE OF MEETINGS

 

17 – 20 August, 2000

 

 

 

Thursday 17 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

Office of the Prime Minister

 

5:30 p.m.                                               President René Preval

                                                            Presidential Palace

 

Friday 18 August 2000

 

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

 


ANNEX B

 

 

 

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:

 

H.E. Mr. René Preval                           President of the Republic

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

Mr. Nixon Myrtille                                 Director, Economic Affairs and Cooperation

Mr. Guy Marie-Louis                             Director, Office of International Institutions and Conferences

 

 

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. Gilles Bernier                          Ambassador of Canada

H.E. Mr. Fernando Novillo Saravia         Ambassador of Argentina

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

 

 

PRIVATE SECTOR

 

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

 

CIVIL SOCIETY/INTELLECTUALS:

 

Mr. Guy Alexandre                               General Coordinator, Initiatives Democratiques

Mrs. Sabine Manigat

Mr. Frantz Marceau Louis

 

 

MISSION MEMBERS

 

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

 

Advisors:

 

CP07425E01

 
Mrs. Elizabeth Spehar                            Executive Coordinator, Unit for the Promotion of Democracy

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