Sending money to assuage some guilt or to pay off familial obligation will not get us far. We’ve been doing this for a long time and the results have been less than ideal. Yet, we expect that somehow things will change. You know that’s the definition of insanity.

However, he missed the salient point that if this money wasn’t sent, the burden would fall squarely on the shoulders of the government and we all know that President Jovenel Moise’s weak shoulders are unable to handle the country’s needs even with that aid. Without it, Moise’s  shoulders would break apart and the country would plunge into even deeper chaos than it is now experiencing.

The other issue that my political operative missed is that the remittance money is one of the primary sources of hard currency the country depends on to function. Haiti’s currency is as worthless as a dried up mango leaf. It is not traded in the world market, like say the Dominican Peso.

People in the Diaspora finds themselves in a tough situation, they can’t turn their back on relatives, some of whom sold all they have to send them here to make a better life and in turn are expected to care for those left behind.

At the same time, Haitian government officials could care less about good governance and improving the life of its citizens. The situation in Haiti is deteriorating and a new and improved country seems out of grasp of this and the previous crop of leaders.

So, what are we to do? We are told to send our money and stay out of their affairs. That is an abusive relationship. But that’s for another column. For now, what the Diaspora need to do is to organize itself, build institutions and make political alliances in the United States. Imagine a Florida Senator Marco Rubio or New York Senator Chuck Schumer owing their political well-being to the Haitian vote. We will have leverage in having a significant say in U.S. policy vis-à-vis Haiti. After all, we know that when the U.S. tells Haitian leaders to jump, with few exceptions, they ask, how high. The Diaspora should be setting policy that truly benefits the country. Right now, the Diaspora is not even an afterthought when Haiti’s future is being debated in the corridors of power in Washington or at the United Nations.

This is a direct challenge to the Diaspora crowd who remind themselves of Haiti’s greatness at every gathering. True, Haiti accomplished the unthinkable when slaves led the successful revolution and freed themselves from the brutal, inhumane and the peculiarity of French slavery.

This crowd rightly points that the Haitian revolution has more than doubled the United States territory because in defeat, France’s Napoleon had lost his appetite for empire and sold the Louisiana Territory to the U.S. They also like to boast that the Haitian revolution paved the way for independence in many countries in Latin America. Simeon Bolivar, the father of Latin America came to Haiti and received tactical advices before he went on to wage fights for freedom across Latin America.

Again, all of that is true. But right now, the Talented Tenth and the others amongst us need to lead the next revolution to remove Haiti from a pariah state to a functioning republic capable of providing its people with basic human rights like compulsory education, quality health care and security.

The Diaspora with all of its education and means cannot live in the shadows of our ancestors’ accomplishments. We must build upon them. We need to write a new narrative. Make our ancestors proud.

The world is moving in breakneck speed while we’re going backward. We must check our emotions at the door and see Haiti for what it is and do the hard work of building the local civic institutions needed to help Haiti. we must put aside petty differences and unite around a common goal: Make Haiti a place where people can live in dignity and where we can safely return to live without fear.

Sending money to assuage some guilt or to pay off familial obligation will not get us far. We’ve been doing this for a long time and the results have been less than ideal. Yet, we expect that somehow things will change. You know that’s the definition of insanity.

Garry Pierre-Pierre

Garry Pierre-Pierre is a Pulitzer-prize winning, multimedia and entrepreneurial journalist. In 1999, he left the New York Times to launch the Haitian Times, a New York-based English-language publication serving the Haitian Diaspora. He is also the co-founder of the City University Graduate School of Journalism‘s Center for Community and Ethnic Media and a senior producer at CUNY TV.

More by Garry Pierre-Pierre

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