News / Americas

    Several Election Offices Attacked in Haiti as Runoff Nears

    A protester runs past a burning car during a protest against President Michel Martelly's government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 18, 2016.
    A protester runs past a burning car during a protest against President Michel Martelly's government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 18, 2016.
    Associated Press

    Stone-throwing demonstrators on Monday smashed car windows and set at least two vehicles ablaze in Haiti's capital, hours after several electoral offices were attacked in northern towns as the country prepares for a Jan. 24 presidential and legislative runoff.

    Roughly 2,000 protesters took to streets in downtown Port-au-Prince calling for new elections and the immediate removal of outgoing President Michel Martelly, among other grievances. Roads in the downtown slum of Bel Air were blocked with flaming tire barricades and at least a dozen motorists had their cars pelted with rocks. A truck and an SUV were torched by young men near a police station.

    Most opposition protesters were dispersed and roadblocks cleared by late afternoon. Police scattered some demonstrators with tear gas in Bel Air, one of many impoverished areas where young people who've never held any kind of steady job are easy pickings for political actors looking for protesters for hire.

    High school science teacher Elisme Nerius walked his 9-year-old son home from school near a barricaded intersection where black smoke was still billowing.

    Protesters chant anti-government slogans during a protest against President Michele Martelly's government to demand the cancellation of the Jan. 24, elections, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 18, 2016.
    Protesters chant anti-government slogans during a protest against President Michele Martelly's government to demand the cancellation of the Jan. 24, elections, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 18, 2016.

    “My hope is that when my boy is old enough to vote, this country can finally hold decent and calm elections,'' Nerius said.

    Offices set on fire

    In northern Haiti, Police Inspector Michel Henri said three electoral offices were set on fire late Sunday in towns around the city of Cap-Haitien and at least two others were pelted with rocks and other objects.

    Henri said the three offices that were set ablaze “weren't totally destroyed'' because locals managed to douse the flames.

    Gerardo de Icaza, electoral observation director at the Organization of American States, tweeted Monday that the OAS mission “deplores and strongly condemns'' the violence targeting offices of Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council.

    The OAS called on Haitian political actors to reject violence and “act peacefully.''

    Allegations of fraud

    Last month, several government buildings were burned and one demonstrator was killed in scattered violent protests sparked by the release of final legislative election results.

    Protesters set tires alight during a street protest against President Michel Martelly's government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 18, 2016.
    Protesters set tires alight during a street protest against President Michel Martelly's government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 18, 2016.

    Campaigning for Haiti's presidential runoff kicked off earlier this month, but only government-backed candidate Jovenel Moise has been campaigning. Opposition presidential candidate Jude Celestin is boycotting the scheduled Jan. 24 vote and said his party will not send any monitors to polling stations.

    “We are moving toward a selection, not an election,'' Celestin told The Associated Press on Saturday.

    Celestin leads an opposition alliance alleging widespread electoral fraud in favor of Moise, Martelly's chosen successor.

    The United Nations, the United States and the OAS have said they support holding the final round this month so a transfer of power to a new leader can take place by a Feb. 7 constitutional deadline. The first round of voting was held Oct. 25.

    Electoral council officials have said that Celestin's name and photo will still appear on ballots because he never officially withdrew from the race, while the candidate asserts they have no right to do so without his authorization.

    Over the weekend, Roman Catholic leaders in Haiti launched a last-ditch effort to help broker a solution to the electoral crisis, but it's unclear whether any progress is being made.

    Augustin Jean Eden, who makes his living driving a brightly painted minibus known as a tap-tap, said he was worried that political gamesmanship would prevent any compromise.

    “If they hold the elections on Sunday, Port-au-Prince will be a disaster. Who would come out and vote?'' he said as he watched a truck smolder.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    Uruguay Formally Ends its Presidency of Mercosur Trade Bloc

    Ministry statement said there are no legal arguments for blocking transfer of presidency to Venezuela, it stopped short of announcing that Venezuela would now lead South American group

    Court: Brazil's Lula to Stand Trial for Obstruction of Justice

    Brazil's ex-president officially a defendant in sprawling corruption probe focused on state-run oil company Petrobras

    Australian Olympic Team Evacuated for Dorm Fire

    Small fire in basement of team living quarters caused no injuries; quality of Olympic housing for athletes sparks complaints

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    Cambodian-American Swimmer to Compete at Rio 2016

    Brown University student said he hopes to break his previous record for the men's 100-meter freestyle at Olympic Games

    Venezuela's Opposition-run Congress Defies Government Over Ban

    Conflict of powers heightened when three lawmakers facing fraud accusations were reinstated Thursday