Well, here we have it. At 5 pm the CEP (Provisional Election Commission in English) was due to announce the tentative results of the final runoff election for president of Haiti. We listened to the whoosh-whoosh of helicopter blades all afternoon. This was originally supposed to happen last week, but after yet another delay and the leader of the CEP calling in sick tonight (?!) the results began to be read not long after 5:30. Dozens of smaller offices, legislators and senators, were read, and then......
I sat inside watching Ben's TweetDeck spring to life as our favorite Haiti reporters watched the results be read at CEP HQ in Petionville, a defunct former Gold's Gym. Ben sat outside, crowded around a blaring Haitian radio with our gate guard Stanley and other men who sell or live on our street. At the bottom left you can see a little wooden seat on which a man sits outside our gate all day, every day. He shines and fixes shoes.
Michel Martelly! Sweet Mickey is president! First sound heard: cheers of delight. Second sound heard: gunfire. But the good kind (does it exist?), the kind we heard on New Year's Eve 2009, our second night in Haiti, that we didn't understand at the time but we now know means cheering and celebrations.
According to the Twitterati, here's the first pic taken of Martelly after his win:
Ran across the street to school, quickly re-assembled our little "manifestation deer blind" we made last December out of school picnic benches that allowed us to see over the wall. All of us on-campus dwellers peeked over as motorcycles honked to no end and trucks stuffed with cheering people sped up and down Delmas.
The marchans, our usual gauge of the mood on the street, did not seem one bit concerned or even hurried. They said they were kontan, happy with the results.
I am going to wear pink, Martelly's color, tomorrow to school. It will not be because I support this man in particular, or that I would have voted for him if I were Haitian. I will wear pink, Martelly's color, because I am pumped for Haitian democracy. In the 200-plus years since Haiti's independence from France in 1804, there have been a very small handful of times when free and fair elections have been held, when people feel like the truly democratically elected candidate won, and when a democratically elected president finished his term and passed the baton to another president chosen by the people.
This election was not near perfect. This president is not and will not be near perfect. But tonight the streets are full of cars honking and the majority is happy- our guy won! The one we wanted! Marching crowds are celebrating, not manifesting. Good for you, Haiti. Wear pink, and enjoy this night.