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
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”
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.