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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05PORTAUPRINCE1084
2005-04-19 18:37:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Port Au Prince
Cable title:  

HAITI ELECTIONS: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH OAS

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  EAID  HA 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L PORT AU PRINCE 001084 

SIPDIS

WHA/EX PLEASE PASS USOAS
NSC FOR SHANNON
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/18/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID HA
SUBJECT: HAITI ELECTIONS: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH OAS
ELECTIONS CHIEF

Classified By: Ambassador James B. Foley. Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L PORT AU PRINCE 001084

SIPDIS

WHA/EX PLEASE PASS USOAS
NSC FOR SHANNON
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/18/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID HA
SUBJECT: HAITI ELECTIONS: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH OAS
ELECTIONS CHIEF

Classified By: Ambassador James B. Foley. Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C) Ambassador Foley met with Ambassador Denneth Modeste
and newly arrived OAS elections unit chief Elisabeth Spehar
April 13, to discuss the current status of the Haitian
electoral process. Ambassador Foley opened the meeting by
affirming that the USG is categorically committed to the
current elections calendar which would have the new Haitian
president sworn into office February 7, 2006. Modeste agreed
that the calendar must be respected. Spehar reported that
with the voter registration process now scheduled to begin
April 25, the elections timetable could be adhered to.
Modeste told Ambassador that he was extremely pleased to have
Spehar on board at the OAS Special Mission as she "knows her
onions" having spent several years directing the OAS's Unit
for the Promotion of Democracy.


2. (C) Modeste and Spehar also raised concerns regarding
the staffing and infrastructure of the Provisional Electoral
Council (CEP), citing serious reservations as to whether the
CEP was up to the enormous task it faces. Ambassador Foley
pointed out that the issue of a weak counterpart institution
was not unique to the elections arena but was true across the
board in Haiti and we must play with the cards we are dealt.
When probed for specific actions that the Ambassador could
undertake to address the shortcomings, Modeste requested that
the Ambassador approach CEP member Pierre-Richard Duchemin to
advocate that the CEP accept OAS assistance through its
institution strengthening project by staffing the two most
important positions of Director General and Director of
Operations. The staffing of these two positions by
candidates with appropriate experience has the potential to
greatly facilitate the work of the CEP. However, for OAS
assistance to be available, the candidates would have to be
acceptable to both the OAS and the CEP. (Note: Progress on
this issue has been stymied due to the CEP's suggested
candidates being the result of political patronage and/or
nepotism. Ambassador subsequently called Duchemin and urged
him to accept the OAS offer of assistance. End note.)
Modeste and Spehar were unequivocal in their endorsement of
Duchemin as the "best of the lot."


3. (C) Modeste told the Ambassador that SRSG Juan Gabriel
Valdes shared his concerns and suggested that a joint
approach be made to the Prime Minister to make an
intervention with the CEP admonishing them to make a more
conscientious effort in order to succeed at the task at hand.
Modeste thought that an approach to the CEP from the Conseil
des Sages would be more appropriate.


4. (C) Modeste also raised concern regarding the performance
of the MINUSTAH Elections Support Unit. He opined that
during the negotiations for the UN-OAS Memorandum of
Understanding the UN had not realized the magnitude and
dimension that an electoral process in Haiti entailed.
However, he went on to mention that the recent
sub-contracting of UNOPS for several aspects of the
implementation, especially regarding security, was a positive
step.


5. (C) Comment: Initial indications are that Spehar is a
good fit for the critical position of OAS elections support
chief. The concerns raised by the OAS regarding the CEP's
deficiencies are well-taken and, indeed, have been of concern
to Post. We also agree that Duchemin is the most
conscientious and diligent among the CEP members. End
comment.
FOLEY