Elections were relatively peaceful last week, but what I heard from the polls was not encouraging. Many legally registered voters arrived at their assigned poll and were turned away. Some were told to go to other polls, but when they arrived there, were turned away again. Friends of mine said that at one site, they saw that votes had been cast by people who they knew had died in the earthquake.
Unofficial results showed Mickie Martelly the overall winner with 39% of the popular vote and Madame Manigat in second place with 31%. However, we have all had to wait until last night, a full 9 days after the actual election took place, to hear the official results that would name the final 2 candidates that would advance to the second round of voting. And as expected, the official announcement did not line up with the popular vote. The firmly disliked, notoriously dishonest Jude Celestin was named with Madame Manigat as the winners.
Today, there is rioting everywhere. My staff can't get to work because all the main roads are full of burning tires, angry crowds and the UN's violent attempts at peace-keeping. A friend of mine who lives an hour outside the city told me that she is barricaded inside her house with her 4 children to keep them safe from the crowd that is throwing rocks and shooting at officials in front of her home. People are calling for President Preval to be imprisoned or even executed for his role in the election and for his theft of millions of dollars worth of post-quake donations. Sitting here with my friends, we are hearing helicopters overhead and frequent loud booms that sound like cannons shooting downtown. It's surreal.
Please pray for safety and peace in our streets!!
(Photos courtesy of my friends Brittany and Rod who live at QCS, on main Delmas at the top of Delmas 75)