March 18, 2001
Bajeux, director of the Ecumenical Center for Human
In these difficult days we are living through, as our
shared hopes dwindle toward zero, we are forced to think.
Towards what disaster is our fight headed?
Towards what quarrel of heirs over every last
scrap of the inheritance? And we are still pursued by
those faces that put us in permanent mourning. As
Patrick Lemoine stated in the epilogue of the English
version of his book, Did they die for nothing
people whose names we will never know shot at the corner
of Grand Rue in July of 1987. Yves Volel, whom I saw
in the morgue with a bullet in the middle of his skull.
Serge Villard, lying on the floor of the emergency room
at the Canape-Vert Hospital. Louis-Eugène Athis,
nursing his political ambition during his twenty-three
years of exile in Santo Domingo, lynched by a section
chief of Leogane. Lafontant Joseph, found dead at the
wheel of his red car. And many others, anonymous or
not, even the indestructible and flamboyant Jean Dominique.
Everyone with their defianceof the Macoutes carried
the idea of a country where humanity would be respected.
has been long. However, we now realize that it is not
over, even if the heroes seem tired, even if they are
pushed to their limits. Now is not the time for a critical
examination, it would be unwise to launch into a critique
of their errors. True, these heroes had no manners,
they were dirty, covered with the dust or the mud of
the road, each one with their share of mistakes, their
limits, their inabilities and their appetites, marked
by a life of fighting, of screams and of secret meetings. Yet
at Vertieres, the army of the va-nus pieds
did not even have a way out, had no uniforms or shoes,
had nothing but mismatched or improvised weapons. But
that army, at that moment, on that historic occurrence,
was the army that overcame the divisions to create the
face of a new nation affirming the equality of all.
in history, it is the moments where the cause exceeds
the individuals, in which the voice of the country comes
through, in their speeches and in their demands.
Its a murmur that comes from afar and to
which we must listen carefully before it is too late.
We must cease to scrutinize the immediate and pay attention
to what comes from behind, which overcomes the poverty
of its initiatives and the miserable state of its weapons. Behind it, amidst their claims and protests, others voices come
from the depths of a nation in distress, voices coming
together to reclaim simplicity and demand justice, to
reclaim respect, to demand truth, to recall the promises
made and the confidence given without asking questions,
to finally evaluate the intensity of the betrayals,
and to discover the reasons for all the lies.
a mandate. And those responsible for this mandate, now
excluded from the circle of power, are the ones who
are asking for an explanation, who demand, ten years
later, an accounting.
At the moment
when the democratic troops realigned themselves, in
October of 1990, to finally take part in these famous
elections which since October 1987 have
been presented as the only way out, or better, as the
point of departure of a new social contract, the threat
from Roger Lafontant arose and the order of the day
was the broadest possible unity, which would reshuffle
the cards in a dramatic way.
One day it will be necessary to tell, in detail,
the history of this operation.
In any case, a few days before the end of the
candidate-enrollment period, a candidate was nominated
and the legal platform and program carefully put in
place over six months was utilized to register him,
under the name of the FNCD.
raised his profile, allowing him to assume leadership
of the democratic movement and open the road of development,
raising the hopes of the whole country and after his
resounding mandate on December 16, 1990 drawing the
curiosity, emotion and support of international opinion.
ten years later this strange movement of discontent,
this unending crisis that, again, overtakes the key
institutions, that puts the country in parentheses and
that brings us back to the shameful helplessness of
misery, to the daily lies of official spokespeople,
to this paralysis of public services, to the abuses
that no one would have believed possible of the old
Macoutism? Dozens of articles have appeared in the worldwide
press on this subject. The report
of the American Department of State on the position
of human rights in the year 2000 is overwhelming.
And, in some weeks, will appear the report of Amnesty
accumulating questions and problems are only met with
embarrassment, if not arrogance, by secretiveness, special
commissions with semi-secret decisions, leading to impotence
and futility according the old Haitian tradition of
roguishness in government.
necessary to understand above all is the crime that
began with a split within the democratic movement and
grew into what we see today, a splitting away from the
entire people, a people which is only beginning to understand
the nature of this betrayal. What remains of the mandate
so generously bestowed in October 1990? To begin with
there needed to be the role of a teacher joining together
the different groups of the democratic movement in the
task of creating a democratic state, in an enormous
mobilization for development. To assume this role required
vision, far-sightedness, a vision of the future, a vision
of a nation excluding manipulation of the truth and
sordid schemes of personal enrichment.
from the start the president chosen by the democratic
movement showed an obstinate desire not only to dispense
with this sponsorship and support but to ignore and
the result that in the second round of elections in
January 1991 certain candidates for the lower house
found themselves left in the lurch. On inauguration
day, February 7, no political leader was invited to
the inaugural address and a delegation from the leadership
of the Socialist International including Peña
Gomez could not be received by the new president on
February 8, despite waiting for four hours. Received
the day after, Ecuadorian ambassador Horacio Sevilla
passed on the message from the Socialist International
to include all sectors in his government. In vain: the
process of elimination had already begun.
deteriorated into physical attacks against the deputies
of the lower house by the precursors of today's "ghosts"
or street gangs to stop a vote against Prime Minister
Préval. This was a month before the coup d'état.
The process of elimination continued in the following
years: a campaign of lies blaming some groups for support
of the coup, systematic disposal of these groups, and
finally the systematic elimination of the opposition
in fraudulent and fabricated elections, applauded by
those who did not tolerate the existence of parties
or "particles," tiny political parties.
But to have
everything for oneself and oneself only, to surround
oneself with a clan of the faithful, transformed into
a gang of accomplices, means to descend into a spiral
of isolation. Isolation not only from the organizations
that bore the battle and blazed the trail, but also,
and this was extremely serious, complicity with those
against whom we fought. This about-face placed the Lavalas
Family in a position of manipulation of and soon direct
opposition to the constitution and finally conflict
with the international community. So it came that ten
years later the Lavalas Family, grabbing by well-known
means all the "elected" posts in the country,
found the legality of these positions questioned, and
was implicated in a web of private interests, in an
anti-democratic policy, in doubtful alliances with former
Macoutes, in a discourse having nothing to do with the
terms of the 1990 mandate.
the situation today: a government in plain crisis, powerless
to restart a moribund economy after four ruined elections,
more and more loudly questioned over personal enrichment,
the sterility of justice, the absence of a structured
work plan, while investment vanishes and the institutions
of government every day become more bankrupt and illegitimate.
The question of the elections, the fairness of voting
and reflecting the vote of the citizens becomes the
focal point of this crisis which cannot be resolved
simply by mechanical appeals to launch a "dialogue"
while a policy of "all for me" continues to
be conducted, all the time reciting with fervor, yet
mechanically, articles of the constitution transformed
into Buddhist mantras. Then we have face to face the
patriarch, head of the human-rights movement and in
1987 chosen as candidate in the elections and on
the other side the young "prophet," chosen
in the name of the Evangelist in October 1990, elected
on December 16, 1990 by the whole people, who today
finds himself confined in his domain, captive of a maze
of contradictory personal interests, at the head of
a crime-ridden and further criminalizing government.
be the arbiter of this confrontation if not the Haitian
people themselves? They are the only ones who can
restore the constitution of 1987. They are the sole
guardians of the heritage of 1986, the plan for a democratic
Haiti for which so many paid with their lives.