|A girl with symptoms of cholera is |
taken to hospital. (Getty images)
Published on Saturday, November 27, 2010 by The Independent/UK by Kim Sengupta in Port-au-Prince
It is a broken country: the poorest in the western hemisphere, its people traumatised by the shattering earthquake which destroyed so many lives, and prey to a devastating cholera epidemic and continuing violence.
A girl with symptoms of cholera is taken to hospital. (Getty images) Tomorrow Haiti will go to the polls to try once more to put itself back together.
But it does so against as daunting a backdrop as any election to be held anywhere in recent times. The journey to the vote in Port-au-Prince, the first since the "day of catastrophe" last January which left more than 230,000 dead and 1.3 million people homeless, has been suffused with accusations and recriminations and a sense of foreboding.
In Champs de Mars, the central plaza which has become a vast tented village of the dispossessed, a Creole slogan painted in blue on the single remaining wall of what was once an office block tells the story. It reads: "The dead shall be heard." But if that phrase carries the strange sense that Haiti's victims remain a reproachful presence in this election, there is also a powerful fear in the capital that their voices will not be heeded, but misunderstood.
With little documentation of those killed and missing, identity cards are said to be changing hands for about $5 so they can be used for fraud. In a contest in which each candidate is spending millions, that is small change.