Commentary: Of Haiti and the United States

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Jean H Charles LLB, MSW, JD, is a regular contributor to the opinion section of Caribbean News Now. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Jean H Charles

Haiti without a government and the United States with a government are going into a tumultuous cloud that will determine which direction their nation will lead into in the future.

Indeed the United States, after two sessions of debate, went to the process of determining whether the old guard represented by Joe Biden or the new guard represented by Kamala Harris will take the command of the government vehicle to bring about systemic change into the country replacing the Republican President Donald Trump.

They promise change that will satisfy the American population in search of better and affordable health care, the human control of the hordes of Latino refugees knocking at the border without invitation, as well as bringing the jobs back from the Chinese industrial complex without disrupting the international free flowing of commerce.  

Haiti is going for a least one year its own turbulence almost without a government. Jovenel Moise elected two years ago under the party PHTK is decried by almost all the sectors of the political, social, and religious and business sectors. He has not only proved himself utterly incompetent and corrupt to direct the state of the nation, a controlling branch of the government La Cour Superieure des Comptes/ Superior Court of Accounts has found him and the corporation, AGITRANS that he controlled subject to prosecution for embezzlement and fraudulent accounting practices in regard to contracts issued from the Petro Caribe funds.

There has been almost daily mass demonstrations, civil squeamish with the police and quasi lock-down of the country for a full year. The Organisation of American States (OAS) or at least some friends of the government at the OAS came in at his rescue and suggest that he, Jovenel starts to govern and they, the opposition to back off and wait their turn at the next election.       

It would have been a wise suggestion except for the past 200 years and in particular in the last 60 years the Haitian governments in coos with some international sector have been so corrupt and so abrasive that election has been only for décor. They have managed to maintain themselves in power through their nemesis at each election perpetuating the misery of the Haitian population every five years. 

A systemic change is underway in Haiti these days. It will happen whether or not president Jovenel Moise continues to enjoy the support of the American government or the OAS. Haiti was destined to become a light shining on the hill for all and any nation seeking inspiration for freedom, liberty and prosperity. It has been instead a curse for its people and for the region with government after government ignoring the most basic needs of the population in terms of decent institutions and adequate infrastructure to root the population in their catchment areas.

It took the United States 60 years after its foundation to follow the Haitian model that all men are created by God with spirit, abilities and aspiration. It is still a work in progress with the Democrats holding the best narrative but demonstrating few achievements since  Lyndon Johnson panacea in civil rights, while the Republicans are decried for their narrative but produce better results than the Democrats starting with Abraham Lincoln, a Republican who dared to bring war against the South to rehabilitate the dignity of the black man as a true citizen  of the United States or Ronald Reagan also a Republican who knew how to work with Congress to pass a sweeping amnesty bill, easing the path to citizenship for three million illegal aliens some 60 years ago. 

With lobbying from the Haitian government a faux commission from the OAS came to Haiti to support the Jovenel Moise government. Decried by one of the member of the OAS, the representative from Antigua and Barbuda, a new commission from the OAS is being formed without the inquisitive and king Salomon like the presence of ambassador Ronald Sanders as requested by the Haiti representative.  

The new mission will probably endorse the proposition of the first one leaving Haiti to live in its own mess and the internal struggle between the people and its government. After a full year of demonstration and lock up the nation, there is a sentiment of fatigue amongst the protagonists with the government using time and the apparent foreign support to maintain itself without demonstrating a minimum standard of good governance.

Haiti is at the same point as it was in 1803; will the forces sent by Napoleon Bonaparte to re-establish slavery win back its colony. He had the support of Thomas Jefferson who just got elected over John Adams. The latter was friendly with Toussaint Louverture and wanted to use his acumen to free the United States from the ignominy of slavery?

In 2020 will we see the United States as it was framed in 1801 by Thomas Jefferson with all the hypocrisy about democracy using the crowd as a bulwark or will we see the United States envisioned by John Adams with finesse and welfare for all, including the Black citizens?

Haiti was destined to become a divine manifestation that the color of the black or white man, made no difference in relation to his aspirations to self-actualization and to God’s pursuit of happiness. As such the ragtag troops of Jean Jacques Dessalines succeeded over the best army of Napoleon that has already conquered Europe from Russia to Egypt, marching unto the United States through Louisiana.

In this forthcoming election in the United States, the Haitian American Diaspora will have to flex its political muscle to inform the American presidential candidates that Haiti will no longer accept business as usual in terms of corrupt, arrogant and inept governments that cannot deliver the most minimum standard of good governance.

The hypocrisy of past Democrats presidents, from Bill Clinton to Barrack Obama of leap service to and accomplice in the plight of the Haitian people is more dangerous to the country than the narrative of the characterization of shitty land by president Donald Trump.

He has promised the Haitian electorate in Florida to become the champion of the Haitian people. Strangely enough, this is one campaign promise not delivered. And Florida is still important in terms of who will gain the command of the pesidential White House in 2020.

On both sides of the aisle, Haiti and the United States are intertwined in their struggle for the welfare of their people. It is time that the United States recollects the statements of Frederick Douglass, one of his most illustrious ambassadors that it sent to Haiti. He said:

” Men in high American quarters have boasted to me of their ability to start a revolution in Haiti at pleasure.  They have an interest in stirring up strife in Haiti, to enable them to start a bloody insurrection. In the face of the fact that Haiti still lives, after being boycotted by all the Christian world; in the face of the fact of her known progress within the last twenty years, in the face of the fact that she has attached herself to the car of the world’s civilization, I cannot believe that her star is to go out in darkness, but I will rather believe that whatever may happen of peace or war, Haiti will remain in the firmament of nations, and, like the star of the north, will shine on and shine on forever.” 

One century later, the United States on the Democratic or Republican side can facilitate to help Haiti find the right direction where democracy will flourish in its true meaning of building hospitality for the majority of Haitians in their own setting. 

And may, the United States during the crossroad for a new president in 2020 find its way towards the sentiment of appurtenance amongst its people, in a political culture where divisiveness is the rule, hypocrisy the practice.   

As such the “Pleureuse” posture of integrity at the border will be moved where it should be, with integrity in foreign policy that works to root all those refugees knocking the doors of the United States from corrupt governments supported by the very own American government to settle in their own prosperous and peaceful nations where true democracy would flourish at last.  Oh Almighty God!  

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