Originally: Le dyakout de Godot renferme-t-il des miracles
With the arrival of a prime minister do we at last have a miracle worker? We know the president said he could not perform miracles. We know Prime Minister Alexis said he could not get blood from stones. However, we persist in wanting solutions from them because to govern is to foresee. All governments have the goal and duty of improving the lot of the people who elect them. We have all understood that we are confronted with a food crisis caused by failure to increase agricultural production, a failure intensified by external factors. The responsibility for this tragedy is with the leaders of the government because they didn?t apply preventative measures in time.
Insecurity is on the rise. Repeated scandals of kidnapping, of schemes running into the millions of U.S. dollars, of people hired to kidnap senators and their families, none of this can reassure families in Haiti nor their relatives overseas. In this criminal environment, how can one hope for the long-awaited investment to create jobs for our youths graduating from the universities?
The new school year is just around the corner. There is no will to address crucial problems that the population faces every day. The balanced budget so prized by the ministry of finances has gone up in smoke.
And if we did not have our professional beggar with outstretched hand to the international community, where would we be? The millions sent by the United States and Venezuela for food and agriculture have kept the boat more or less afloat, but for how much longer? One wonders what the Haitian state is doing with its surplus while the population is starving. Rather than making a hole in the coffers of the state, they prefer to make a hole in the stomachs of the children who are going to school without anything to eat.
The Democratic Gains We Need to Preserve
Under international pressure, we are heading directly, without safeguards, towards sham elections. The OAS and the U.N. mission should carefully review the history of the last twenty years to take into account the following lesson: every time the elections were not free and fair, we went into a crisis, as in 1997 and 2000. Today, despite undergoing an unprecedented social crisis, the population has shown remarkable patience because it chose its government in 2006. The senatorial elections of 2008, the legislative and local elections of 2009, and the presidential in 2010 must be transparent and give the candidates the possibility to be freely elected by the population.
The constitution of 1987 is sacred and should be respected, especially in everything related to modification or amendment. The historian Georges Michel has told me that of the twenty-two constitutions we have had, twenty-one were written to order. That of 1987 came about under a government of transition, during a period of democratic exuberance, to which its design and safeguards attest. It is unique and we must protect it. This is an achievement which should be defended by the university youth and all civil-society organizations.
The diaspora has its role to play and is a patient spectator who pays dearly, to the tune of $1.6 billion, for the privilege of watching us, but awaits judicial reform before assuming its full role. If the diaspora represents close to 30 percent of our GDP, explain to me why it is marginalized, excluded, indeed pilloried. What are you afraid of? Candidates like to flirt with it for a one-night stand, but never think about taking it to the altar. However if there is one mine of human, technological, and financial resources that can be exploited to develop the country, it is the Haitian diaspora. More than fifteen Haitian-Americans have been elected as legislators in various U.S. states. They have learned how to govern.
The Opportunity to be Seized
The international community is present and wants to accompany us, but it counts on us, the nationals, to make the choice of refounding the state and nation and putting in place democratic structures which respect the rights of all the citizens in Haiti and overseas and can answer the needs of the young.
We cannot continue to be a burden for the international community and a threat to our neighbors. We will not succeed by asking for the departure of the U.N. troops, rather by building and modernizing our means of cooperation and the administrative faculties of the state. The route we must take is that of building a sovereign, modern state that is capable of creating the environment for massive private investment of domestic and foreign capital.
The crying social inequities will not disappear with Preval?s everyone-for-himself mentality, and such a model is illogical for a modern state. In no case can a government that cares nothing for the general interest and well-being of its citizens create solid foundations for democracy. These foundations can only be built on respect of the talents and rights of the citizenry. Our destiny cannot be that of a people that is eternally receiving assistance.
In the recent past, we were at the same level as South Korea and ahead of our neighbors. Why have we conducted this mad rush toward the bottom? The choice that needs to be made to correct this misconduct can only be made by the people in free and transparent elections. The reformers will win the people?s confidence and the people will choose them.
We ask our great neighbors to the north and south to continue to accompany us in maintaining simultaneously the executive and the legislative power, co-repositories of popular sovereignty.
It is 2008. Already the contest for the presidency in 2011 is raging in Haiti. It is time for the Haitian private sector to reassess and look over the other side of the border to understand that only a true partnership of the private and public sectors can put our country on the road to economic and social development.
Our elites must understand that the more one increases the size of the middle and working classes and their purchasing power the greater will be the profits and the less the need to beg for crumbs from the table. Political stability can only come if the youth, who make up a large majority of our society, can develop their talents and live in freedom with dignity. This can only come about through free and transparent elections.
Originally appeared on August 15, 2008 in Le Matin as Le dyakout de Godot renferme-t-il des miracles.