PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that Haiti will continue to receive aid from the U.S., regardless of the controversy resulting from the nation’s presidential elections.
Clinton announced her country’s commitment last weekend during a one-day trip to Haiti to consult with President René Préval and the three candidates vying for a place in the presidential runoff – Mirlande Manigat, Jude Célestin and Michel Martelly – as well as members of civil society.
Mirlande and Célestin were announced by Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) as the two candidates, having received the most votes in the November 28 election, who would proceed to a runoff. Following violent protests denouncing the decision, an Organization of American States (OAS) expert mission that was called in to review the results found irregularities in the tally and said some votes had to be cast aside, resulting in Manigat with 31.6 per cent of the vote, Martelly 22.2 per cent and Célestin trailing with 21.9 per cent.
Clinton continues to support the OAS report which recommends that Célestin be replaced by Martelly in the run-off.
“We support the OAS recommendations, and we would like to see those acted on,” she said.
“I want to underscore that this was not an American initiative. There were no Americans involved. This was an OAS initiative under the inter-American democratic charter and it’s not only those of us in the hemisphere that are concerned, but the UN, the European Union, others.”
When asked by reporters whether the refusal to go with the OAS recommendation would result in suspension of much needed aid to Haiti, Clinton replied: “Not at this time, no.”
“We have a deep commitment to the Haitian people,” Clinton added. “And that goes to humanitarian aid, it goes to governance and democracy programs…We are focused on helping the Haitian people and one of the ways we want to help them is by making sure that their political choices are respected,” she said.