Top Story — Despite initial reports of a lack of violence or fraud during Haiti’s municipal, legislative and presidential elections held Sunday, new concerns regarding potential illegal activity have arisen. Some election observers and opposition candidates have claimed that the elections saw systematic fraud on a large scale.
Chief among the allegations were those of opposition presidential candidate and former Senator Moïse Jean-Charles, one of a few front-runners in the 54-candidate race. On Thursday, Jean-Charles alleged that ballots with votes for him were burned and left behind a building in Port-au-Prince while dozens of other votes for him have gone missing, suggesting a cover-up by officials with ties to current President Michel Martelly. Following the allegation, Jean-Charles’ supporters burned tire barricades in some sectors of the city.
Along with the claims of ballot destruction were allegations of ballot stuffing, voters entering voting booths multiple times and the black market sale of accreditation cards, which were distributed to political party monitors ahead of election day with the hopes of minimizing fraud. Reports of accreditation cards being sold for $3 on Sunday and the same card being used to vote multiple times typified the varied claims of irregularity.
All ballots in Haitian elections have to go through a lengthy verification process held in a secure location. Preliminary results are expected to be announced at some point after Nov. 3. A spokesman for current President Michel Martelly’s Tet Kale party has denied all allegations of fraud as a “pure fiction”.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexico’s Congress decided to maintain a 10 percent tax on sugary drinks in an effort to combat the country’s obesity epidemic, a move that comes after the lower house of Congress had proposed to cut the tax by half last week for some drinks.
- As Mexico prepares to honor those who have passed during the Day of the Dead, parents of the 43 missing students from Mexico’s Guerrero state refuse to set up commemorative altars and accept the government’s finding that their children are dead.
- Meanwhile, Mexican prosecutors, at the urging of the disappeared students’ families, are gathering new testimony from federal security officials to determine their complicity in the events of Sept. 26, 2014.
- Cuban President Raúl Castro will travel to Mexico on Nov. 5 — his first visit to the country since he became president — to meet with his Mexican counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto to discuss economic cooperation between their countries.
- Fox News Latino explores the slow, often unreliable Cuban rail system, the first ever built in Latin America that now suffers from underinvestment and theft.
- People born in the Dominican Republic but of Haitian descent have long been treated as second-class citizens in their own country, with many forced to drop out of school due to lack of proper identification, even despite recent efforts to get formally registered, according to The New York Times.
- El Salvador’s Congress passed a bill Thursday that will tax phone and internet use, as well as big companies, in order to strengthen the country’s police and security forces.
- Slate examines how village life in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua, will be upended by the country’s proposed $50 billion interoceanic canal project, which could displace anywhere between 27,000 and 100,000 Nicaraguans.
- Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has declared he will be suing the U.S. government over President Obama’s executive order in March that classified Venezuela as a threat to the United States.
- Despite public skepticism over its environmental impact, Bolivia announced its plans to construct a $300 million nuclear complex, a project that President Evo Morales says will run smoothly with the use of Russian technology and Argentine assistance.
- Peru has finally lifted the state of emergency in the southern Andean regions of Apurimac and Cusco and agreed to meet with local leaders, nearly a month after violent protests at Las Bambas copper mines left three people dead and prompted the suspension of civil liberties.
- A quadrupling of ticket prices for Venezuelan professional baseball games has left many stadiums half-empty this season, despite the incredible popularity of the sport in Venezuela, The Associated Press reports.
- Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández urged the Argentine population on Thursday night to support her party and the current government before the upcoming runoff elections on Nov. 22, in which her heir apparent Daniel Scioli will face a tight race against opposition candidate Mauricio Macri.
- A CNN exclusive investigation explores Brazil’s extensive attempts to combat illegal gold mining operations in the Amazon, which contribute to massive deforestation throughout South America.