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24254: De Verteuil (reply) 24163 Joseph (request) (fwd)
From: Patrick de Verteuil <email@example.com>
I would refer you to two, to my mind decisive, events of 1986.
1) The writing of a new (non presidential) constitution which, to the great
surprise of the military government which had after all nominated half of
the constituent assembly members, included provisions for a strong
independent electoral council. This constitution was ratified, in a
referendum, by an enormous majority.
2) The widely followed general strike against the military government's
attempt to claim for the provisional electoral council - which they would
appoint and which would oversee the election of a new "democratic"
government - greater power than the new constitution reserved for the
eventual democratic permanent electoral council. (After 20 years Haiti is
still waiting for its first permanent electoral council!)
The "Democratic movement" had shown its strength in 1) and again in 2). The
military government gave in and accepted that the temporary electoral
council would operate beyond its (the army's) control.
I trace the eventual collapse of the democratic opposition to this point.
Largely at the behest of Haiti's most left leaning bishop (Ligondé of the
Grand'Anse) an attempt was made to keep the strike going in order to force
the resignation of the military government. This failed because:
1) The strike had already lasted much longer than could be expected from a
population largely living from day to day with no savings to fall back on.
2) There was no visible viable alternative (without elections) to the MG.
3) Faced with intransigent demands the MG had no choice but to fight and, as
a result, discovered that it was a lot less weak than had appeared.
I believe that the united democratic movement never recovered from this
Patrick de Verteuil "firstname.lastname@example.org"