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Cablegate: Minustah's Political Assessment: Stable but with Risks Ahead

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INFO HAITI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
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RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINR HA PGOV AID EAID
SUBJECT: MINUSTAH'S POLITICAL ASSESSMENT: STABLE BUT WITH RISKS AHEAD

1. (SBU) On February 23 Poloff met with MINUSTAH Political
Office Director Lizbeth Cullity to review MINUSTAH's assessment of
the post-quake political situation. Cullity was optimistic for
political stability in the short term, with President Preval
receiving support from a majority of the Senate and with opposition
in the lower chamber too indifferent or disorganized to challenge
him. Cullity argued that the big challenge for Preval in the
months to come will be managing relief efforts while keeping
displaced and unemployed residents from resorting to violence if
their needs or expectations are not met. A continuing challenge to
the GOH, said Cullity, is the prospect of Preval opponents taking
advantage of public dissatisfaction to organize protests, weaken
the GOH, and seek concessions (patronage and, ultimately, access to
and control of funds).

Preparations for the Donors Conference

2. (SBU) Cullity noted that Preval is working to build a
consensus on reconstruction and governance spending priorities
among Haitian stakeholders before the international donors
conference on March 31. Preval advised MINUSTAH he will be meeting
separately with stake holders (within the banking, manufacturing
and political sectors, for example) before the 31st Also in
preparation for the donors conference, MINUSTAH will conduct a
series of 145 focus groups (10 persons each) throughout the country
to measure citizens' views on reconstruction efforts and
priorities. Preval told MINUSTAH his key focus will remain
economic development, job creation, holding elections, and
continuing to push constitutional reform. With respect to the
latter priority, Preval told MINUSTAH he will focus on proposals to
eliminate the dual citizenship ban, revise the election schedule to
a five-year cycle, and strengthen the powers of the president.

Comment

3. (SBU) COMMENT: We agree with MINUSTAH's assessment that
prospects for short-term stability are good. As aid continues to
arrive in Haiti in the months to come, Preval's key challenge will
be to ensure that Haitian quake victims continue to see aid as
impartial, fair, and administered both by the international
community and the GOH in a transparent manner.

4. (U) Minimize considered.
MERTEN

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