News / Americas

    Haitians Prepare to Vote in National Election Sunday

    A man carrying a woman with cholera symptoms walks past campaign posters of presidential candidate Jude Celestin in Port-au-Prince (File)
    A man carrying a woman with cholera symptoms walks past campaign posters of presidential candidate Jude Celestin in Port-au-Prince (File)

    Multimedia

    Haitian voters go to the polls on Sunday to choose a new president and elect a 99-member lower house and 11 members of the 30-seat Senate. The election is going forward despite the cholera epidemic now plaguing the nation and the lingering effects from the earthquake that devastated the country last January.

    With the country still digging out from the earthquake, and in the midst of a deadly cholera epidemic, the election season has come to Haiti.  This election is billed as one of the most important in decades.  International donors are waiting to grant billions in aid money to a new government. The streets are full of campaigners  and fanfare. Mathieu Tranquilor is one of almost 20 candidates running for a senate seat in Port-au-Prince.

    "The election is very important to me because we have 18,000 people living under tents.  And with the help of the international community through different programs and our party we are going to get the country going like it should," Tranquilor said.

    That is the question on most Haitians' minds: will the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, known for rampant corruption and squandering international aid, finally get the political leadership that will bring real change?

    Anticipation is high. Government offices are overwhelmed by people seeking national identity cards necessary to vote.

    Fritcat Monllaiser says he has tried for two days to get an identity card.

    "What I want is change. I want somebody that I can trust to help us," he said.

    Noel Jaenes told us even though he thinks the political process is corrupt and the election rigged, he will vote.

    "Yes, because I want changes in the country," said Jaenes. "The country cannot stay the way it is.  And, we have to come out en masse."

    Some Haitians want the election to be postponed because of the cholera outbreak and earthquake damage. But Tranquilor will hear none of that.

    "As far as the election is concerned, we need to have an election. Because constitutionally, on February 7, the current government will be dissolved.  So we need to have an election with the help of the international community," Tranquilor said.

    Haiti's recent crises have brought new minds into the political process. Haitian-born Russel Lacroix is Tranquilor's campaign manager.  He is a civil engineer from Queens, New York, who has lived in the U.S. for the past 16 years. He came down two weeks ago to help his old school mate run for office.  He plans to stay and run for president himself in five years, the period of residence required by law.

    "You have to understand, I was born in Haiti. I am 100 percent Haitian.  When I saw everything from the  TV, I have to come to my country to see on my own with my own eyes," Lacroix said. "And to see how I can help my country and rebuild my country with the help of the international community.  And that is the main reason why I am here."

    The United States has pledged $14 million in election aid to help fund a team of international observers and other logistical needs.  

    Some officials worry that if turnout is less than 40 percent, the election could be declared illegitimate.   

    With so many candidates running in multiple races, no one expects clear winners on Sunday, setting up a runoff.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    In Colombia, Abortion Is Legal but Denied to Many Women, Advocates Say

    Colombia, a nation of 48 million people, allows abortion in cases of rape, incest, fetal malformation, if the fetus is at risk and if the health, both physical and mental, of the mother is at risk

    Colombia Says 2 More Journalists Missing in Rough Area

    Journalists missing in region where security forces are already carrying out massive search for prominent Spanish journalist, President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday

    Cuba to Legalize Small, Medium-sized Private Businesses

    Move could significantly expand space allowed for private enterprise in one of world's last communist countries

    Coca Cola to Halt Some Production in Venezuela

    Sugar shortages and a deep recession have been forcing production shutdowns across the country

    Recording Allegedly Shows Minister Plotting Against Brazil's Rousseff

    Planning Minister Romero Jucá, who will step down temporarily, denies allegation, says words in published transcript of tape were taken out of context

    Mercury Poisoning Prompts Peru to Declare State of Emergency in Amazon

    People, rivers and fish poisoned; government blames illegal gold mining