A Haitian opposition alliance is declining to meet with a regional mission that traveled to this troubled Caribbean nation to help ease a political crisis that has postponed elections indefinitely. Samuel Madistin, spokesman for the “Group of Eight” that includes second-place presidential candidate Jude Celestin, asserted Monday that the Organization of American States’ mission was “not welcome” and was “unable to play any role as a mediator. The OAS doesn’t help Haiti come out of crisis. They create more crisis,” Madistin said, pointing to its role in 2010 elections that saw Celestin get eliminated from a runoff after his reported second-place finish was challenged by foreign observers complaining of irregularities.
The OAS mission is headed by Ronald Sanders, an Antiguan diplomat who is chairman of the Washington-based body’s permanent council. Members arrived Sunday at the request of President Michel Martelly, who is required to leave office by Feb. 7 under the Haiti’s constitution.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Sanders said the OAS group would “speak to as many groups as possible” in what he described as a fact-finding mission that would not “interfere, meddle or mediate” in Haitian affairs. So far, they’ve met with officials including Martelly, the leaders of Haiti’s bicameral legislature, and members of various political parties in the Senate. Sanders described the talks as constructive, “particularly because they are pointing toward a solution to the present difficulty.”