Martelly departs to make way for interim government

President Michel Martelly made his farewell speech to Haiti as he departed office Feb. 7 with no successor yet chosen because a runoff election was delayed for a second time last month amid violent protests and deep suspicions about vote rigging.

In a nearly 20-minute speech before a joint session of Parliament, Martelly said his "biggest regret is that the presidential election was postponed." Addressing the Haitian people, he said he worked as hard as he could to improve the country and was "ready to answer before the court of history."

Haiti's election crisis: How did we get to this point?

As this Sunday’s elections approach, Haiti is in the throes of a full-blown political crisis. Many Haitians are in open revolt against the electoral process, while the credibility of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) is in shambles and the legitimacy of the new parliament is in doubt. Second-place presidential candidate Jude Célestin has refused to campaign and is boycotting the runoff vote set for January 24, leaving government-backed candidate Jovenel Moise without an opponent going into the second round.

US Rep Clark: Electoral 'crisis' serious; wants briefing from Secretary Kerry

A member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation is "deeply concerned" about the developing electoral crisis in Haiti and wants assurances from Secretary of State John Kerry that he will "make every effort possible" to support free and fair elections. The letter from US Rep. Katherine M. Clark— dated Jan. 19— comes just days before a scheduled Jan. 24 presidential run-off election that is in turmoil, with one of the two finalists calling for a national boycott.

Haiti reports its first cases of mosquito-borne Zika virus

Haiti is reporting its first cases of a mosquito-borne virus that is rapidly spreading in the Americas and is suspected of causing over 3,500 birth defects in Brazil.

Public Health Minister Florence Duperval Guillaume announced Friday that there have been five confirmed cases of the Zika virus in Haiti. She says they are all in the area of Port-au-Prince, the overcrowded capital.

Boycotting candidate says Jan. 24 runoff will set Haiti back

Celestin accuses US of double-standard in pushing for election

PORT-AU-PRINCE— Haiti's opposition candidate for president is warning that if a runoff is held next weekend as scheduled it will be a big step back for the country's fragile democracy and lead to increased turmoil in the sharply divided nation.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Jude Celestin said he has such deep concerns about vote-rigging and a lack of transparency by Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council that he is boycotting a Jan. 24 presidential runoff. His party will not send any monitors to polling stations.

Moise campaigns for Jan. 24 run-off; Celestin sits it out

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Campaigning for Haiti's presidential runoff election kicked off Friday, though it appears there is only one candidate who will actively participate.

Government-backed contender Jovenel Moise, a little-known agricultural entrepreneur who led a crowded field of 54 candidates with nearly 33 percent of the vote in the Oct. 25 first round, attracted roughly 1,500 people to his first rally Friday evening. Big speakers pumped out bass-heavy songs featuring his campaign moniker, "Neg Bannann'' — Banana Man in Haitian Creole — and a group of women wore yellow banana costumes.

Dominican migrant law helps some, leaves others stranded

SANTO DOMINGO — Cresnel Ceus no longer lives in the shadows. For the first time in 15 years, the Haitian migrant can move about this country without fear of being detained at any moment. He can get a formal job and perform such routine acts as opening his own bank account and getting his own phone.

Perhaps most important to Ceus, he can pack up his fruit stall and take his two children across the border to his native Haiti for the first time in their lives without the fear that he won't be allowed to return to the Dominican Republic.

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