Opinion

The Haitian diaspora wants Haiti to relive 1492 and 1915

Spoiler alert: the U.S. government’s long-awaited opinion will not be the knockout punch that will resolve Haiti’s political crisis. On the contrary, it will weaken Haiti’s sovereignty because it will keep Haitians on a leash, in chains and in check.

haitian protester, anti-jovenel
Daniel Andre, president of the Haitian Civic Organization of Paterson, New Jersey, attended the Jan. 15 rally demanding that Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse step down Feb. 7. Photo by Leonardo March

“Biden, we voted for you; now remove Jovenel” is by far the most ignorant, foolish, inconsiderate, callous, out of touch tweet of the Haitian diaspora to Joe Biden. It is solemn proof that the Haitian, whatever his intelligence and wealth, never misses the opportunity to showcase his slave mentality.

The diaspora is silly to think that his vote for Biden would engage local Haitians. They did not agree to this invitation for the white man to return to Haiti to become their master again. This trivial tweet squarely shows the diaspora’s ignorance of the constant struggle on the ground and the collective terror that is becoming the continuing norm in Haiti.

The diaspora’s engagement in the United States to tame the Haitian crisis lies in the fact that the fight must be fought outside Haiti without engaging in domestic politics. At this point, the Haitian diaspora may be an attractive political force in the United States, but this is not Haiti’s case, as the Haitian people have yet to see this diaspora’s economic value to the country. For Haiti, its diaspora is a group of budding politicians who believe their influence on American politics makes them relevant to Haitian politics.

A smart diaspora should advocate for better immigration and comprehensive social program policies for Haitian-Americans, Haitian residents, and tourists. Of all the diaspora groups in the United States, the Haitian diaspora is the least assertive, although it is the most vocal about its patriotism or nationalism.

I suggest developing a new strategy to form a council whose mission would be to convince U.S. lawmakers to extend sponsorship and scholarships to qualify to Haitian students and academics. Moreover, they shall be asking the United States to reactivate the guest-worker visa program and the security-training program for the national police and the Haitian army. Until these programs are underway, the council would take the appropriate steps to turn its remittances into investments rather than charity.

The fight to revive Haiti begins with a bold economic approach that must be supported by the involvement of the U.S. government and the international community, to some extent. Such a bold approach would facilitate legal immigration activities and non-obstructive social programs that empower local investors, fund diaspora-led initiatives, create local jobs, strengthen education and public health, and support security to alleviate the social burden of the Haitian government.

The diaspora does not understand the situation on the ground. To claim that American involvement is the only solution is an act of betrayal.

Bobb Rousseau

Bobb Rousseau

Bobb Rousseau holds a Ph.D. in Administration and Public Policy with specializations in Public Law and Managing Local Government. Dr. Rousseau firmly believes that the Haitian diaspora in the United States is at a prime stage to build an attractive political force that can shift U.S. immigration, diplomacy, and humanitarian aid to Haiti and to advance the Haitian agenda around the world.
Bobb Rousseau
Feb. 15, 2021

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