After the havoc created by the right (Duvalier father and son) on the soul and the spirit of the Haitian people, the left (Aristide and Preval) was supposed to bring about corrective measures to repair and to rebuild the soul and the spirit of the people. It has almost completely disintegrated the remaining veins of the pulse of the nation.
The ravages wrought upon by the right, Duvalier father and son, is on record. More than 10,000 state- sponsored assassinations. More than one million Haitian people, during 30 years of the Duvalier regime, forced to choose the road of exile under the fear of political persecution. Complete stagnation of the economy, fragmentation of the social ethos and decomposition of the family structure. In addition, we find some two million peasants leaving their home to establish themselves in shantytowns around the capital and the principal cities of the country, compromising an ordered urbanization process for the foreseeable future.
The revolution of February 7, 1986, led mainly by a group of Catholic clergy well enthused into the theology of liberation, was supposed to bring about peace, democracy and development to Haiti; it has instead generated more conflicts and more division within the Haitian family.
It is true the revolution was kidnapped at first by the military with its wave of repression and ill-conceived policies from 1986 to 1991 but on February 7, 1991, Jean Bertrand Aristide, a defrocked priest, was enthroned president with a popular mandate. The people at home and abroad were expecting at least and at last peace and democracy.
They got instead government sponsored measure and practices to divide the Haitian family. While the militia under the Duvalier’s regime was in uniform and under an authoritative scheme, the chimers (another appellation for the militia) under the government of Jean Bertrand Aristide had no uniform and were free to strike without permission from a chain of command.
It was indeed mayhem at any hour of day and night. Young boys armed with the most sophisticated weapons were ransacking peaceful citizens. Kidnapping became a fashionable tool at the disposal of the government. The situation was so explosive that the entire population, students, businessmen and the civil society (along with the international) put their strength together to force the Aristide regime to leave the country.
The Preval government that succeeded after the hiatus of a provisional government as corrupt as the legitimate one did not make life easier for the Haitian family.
Preval’s laissez grainer culture became the best emulation of Petion’s laissez faire model. During the last eight years, it was the culmination in Haiti of the government existing for itself and not for serving its citizens. Personal security, environmental security, public health security as well as food security was at the lowest level ever. Adding to this situation, an act of God in the form of a major earthquake disaster brought Haiti to its knees.
The remnants of the Preval regime still haunt the Martelly government. The Senate that commands a majority voice due to the corruption of the electoral board is still dictating the agenda of the new government. Issues of double nationality, a dubious challenge over the arrest of a sitting legislator (who did not spend one day in jail) have priority over the essential topics of a national budget for sustainable development, revival of the environment and organization of the new university Henry Christophe, donated as a gift by the people of the Dominican Republic.
Where do we stand if neither the right, nor the left have handy solutions for rebuilding the Haitian economy? The answer to the question goes beyond the confines of the Republic of Haiti.
The United States went to Iraq to instill the elements of democracy, yet it is leaving not entrenching the basics rudiments of dreaming, living and building together a nation hospitable to all.
MINUSTHA, the UN stabilization force dispatched to Haiti with ample resources to facilitate the nation building process, will leave the country with the same negative result.
The reasons are simple. Learning to live together with an equitable distribution of the national resources amongst all the sectors of the nation is the key ingredient to create wealth, maintain peace and sustainable development.
Haiti will have to find its own formula, with neither the right nor the left nor the MINUSTHA to build the accompanying sentiment necessary to create wealth for all.
These aspirations that guided the founding fathers in building the first free black nation in the Western Hemisphere have found fertile ground in other parts of the world.
The Haitian nation will need to unlearn the lessons of laissez faire of Alexander Petion and laissez grainer (do as you please) of Rene Preval, the lessons of organized chaos of Jean Bertrand Aristide to forge a country where all the children, well fed by the government, will go to school. It will be also a Haiti where the peasants with assistance from the state will grow exotic, organic, tropical produce sold all over the world; the Diaspora armed with human and financial resources shall return home to bring back their experience for the benefit of all.
We learned enough from the right, the left and the MINUSTHA to build on our own this path of sustainable development!
Jean H. Charles MSW, JD is executive director of AINDOH Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to building a kinder and gentle Caribbean zone for all. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.