Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Violence grips Haiti ahead of elections

by Staff Writers
Port-Au-Prince (AFP) Nov 23, 2010
Violence flared ahead of weekend elections in quake-hit Haiti amid a spiraling cholera epidemic that has already killed over 1,300 people, fueling debate over delaying the key polls.

Late Monday, gunmen attacked the motorcade of INITE ruling party candidate Jude Celestin during a campaign stop in the southeastern municipality of Beaumont.

"One person has gunshot wounds and windows of vehicles in the motorcade were shattered. Mr Celestin is safe and sound. He was not hit," INITE Senate candidate Jean Laveau Frederique told AFP. He blamed the attack on Celestin's opponents.

Earlier, clashes erupted in northwestern Haiti as supporters of longtime opposition leader and former first lady Mirlande Manigat vandalized Celestin's campaign headquarters, protesting the presence of electoral registration officers they accuse of being fraudulent government lackeys.

Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) offices were also attacked elsewhere in the country, including in the southern town of Miragoane, Haitian radio reported.

Health officials said at least 1,344 people have died from the worsening cholera epidemic that has ravaged the country since mid-October. More than 57,000 cases have now been confirmed.

Amid fears the disease could spread more quickly in an election environment when people have to move and congregate, four of the 19 presidential candidates published a letter this weekend demanding the polls be put on hold.

But former prime minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis, a leading candidate, said the elections must go ahead as planned so that outgoing President Rene Preval leaves office as scheduled on February 7.

"That's why it's necessary to hold the elections, and people should go out and vote," he said.

Nearly 4.7 million Haitians are eligible to vote in Sunday's elections, which will also see 11 of the country's 30 senators and all 99 parliamentary deputies chosen.

The next president faces the mammoth task of rebuilding a traumatized nation of 10 million that was already the poorest in the Americas before a January earthquake flattened Port-au-Prince and claimed 250,000 lives.

Billions of dollars of international aid money could be squandered if no credible government emerges to replace Preval, himself under fire for his management of the cholera outbreak.

The head of the European Union mission in Haiti also called for the polls to take place as planned despite the uncertain climate.

"Not holding elections right now could jeopardize Haiti's political stability. We are in the middle of rebuilding a country that needs a government able to manage the situation. There can be no pause in the momentum after the earthquake," Lut Fabert-Goosens told reporters.

She insisted the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSTAH was "ready to provide security."

The build-up to the elections has been complicated by anti-UN riots in several regions, particularly in the north, where aid agencies complain their cholera response is being badly hampered.

Many Haitians blame UN peacekeepers from Nepal for bringing cholera into the country after the epidemic erupted suspiciously near their base in the central Artibonite River valley.

"As of today, there are no plans to move them out," UN assistant secretary general for field planning Tony Banbury said when asked about the future of the Nepalese contingent of just over 1,000 troops and police.

"The country is suffering, there are people dying. It is natural that Haitians want to know what the source is."

The Conference of Haitian Bishops has called for calm, urging voters to "choose leaders who will work for all the people."

Port-au-Prince had been seen as particularly at risk of widespread infection because of the crowded and unsanitary conditions endured by those living in the squalid, makeshift tent cities.

But less than 80 deaths have been recorded so far in the capital and the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which has taken a lead role in treating the disease there, says the situation in the city is stabilizing.

UN peacekeepers in armored trucks fired tear gas on the crowds in hours-long running clashes in Port-au-Prince last week. That incident followed days of rioting that left at least three people dead in northern Cap-Haitien.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Gates backs crisis cells to aid Latin America in disasters
Santa Cruz, Bolivia (AFP) Nov 22, 2010
Defense ministers from across the Americas on Monday mulled the creation of crisis cells that would spring into action in a natural disaster, an idea US Defense Secretary Robert Gates described as "promising." The proposal was discussed at the ninth Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas in Bolivia's largest city Santa Cruz. Gates told representatives from some 30 countries that ... read more

Seven killed as bridge collapses in China

LIDAR Applications In Coastal Morphology And Hazard Assessment

Violence grips Haiti ahead of elections

Finnish know-how can solve global problems: Nokia chief

Branson launching digital magazine for iPad

Thales announces venture for Chinese in-flight systems

Boeing Offers New Surveillance Detection System

Google seeking Miramax films for YouTube: NY Post

Bluefin tuna on the edge: who's to blame?

Africa to fall short on water Millennium Goals: UN

Crunch time at bluefin tuna meet

US closes shrimping near oil spill as 'precaution'

US designates 'critical' polar bear habitat in Arctic

Operation IceBridge Completes Another Successful Antarctic Campaign

Delayed ice threatening Canada polar bears

As Arctic Temperatures Rise, Tundra Fires Increase

U.K.: Food from cloned animals safe

Shrubby Crops Can Help Fuel Africa's Green Revolution

Mildew-Resistant And Infertile

Germany's top court upholds restrictive GM crops law

Indonesia's Mount Bromo shoots ash in low-level eruption

Indonesia issues eruption alert for second volcano

US spared hit during record hurricane season

Indonesia volcano death toll rises to 322

New north-south war in Sudan would cost 100 bln dlrs: study

South says six wounded in Sudan army attack

Niger air force chief held for plotting: government

US gives funds to Zambia to fight AIDS

Jet-Lagged And Forgetful? It's No Coincidence

Single drop of blood could reveal age

Study Reveals Neural Basis Of Rapid Brain Adaptation

Human Children Outpaced Neanderthals By Slowing Down

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement