Originally: The New Theorem of the Turtle Politics In The Case Of Haiti
In Haiti, there is not a systematic way to take the poll from the media or accredited centers in order to see how the government is doing, to predict which political leaders we should expect for the next elections. On March 10th 2004, Gerard Latortue took the plane with his bag full of programs ?what he called in a public conference in New York the ?national agenda? – with the hope to patch up 45 years of failure of two consecutive regimes. When arriving at the Bureau du Premier Ministre, many sheets of that national agenda have been put somewhere in the drawer. Just a few of them are being implemented step by step or at the turtle step. A year later, many blame him for being too patient, applaud him for the international reconciliation in US, Canada, Europe, Africa, South America, recognize him of being immunized of anti-corruption genes, some try to chase him for walking at the turtle steps whereas one could theorize a new concept in Haitian politics: the new theorem of the turtle politics.
It is a risk to apply the turtle politics in a country where many generations for the last 45 years did not see a better Haiti than what it is today. The patience strategy might work in countries where some projects are planned 50 years in advance. In a tête-à-tête last March, the prime minister told me: ?In a country like ours, you see today but you don?t know what brings tomorrow, it is a country full of surprises.? Yet, natural catastrophes far to be accidental, thousands of deaths in Mapou and Fond-Verettes, the La Tortue island was falsely announced to be submerged, the Jeanne storm devastated Gonaives, the armed thugs named Operation Bagdad, the breaking of national jails many times, the last one in February 19th, brought out 481 escapers. Haiti becomes a country where the emerging crisis leads instead of government officials leading the crisis.
At the dawn of the 21st century, success is a result of the formula ?think fast and act well?, as we are moving in the era of the revolution of communications. Across that formula, the risk of the turtle politics gets on the nerves of many who want things to be done at the speed of light. What people did not find in the past 45 years, they want a magic stick (maybe the Moses stick in the Bible) to get things done very fast in 12 months, 45 years versus 12 months. This is what I call the “catch up time hypothesis?. Here are some requests that face the government: justice reform, the Haitian army restoration, the betterment of the deep misery of the mob, the reimbursement for about 200 millions of dollars of the cooperatives crash, the lack of Universities, the energetic crisis, the environmental crisis, the absentia of the Diaspora of the politics.
In the ?catch up time hypothesis?, the expectations were high of the PM. Let us name a few: the law should be applied fundamentally to provide a swift justice, the quick restoration of the army without sound national debates for healing and reconciliation, the reduction of the prices on the goods, the reimbursement of more than 200 millions of dollars for the cooperatives according to the New York Times, the construction of one or two universities with scientific labs, building of a nuclear plant to provide energy or buying three to four generators up to 150 megawatts, the planning of the month for reforestation, providing the people with programs on alternative energies subsidized by the government. Violating the 1987 constitution to have a referendum for true integration of the Diaspora by changing the article 11 ?The Haitian never loses his citizenship.? would make a lot of sense. The regular way will take eight to eleven years to get the Diaspora involved in the political process. Speaking about referendum, it is not a bad idea if they had one get the people power in order to have the legitimacy of the transition.
The risk of the turtle politics after two consecutive regimes, one for almost 30 years, the other one almost 15 years makes it very difficult to cultivate patience in such a short time span. Nothing is absolute, everything is relativistic. Those who think we could go faster the elections are waiting for them.
I don’t know how far and sure the “turtle politics” of Mr. Latortue will lead him towards February 7th, 2006. Meanwhile, many are left very frustrated in the pathways. Among the frustrated, they ignore most of the things the government has done or they underestimate what has been done.
For the sake of argument, the health of our country is critical. It is a very critical cancer that needs wisdom to be cured. While we are fighting on particulars, the global picture is like a particle in quick disintegration, we are threatened not to have pure water in the next 23 years, we don’t know when will be the next ecological drama, and we are far from resolving the energetic crisis. Well, the absolute poverty is threatening us. Absolute poverty means to be below the poverty level. The people are hungry, they need to be fed. The people are not educated, they need a long term commitment program, may be 25 years of massive and constant education.
In summary, if I flip the coin to have a probable result… head or tail, it will be 1/2 or 0.5 lower than 1! By flipping the coin, either H or T, I should choose one option of two of critical issues… By doing Haitian Politics, it is never one or two possibilities; it is always more than two. May be it is the dice sides. It is not an accident to have the probable ratio of 1 over 45 in a government trying to respond to 45 years of failure. In each “grand dossier” that the transition must respond, there are more than two possibilities, may be six or twelve options depending on how many times you throw the dices.
Mother Haiti has about 11 millions of children inside and outside… For the next elections, the only candidate who claimed he is ready is Leslie Manigat, overthrown by a military coup d?état in 1998. In February 2006, one of 11 millions, although the Diaspora is totally excluded, will help us patch up the last 45 years of failure. Let us hope the people via the elections will help the country get back to its constitutional pathway. Between Jebb and George W., Haiti keeps searching for help thru the turtle politics.
*Jean-Junior Joseph is a Haitian physicist, used to do research in High Energy Physics at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York.