CONASPEH raises its prophetic voice amid the constitutional and political crisis in Haiti
Haiti has been experiencing a new wave of protests against US-backed President Jovenel Moïse. Since January 10, thousands of citizens, students, workers, members of various social movements, and opposition political parties have been mobilizing. They reject Moïse’s decision to hold presidential and legislative elections on September 19 and a referendum to replace the current Constitution, which is the main achievement of the democratic movement of 1986, on April 25. See this link: https://www.newsclick.in/Haitians-Intensify-Struggle-Against-President-Jovenel-Mo%C3%AFse
The Reverend Doctor Francoise Villier, General Bishop and President of the National Spiritual Council of Churches in Haiti (CONASPEH), a longstanding partner of Global Ministries in that country, reported that Haiti’s President refuses to accept that his mandate ends on February 7. Article 134-2 of the Haitian Constitution establishes that any elected president’s commission is for 5 years. Things worsen because President Moïse confronted a social uprising last year demanding his resignation from office. “A year has passed since those mobilizations, and he didn’t hear the voices of the people demanding his resignation. Moreover, he now wants to stay in power, in clear defiance of our Constitution. Yet, he already forced the resignation of parliamentarian, using the same Constitution that he now deplores for himself”, said Bishop Villier.
Bishop Villier continued her reflection regarding Haiti’s actual context: “People are revolting. That is happening because Haiti is going through challenging times. Political problems are leading to misery, insecurity, mistrust, intolerance, and a lack of love. CONASPEH, like all religious, social, or civil political organizations, sees how deep the social crisis in our country is. Like all emerging countries, Haiti experiments inconsistencies into its own development and policymaking. However, this actual crisis has lasted too long. Too much blood has been spilled in this country, and people can’t take it anymore”.
CONASPEH was part of an ecumenical declaration signed by the Protestant community in Haiti. Dr. Gerard Forges and Dr. Gerald Bataille ambassadors of the Protestant Federation of Haiti (FPH; Pastor Jacques N. Janvier, President of the Federation of Haitian Pastors (FEPaH); Dr. Francoise St Vil Villier, President of the National Spiritual Council of Churches (CONaSPE) and Pastor Ismaël Baptiste, representative of the Conference of Haitian Pastors (COPAH), signed that declaration after consultation and analysis of the current crisis in the country. Their organizations positioned themselves against Haiti’s actual Government, in favor of the opposition, and advocated for a peaceful transition of power in the country.
The following are extracts from the said declaration:
“[…] We met in Tabarre to reflect on the general situation in the country, on the eve of February 7, 2021.
[…] We are literally sitting on a powder keg, a dangerous situation exacerbated by the stubbornness of Mr. Jovenel Moïse to remain in power after February 7, 2021, the constitutional date of the end of his mandate.
Mr. Moïse […] knows that his mandate ends on February 7, 2021 […]. To persist in remaining beyond his constitutional order is to embark on a dangerous adventure because it is a flagrant violation of the Constitution. A dictatorship is being set up […]
[…] We, the undersigned, aware of our mission, which is to clear the way for the people of God and remove all obstacles (Isaiah 57 verse 14)
DEMAND compliance with Haiti’s Constitution, particularly the provisions of Articles 134-1 and 134-2.
ASK the President of the Republic, Mr. Jovenel Molse, to take note of the end of his mandate on February 7, 2021.
CALL on international organizations, including the OAS and the UN, immediately cease their interference by supporting a President openly in rebellion against the law and the country’s Constitution.
CALL on the country’s active forces (religious sectors, employers, trade unions, and others) to take a clear position in favor of a peaceful transition to spare the country and its citizens the pains and pangs of indiscriminate violence.
Finally, PROPOSE to civil society organizations a meeting to set up a support and reflection committee to oversee the initiatives of a disruptive transition, as demanded by Haitian society. ” See the link: https://www.haitilibre.com/article-32858-haiti-politique-le-secteur-protestants-soutient-l-opposition-et-appelle-a-la-transition.html
Bishop Villier requested the prayers and solidarity of sister churches in the U.S. and Canada and the continued support to Haiti’s cause of peace and justice.