Top Story — Haiti will recount the votes in a hotly disputed election, the president of the country’s electoral council said Thursday.
The decision follows protests and violent confrontations, after a vote marred by irregularities and accusations of fraud.
Complicating matters, the second- and third-place candidates finished within one percentage point of each other. The second-place candidate, former first lady Jude Celestin, backed by current President René Préval, the third-place candidate, Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly is a popular musician.
Only one may go on to the second-round runoff election, scheduled for January.
Nearly all candidates have said fraud marred the vote, and a group of 10 candidates reaffirmed the allegation and called on Thursday for the election to be annulled, The Associated Press reports.
The joint mission of the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community criticized the protests in a press release on Wednesday and called upon Haitians to make use of the legal remedies to challenge the preliminary results.
“The Electoral Law provides several legal remedies during the claims and change process,” the OAS-CARICOM statement said. The statement urged “candidates and political parties to make prompt and full use of these legal recourses in order to address their respective grievances with regard to the preliminary results.”
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Allegations of human rights abuses have followed ex-president of Colombia Álvaro Uribe to Washington, where he is a visiting scholar at Georgetown University. While conclusive evidence of criminal wrongdoing has not surfaced, Georgetown students and the attorney for Colombian plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit against the Drummond Company are determined to force a showdown.
- Puerto Rican officials and businesses are partnering to launch a new campaign to boost the island’s economy through tourism. Von Diaz has more.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican security forces allegedly killed a leader of the La Familia drug cartel during a shootout between federal police and gunmen in the state of Michoacán.
- The 14-year-old boy accused of being a Mexico drug-gang killer is a United States citizen, according to U.S. officials.
- The U.S. Senate tabled the DREAM Act immigration bill Thursday, one day after the legislation passed through the House of Representatives.
- Diplomats from several countries said the Cuban economy was headed for insolvency before head of state Raúl Castro began an economic reform drive, according to a WikiLeaks cable.
- Puerto Rico is continuing with an effort to privatize its main airport, executive director of the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority said Thursday.
- Leading public health officials and researchers are calling for a crash vaccination campaign against cholera in Haiti and neighboring countries.
- Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry Thursday filed an extradition request with Spain so that former Guatemalan interior minister Carlos Vielmann may face charges of alleged extrajudicial killings.
- The Panama Canal reopened Thursday after heavy rains forced its first closure in over two decades, officials said.
- U.S. diplomats viewed Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega as a mercurial opportunist who bashed the United States in public, a fresh batch of cables released by WikiLeaks this week.
- Former President Álvaro Uribe sought secret talks during his second term with Colombia’s main leftist rebel group.
- Venezuela’s economy is forcing Hugo Chávez to make deals with foreign corporations to save his socialist revolution from going broke, according to a Wikileak cable.
- Congresswoman Keiko Fujimori, daughter of jailed former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, has joined the 2011 presidential race with a pledge to secure a more inclusive economy to benefit the country’s poor.
- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva offered support to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Thursday and pointed the finger of blame at the U.S.
- Passenger traffic on Chile’s LAN airlines was up 11.2 percent in November and grew 16 percent in October.
Image: bbcworldservice @ Flickr.