Clinton rencontre les candidats à la présidence
- Monday, Janvier 31, 2011 10:24 am
Secrétaire d'Etat américaine Hillary Clinton est arrivée en Haïti dimanche pour une visite d'une journée. Elle a rencontré le président René Préval et le plus tôt rencontré chacun des trois candidats les manœuvres pour le remplacer.
Seuls deux candidats peuvent passer à la deuxième ronde retardée, désormais prévue pour le 20 Mars. Les États-Unis soutient une Organisation des États américains recommandation que le gouvernement construction officielle Jude Célestin, devrait être laissé de côté en faveur de musicien Michel Martelly.
Le haut responsable américain à l'ONU, Susan Rice, a récemment déclaré que "soutien durable" des Etats-Unis exigeait que les recommandations de l'OEA être mises en œuvre. Beaucoup de responsables haïtiens, dont des dirigeants de l'unité du parti et Martelly de Préval, interprétés comme signifiant que les Etats-Unis menaçait d'un embargo et de couper l'aide.
Clinton a catégoriquement repoussé cette proposition. «Nous ne parlons pas de tout cela," at-elle déclaré dimanche.
«Nous avons un profond engagement envers le peuple haïtien», at-elle déclaré aux journalistes. "Cela va à l'aide humanitaire, qui va à des programmes de gouvernance et de la démocratie, qui se rendra à un centre de traitement du choléra."
Prié de dire s'il y avait un ensemble de circonstances qui inciteraient Washington de couper l'aide, Clinton a dit: «À ce stade, non».
Still, she insisted that the United States would press the recommendations by international monitors after a disorganized, fraud-ridden first-round presidential vote in November. The OAS determined that Celestin finished last and should drop out. Celestin has yet to do so.
"We're focused on helping the Haitian people," Clinton said ahead of the meetings. "One of the ways we want to help them is by making sure that their political choices are respected."
Haiti is in a deepening and potentially destabilizing political crisis. The announcement of preliminary results from the disputed first round led to rioting in December. Final results are expected to be announced Wednesday.
Just five days after, on Feb. 7, comes the constitutional end of Preval's five-year term.
A law passed by an expiring Senate last May would allow him to remain in power for an extra three months, but it is not clear if his government would continue to be recognized by donor countries. But Preval has said he does not want to hand power to an interim government.
"That's one of the problems we have to talk about," Clinton said. "There are issues of a continuing government, how that can be structured. And that's what I'm going to be discussing."
Leaders of Preval's party said last week that they would agree with Celestin stepping down, but the candidate has not commented since and his lawyers continue to plead his case to the electoral council. It is not clear what Preval himself thinks.
Sunday afternoon, each of the bickering presidential candidates arrived by SUV at the black metal gates of the U.S. ambassador's sprawling residence for individual meetings with Clinton.
Martelly came and went first. Mirlande Manigat, the former first lady who led the polling, met with Clinton second. Celestin's meeting came last.
Only Manigat stopped to talk to a small gaggle of mostly foreign reporters waiting at the gate.
"You don't get the sense that the United States wants the election to be canceled but you can feel that they would like there to be stability," the law professor said. "(Clinton) asked me what conditions I could find to make these elections more acceptable. I said a climate of calm ... (and) that they would make some changes in the electoral council."
Acknowledging the tight time frame for Haiti, Clinton said she wanted to hear ideas on how Haiti's transition should be handled but then make her own assessment on the best way forward.
The political crisis comes as the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation tries to restart its economy after decades of stifling poverty and unemployment, and the massive loss of life and infrastructure in last year's earthquake.
Hundreds of thousands of people remain in homeless camps and major rebuilding has not started. Underlying issues such as land-tenure reform and the development and reconstruction of government institutions have barely been addressed. Massive piles of rubble and collapsed buildings remain throughout the capital.
Meanwhile, a cholera epidemic that started outside the quake zone and has killed more than 4,000 people continues to rage. Clinton visited a tented treatment center Sunday.
She said reconstruction has been steady "but not adequate to the task that we are confronting."
"The problems are significant," Clinton told the pool of reporters traveling with her. "Like what do you do with all the rubble? It's a really big problem."