Haiti: The Ayiti an Aksyon (AAA) party during the elections in November 2010 and March 2011, including its candidates' names, political activities and social engagement; whether the party was involved in violent activities against other political parties, independent candidates or people who refused to join the party during the elections in 2010 and 2011 (November 2010-May 2011) [HTI104373.FE]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Overview

Ayiti an Aksyon (Haiti in Action, AAA) is a Haitian political party (US 15 Mar. 2013; PHW 2012, 600; CLAS 2 May 2011a). The party was previously known as Latibonit an Aksyon (Artibonite in Action, LAAA) (AAA n.d.a; PHW 2012, 600). According to Political Handbook of the World 2012 (PHW), the LAAA party was founded before the legislative elections in 2006 (ibid). According to the party's website, this change in name indicates the party's shift from a regional mission to a national mission (AAA n.d.a). The leader of the AAA is Youri Latortue (US 15 Mar. 2013; PHW 2012, 600). The AAA's website describes Youri Latortue as the party coordinator (AAA n.d.a).

According to the party's website, AAA wants to give [translation] "priority to defending the masses, who have been neglected for far too long, and to ensuring their effective participation at all levels of the administration and management of the country's affairs" (ibid.). The website also states that the AAA party [translation] "gives considerable importance to cultural values and to the role of culture in the nation's development process," and that it wants to [translation] "promote, validate and popularize various aspects of [Haiti's] national culture" (AAA n.d.b).

2. AAA Candidates and Results in the 2010 and 2011 Elections
2.1 Senate

Senatorial elections were held in two rounds in November 2010 and in March 2011 (US 15 Mar. 2013; IPU 17 Jan. 2013). Senators are elected to serve six-year terms, and one third are elected every two years (ibid.; US 15 Mar. 2013).

According to the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) at Georgetown University, two AAA candidates ran in the first round of Senate elections in November 2010 (CLAS 2 May 2011a). Francklin Benjamin was the AAA candidate in Artibonite department and won 7.83 percent of the votes (ibid.). Jean Davide Geneste was the AAA candidate in Sud department and won 12.54 percent of votes (ibid.). Neither candidate won a seat following the second round of elections in March 2011 (ibid. 2 May 2011b).

Nevertheless, the AAA party has two seats in the Senate (PHW 2012, 603; Haiti n.d.b). According to the list of the 49th legislature on the website of the Haitian parliament, two members of the AAA party are listed as senators: Jean Willy Jean Baptiste for Artibonite department, and Youri Latortue, also for Artibonite department (ibid.).

2.2 Chamber of Deputies

Elections for the Chamber of Deputies were held in two rounds, in November 2010 and March 2011 (PHW 2012, 603; IPU n.d.). Byelections were also held in May 2011 to elect members in three ridings (SignalFM 30 May 2011; HaïtiLibre 21 June 2011).

According to the Haitian news website AlterPresse, three AAA candidates were elected during the first round of elections, in November 2010 (4 Feb. 2011). AlterPresse also reports that seven AAA candidates ran in the second round of elections, in March 2011, for the 79 seats that were still available (4 Feb. 2011). However, according to the CLAS and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), four members of the AAA party won seats during the first round (CLAS 2 May 2011a; IPU n.d.). According to SignalFM, Dorsonne Jean Beauvois was the AAA candidate in the riding of Verrettes, in Artibonite department, during the byelections in May 2011 (30 May 2011).

At the end of the elections, AAA had eight members in the Chamber of Deputies (US 15 Mar. 2013; PHW 2012, 603; CLAS 2 May 2011b). According to the website for the Haitian parliament, the following people were AAA candidates and were elected to the Chamber of Deputies during the elections in 2010 and 2011 to form Haiti's 49th legislature:

  • Ouest department: Joseph Martial Depas in the riding of Cabaret
  • Sud department: Joseph Benoit Laguerre in the riding of Saint Jean du Sud/Arniquet
  • Nord department: Gluck Teophile in the riding of Limonade/Quartier Morin
  • Artibonite department: Cholzer Chancy in the riding of Ennery, Fritz Chery in the riding of Gros-Morne, and Altes Toussaint in the riding of Saint-Marc
  • Nord'Est department: Ken Arincks Jean Pierre in the riding of Terrier-Rouge, and Wanique Pierre in the riding of Trou-du-Nord/Caracol (Haiti n.d.a)

Information on AAA candidates who did not win a seat during the elections in November 2010 and March 2011 could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

3. Incidents During the Elections in 2010 and 2011
3.1 Elections in November 2010

The National Human Rights Defense Network (Réseau national de défense des droits humains, RNDDH), an NGO that monitors human rights violations by state institutions (RNDDH n.d.), monitored the elections in Haiti in November 2010 through national and international observers (ibid. 3 Dec. 2010, 1). In a report on its observations, the RNDDH notes the following incident, which apparently took place in Sud department:

[translation]

In the commune of Chantal, at the voting centre located at the École Presbytérale de Canon, supporters of the AAA and the presidential platform INITE agreed to stuff the ballet boxes at polling stations #3, #4, #5 and #7. During the operation, there was a heated argument, following which the centre was vandalized, the ballot boxes were destroyed, and the votes were strewn about the floor. (ibid., 16)

The RNDDH report also notes that the following incidents, which involved AAA members and supporters, took place in Artibonite department:

[translation]

  • At the voting centre at the École Nationale de l'Estère, supporters of the AAA party and supporters of the INITE platform came to blows following a struggle to influence the vote.

...

  • At the voting centre at the École Nationale de Maingrette, in Ennery, Julio Jean Baptiste, a representative of the AAA party, and Preslet Adjocy, a representative of the ALTERNATIVE group, voted several times, with the complicity of staff at the centre. In addition, AAA supporters and sympathizers were allowed to vote multiple times, even without a national identification card.
  • At the Bon Berger de Saint Michel de l'Attalaye voting centre, everything was going peacefully until a group of AAA and ANSANM NOU FÒ supporters and sympathizers intervened to stop voting operations. After their intervention, the reports on the counting of votes were missing.

...

  • In the commune of Verrettes, in the morning, several people broke into polling station #2 at the École Nationale Charles Belair voting centre and pressured the centre's president to sign a number of ballots before handing them over to the above-mentioned individuals. The president objected. In response, these people tore up all the ballots that the polling station had received. The same thing happened at polling stations #1, #3, #11, #12 and #14. The supervisors and members of the polling stations had to clear out. Several parties were involved in this widespread disorder: AAA, INITE, RDNP, ALTERNATIV, VEYE YO, MODELH-PRDPH. A recount at the voting centre was not possible because all the voting materials had been torn and the reports taken away.
  • Also in [the commune of Verrettes], at about 8:30 a.m., supporters of the INITE platform and of the AAA, RDNP and RENMEN AYITI parties occupied the voting centre located at the École Nationale de Drouet, with the full intention of voting several times. They signed ballots and voted for their candidates. Afterwards, voting was closed and the counting began. The situation deteriorated, with rocks being thrown and automatic weapons being fired throughout the commune.
  • At the voting centre located at the École Nationale Jacques Premier, in the commune of Dessalines, two (2) members of the AAA party were shot. These members were Michaud Augustin, in Canal, 4th section, and Robens, in Priyen, 4th section of Dessalines. Both members were taken to the Deschapelles hospital. (ibid, 16-18)

The RNDDH report also notes the following incident, which allegedly took place in Ouest department:

[translation]

  • At the voting centre located at the École Nationale de la Mardette, first communal section, Galette Chambon, commune of Ganthier, an altercation broke out between representatives of the INITE platform and the AAA and ANSANM NOU FÒ parties, each of whom, in turn, was trying to influence voters. (ibid., 18)

Information corroborating that in the RNDDH report, and additional information on AAA candidates and activities during the 2010 election campaign and election could not by found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

3.2 Elections of March 2011

The RNDDH also prepared a report on the progress of the elections in March 2011 (23 Mar. 2011). This report notes the following incidents, in which AAA members and supporters were allegedly involved:

[RNDDH English version]

  • At the voting center located in the Ecole Nationale de Sèguin, located in the town of Saint Marc, in the Artibonite, supporters of AAA and RDNP waved the photo of the RDNP candidate for president, Mirlande Hyppolite MANIGAT and the parliamentary candidate for the riding of Saint Marc Altesse TOUSSAINT [who was elected as an AAA deputy (Haiti n.d.a)], with the purpose of influencing voter choice (RNDDH 23 Mar. 2011, 18).
  • At Ecole Nationale de Payen, a stronghold of the parliamentary candidate of the AAA party, Jean Beauvoir DORCON, individuals identifying themselves as his supporters were pressuring voters to bring them to vote in his favour (ibid., 31).
  • At eight (8) o'clock in the morning, ballot boxes were stuffed for the AAA parliamentary candidate and the INITE senate candidate in the areas of Liancourt, Deschapelles, La Chapelle and Verrettes (ibid.).

Information corroborating that provided in the RNDDH report, and additional information on AAA candidates and activities during the 2011 election campaign and elections could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

AlterPresse. 4 February 2011. "Haiti-Élections: importante avance du parti au pouvoir au niveau des législatives." [Accessed 27 Mar. 2013]

Ayiti an Aksyon (AAA). N.d.a. "Mot du coordonateur - Youri Latortue." [Accessed 27 Mar. 2013]

_____. N.d.b. "Ayiti an Aksyon: promotion et valorisation." [Accessed 27 Mar. 2013]

Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS), Georgetown University. 2 May 2011a. "Senate Elections November 28, 2010 (First Round)." Political Database of the Americas. [Accessed 26 Mar. 2013]

_____. 2 May 2011b. "Senate Elections March 20, 2011 (2nd Round)." Political Database of the Americas. [Accessed 26 Mar. 2013]

Haiti. N.d.a. Parlement haïtien. "Liste des députés de la 49ème législature." [Accessed 27 Mar. 2013]

_____. n.d.b. Parlement haïtien. "Liste des sénateurs de la 49ème législature." [Accessed 2 Apr. 2013]

HaïtiLibre. 21 June 2011. "Élections: résultats définitifs des élections législatives complémentaires." [Accessed 2 Apr. 2013]

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). 17 January 2013. "Haïti: Sénat." PARLINE. [Accessed 2 Apr. 2013]

_____. N.d. "Haïti: Chambre des députés." PARLINE. [Accessed 2 April 2013]

Political Handbook of the World 2012 (PHW). 2012. "Haiti." Edited by Tom Lansdorf. Washington, DC: CQ Press. [Accessed 26 Mar. 2013]

Réseau national de défense des droits humains (RNDDH). 23 March 2011. Le RNDDH présente son rapport sur le second tour des élections présidentielles et législatives partielles du 20 mars 2011. [Accessed 26 Mar. 2013]

_____. 3 December 2010. Rapport du RNDDH sur les élections présidentielles et législatives du 28 novembre 2010. [Accessed 26 Mar. 2013]

_____. N.d. "Vision & Mission." [Accessed 26 Mar. 2013]

SignalFM. 30 May 2011. "Haïti/Élections: les trois députés devant compléter la 49e législature bientôt connus officiellement." [Accessed 27 Mar. 2013]

United States (US). 15 March 2013. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Haiti." The World Factbook. [Accessed 25 Mar. 2013]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International; ecoi.net; Factiva; Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme; HaitiAction.net; Haïti Liberté; Haiti News 509; Human Rights Watch; InfoHaiti.net; Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti; Le Matin; United Nations – Integrated Regional Information Networks, Refworld; United States – Department of State.