Let’s face this bleak reality, the Haiti of today is not a sovereign state and has not been for quite some time. Haiti is an orphan state at the custody of the international community (IC), more precisely the United States of America.
Like a sinking ship in the middle of the ocean, Haiti is quickly disintegrating as the people are dying from subhuman conditions and one disaster after another. The weak state of the Haitian government has rendered it practically incapable of addressing any of the people’s issue. It seems that the more the international community wants to be the savior of Haiti, the more the country is falling into the abyss.
As a people it is not too late to reclaim our country. I am fully aware of how hard such a task would be, but protecting our rights to exist would fully validate the undertaking. We are not short of who to blame for our constant meager conditions, but often time the solutions are not easy to come by, let alone finding the courage to implement anything that could work. It is time for a re-evaluation of our commitment to our country.
Haiti has been in a state of crisis management for most of the past two decades. The presidential elections of 2000 were heavily criticized, and in 2004 we saw the removal of a duly elected president and a return of UN forces on our soil. Right after, we had a care-taker government, which was headed by Gerard Latortue, who himself was the choice of the international community. In 2006, the people had to take the streets to make sure that their votes were counted and respected, and as an outcome Rene Preval became president for a second time.
Fast forward to 2010, which will probably be recorded as one of the worst years in Haitian history in term of natural disasters, and the exposition of what failing policies can do to a people. Top-down, we have witnessed a disenfranchised people unable to help themselves during the hardest moment in generations. After the earthquake, it became evident that Haitians do not control their destiny and that its very survival is at the mercy of the international community. The same scenario repeated itself as a cholera outbreak potentially have reached our shore from South Asia, have killed and sickened scores of Haitians, only to once again witness the people left at the mercy of the international community to come to their rescue.
The Haitian authorities cannot speak to the people until they are ordered to do so from their proprietor, even if that mean, watching hopeless people die. As the earthquake and the cholera outbreak clearly exposed to the incompetence of Haitian authorities and their willingness to submit to orders from the international community, as a concerned citizen I believe the time has come for us to implement the changes that we want for our children.
The plan of the international community for our country is to let Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) do the job that could and shall be done by Haitians. It is clear and evident that our country is completely dependent on the charity of the IC and Haitians more than ever are being excluded from major decisions relating to their country.
The UN military forces under the banner of MINUSTHA have provided a safe heaven for foreigners to do their work in Haiti, while million of Haitians continue to suffer. There is a false sense of peace in the country because the people know any attempt to voice their discontent will be met by force from the UN soldiers. All along, the Haitian government has allowed this situation to continue. The MINUSTHA also protects the status quo of the few Haitians in power all at the detriment of the people.
The reconstruction effort is being co-led by President Bill Clinton, a part-timer UN envoy to Haiti, and Max Bellerive, the current sitting Prime Minister of Haiti. There is no doubt who is really in charge between those two individuals. Haiti is an occupied territory that no one wants to acknowledge. The weak state of Haitian government is a direct result of the international community policies towards Haiti, and unfortunately many of us are too naïve to want to accept this basic reality.
The way forward starts with a bottom-up approach, where the people stop falling for the trap of survival and start investing in the future of their children. Haiti became an independent state in 1804 because for the most part our ancestors came to the realization that they rather die than to see us living the same life they lived. Hence, a movement towards a free Haiti began and succeeded in defeating the French colonialists. Today’s situation is no different. We face the prospect of not seeing a better tomorrow, but we can fight for the welfare our children. It is the moment for us to take ourselves out of the equation, and lay everything on the line for the sake of those who have yet to be born.
As we live in a global age, the new reality of occupation and colonization has changed. Instead of one country being in charge of a lesser weaker state, we now see multi-national forces, usually dominated by great powers, taking the lead to impose their policies on impoverished countries like Haiti. It would be one thing to be the property of the international community and have access to the most basic necessities of life, but it is completely unacceptable to live this daily humiliation in our own homeland, and yet still forced to live in sub-human conditions.
The face of slavery may have change, but Haiti and Haitians remain in bondage. We must once again break the chain of oppression and reclaim our rightful place among civilized nations in this world. The international community has failed and is continuing to fail us.