Popular Initiative calls for removal of Bush appointee in Haiti
April 24, 2009
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Popular Initiative calls for removal of Bush appointee in Haiti

by Kevin Pina

HIP - A spokesperson for grassroots organizations aligned with Haiti's Fanmi Lavalas party demanded the Obama administration remove current US Ambassador Janet Sanderson. Reached by telephone in the capital of Port-au-Prince a leader of a group calling itself the Popular Initiative stated, "She is lying about last Sunday's elections by not acknowledging it was our boycott that kept voters away." He continued, "She claims it was because this was not a regular election year and that people may be tired of the political process. The only voter fatigue we have in Haiti is with undemocratic elections. Allow Fanmi Lavalas to participate and we'll show you the voters have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for an authentic democratic process. She is out of touch with reality in Haiti."

Haiti held controversial Senate elections last week that were boycotted by Fanmi Lavalas after all of their candidates were excluded on procedural grounds. Voters mostly stayed at home on election day after Lavalas launched a campaign called Operation Closed Door. The Obama administration is widely seen as having green lighted the contested elections after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Haiti three days prior to the ballot.

The Popular Initiative has also called for a re-evaluation of US policy in Haiti by the Obama administration claiming that its current direction is a holdover from the Bush administration. A second spokesperson in the conference call declared, "It is time for a real change in Haiti and that can only come by breaking with the past which means the policies of the Bush administration… A good place to start is with the removal of Ambassador Sanderson who was put in place by the Bush government." They also blamed Ambassador Janet Sanderson for pressuring the Preval administration to issue arrest warrants for 42 of the organizers of the election boycott including five hunger strikers who were forced out of the parliament building by police earlier on Monday. "She made remarks on the radio that the organizers should be investigated. Since then several of our people have been forced into hiding including Rene Civil and Nawoon Marcellus. They have invented a new and bizarre charge, obstruction of democracy," concluded the spokesperson.

At a press conference yesterday, the Popular Initiative and other groups aligned with Lavalas announced they would step up the pressure for the return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide from exile in the Republic of South Africa. They declared May and June months of mass mobilization against elections that exclude Lavalas and to fight what they call the "growing misery and poverty as a result of the removal of our democratically elected president in Feb. 29, 2004."

©2009 Haiti Information Project
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