Haiti: Democratic process, reconstruction and development process

It is imperative to stop any form of electoral violence, physical or verbal. Democracy requires, necessarily, the scrupulous respect of all ideas and those who professes them; otherwise, democracy becomes the alibis of those who wish to conquer and impose their own ideas on others without convincing them. Although freedom of expression is a constitutive right of democracy, it must be exercised according to the law and not utilized, in any case, as an instrument to pervert the results of the electoral process.

We appreciate the efforts the Haitian authorities and the responsible international organizations have made for the organization of these elections. We call on them to continue their work to the best of their abilities to obtain a result, which in time and form permits the formation of a new parliament and government in accordance of the will of the Haitians. We are making a special call to the election observers, national and international, to act as guarantors of the process according to the applicable regulation and to observe the neutrality that gives legitimacy to their work.

The members of the Club of Madrid -79 ex heads of states and democratic governments- are conscious of the difficulties that have preceded this second electoral round; they are equally aware of the arguments of those who maintain that the electoral process should be cancelled entirely. But the democratic process cannot be stopped now. The adequate conclusion of these elections will be the best proof that Haiti has advanced on the path to recuperation and, most importantly, will be a demonstration of Haitian commitment to their own future.

The challenges of the future are huge; Haitians demand and deserve a physical, economic and institutional reconstruction of their country, and this will require the participation of all. Also, the people of Haiti are more than capable to meet the challenge.

A true democratic electoral process does not result in winners and losers; but in the sum of efforts that support the future that Haitians decide for themselves. To make this future a reality, it will be the responsibility of the new parliament and government, but also of those who lose the election, of the whole political class, of the Haitian business community, of civil society and of the Diaspora; they all have something to contribute. The international community is to support the efforts of all actors in the framework of relations, which Haitians agree upon.

Only the sum of wills, meeting of ideas, common efforts and constructive criticism will make it possible to leave the hardships behind and start the path of development that will advance Haiti towards freedom from poverty and dependency. Division, malicious criticism, lack of will, and the abuses and excesses will result, inevitably, in a worsening of the situation.

As ex-heads of States and government, we are sure that those that, like ourselves, occupied positions of responsibility in Haiti in the past, and those who will stop occupying them as a consequence of the March 20th elections, will know how to make constructive and responsible use of their political experience and what they represent.

To vote is not only a right; it is a moral and historical obligation with the Haitian past, and a responsibility that shows commitment to the future.