Headline, July 16 2021/ ''' '' HAITIAN STUDENTS HAUNTS '' '''

''' '' HAITIAN 


IF HISTORY IS ANY GUIDE, COUNTRIES CAN FUNCTION - TO VARYING DEGREES, with nobody in power, or power disputed. In the postwar years, Italy and Belgium have managed with no government for long periods, but they had solid democratic institutions.

HAITI - A COUNTRY IN MELTDOWN : Haiti has endured turmoil with very little respite through all of its history. As rivals battle for power, Haiti lacks the institutional stability to end the dispute.

'' HAITIAN DEMOCRACY HAS BEEN SLIPPING AWAY FOR A LONG TIME, and with each round it's been getting worse,'' said Peter Mulrean, a former United States ambassador to Haiti. ''There is not much left to save.''

Battered by gang violence and and endemic corruption, it's Parliament near vacant, its judiciary in tatters, the Constitution subject to dispute, it's poverty crushing and its history a chronicle of unrest, Haiti was in a hopeless shape even before its president was assassinated and rival factions laid claim to power.

Claude Joseph, the interim prime minister, and a group of eight of the 10 remaining members of the Parliament in the country of 11 million people have separately said they have legitimate rights to assume power to fill Haiti's vacuum of authority.

Mr. Joseph, as the incumbent, has tepid backing from a Biden administration desperate not to be sucked in into a quagmire. The vestigial Senate, having been elected, has some legal imprimatur but is dogged by accusations of corruption and self-dealing.

When power is disputed, institutional strengths and the rule of law become paramount. Haiti has little or none. It finds itself in a desperate void. As the battle;e for power escalates, there is scarcely a Haitian democratic institution standing that can adjudicate the dispute stemming from the assassination of the president, Jovenel Moise, in his home last Wednesday.

The potential for the crisis in Haiti to worsen is evident. Mr. Joseph immediately declared ''a state of siege,'' a form of martial law, but his right to do so was unclear. In many ways, rampant gang violence had already reduced Haiti to a coalition resembling a country under siege.

The Senate, or what's left of it, wants Joseph Lambert, its president, to become provisional president and Mr. Joseph replaced as provisional prime minister by Ariel Henry. Before his death Mr. Moise had named Mr. Henry, a neurosurgeon, to the prime minister's [position, but he had not yet been sworn in.

The path to breaking the standoff is murky. Under Mr. Moise, Parliament was eviscerated. The terms of two thirds of the nation's senators had expired, as did those of every member of the lower house, with no elections to replace them.

Critics accused Mr. Moise of presiding over the collapse deliberately, to further consolidate power. When he was assassinated, the nation was rudderless.

Democracies take root slowly and painfully, and Haiti, since becoming the first independent state of Latin American and the Caribbean in 1804, has suffered turmoil almost without respite.

Crippled by debt imposed by France, occupied by the United States for almost two decades in the early 20th century, undermined by corruption and coups, hit in 2010 by an earthquake and over the past year by the coronavirus pandemic, the country is at its most vulnerable and combustible.

But the Biden administration, at the very moment when the president has been pulling the country back from its forever wars, is war of any deep Haitian involvement, especially of a request from the Haitian officials to deploy American troops. Haitian leaders tend to look to Washington for backing and approval to reinforce their political credentials.

For the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, the path of least resistance may well be to seek to resolve the power conflict by urging Haiti to move forward with elections planned for September. The Biden administration has done just that, as if voting were some panacea.

But in an article in Just Society, Mr. Mulrean, who was the American Ambassador to Haiti between 2015 and 2017, wrote that holding elections would be ''a mistake''.

''It's tempting to think that new elections would clarify the situation and restore stability, but experience teaches us the opposite,'' he wrote. '' What Haiti needs is to take stock of what is broken and fix it.''

A broad coalition of opposition parties and civil society is calling for just that. Voting, they note, solves nothing if the institutions they secure democracy have ceased to function.

The concern, anxiety and seriousness of this publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks author Roger Cohen.

With respectful dedication to The World Leaders, the People and Leaders of Haiti, Students, Professors and Teachers of the World. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011.

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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