Monday, February 20, 2006

Preval Declared President! Emmanual Released from Intensive Care!

Some kind of logic finally prevailed in Haiti, and Rene Preval,with more than 50 percent of the vote, was declared the president of the beleagured nation Here’s a recap of what happened: on Tuesday, February 7, Haiti held their long awaited presidential elections. There was a big turn out throughout the country. As the votes began to be tabulated, Preval, the front runner of the 33 candidates, was racking up 60 percent of the vote. As the counting continued, his total mysteriously fell below 50 percent—this is important because if one candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, there would be no run off in March. I say mysteriously because several poll watchers had predicted based on exit polls that Preval would garner about 52 percent of the vote.

When his percentage fell below 50 percent, the people took to the streets demonstrating. They also somewhat hilariously crashed the Montana, Haiti’s luxurious hotel, and swam in the pool and frolicked around the grounds. Fortunately no damage was done. The protests were by and large peaceful—some burning tires and car husks—but the only people killed were two demonstrators shot by U.N. soldiers. (Note the distinction between the protesters being peaceful and the soldiers being peaceful)

Preval called for calm even as he said he knew there was voter fraud. This seemed to be confirmed when huge batches of ballots with his name marked were found smoldering in a dump. This, along with all the blank ballots—possibly people were stuffing the boxes to lower Preval’s percentage—convinced the Electoral Council to call Preval the winner. I am hoping that President Preval will be the man who can bridge the gap between Haiti’s rich and poor. May he have a productive, peaceful term.

And our little guy Emmanual is out of intensive care! He’s in the step down unit, where he will be watched closely. If he continues to progress like he has, he will be out of the hospital soon and home to his wonderful host families, where his main job will be to do some serious eating. Emmanual looks so much better than when we brought him. He has folds in arms, instead of sagging skin. His color is much darker. He is much more likely to let you know when he isn’t happy.

The doctors at Cleveland Clinic are very interested in Haitian Hearts. Dr. Geoff Rosenthal, the pediatric cardiologist, who facilitated our kids being accepted by the Clinic, asked John to give a presentation on practicing medicine in Haiti and Haitian Hearts. Cleveland Clinic has accepted two more of our children. We hope to have a long and happy relationship with them.

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