Yesterday, I wrote a post entitled "The Haitian Elections are Disputed...now what?" At that point, it looked like Haiti was headed towards a major crisis. 12 of the Presidential candidates had held a press conference to denounce the elections as fraudulent. Crowds had gathered in Petionville to protest against the elections. A well-connected friend of mine told me that the only solution was for President Preval to quit and leave the country. There were all the makings of a major crisis.
But then the tide changed. The top two opposition presidential candidates retracted their earlier allegations. Then the OAS came out saying that the elections were valid. It seems that the early returns had Mme. Manigat and Michel Martely as the top vote getters. It is hard to claim that the government had rigged the elections if their candidate was losing! Although it is too early to close this affair entirely, it does seem that we all jumped to the wrong conclusion.
So what happened? Assuming that no new information comes to light and the final results are legitimate and accepted, why were we all so ready to believe that they were fraudulent? I am afraid that this might turn out to be a case where we all chose to look at the world through our own filters rather than waiting for the facts. Haiti has had so many failures that it was easy to assume that the elections were yet another one. Rather than holding out for facts, we went with the easy story that Haiti had failed once again.
I hope that am left humbled by this situation--that the final results show that Preval and his electoral council, with help from the OAS and the UN, did pull off the impossible and manage to hold relatively free and fair elections. I will happily apologize for having been a doubter.