News / Americas

    Short-term Interim Government Likely in Haiti, US Official Says

    A protester playing two vuvuzelas walks next to a fire lighted for a ceremony during a demonstration against the government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 25, 2016.
    A protester playing two vuvuzelas walks next to a fire lighted for a ceremony during a demonstration against the government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 25, 2016.
    Reuters

    Haiti is likely to install an interim government to transfer power to a new president, a senior U.S. official said Monday, after the Caribbean nation called off an election days before current President Michel Martelly is due to leave office.

    The United States' Haiti Special Coordinator Kenneth Merten said Washington wanted to see new elections quickly and opposed a long transitional period, but acknowledged elections were unlikely to be held before Martelly's Feb. 7 departure date.

    "Realistically speaking," Merten told Reuters, "We may be looking at some sort of temporary solution until there is a handover to a new elected president. Our fear is that we go into a situation that is open ended.

    "In our analysis that is a dangerous place to go," Merten said.

    Opposition parties want Martelly to leave on Feb. 7, as mandated by the constitution, although some in his party would like him to remain in office to oversee the elections until his five-year term ends in May.

    Haiti was due to choose Martelly's replacement Sunday, but the two-man race was postponed indefinitely after opposition candidate Jude Celestin refused to participate over alleged fraud that sparked anti-government protests and violence.

    Some candidates have called for an unelected transitional government to take Martelly's place for a longer period of time, harking back to a violent two-year period after a coup in 2004.

    Protesters march during a demonstration against the government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 25, 2016.
    Protesters march during a demonstration against the government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 25, 2016.

    "What is not a good thing is seeing people out on the streets and creating disruption and intimidation, that is not acceptable in our view," said Merten, who was the U.S. ambassador to Haiti at the time of the 2010 earthquake and presidential election that brought Martelly to power.

    Stability elusive

    Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, has been unable to build a stable democracy since the overthrow of the 1957-1986 dictatorship of the Duvalier family and ensuing military coups and election fraud.

    Large counter-protests erupted over the weekend in the north of Haiti, a stronghold for Martelly's preferred successor, ruling party candidate Jovenel Moise. Protesters demanding quick elections have blocked international highways with trucks and burning tires, and marched through northern cities.

    Anne Valerie Timothee Milfort, the president of Moise's Tet Kale party, which wants elections to happen as soon as possible, said protesters Sunday lit a fire against the gate of the home of one of the party's legislative candidates.

    The opposing protests and inflammatory comments by a former coup leader have raised fears that the two sides could clash in the streets, although Martelly's government is engaging in talks with the president of the Senate, an opposition politician, and the mood in Port-au-Prince has begun to cool.

    Only a few hundred people turned out for an opposition rally in the capital on Monday, after five days of larger and sometimes violent protests.

    "We are watching it very carefully, we are very concerned, we hope that dialogue between the candidates, the president and the president of the Senate and others can come to a solution," Merten said.

    Martelly took power in May 2011, after the constitution's February deadline, because of a political logjam and delays due to the earthquake.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    Kidnapped Mexican Football Star Rescued

    Alan Pulido was abducted by gunmen outside his home town of Ciudad Victoria as he left a party

    Hundreds of Thousands of Brazilians Hold Gay Rights Parade

    Gay rights advocates in Brazil are pushing the congress to pass a law allowing Brazilians to legally identify themselves as the gender of their choice

    Haiti Braces for Trouble as Election Panel Report Is Due

    Haitians are preparing for trouble as electoral verification commission is due to deliver results of its monthlong review of last year's contested presidential and legislative elections

    Brazil Launches Manhunt for Alleged Gang Rapists

    Police identifies four of 30 suspects who gang raped teenager and posted video online

    'El Chapo' Lawyers Split on Extradition Case

    Lawyers can't agree on staving off extradition to US

    Colombia Rebels Release Three Journalists

    All three, including a Spanish correspondent working on a story about coca growers, were released Friday