Global Entrepreneurship Week Haiti U.S. Haiti special coordinator welcomes diaspora involvement

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  • NEWS_POSTED_ON: Oct 21, 2015
  • Views : 433
  • Category : General News
  • Description : Miami Herald

    OCTOBER 14, 2015


    Photo: U.S. Haiti special coordinator Kenneth Merten discusses Haiti’s upcoming elections at a forum Wednesday in Miami. Jacqueline Charles
  • Location : Miami, FL, United States
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  • Less than two weeks before Haiti stages one of its most complicated elections in recent history, the United States diplomat charged with coordinating U.S.-Haiti policy reminded Haitian-Americans on Wednesday that the upcoming elections are a Haitian-driven process.

    “Like it or not, we cannot and do not run the process,” Ambassador Kenneth Merten said responding to concerns by Haitian-Americans about what the U.S. government is doing to protect the vote of Haiti’s 5.8 million registered voters scheduled to cast ballots Oct. 25 for president, 144 mayors and 129 legislators.

    “There is a limit to what we can do,” Merten said during the conversation at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami about Haiti’s future and the role of its diaspora. “We are friends of Haiti, we are partners of Haiti but we are not Haitians and at the end of the day, the elections process is run by Haitians and is run in Haiti.”

    Still, Merten who took over the State Department’s Haiti special coordinator job in August, conceded that a great deal of his time has been spent focusing on the elections.

    Repeating U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s message to the Haitian people and government during his visit last week, Merten said, unlike the Aug. 9 legislative elections, “the ones coming up in less than two weeks time need to be better in terms of security; they need to be better in terms of organization for the people who take the time and effort to go show up and vote.”

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