"In proximity to the United States, and with such a chronically unstable political environment and fragile economy, Haiti has been a constant policy issue for the United States. […] For the past 25 years, Haiti has been making the transition from a legacy of authoritarian rule to a democratic government. Elections are a part of that process. In the short term, elections have usually been a source of increased political tensions and instability in Haiti. In the long term, elected governments in Haiti have contributed to the gradual strengthening of government capacity and transparency. Haiti is currently approaching the end of its latest election cycle. Like many of the previous elections, the current process has been riddled with political tensions, allegations of irregularities, and violence. The first round of voting for president and the legislature was held on November 28, 2010. That vote was marred by opposition charges of fraud, reports of irregularities, and low voter turnout. […] The United States is providing $14 million in election support through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The Obama Administration considers Haiti its top priority in the Latin American and Caribbean region. This report provides an overview of the controversies surrounding the first round of voting in late 2010, and concerns related to the second and final round of the elections. In addition to ongoing issues regarding the legitimacy of the March 20 elections, other questions have raised concerns within the international community and Congress. These include the destabilizing presence of former dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, and former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and the newly elected government's ability to handle the complex post-earthquake reconstruction process and its relationship with the donor community."
CRS Report for Congress, R41689