Originally: Haitian Bishops Suggest Keys to Address Country’s Future

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, OCT. 12, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Building a society of

peace and love in Haiti requires an “assembly of the people” that includes

all social classes and professional categories, the nation’s bishops


The episcopal conference’s position is reflected in the final document of

their recent plenary assembly, published under the title “To Journey with

the People.”

Haitian citizens “have lost confidence” in themselves because “of the lies,

exploitation and corruption” they have endured, the prelates say.

This context “has contributed to create a particular mentality that seeks

immediate profit, characterized by individualism, physical and verbal

aggressiveness, and marked by fear,” they assert.

The bishops attribute Haiti’s chronic underdevelopment to the

“socioeconomic backwardness registered in the country during its whole

history,” and to the political instability, intolerance and antagonism of

social classes and parties.

This has caused “the interference of foreign political forces, putting the

population under the protection of direct military occupation or

interventions said to be of mediation and maintenance of the peace,” the

bishops point out in their document, quoted by the Missionary Service News


The Haitian episcopate says that the provisional Electoral Council should

organize new elections, planned for 2005, “without being influenced by

internal or external pressures.”

Among the proposals addressed to the authorities, the bishops’ conference

asks that state accounts be made public, that the central bank be

independent of the government, that agricultural production be subsidized,

and that effective measures be adopted to fight against the “grave plague”

of insecurity.

Returning from a visit to Haiti in June, Archbishop Paul Cordes, president

of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” which administers the Pope’s

charities, told ZENIT that he had seen “greater poverty than in many

countries of Africa.”

The Haitian prelates explained in their document: “All this is, perhaps, a

consequence of the dictatorships that for decades have pressured this

country. François Duvalier (‘Papa Doc’), Jean Claude Duvalier (‘Baby Doc’)

and recently Aristide abused the country and robbed the population of its


Three-quarters of Haiti’s 8.1 million people live in abject poverty. The

nation, a former French colony, has endured some 30 coups d’état in two

centuries of independence.

On Feb. 29, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide went into exile in the Central

African Republic after an uprising. Boniface Alexandre has been the

provisional president. Gerard Latortue has been interim prime minister

since March 12.