Haiti post-election update

They announced the Haiti election results, and it appears that vote-rigging and fraud landed the establishment candidate a second-place finish, less than 1% over the favored candidate of the Haitian street (carnival singer Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly). That means Martelly is out of the runoff, unless something changes. The US Embassy immediately released a press release challenging the credibility of the announced results, which are at odds with what poll observers predicted (they predicted the establishment candidate, Jude Celestin, would be out in the first round). Top vote getter was the wife of a former Haitian President, Manigat. The combination of Martelly being out and Celestin being in has enraged many people.

Lots of protests, rock throwing, tire burning, sporadic shooting, last night. Sounds calm where I am this morning, but the air outside is pretty thick with smoke from tires. My friend and I have been told not to show up to work–it would have been about a half-hour drive, and there are already lots of barricade throughout the city, and people toss a random rock at passing cars, so no point risking a broken window.

I’m in a safe place in the city of Port-au-Prince, where I can work here today and probably get more done than if I was down at the UN base anyway. But all the messiness does hamper my work plan for the rest of my stay–we’ll see if it is possible to travel tomorrow or Friday.

The election mess comes on top of the release of a report by a French epidemiologist yesterday that attributes the cholera outbreak to UN peacekeeping troops from Nepal. That doesn’t endear people the to international presence here.

And I’m sure that all this disruption will make it nearly impossible for people deathly ill with cholera to make their way to the already-difficult-to-reach cholera treatment centers.

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