Caracas, July 28, 2015 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE) signed a memorandum of understanding with its Haitian counterpart on Friday as part of an effort to deepen cooperation between the two electoral institutions in technical assistance and training.
The agreement was signed as part of the first meeting of the Tripartite Commission, which was created by the Venezuelan, Haitian, and US governments in order to assist Haitian authorities in preparing for upcoming general elections.
Meeting with CNE president Tibisay Lucena at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, the president of Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), Pierre Louis Opont, praised the accord as a pivotal step in bringing electronic voting to Haiti.
"Venezuela is an actor and a key partner in relation to the technical nature of their processes and their compared mastery of electronic voting [...] through this collaboration, we [will] try step by step to improve the knowledge of the CEP before reaching electronic voting."
Opont also noted that the agreement is the outcome of a "long process" dating back to 2010 when Venezuela provided Haiti with computers and advisors for the Caribbean nation's general election held that year.
Venezuela's CNE, which posseses an electoral system described by former US president Jimmy Carter as "the best in the world", has long been committed to assisting its neighbors in strengthening their electoral sovereignty.
"In a spirit of solidarity, our cooperation with Haiti seeks to help create the conditions for electoral processes and safeguards to be ever more in the hands of Haitians," explains George Azariah-Moreno of the CNE's International Relations Office, who took part in a UNASUR electoral monitoring mission to Suriname led by CNE president Lucena in May.
As outlined in the memorandum, Venezuela will provide Haiti with comprehensive assistance in diverse areas, including voter registration, automated biometric authentication, the elaboration of electoral materials, among others.
Haiti, like many countries of the global South, has historically exercised very limited control over its own electoral processes, a condition which this agreement aims to overcome.
"Previously, even the official results of elections were announced by external agencies, with elections conducted and supervised in a piecemeal fashion by different international bodies," Azariah-Moreno told VA.
Under the governments of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela has become one of Haiti's key allies in the region, providing low cost oil to the Caribbean nation through PetroCaribe agreements as well as assisting in post-earthquake reconstruction and development.