Haitian elections concern students

The people of Haiti waited with much anticipation as the vote counting began Wednesday.

Former president, Rene Preval has the lead in the counting of the votes, winning over 60 percent of the 359,000 votes that had been counted so far. A former protegé of the exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Preval served as president from 1996 to 2001 and was one of the few presidents to serve a full term.

While the voting goes on, Haitian students and students of Haitian descent who attend Florida A&M University also wait with anticipation.

“No matter who wins, there will still be turmoil,” said Marie S. Fleurimond, 22, a senior political science student from Palm Beach. “Other things need to be done withouth interference.”

Miriame Etienne, 20, a junior pharmacy student, grew up in Haiti before moving to the United States. She said that Preval did a decent job as president before. She adds that if Preval is voted back into office, there “still might be violence, but it’ll be kept to a minimum.”

People in Haiti are said to have high hopes for whomever wins the election. Some students at FAMU think a little bit differently.

Tony Fabre, 23, a senior philosophy student from Miami said that none of the candidates have good intentions for Haiti. “The people really don’t have a voice, and the government is corrupt.”

The first Black independent nation was founded by ex-slaves just after a rebellion in 1804. Haiti was once a prosperous nation. However, no other country recognized it as independent.

President Thomas Jefferson was terrified of the slave revolt that had taken place and went so far as to call the Haitian Army cannibals. Eventually, the country fell into billions of dollars of debt due to the lack of trade with the United States and other countries.

Etienne said Americans have a distorted view of Haiti. “They don’t show the beauty of Haiti. No one’s taking the time to see.”

Fabre said, “America is still bitter. History shows what leaders think of Haiti, and because of that, the country is still underdeveloped.”

He added that he believes “our generation has better intentions than the older generation.”

According to Fabre, the older generation had certain ties, thus there were no trade relations with Haiti and other countries.

Fleurimond said that the main purpose of the election is just to rebuild whatever was messed up from over the last few years. “Preval’s not really ready to be president. He’s just falling back into the atmosphere to redeem himself.”

She believes that Preval may have had some part in some financial corruption in Haiti.

Etienne has high hopes for the future of Haiti. “Security should better. It should help rebuild the country. I also hope to see the economy, education and foreign relations get better,” Etienne said.

To the people of Haiti, Preval is a sign of hope for a better life. During his first term as president, there have been more agricultural job openings and programs to help the uneducated.

More than 50 percent of the citizens are illiterate and 80 percent of the people do not have enough food to eat.

Fabre said, “Too much is going on behind the scenes. Parties are created only to divide the people and each party has its own agenda. People only tell you what they want you to know. It’s always going to remain the same.”

Contact Cherise Wilkerson at cwilkers8@aol.com