CONASPEH Raises Its Prophetic and Pastoral Voice In the Situation In Haiti
Haiti has been in turmoil since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last July, followed by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake just days later that killed 2,200 people. Left with no president and no stable government, gangs seized the opportunity to take power. According to Crisis Group, these armed gangs are overwhelmingly made up of young men from the poorest urban areas who lack viable employment options. Kidnappings are one of the major ways these gangs finance themselves.
Gang members will often abduct victims for ransom from the grid-locked streets of Port-au-Prince whenever an opportunity presents itself, the Guardian reports. Such incidents have increased by 180% since last year, making Haiti the world’s kidnapping capital. When one gang abducted 16 American missionaries and 7 clergy members last year, the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince warned Haiti was entering a “descent into hell.” https://theowp.org/haitis-descent-into-hell-doctors-strike-over-surge-in-kidnappings/
In the country as a whole, nearly 24 percent of the population earns below the extreme poverty level of US$1.23 per day, the OHCHR reported. About 4.4 million people face acute food insecurity or nearly 46 percent of the population. Some 217,000 children suffer moderate to severe malnutrition. “The government does not provide basic services,” Prime Minister Henry said in a recent interview. Under international law, countries are obligated to progressively realize and ensure minimum essential levels of economic and social rights, including the rights to health and food and access to water and sanitation. https://reliefweb.int/report/haiti/haitians-being-returned-country-chaos
THE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES OF HAITI, A GLOBAL MINISTRIES’LONGSTANDING PARTNER IN THE COUNTRY, SHARED THE FOLLOWING PUBLIC DECLARATION, CONCERNING THE ACTUAL SITUATION OF HAITI:
Dear brothers and sisters
There is no need to go up to the past years, which reminds us of the time of slavery. Since the beginning of the 1986s, Haiti began to experience structural pain much more recently. We suffer the destruction of our agriculture to justify bringing imported products to the country. Our cattle disappeared from our lands. This was imposed to show us and make us believe that Haiti would never be a free country. We had to set aside our pride, dignity, values, and honor as the first black republic that knew how to face and counter square slavery in the world. Yet, we have stumbled and flayed alive, gutted of our blood, humiliated not only by the whites and especially those who claim to be “friends of freedom.” They have trampled on us, stripped us of our honor, and Haiti continues to see the most harrowing days with its aftermath.
Our crisis escalates within our own social fabric. Haitians are killing each other, controlled by invisible hands that direct us in that ordeal. Sadly, we are at the mercy of the gangs. They are the ones who rule the roost in this country, families stripped of their property.
This country is going through severe political crises from year to year. The people grow impatient because the power in place is incapable of responding to the demands for social justice, education, a better distribution of the country’s wealth. The de facto government is also not up to the task (no president, no responsibility). This government is partly made up of people who have never been in public policy.
Finally, there is no longer a Parliament. The Court of Cassation judges cannot assume their role. Justice is sold to the highest bidders, and police officers are killed for pleasure amid a lack of planning and care.
Children are growing up without a father because of insecurity, raped women, and child prostitution, sometimes even for a portion of food. Families are unbalanced, stricken with despair. They are dispersed and scattered by the force of armed gangs. Being far from their home, people suffer from the destruction of their families while undergoing the acculturation of the West, which is deviant for the Haitian family. Who can keep pace with this acculturation given the deficient level of education? The country is torn apart by early pregnancies, malnourished children, and orphans.
Unlike in other countries, education is a luxury. Haiti does not manage to supervise its children’s education. The percentage of those who do not have access to school is numerous, not to mention the number of illiterates which is very high in the country, and the lack of accountability for this situation. Education in Haiti is perversely diverse. There is one education for the bourgeois class, another for the middle class, and the most despised is for the poor. Educational services provided by the Ministry of National Education show that big schools for privileged children work at one hundred percent of capability. In comparison, poor schools do so at thirty to thirty-five percent. So we can understand how difficult it is for the least of these to access structures of power and influence in the country. This unjust educational structure gives access to vultures as leaders and produces delinquents and thugs among our public institutions.
We are witnessing a middle class completely impoverished by kidnapping, and the most demanding people are traumatized. This can be seen as soon as the Angelus begins and sometimes even in broad daylight. Because terror reigns over the country, therefore, our children, our families do not have the right to happiness. So we have a set of institutions that no longer has control of the situation. People are tired of explanations. They have demands and would like to get out of misery and poverty. No serious leader emerges. There will probably be no institutional solution at this moment. The so-called leaders always find formulas that don’t conduct the country into its own well-being. There is a risk of seeing this country lock itself into instability and going backward, the same way as in 1994 with the return of Jean Bertrand Aristide after his coup d’etat.
As someone once said, “Religion is the opium of the people.” The people depend on their God to live. Prayer becomes the remedy for their ills. Next to all that, false pastors and prophets constantly abused and zombified them. What we need in this country is faithful women and men of God who will help the people understand that our God still reigns. The future of our people and our children depends on our relationship with God. We must look with spiritual eyes to see God’s glory.
One thing is sure, Haiti will rise from its ashes and once again become our paradise. He is certain neither spiritism, devotion to evil, the naming of dark spirits, or any sacrifices to be alive. Indeed, no religion will be able to get Haiti out of this mess without understanding that we are earthly citizens before being celestial citizens. It is necessary to consent to be instruments of peace of, forgiveness, and acceptance of the other.
May God bless Haiti and get it out of this disaster.
Rev. Dr. Francoise St. Vil Villier