Honorable Senator Patrick Leahy
Paul Arcelin, former ambassador of Haiti
DATE: February 17, 2021
Haiti ‐ Jovenel Moise’s end of mandate on February 7, 2021 – A follow‐up to your public position following the publication of a joint study by Harvard, Yale and New York University
IMPORTANT ‐ Please forward the present letter to Senator Patrick Leahy that was published in todays edition of the newspaper called “Haiti Observateur.”
Senator Patrick Leahy
37 Russel Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Honorable Senator Leahy,
The Haitian people have manifested their unwavering gratitude with respect to heroic actions that you have taken in favor of returning to democratic rule in Haiti. I am a proponent of the right of self-determination of the people, a cardinal principle anchored in modern international law: jus cogens.
Accordingly, I strongly denounce, condemn, and reject any decisions by some of our foreign allies to support the illegal occupation of the National Palace by de the facto president Jovenel Moïse – a catastrophe in progress and amplified with each minute of silence observed by the United States of America on this grave issue.
It is my honest assessment, Honorable Senator, that the time to act about Haiti’s fate was yesterday. I will always stand for justice for the Haitian people, as opposed to paying allegiance to one man. As a former diplomat who represented my country in several strategic posts around the world, I welcome your intervention calling on Secretary Antony John Blinken to accord a particular attention to this deepening crisis in Haiti.
Your intervention may have inspired the annexed masterpiece publication penned by a coalition of legal scholars affiliated with some of the most reliable schools of law at Harvard, Yale and New York University. These U.S. scholars relied heavily on in situ analyses, capturing both the spirit and the letter of the Haitian Constitution and the laws of the land. It is worth noting that the reference (134-1 and 134-2) do not constitute two distinct articles from which zealous lawyers may conveniently pick and choose1.
In fact, the electoral law of 2015 that specifically governed Jovenel Moïse mandate, consistent with the letter of Article 134-2 of the Haitian Constitution, established a clear, unequivocal term at 239 (a): “The term of office of the president of the republic shall end on the 7th of February in the fifth year of his term of office, regardless of the date of his entry into office.” It might not be fair, but until it is changed it remains the law of the land.
Many reports at your disposal clearly show that Mr. Jovenel Moïse has been engaged in grave State sanctioned human rights violations and other serious crimes leading up to this current illegal occupation of the National Palace. In fact, former president Jovenel Moïse returned to civilian life since February 7, 2021. As a result, he can be arrested, prosecuted, and tried, based on applicable law and international conventions.
Finally, Haiti is a rich country. We the people stand against all policies aimed at keeping the country on the payroll of US taxpayers. Such an approach, in many instances, cover up policy failures, as illustrated in the rise and upcoming fall of Jovenel Moïse. As the First Black Republic in the Western Hemisphere, our DNA absolutely is incompatible with any form of repression or dictatorship. Haitian lives do not matter to Jovenel Moïse. Jovenel Moïse must go. And Jovenel Moïse will go, if Black lives truly matter to the Biden- Harris administration.
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1 On the one hand, to dissolve Parliament. On the other, to justify the introduction of a dictatorship in Haiti.
P.S.: Joint Statement from U.S. Human Rights Clinics on the Constitution and Human Rights Crisis in Haiti (Harvard. Yale and NYU)