Photo Credit: Garry Pierre-Pierre

By Vania André

It’s time to take a side. Haitians need to either abandon their dream of democracy and succumb to neocolonial rule, and come under the full authority of the United States as a protectorate, or decide enough is enough, and unify to put power in the hands of a leader that is truly reflective of the values and needs of the people. Anything in between produces what we see taking place in the country right now — a quasidemocratic republic, where Western influence holds more power in our social and political affairs than our very own people. I can’t help but question, who are our masters?

The earthquake, while devastating, was an opportunity to propel Haiti forward. However, widespread corruption, systemic negligence and incompetence thwarted all possibility of realizing a Haiti that would be phoenix-like in her return from tragedy. The only way to put Haiti back on a course that leads to a period of reconstruction is with a new constitution that truly integrates the Diaspora in all facets of Haitian society. 

The goal is to shift the balance of power to where the Diaspora has an equal say in the affairs of the country just a much as those living on the island. What we’re experiencing in Haiti with the protests, and seemingly endless cycle of civil unrest, are the birthing pains that happen during a transfer of power. This is only the beginning. We see this struggle for dominance when those in power are grasping to hold on to a world that is quickly fading away. 

In order for Haiti to move forward and take her rightful place in the world as our forefathers intended centuries ago, we must shift how and why we push forward and support certain policies. We must create a constitution that truly embodies Toussaint Louverture’s vision when he recognized that what it meant to be Haitian was as much a matter of your lineage, as your capability to value freedom for all people. We must create a constitution that allows the Diaspora to vote, run for office and participate in all facets of Haitian government.

History has shown us opportunity exists amongst devastation. The way forward is to embrace a generational and social shift in power. 

I’m often asked, “Will things in Haiti ever change?”

Albert Einstein once said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. While thoroughly overused, this quote is especially appropriate when discussing Haitian politics. So, I posit the question back to you: “Will things in Haiti ever change?”

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