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President of Haiti Highlights National Dialogue to Hold Elections in Address to the OAS and Supports the Debate over the Strategic Vision of the Organization

  February 7, 2014

The President of Haiti, Michel Martelly, today mentioned in his address to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) the political dialogue taking place in his country to convene legislative and municipal elections in 2014, and expressed his support for the debate currently underway among member states over the strategic vision of the hemispheric institution.

In a protocolary meeting of the Council convened in his honor, in which he was introduced by the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, and the Chair of the Permanent Council and Ambassador of the Dominican Republic, Pedro Vergés, President Martelly explained that, with the support of the Catholic Church, an “inter-Haitian and consensual dialogue is taking place that will allow us to define a frame of reference for the consolidation of our achievements in terms of democratic governance and to ensure the predictability of our system for the regular holding of democratic and inclusive elections, necessary for political stability and the economic and social development of Haiti.”

“I am pleased by the progress made in the electoral process that will culminate with the election of the legislature and local authorities during 2014, strengthened by the adoption and publication of the Electoral Law and the law on the operation of political parties,” added the President in the presence of all the Permanent Representatives of the member countries of the OAS, in a ceremony held in the Hall of the Americas at the headquarters of the Organization in Washington DC.

In his address, the Haitian leader expressed his support for the debate over the strategic vision of the OAS being held in the Permanent Council, product of an initiative of the Secretary General. “I would like to thank and congratulate the Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, for having started a reflection and a profound debate on the strategic vision of the OAS for the coming decades. It is a debate that should be promoted and encouraged,” he said.

President Martelly also referred to the recent decision by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic related to the citizenship of immigrants born in Dominican territory, the majority of whom are of Haitian descent. “I would like to thank the countries that joined forces to look for a solution, respectful of human rights, to this problem. For now, a process of dialogue is underway between Haiti and the Dominican Republic,” he said. The Haitian leader added that “in the context of these negotiations, the Dominican Republic has adopted a series of commitments that should allow us to find a successful solution, something we firmly desire. I invite all the countries of the OAS to continue supporting this process and to maintain the same vigilance concerning human rights, so that there is not a single stateless person in the region.”

The President of Haiti assured that his country is on the road to recovery from the devastating earthquake of January 2010 and recalled that it celebrates 210 years of independence this year and stressed that his government devotes 14 percent of its budget to education. By way of example he noted that the country provides free education to 1.4 million children, has restored more than a thousand damaged schools and built 369 new ones.

President Martelly noted his country’s closeness to the OAS, with which it will co-organize a meeting for investors in the middle of this year, and its commitment to host the General Assembly of the Organization in 2015. "We hope to see you in Haiti in July 2014, during our meeting on investment and, in June 2015, during the 45th Regular Meeting of the OAS General Assembly," he said.

Finally, the Haitian President expressed his solidarity with the country’s neighbors in Dominica, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, which suffered heavy and damaging floods in December. "You will agree with me that the vulnerability to natural disasters is common to almost all the small states of the Greater Caribbean," he said. He added that this "is an issue that must continue to be addressed at a regional level, and that's why I strongly appeal for the strengthening of regional and subregional structures and mechanisms for the prevention and management of risks and disasters."

The OAS and Haiti

In his address, Secretary General Insulza stressed the "full commitment of the OAS to Haiti," one of the founding members of the hemispheric Organization, noting the leadership of President Martelly in the reconstruction of the country after the earthquake four years ago. "The progress made of this effort is obvious, but the road ahead remains long and complex challenges remain," he added.

The Secretary General also referred to the efforts of the Haitian government in pursuit of political dialogue and the strengthening of its democracy. "Today we emphasize the latest initiative of the political dialogue in which the President was personally involved," he recalled, recommending to those involved "in this inter-Haitian dialogue between the Executive, the Legislature and political parties under the direction of the President and of the Episcopal Conference, to work together to reach an agreement leading to free, fair and inclusive elections in 2014, in order to address in the long run in an ever-more efficient manner the other essential political issues in the country.”

Insulza emphasized the importance of holding elections in the Caribbean country, noting that “holding fair elections in the best possible conditions, will provide the government with the opportunity to demonstrate its willingness to act to strengthen the country’s institutions and to promote the fundamental principles of political change and dialogue, thereby creating an indispensable climate for the integral, social and economic development of the country.”

The OAS leader recalled some of the programs with which the Organization supports Haiti, like the configuration of its census. “I want to recall that the OAS, between 2005 and 2012, assisted the National Identification Office with the registration and delivery of identity cards to more than 5 million people, and we want to continue this cooperation,” he said.

For his part, the Chair of the Council and Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic, Pedro Vergés, highlighted the presence of all member states of the OAS at the reception of President Martelly “as a sign of the willingness of the region to help Haiti in its economic recovery.” “In this Permanent Council we feel the advances in Haiti as our own, the achievements of Haiti are, for us, reasons to be proud,” said the Chair of the Council.

Ambassador Vergés also expressed his appreciation to the President of Haiti for his capacity for dialogue and for his commitment to the pillars and programs of the Organization. “Thank you Mister President for maintaining the Inter-American system and agenda as a priority in your administration. Thank you for your faith and your trust in the OAS. The member states of this Organization hope that Haiti will achieve the well-being it deserves, the best training for its people and the optimal improvement of its infrastructure in the least time possible,” he noted.

Ambassador Vergés also referred to the open dialogue between his country and Haiti on the recent decision by the Dominican Constitutional Court and praised “the good disposition shown by your government – that is to say, by you, Mr. President – to deal with the Dominican Republic on common issues.” In this regard, the Dominican diplomat wished “wholeheartedly, that the fruits of these conversations will benefit the peoples of such beloved nations.”

Before the beginning of the Council meeting, Secretary General Insulza received President Martelly in his office at the headquarters of the Organization in a private meeting.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The B-Roll of the event is available here.

The audio of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-036/14