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Cablegate: Suspected Trafficker and Noted Judicial Reformer Loses Senate Leadership Position

VZCZCXRO8317
OO RUEHQU
DE RUEHPU #0888 2961248
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 231248Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0459
INFO RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 2400
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 0438
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 2113
RUEHMT/AMCONSUL MONTREAL 0418
RUEHQU/AMCONSUL QUEBEC 1477
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCOWCV/CCGDSEVEN MIAMI FL
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL

C O N F I D E N T I A L PORT AU PRINCE 000888

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR, DRL, S/CRS,
INL FOR KEVIN BROWN, HEATHER WILD AND MEAGAN MCBRIDE
INR/IAA
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/02/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR EAID HA
SUBJECT: SUSPECTED TRAFFICKER AND NOTED JUDICIAL REFORMER LOSES SENATE LEADERSHIP POSITION

REF: PORT AU PRINCE 863

Classified By: Ambassador Kenneth H. Merten. Reason: E.O. 12958 1.4 ( b), (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY. The Haitian Senate's Justice and Security
Commission elected a new president and vice-president on
October 19, tossing out the controversial chairman Youri
Latortue. Although an opposition member was selected as the
new president of the commission, the new vice-president is
likely to be the key player. This change makes it possible
for President Preval to move forward with the replacement of
the Supreme Court judges, as he had told Department Counselor
Mills in a recent meeting (reftel). Other commissions have
also changed officers, with Preval,s majority LESPWA party
obtaining all the chairmanships. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) The Justice and Security Commission met on October 19
in the diplomatic lounge at the Senate to elect new officers.
O Latortue, former president of the Justice Commission,
claimed that LESPWA members and allies pushed him out by
holding the election without his knowledge. He decried the
procedure as ''anti-constitutional'' in a radio interview on
the morning of October 20. Jean Rodolph Joasile, the new
president of the commission, is technically in the opposition
(FUSION) but is not a strong player according to UN
observers. Jean Hector Anacasis, now vice-president, is
close to Preval. He is likely to be the key player on the
commission.

3. (C) With the election earlier this year of senators loyal
to Preval giving the President a majority, it was not a
surprise that new Senate leadership elections were held
giving the ruling LESPWA control. Preval had held off naming
a new Supreme Court because he did not want to have to select
magistrates from a list submitted by the Senate committee
under the leadership of Latortue, who is widely rumored to
have ties to drug trafficking. Latortue's removal will
enable the committee to propose names of justices who will
not owe their positions to Latortue.

4. (C) COMMENT. This re-shuffling is the latest maneuver by
Preval to consolidate his power and influence ahead of
upcoming legislative and presidential elections. Preval
replaced several of the controversial figures on the
Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), including the CEP's
president and vice-president. In light of the irregularities
and the exclusion of Fanmi Lavalas during the past senatorial
elections, followed by the forceful validation of the new
Senators, opposition leaders have expressed their concern
that they are being pushed out of the political scene at the
expense of Preval's ambitions to keep a direct or indirect
hold on power after the presidential elections of 2010.
MERTEN

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