Even if we can somehow extricate Haiti from its current abyss of gang domination and get to elections, the question remains, what next? At its current rate of growth, the list of the sanctioned will soon comprise a Who’ s Who of Haitian politics over the past decade, among them a president, three prime ministers,  and a raft of senators, all tagged for criminal activity by Canada, United States, or the Dominican Republic in an effort to help Haiti clean the slate. The dilemma remains that the presidents and senators were all elected by the voters, some in elections of uneven quality, some in elections that were technically valid. So the question goes to the quality of the lists put before the voters and the quality of their judgment.

As to their judgment, since 2010 the voters have tended to favor the less criminal and corrupt among the names put forward in presidential elections. They did so in that year by placing two less corrupt presidential candidates first and second and eliminating the likely criminal, although that worthy was briefly restored by a backroom maneuver of the election commission. They voted the same way in 2015 in giving a relative unknown 33 percent as against 25 percent for the same above-mentioned likely criminal. That vote so outraged the corruptionists that they sent mobs to overthrow the election and appointed someone from among themselves as president, who has since also been sanctioned for criminality by Canada. When the election was finally rerun a year later, the voters retaliated for this outrage by giving the relative unknown 56 percent. Little wonder that their choice was assassinated and they have not been allowed to vote again for six years!

All this is to say that the voters will probably scrutinize the next list for banditry, which the vast masses of Haitians abhor. Looking at the current crop of veteran male politicians who have not yet been sanctioned, Diogenes’s lamp might well sputter and be snuffed out before finding an honest one among them. This leads us directly to Diogenes in Search of an Honest ManRENAFECA, the Regroupement National des Femmes Candidates, and sister organizations. The Haiti Democracy Project has joined with them since 2018. The candidates they are grooming are conscious feminists, some of them quite militant, drawn to politics by a cause larger than lucre. So we are not talking here merely of righting the wrong of male domination, important as that is. We are talking about furnishing Haiti with a corps of committed improvers the likes of which it has never seen. You know they are dedicated when their national coordinator, after being beaten and robbed outside a government licensing office, goes right back to work the next day. I’m talking about our heroine Wiselaine. You know they are dedicated when the coordinator of the Croix-des-Bouquets region is shot in the neck leaving a Regroupement meeting, and after recovering with a feeding tube to the throat in the hospital, picks up the fallen standard with defiance. I’m talking about our heroine Jerline.

Jerline on the mend

Thus this web page oscillates between coverage of the women candidates’ preparation – their medical missions to the earthquake-stricken Sud, their organizing seminars with U.N. Women and the OAS, their succor to women prisoners living in awful conditions in Jacmel – and a focus on the gang-ridden horror of the streets of Haiti as well as the search for effective international strategy. The sidebar is given over entirely to the activities of RENAFECA, the regroupement of women, and the same articles about women are also interspersed in the main section.