Running an Election in a Time of Cholera

Friday, November 26, 2010

Supporters of Haitian presidential candidate Jude Celestin show their support for him during a campaign rally November 25, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Joe Raedle/Getty)

Haitians want change. They have been struggling to physically rebuild their society in the aftermath of the earthquake. This weekend, they will attempt to do some political rebuilding, as well. The country is set to vote for a new president, 99 deputies and 20 senators this Sunday.

But the cholera epidemic has some wondering if it might be best to delay the vote. Others have little faith that elections, either now or in a post-cholera future, will create any real change in the country. We speak with Amb. Colin Granderson, head of the Joint Electoral Observation Mission, to hear what's happening on the ground as the election nears.

We also hear the latest on the ground from BBC reporter Mark Doyle.

(Below, a slideshow of recent happenings in Haiti)

Clancy Nolan

Campaign posters for Haiti's 19 presidential candidates are plastered to nearly every building and wall in Port-au-Prince. A runoff will be held if no clear winner emerges in Sunday's election to replace outgoing President René Préval.

Clancy Nolan

Musician and presidential candidate Michel Martelly, best known as "Sweet Mickey," at a November 17 debate in Petionville, Haiti. Though not favored to win the election, Martelly's rallies draw large crowds of young supporters.

Clancy Nolan

Presidential candidate Mirlande Manigat waves to supporters after a debate. Longtime opposition leader and a former first lady, Manigat would become Haiti's first woman president if elected. Her husband, Leslie Manigat, served just four months as president in 1988 before being deposed in a military coup.

Clancy Nolan

Former Prime Minister and current presidential candidate Yvon Neptune greets supporters after the final round of debates in Petionville on Wednesday, November 17.

Clancy Nolan

Posters for Haiti presidential candidate Jude Celestin line the walls of a building in a trash-strewn area of Port-au-Prince. Celestin, a member of President René Préval's INITE (Unity) party, is one of the front-runners for the November 28 election.

Clancy Nolan

A man climbs through the rubble that was once the Notre Dame Cathedral of Port-au-Prince. More than 10 months after the earthquake, reconstruction is slow, with rubble choking the streets.

Clancy Nolan

UN troops drive past a group of homeless Haitians gathered to watch a screening of a presidential debate. The U.S. AID-sponsored group FilmAid International screened debates in several camps around Port-au-Prince.

Haitians watch a screening of the presidential debates in the Delmas 32 relief camp in Port-au-Prince. Despite heavy campaigning, thousands of Haitians lost their national identification cards during the earthquake and will be unable to vote. Some analysts estimate voter turnout will be as low as 40 percent.

Clancy Nolan

Dressed as the Haitian comedian Tonton Bicha, a performer lampoons the presidential candidates following a debate screening at a relief camp in Port-au-Prince.

Clancy Nolan

Ten months after the January 12 earthquake, roughly one million Haitians are still living in relief camps like this one, in the Delmas 32 area of Port-au-Prince.

Michael Mastroianni

Posters for Haiti's presidential candidates line the chain link fence surrounding the destroyed National Palace in Port-au-Prince.


Amb. Colin Granderson

Comments [1]

Clifton Middleton from Homestead, FL

Haitian EcoNomics, a Practical Solution

There are two time proven, green technologies that could provide Haiti with a sustainable economic and agricultural base, one, separating toilets and two, industrial hemp. Here is how they work.
First of all, separating toilets, separating toilets collect urine and feces in separate places. The urine is 18 percent nitrogen and can replace imported fertilizer. Separating toilets do not use and pollute the water supply and are being utilized all over the world to ensure sanitation, protect the environment and collect the most essential of agricultural resources, Nitrogen. How much Nitrogen, enough Nitrogen to produce all the food and biomass fuel necessary for a sustainable society, Here is the math, 125 gallons of urine per year, per person, 50 pounds of nitrogen per person. One million participants could yield 50 million pounds of organic, renewable fertilizer and provide the key to greatly increased food and biomass production.

Secondly, Industrial Hemp, we take the nitrogen and grow industrial hemp on a massive scale. Hemp’s complex root system will help restore the denuded Haitian ecology and hills while producing the raw material for an entire industry. Hemp production, processing and manufacturing will provide full employment for millions of Haitians. Hemp can be made into fuel, fiber, building material, food, medicine and over 25,000 other products used by modern civilization. It is possible to plant enough Industrial Hemp in Haiti to provide the foundation for a sustainable and prosperous economy, providing, fuel, food, fiber and thousands of green, permanent jobs.

Haiti needs to completely rebuild their sanitation system, they need fertilizer for agriculture, they need to create an economy based on production and can accomplish all of this with simple technology. This plan is doable, deployable and decentralized. The Haitian people and nation could become the example of how to establish and maintain a sustainable, independent civilization.

Nov. 26 2010 09:51 AM

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