[Senate Prints 111-50]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

111th Congress 
 2d Session                 COMMITTEE PRINT                     S. Prt.


                                A REPORT

                             TO THE MEMBERS

                                 OF THE


                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                     One Hundred Eleventh Congress

                             Second Session

                             JUNE 10, 2010


56-884                    WASHINGTON : 2009
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                 JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut     RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana
RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin       BOB CORKER, Tennessee
BARBARA BOXER, California            JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey          JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland         JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
ROBERT P. CASEY, Jr., Pennsylvania   JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming
JIM WEBB, Virginia                   ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi
JEANNE SHAHEEN, New Hampshire        JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma
                  Frank G. Lowenstein, Staff Director
            Kenneth A. Myers, Jr., Republican Staff Director


                            C O N T E N T S

Letter of Transmittal............................................     v
Introduction.....................................................     1
Background.......................................................     2
Observations.....................................................     3
    Procedural Actions...........................................     3
    Political Actions............................................     4
Recommendations..................................................     4
    In Haiti.....................................................     5
    Within the International Donor Community.....................     5
Conclusion.......................................................     5
Meetings With Individuals in Preparation for or during Visit to 
  Haiti..........................................................     6


                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL


                              United States Senate,
                            Committee on Foreign Relations,
                                     Washington, DC, June 10, 2010.

    Dear Colleagues: On May 26, 2010, I directed two of my 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) staff members, Carl 
Meacham and Garrett Johnson, to assess the viability of 
contesting credible Presidential and parliamentary elections 
slated for this fall in Haiti. They consulted with Haitian 
officials, senior United Nations officials, international 
electoral technicians, and senior members of our Embassy in 
Port-au-Prince. Staff found that even under perfect conditions, 
contesting elections in 2010 will be challenging for Haiti. At 
a time when leadership is needed, whether Haiti will have an 
elected government to succeed President Preval and continue the 
rebuilding effort is currently uncertain.
    The lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate 
that the greatest constraint to rebuilding devastated 
countries, war-torn or otherwise, is the absence of strong and 
transparent leadership. A free and timely election strengthens 
legitimacy and public support enjoyed by any government, and 
this is especially important in Haiti as it contends with a 
natural disaster and a long legacy of troubled governance.
    Though President Preval has informally announced his 
commitment to holding elections on November 28 of this year, he 
has yet to issue an official decree authorizing the Provisional 
Electoral Council to begin preparations. This is an important 
step, as budgetary arrangements and formulation of the 
electoral calendar cannot move forward without the decree.
    I encourage President Preval to issue the appropriate 
decree establishing an official date for Presidential and 
parliamentary elections, without delay. Preparations for 
elections should begin with dispatch because the term of 
Haiti's President and the majority of its Parliament will have 
expired by early 2011. The absence of democratically elected 
successors could potentially plunge the country into chaos, 
adding a political crisis to the death and destruction caused 
by the January 12 earthquake.
    Our Government is sympathetic to the plight of Haitians, as 
demonstrated by the assistance our military, diplomats, and 
development experts provided in the wake of the disaster. More 
importantly, the American people, including many Hoosiers like 
the parishioners of St. Luke's United Methodist Church in 
Indianapolis and the faculty of Notre Dame University, remain 
committed to helping the people of Haiti. But the positive 
effect of assistance programs will be limited if Haiti lacks a 
responsible, popularly elected government.


    This report and its recommendations are particularly timely 
given that arrangements for the November elections are stalled. 
I look forward to continuing to work with you on these issues, 
and I welcome any comments you have.
                                          Richard G. Lugar,
                                                    Ranking Member.


    The devastation caused by the earthquake and ongoing 
aftershocks in Haiti since January 12, 2010, represent one of 
the worst natural disasters to confront the Western Hemisphere. 
Pre-earthquake, the country was considered the poorest in the 
region, with over 70 percent of the population living on less 
than $2 per day and roughly 50 percent of children having no 
access to basic education.\1\ Nearly 3 million people were 
directly affected by the disaster and casualties exceeded 
300,000 according to the Government of Haiti. An estimated 1.5 
million people are currently living under tarps, tents, or 
transitional houses, which increases the likelihood of 
additional casualties and human suffering during hurricane 
    \1\ J.F. Hornbeck, ``The Haitian Economy and the Hope Act,'' 
Congressional Research Service, May 20, 2010.
    \2\ Ezequil A. Lopez, ``U.N. Rep: Haiti Democracy Depends on 
Reconstruction,'' Associated Press, June 2, 2010. Available at http://
    The earthquake's damage amounted to 117 percent of Haiti's 
annual economic output, according to the Inter-American 
Development Bank and the country's GDP was reduced by an 
estimated 50 percent. Monthly apparel sector exports, which the 
recently passed HELP Act seeks to strengthen because of the 
sector's importance to the country's economy, declined 43 
percent from $58.2 million in February 2009 to $33.1 million in 
February 2010.\3\ The loss of a significant number of jobs 
resulting from the disaster, across many sectors including 
apparel, has increased the severity of a chronically high 
unemployment rate.
    \3\ J.F. Hornbeck, ``The Haitian Economy and the Hope Act,'' 
Congressional Research Service, May 20, 2010.
    Up to 40 percent of the civil service perished and 28 out 
of 29 government ministries collapsed, which has significantly 
reduced Haiti's already limited capacity to offer basic 
services.\4\ Six months later, the lack of visible improvements 
in conditions on the ground or official communication regarding 
reconstruction plans is reported to have exacerbated a 
lingering crisis of confidence in the government among many 
Haitians. President Preval's extension of his term beyond the 
constitutionally mandated departure of February 7, 2011, while 
failing to issue a decree calling for and funding elections, is 
said to have raised political tensions in the country and 
deepened concerns among the international community.\5\
    \4\ U.S. Department of State, Hill Briefing Notes, published in 
March 2010.
    \5\ Damien Cave, ``Rubble of a Broken City Strains Haitians' 
Patience,'' New York Times, May 29, 2010. Available at http://

                             Background \6\

    On December 16, 1990, the provisional government of 
President Ertha Pascal-Trouillot held what is believed to be 
the first free and fair elections in Haiti's history, which saw 
Jean-Bertrand Aristide elected President with 67 percent of the 
vote.\7\ In September 1991 he was overthrown by a military coup 
and did not return to power until October 1994, under the 
protection of some 20,000 U.S. troops.
    \6\ This section is adapted from a January 25, 2008, report 
prepared by Maureen Taft-Morales and Clare Ribando Seelke of the 
Congressional Research Service entitled ``Haiti: Developments and U.S. 
Policy Since 1991 and Current Congressional Concerns.''
    \7\ National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. ``The 
1990 General Elections in Haiti,'' December 16, 1990. Available at 
    Presidential elections of December 1995 saw Aristide 
succeeded by Preval, in the first transfer of power between two 
democratically elected Presidents in Haiti's history, and a 
return of Aristide during Presidential elections of December 
2000. All of the elections held under Aristide and Rene Preval, 
however, were marred by alleged irregularities, low voter 
turnout, and opposition boycotts.
    On February 29, 2004, Aristide was forced to resign before 
finishing his Presidential term. After his departure, a 
``council of the wise'' was appointed to serve as the interim 
assembly and they chose Mr. Gerard Latortue as Prime Minister. 
In the absence of an elected head of state, the President of 
Haiti's Supreme Court was named President of Haiti, as 
delineated in article 149 of the Constitution of Haiti.\8\
    \8\ The current structure of Haiti's political system was 
established under the Constitution of Haiti on March 29, 1987.
    Despite efforts by the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti 
(MINUSTAH), established in April 2004 by the U.N Security 
Council, conditions remained unstable and natural disasters 
caused by hurricanes inflamed the instability. After several 
postponements, Presidential elections were contested on 
February 7, 2006, and runoff legislative elections were held in 
April. Following days of protests in the streets and a 
controversial calculation process, Preval was declared the 
winner, although he did not initially receive 51 percent of the 
vote as required by Haitian electoral law. Because the 
elections were delayed from November 2005 to February 2006, 
Preval was not sworn in on February 7, 2006, as stipulated by 
the Haitian Constitution, but on May 14, 2006.
    President Preval's term ends, as mandated by the 
constitution, on February 7, 2011. But because of concerns 
regarding the ability of the Haitian Government to organize 
Presidential and parliamentary elections in the face of the 
devastation caused by the January 12 earthquake, Haiti's 
National Assembly, before the majority of their terms expired 
on May 8, 2010, granted President Preval an extension of his 
Presidential mandate until May 14, 2011--unless a successor is 
elected and prepared to assume office by February 7, 2011.
    As was explained to staff by the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, 
if elections are not held before President Preval's extended 
mandate expires, Haiti may be confronted by a vacuum of power 
at every level of its government. If this occurs, a government 
of transition would need to be established, which would be 
difficult to form and likely lack popular support.


    During meetings with senior officials from the 
International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the 
Government of Canada, staff was informed that convening 
credible elections is feasible in November if key procedural 
and political decisions are made without delay. However, a 
senior member of Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP)--
the entity constitutionally empowered to oversee all 
elections--clearly stated, ``The required schedule in order to 
prepare for elections is not compressible. We have already 
counted that staff must work weekends and holidays to meet our 
deadline.'' Yet, to date, staff learned that because of 
procedural and political squabbles, President Preval has 
neglected to take official action and all election-related 
efforts remain at a standstill.
Procedural Actions
    The baseline procedural action that must be initiated if 
elections are to be held in 2010 is the issue of a Presidential 
decree by Preval, establishing a date and granting the CEP a 
mandate to prepare for Presidential and parliamentary 
elections. Staff learned from senior United Nations officials 
that Preval's reluctance to call officially for elections is 
largely motivated by a ``chicken and egg'' scenario. 
Essentially, the CEP cannot initiate its work without the 
Presidential decree and an estimated $38 million in funding, 
but Preval has stated that donor countries must make firm 
financial commitments before he will set a date. International 
donors, however, are conditioning their commitments on 
receiving a detailed budget and electoral calendar from the 
CEP, which they are incapable of producing absent a 
Presidential decree.
    Following the issuance of a Presidential decree, other 
daunting procedural hurdles would then be confronted in the 
buildup to elections:

   The electoral list must be updated, to reflect 
        population changes since the last time it was revised 
        in 2005, which includes accounting for the nearly 
        300,000 who perished and many more displaced to the 
        hinterlands due to the earthquake. This process must 
        begin no later than July, a broad swath of electoral 
        experts told staff, if elections are to be held in 
   National identification cards must be produced for 
        new registrants, as well as for those whose cards were 
        lost or destroyed as a result of the earthquake. 
        Haiti's National Identification Office (ONI), whose 
        capacity has proven to be limited during past elections 
        according to senior IFES officials, estimates that it 
        can generate approximately 100,000 cards per month. 
        However, the IFES assessment points out that ONI only 
        has one machine in all of Haiti and a breakdown or even 
        delay in production could prove catastrophic for the 
        entire operation.\9\
    \9\ International Foundation for Electoral Systems. ``Post-Disaster 
Assessment on the Feasibility of Organizing Free and Fair Elections in 
Haiti'' May 13, 2010.
Political Actions
    Staff was told in most meetings that the main challenges to 
having elections in Haiti were political. The IFES assessment 
noted that the operational arm of the CEP was technically 
capable of organizing elections but argued that ``giving the 
mandate of organizing the upcoming elections to the current CEP 
would mean that the electoral process will be considered flawed 
and questionable from the beginning.'' \10\
    \10\ Id.
    Staff was informed by U.S. Embassy staff that the week 
before our arrival a CEP member was forced to resign after 
being accused by one of his consultants of having taken his 
salary. Other CEP members allegedly wanted to keep the internal 
conflict concealed and asked the member to resign quietly but 
he refused. The president and director general of the CEP were 
also recently accused publicly by a Haitian senator of awarding 
a significant contract to the relative of a CEP official. Each 
of these incidents has garnered media attention and further 
undermines the CEP's credibility.
    Senior members of the CEP consulted while in Haiti agreed 
that their current membership was problematic, but warned that 
sweeping changes could compromise the ability to contest 
elections in 2010. Nonetheless, one member noted, ``Regardless 
of if the President changes all of the members and the director 
general or just a few of the members, he has to do something.''
    Calls for President Preval to exercise his executive powers 
and reform the CEP have been ongoing since controversial 
decisions made by the CEP to ban candidates representing Fanmi 
Lavalas (FL) from participating in the senatorial elections of 
2009. FL is the political party of Aristide who continues to 
exert control even while exiled in South Africa. The CEP barred 
FL from standing for election, according to senior officials 
from the United Nations, on the grounds that FL's list of 
candidates lacked Aristide's signature.
    Appeals by the United Nations, the Organization of American 
States, and other international partners for the CEP to reverse 
its decision--in order to buttress the legitimacy of the 
elections--went unheeded. Consequentially, many allegedly pro-
Preval candidates prevailed in an election that saw less than 
20 percent of eligible voters participate, according to senior 
U.S. Embassy staff.


    Strong leadership is required by the Government of Haiti if 
elections are to be contested in 2010. The current stalemate 
may prove to be a significant obstacle to the reconstruction 
effort and Haiti's struggle to institutionalize essential 
democratic traditions. The path toward elections in Haiti 
contains many formidable procedural and political obstacles. 
The following recommendations constitute critical steps that, 
if taken without delay, will increase the country's chances of 
realizing economic and political development. Staff strongly 
encourages appropriate officials at the Department of State to 
In Haiti
   President Preval to issue a decree in earnest 
        establishing a date for Presidential and parliamentary 
        elections. This will empower the technical arm of the 
        CEP with the mandate and funding to initiate 
        preparation of electoral lists and identifications 
        cards, as well as voter education campaigns in 
        anticipation of elections.
   President Preval to undertake the appropriate 
        restructuring of CEP's membership, in consultation with 
        international partners, in a way that causes minimal 
        interruption to procedural preparations, but 
        demonstrates a clear political commitment to contesting 
        credible elections.
Within the International Donor Community
   The international donor community to seek an 
        agreement with the CEP and all political parties, 
        including the factions of Famni Lavalas, to ensure that 
        the parties meet the CEP's legal requirements and are 
        not excluded from the elections because of perceived 
   The international donor community, immediately upon 
        issue of the decree by President Preval, to make a 
        portion of election funds available so that the 
        daunting task of updating electoral lists, generating 
        identification cards, and reallocating displaced 
        persons to the appropriate polling center can begin 
        before July 2010.


    The people of Haiti are confronted with a unique 
opportunity to fundamentally alter the trajectory of their 
economic, social, and political future. Rebuilding the country 
is already proving to be a slow and daunting challenge, which 
will demand extraordinary leadership and unity of purpose if it 
is to be successful. The United States and the international 
community have demonstrated their desire to support the people 
of Haiti as they attempt to realize this objective. But this 
commitment should not be taken for granted.
    President Preval and his administration should view the 
elections of 2010 as a moment to signal clearly their 
commitment to a democratic framework and good governance, which 
then must be visible in day-to-day actions. The outpouring of 
goodwill and resources by the United States and the 
international community should be leveraged by Haiti's leaders 
to catalyze compromises on contentious issues so that all sides 
can go forward and rebuild Haiti together.

         Meetings With Individuals in Preparation For or During
                             Visit to Haiti

U.S. Diplomats
Kenneth Merten, Ambassador to Haiti
David Lindwall, Deputy Chief of Mission
Kara McDonald, Political Counselor
Greg Groth, Economic Counselor
Haitian Government Officials
Gaillot Dorsinvil, Provisional Electoral Council, President
Jacques Belzin, Provisional Electoral Council, Treasurer
Pierre-Louis Opont, Provisional Electoral Council, Director 
United Nations Officials
Kevin Kennedy, United Nations, Special Representative of the 
        Secretary General
David Le Notre, United Nations, OIC Electoral Assistance 
Organization of American States Official
Albert Ramdin, Organization of American States, Assistant 
        Secretary General
International Elections Experts
Sophie Lagueny, International Foundation for Electoral System, 
        Chief of Party
Rachna Mishra, Embassy of Canada, Political Counselor