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Haitian President Rejects U.S. Senate’s Recommendations For Upcoming Elections

A day after Haitian President Rene Preval signed a decree authorizing a date for November elections, he rebuffed other recommendations issued by the U.S. Senate, which include “holding an election for his successor, brushing off criticism that the current process will leave the shattered country without a credible leader,” the Associated Press reports.  

According to the news service, a report recently issued by “Sen. Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, ‘strongly encourages’ Haiti to let its international partners help restructure the eight-member Provisional Electoral Council, which has been accused of corruption. The report also recommends ensuring the participation of the key opposition party of ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide” (Katz, 6/30).

At a news conference, Preval said Lugar’s proposals were “unacceptable,” according to Reuters. “I cannot set up an electoral council in consultation with international partners. … I form the electoral council with national partners,” Preval said. He also rejected the call for Aristide’s party’s participation in the November elections and “repeatedly denied accusations that he handpicked members of the current electoral council and that he was controlling them from behind the scenes,” the news service reports (Delva, 6/30).

The AP also reports that Preval “declined to answer questions about another U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee report that criticizes Haiti’s earthquake recovery, saying he would address that issue at a news conference on reconstruction next week” (6/30).  

Local Haitian RUTF Producer’s Survival Struggle Highlights Foreign Aid Issues In Haiti

Foreign Policy reports on the Haitian company Meds & Food for Kids’ (MFK) struggle to sell Medika Mamba, “a thick paste used to combat childhood malnutrition.” The situation is explained to illustrate the challenges associated with foreign assistance.

“Local producers can rarely compete with the influx of food, medicine, and other supplies that aid agencies bring. This is part of the reason why today – after decades of aid dependence – Haiti has almost no local economy for these goods,” the magazine writes.

The article outlines MFK’s struggles to compete with Nutriset – “the private French corporation that makes Plumpy’nut, the world’s most popular” ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) – and the difficulty MFK faced in getting its manufacturing plant approved by aid agencies.

“MFK’s way around this problem has eventually come, at last. It will soon become a part of Nutriset,” according to Foreign Policy. “MFK founder and director Patricia Wolff says one of the major advantages of joining Nutriset is the credibility it gives MFK with UNICEF, the biggest potential buyer. The MFK facility will probably be audited at last and will be thus able to compete for the kind of large contracts that would make it sustainable. ‘Our idea was to build a model that was replicable,’ Wolff told me. ‘But humanitarian international buyers have never bought from the national producers. So maybe, the lesson is, it’s not sustainable'” (Bhatia, 6/30).