By Garry Pierre-Pierre | The Conversation
My mother’s side of the family came from Miragoâne, the coastal southern city whose economy was bauxite. We have a range of hues across the skin color spectrum — from my uncle Lionel Duval, who could pass for white, if he wanted, to my dark mocha. We were close-knit, with Lionel being the patriarch and the family’s counselor.
My mom always spoke reverently of my uncle because he pushed her to excel. He was very proud of me too. When I became a professional, he would swoon or call for a chat after seeing me on television or reading one of my stories. That’s just the way he was. He embraced his family’s diversity of skin color.
Strangely, this is not common in Haiti, and I never realized truly how special he was until the events that unfolded in Haiti last week. Our family’s multi-color bond was the exception, not the rule in Haiti.
The torture and assassination of president Jovenel Moïse by unknown assailants laid bare the reality in Haiti in ways that we can no longer hide. Contrary to popular belief, Haiti is not a Black country. It is a modern-day Apartheid state where a small minority of White people lord over the mass of the population who are Black.
To try to explain this any other way is intellectual malfeasance. Haiti is presented either as an example of Black rule or, in White supremacist circles, of Black people’s inability to govern. I get asked the question in polite company: “Why is Haiti ungovernable?”
The answer is that it is by design. It is set up that way. Haiti is ruled not by the Black faces who are elected. It is governed by a small cabal of oligarch families who migrated to Haiti. They are known as BAM BAM, phonetically in Creole “Gimme, Gimme.” The acronym stands for the Brandt, Acra, Madsen, Bigio, Apaid and Mevs families.
A primer on Haiti’s wealthiest
These families control 90% of Haiti’s wealth and give a veneer that Haiti is a Black-run country when in fact they control virtually every business and entity in Haiti. They allow the political class to exist to protect their narrow personal interests.
Except for the Arab Haitians, they are reclusive billionaires who hold honorary diplomatic titles to their country of origin. That means they pay no taxes because, after all, they are diplomats. In the rare cases when they have to pay their fair share, they bribe government officials to look the other way.
They own private ports with little oversight from the government. We wonder how arms and ammunition are plentiful in a country whose arms and ammunition for its police force is stricltly limited. These people have had their knees on the necks of the Haitian masses for more than a century.
I’m not fomenting racial animus. These are facts.
Below these oligarchs are the traditional light-skinned Haitians of French ancestry, whose role is to carry on the racial caste system in Haiti. The “mulaterie” are on a lower rung that controls the arts, entertainment, small businesses and everything else. A dark-skinned Haitian can own a bodega, but not a supermarket.
Where does the diaspora fit?
The diaspora has no place in this system. I know of no one who has returned to Haiti and has been successful. These families, mulaterie and politicians take pleasure in squeezing investors dry and ripping every dollar out of our pocket.
A good friend of mine returned to Haiti to open a small boutique hotel in his hometown of Jacmel. He told me how disappointed he was by that move. Nothing functions and his hotel has sat largely vacant. If he depended on the hotel for his livelihood, he would have gone hungry. Fortunately, he lives off his pension and the hotel has become a sort of hobby, not business.
Then there is the case of Franck Ciné, a former executive at the now defunct communication giant MCI. Ciné returned to Haiti and then went on to launch Haitel, investing $85 million. When he launched the telecommunications company in 2000, it was the largest private investment in Haiti’s history.
Soon enough, Ciné was arrested on dubious accusations and jailed. The government seized his assets and he returned to New York, an angry and bitter person, as anyone would be. The oligarchs would not accept this dark-skinned successful Haitian because it could set a bad precedent. He had to be eliminated.
A brother’s plea: Take an honest look in the mirror
Over the years of reporting and writing about Haiti, I have skirted this issue because it can be seen as fomenting class or color divisions. But I can no longer avoid this topic because it is the cancer that’s staring at us, a life-threatening disease we want to avoid treating, thinking that it will cure itself. It won’t.
I know that Moïse was a deeply-flawed messenger and made a Faustian bargain to become president. I believe, however, that at some point he had this revelation and was willing to take on the oligarchs, knowing it would not end well for him. Moïse wanted to upend the system and make Haiti a more equitable place for the wretched masses, who have been desperately trying to leave Haiti, even if they must face withering prejudice and maltreatment abroad.
I have no doubt that my writing will change these oligarchs’ hearts nor prompt them to spread their wealth anytime soon. They see themselves as one step below God and are immune to criticism. They are soulless.
This plea is really to my light-skinned brothers and sisters. Haiti needs the same awakening that’s happening in the United States. This is your Black Lives Matter moment. You should question your privilege, the Haitian system that allows you social standing by the virtue of your skin tone.
Are you smarter, better educated than everybody else? You certainly haven’t proven that outside of Haiti. In fact, you know that you’re not superior. That’s why most of you can’t succeed outside of Haiti, where competition is fierce. Look into the mirror, peer into your soul and ask yourself if this is the Haiti that you want.
You know you’re not cut out for the New York, Miami or Montreal rat race. But you must admit this new version of Haiti doesn’t work for you, no matter your station in society.
- You can’t enjoy your beach house because the gangs have made going there unsafe.
- You must drive in the middle of the night to get to the airport because by dawn, the gangs rule the streets.
- You can’t drive to Jacmel because Martissant is a no-man’s land.
- You charter a plane, It crashes killing 6 people on board because the planes are not safe.
- Even Doctors Without Borders, which works in the world’s dangerous places, has decamped from their Martissant headquarters.
To my middle-class dark-skinned compatriots, you focus too much on the international community being at the root cause of our problems. The International Monetary Fund and the host of alphabet-soup organizations do similar things in other countries and the results, though not necessarily good, are not as dire as they are in Haiti.
Frame the argument differently. Peel the onion and you’ll get there. You’ve been asking incessantly about the provenance of the PetroCaribe money when it’s in front of you. If you look at the government’s contracts with Sogener, a generator reseller, they charged the government more than 30% higher than what Dominican companies charge the Dominican Republic.
You’ve watched your quality of life deteriorate consistently over the last 3 decades. Your children have no opportunity, but you don’t have the money to send them to North America to study. Be smart and reach deep down in your empty well to find some water, it’s there.
Our enlightenment is overdue
System Band, my favorite Konpa band, has a song that captures this situation so aptly. It’s called “Yon sel mwen menm” or “I’m alone.” It muses over a very optimistic Haiti, where a pitit soyet has found education and a better life overall despite the trials and tribulations of life in Haiti . It calls for Haitians to rasanble, or come together, with their conch shells and bamboo to liberate themselves.
But perhaps the line that ties everything together is this:
Zot toujou di: Si yo bay yo limyè, ya vin vole tèm.” In English, this means: “Others always say: If they get electricity, they’ll come steal my land.”
Moïse died fighting to get the country electricity 24/7.
The article could be more informative. For instance, it could discuss how the ports became privately own.
It is volatile situation and there is a need for balance. Opinions are not always facts, although some can be based on facts. There is room for nuance and a necessity to avoid putting gasoline on fire.
When government becomes a business instead of duty as Amy Wilentz noted, vultures of all race/ethnicity will always be circling.
I think we gather enough information from it. Let’s stop pretending as if these are fresh revelations. I was born in Haiti and ever since I can remember it’s always been the reality.
I think I recognized by your name that you are probably of Lebanese decent. This makes you a bit unqualified to respond to this article, which by the way has its shortcomings. I will address these in a different post. However, I have a question for you : When was the last time the so called oligarch of Haiti tried to do something to give back to the country/people that took them in and gave them so much?
Keep in mind that I am not referring to a plat diri or a boutey louile.
Please enlighten me!
And yes, you are correct, “VULTURES” which is what these people are will be be circling , how do you explain the never ending “take” and never give back?
I realize I did not answer your question. I know that Boulos has a philanthropy. I have not done any research about Haitian philanthropy.
But a better answer is: I would love people to be good and share. But I am truly in favor of real policies to make them good people and share.
But why would think that “being of Lebanese descent (I am and born in Port de Paix) make me “unqualified to answer.”
Your handle is so fitting..NOT. What makes Nadim unqualified because of his Lebanese decent? It’s only a handle/name, anyone can change their name is any public forum. Who’s Judging now?
That is one of the best journalism I’ve read. Keep telling the truth a about our country. Keep asking the question. Who is the ruling class not who are
This article is full of hatred and frustration and reminds of Duvalier’s dangerous rhetoric which lead the country to total disaster and under-development. And Jovenel Moise resembled Duvalier in his way of ruling the country and destroying all state institutions. Remember the old haitian saying: “Neg nwe ki rich sé milat, milat ki pov sé neg nwe!…..
Excellent article and well
Captured Garry! Always great to read your perspective! The time has come, truth be told the it is well overdue. The selfish and “soulless” monopoly and complete disregard and indifference towards the Haitian people must end! For this to happen though we need education from a grassroots level.
Oh my God, Thank you my brother for this enlightenment,Iwould have never guessed ,that this is the réalité in Haïti, Lord have mercy, well I can pray more intelligente, now that I am enlightened.
Thank you my brother.
I love this article. Very few journalists have the guts to reveal the truth about Haiti. We are where we are by design. However we can’t ignore the influence of other countries such as USA and France that have their hands deeply rooted in the demagogue defending their self interest as well. I still have faith and I’m in the process of opening a nightclub in the country side of Haiti.
We don’t need night club in Haiti at the moment we need school and jail and reenforcement of the law on taxes and death penalty
Brother Garry Pierre-Pierre thank you for such a powerful article. It makes me wonder, what would President Jovenel Moses have done if he had the backing and the full participation of the Haitian people. He pays the ultimate price confronting these racist white supremacist thugs “for the people who look like me” as he had stated in one of his speech.
R.I.P Mr. Le President.
The battle continues…
This is a radical perspective and I have already been sending this news bit out to my various Haitian contacts to see if they will validate it. If true, I would like to be part of the solution
Hey Glenn, there is nothing radical about it. If you ask around 80 to 90% of us will tell you that how things have been on the Island for centuries. If you never lived there you won’t understand how complex and corrupt Haiti is.
The old Haitian system needs to go and the new system needs to go after all the Mulats prosecute and sue them for every pennies that they have and The $1.50 on all the thousands money transfer coming from other countries has to contribute for the Haitians system institutions not for individuals everything needs to be computerized and reenforcing the law on the long fingers now that this old system got smart on rubbery by putting their hands on diaspora’s pocket
we Haitian need to stop destroying each other stop selling and telling on your own country and your own people in front of others who don’t or will never like you instead you need to put your gun down and start building each other because the enemy doesn’t like that we get alone if we do they are afraid that we are going to get somewhere
Stop dressing acting like your enemy start growing your own food
If you have a beautiful house and cars dressing like a star and speak French in a country who has a reputation like Haiti I want you to know all that doesn’t make you look good Speaking about French we do not need no f***** French we need to start learning and talking code language not even creole too close to French
Each and everyone of Haitians it is your responsibility to fight for your right in a smart and peaceful manners without destroying your country
Rather the actual system or opposition they are all the same they have to go
We need to stick to each other because we need each other and watch out for the enemy
Radical?!? How so? This the unknown truth, or rather the best kept secret of Haiti.
May be because you are one of them or you are living in your on little world that’s why you don’t care about other Haitians misery you think it’s normal for them to live like that and for the Arab people to keep on sucking their blood because they are mulat that’s why
It’s sad that an educated man of your stature has not taken their time to do some real investigative journalism.
The people that you portray as the enemies of Haiti are actually the ones saving the country from sinking into a dark abyss.
In the words of Paul Kagame, you have fallen pray into that business of hate. And i think you need to wake up!
You honestly believe that the private sector as you mentioned enjoys being surrounded by all this misery. You believe that they enjoy loosing professional employees from having to leave Haiti. You believe that they haven’t tried on multiple occasions to work on 5-10-20 year plans on development and progress. You believe that Oligarchy bulls***t when your borders are completely open where anyone has access to contraband.
All i understand from this article is a Bias and a promotor of Hate regarding a class of people that you cannot understand the obstacles they must face.
All classes have good and bad! Even in yours! It’s very dangerous when you put all in one basket!
Xavier, Garry is Right. This is an excellent piece! He knows how to write. Don’t try to denigrate a man who’s telling the truth. I know the goal of a businessman is to amass as much money he or she can but in the case of the Haitian business elite they interfere in every single decision of the government. When the last time you traveled to Haiti? Did you see the infrastructure? One of the businessmen you claim to be the savior of the system is responsible to build road.
Xavier, yes they enjoy being surrounded by all this misery. You believe that they enjoy losing professional employees from having to leave Haiti. What professional employees are you referring to?I am sensing either never lived in Haiti or you and your family benefited directly or indirectly from the system.
With all that wealth they could have done a lot. Unfortunately, they are not about progress. The worst Haiti is the more money they make.
Are you serious? When was the last time you stepped foot in Haiti? Have you really sound of these questions in your head before writing them. Do you not see the misery in the haitian people’s face?. How many darkskin haitians are that successful in haiti without be squeezed by these oligarchs. So please, grab a corner so you can sit a reflect . Because what you wrote is not it.
I work and live full time in Haiti for the last 20 years! I have witness multiple government exchanges between private sector that have resulted in nothing mostly due to systematic greed, corruption and political instability. Just recently, Haiti lost a 2.4 Billion $ investment opportunity where a South Korean Company was going to develop the Lafito area and create over 100,000 jobs. I have witness so many righteous projects to be crushed by ignorance that create more equitable wealth for all such as the Quiskeya project that was designed for housing, energy, industry and specialized skills along the Border, etc…. But Hey! What do i know! I’m always going to be labeled as a white Haitian that is taking advantage of Black Haitians!
I’m sorry but you guys are still using the same rhetoric under Duvalier without taking into consideration that most of those wealthy white Haitians really WANT to do something GOOD!!! This article is extremely outdated!
Everyone keeps talking about Oligarchy constantly! Name me one company!!!??? The last one i was aware of was SOGENER which had the monopoly on energy! Please enlightened me! Your border is completely open where anyone can purchase any item freely and sell on the Haitian Market, therefore, it’s extremely difficult to have a monopoly on any goods. Anyone can go to Panama and fill up a container of merchandise and declares it as personal items and pay very little taxes!!! so where is that monopoly you keep talking about!
Keep in mind that dark skinned people used to manage these business a long time ago! Do you know why they no longer do! its simply because they refuse to innovate and give out credit amongst other things!
We are more thirsty for change and progress than you could ever imagined! Haiti’s people have this amazing energy, the landscape is incredible and the food is soooo good! I know alot about this place and I am very aware of my environment! My 2 uncles married very dark skinned woman and lived very fulfill lives! Most of us do not care about race as I see it portrayed in this article!
Obviously, there will always be a few bad apples but assure it doesn’t represent anything closely related to the majority!!! This article for me is very outdated!!! Most of us are US educated and have witnessed what it takes to make a country work properly and are ready to implement it in Haiti, however, the government and the diaspora prefers to label us as enemy of progress! This article irritates me because there’s no real investigative journalism involved. Why wasn’t any individuals from the private sector interviewed?
On a final note! I believe the biggest problem among our social class is that we are not united to change the narrative!
All the Best!
Xavier I understand how you feel in rgards to that post and I share some of it, however not believing in the Oligarchy is closing your eyes on a problem, Not THE problem, but a problem that is plaguing the country. There is a new generation of Upper class rich people who really don’t care about how the country is going as long as they are living life and continue to gain more money. You have heard that the love of money is the root of all evil. Couldn’t be any truer in these cases. Back in colonial times, the master always for the most part have a black snitch he keeps close to inform him or even assist him in keeping the other slave in check, all in return for a better way of life. This snitch is portrayed in the role of Stephen in “Django Unchained”. There are many modern Stephen in the world today, not just Haiti, and unless we reach these people there will never be change in Haiti.
Hey there Xavier!
I agree with you regarding the additional research. I think that more research would only reveal how deeply rooted the problem of monopoly and to what extent the rapacity of these people have destroyed Haiti.
Yes, you are correct! I wanted to see more data in this piece.
Now needless to say that the concerns presented here are not the only issues that the country faces. However, until these conversations are being had, unless people like yourself stop seeing them as gasoline on fire… it will just be the status quo. So, embrace these conversations starters!!!!
I am not sure what being of Lebanese descent would make me “ unqualified to answer.
The way that good governance forces “people give back” is via taxation. It would be nice to have philanthropic organizations in Haiti. Perhaps you may research if there are Haitian philanthropic organizations.
A cast system cannot be destroyed via emotions and rhetoric. It requires good governance to basically force all to give back via taxation and then redistribution to social goods and investment to grow the economy. It would be nice if people create philanthropic organizations but I would not necessarily count on them. Basically you cannot run a country on charity. You have to have reliable revenues. They are called tax and import duties.
I found the article lacks balance because it does not address the synergy between the government and financial sectors. It would have been more informative to explain to the public how the ports became privately own.
Very well written Gary So true
If we want a better haiti we have to start by investigating all the past contracts between the haitian government and the light skin haitians.
Words can’t express the mixed of emotions I endured while reading this article. This article should be translated in both creole and French so the mass can read it. Thank you for shedding light on this situation
Excellent article and I agree completely. To take this subject a level deeper, Black Haitians do the same thing to their fellow Black Haitians. If someone has an education, they feel superior to those who were not able to have that luxury. And, yes, many Black Haitians without an education are far more intelligent than those who have. If one can only speak Kryole and not French, then they are way down. That goes on, and on, and I have stories… This needs to STOP also!!! Thank You for what you do!!!
This only article not only made my day, but my entire year. You got the words out of my mouths. That is exactly what I have been explaining to my Co workers. Many thanks for this article. Thanks fir having the courage to tell the truth !
Now I understand
Très bel article!
Thank youuuuu for this timely update of a better understanding of the dire needs and ongoing disenfranchisement of the Haitian people. It really is time fir the established oligarchs to ‘get their knees’ off the necks of the Haitian people.
That is so true. So, what can we do in diaspora to create a change?
Write and publish more on this topic. It is noteworthy. Haiti is indeed an apartheid governed country
Very thoughtful and useful article, however one should always bear in mind that the upper class managed to remain on top with the complicity and support of the international community. I even believe that the Occidental apartheid system is using that class of people to hide their actions of malfeasance toward the dark skinned haitians.
Though it’s a package
Wow! Amazing article- very informative and spot on with the fact going on behind the scenes with the Haitian economy.
Wow!!! My Haitian brother,
You just wrote exactly what I have been talking with my younger brother ever since they killed our president.
One thing you seemed to have left out is that those few people whom have their claws on the country’s neck are backed by the multinational companies here in the US, Canada, France, England etc… and these companies “fe et defe”. They created the embargo, they killed our pigs, they killed our crops to arrived to what we have now.
LEVE KAMPE AYISIEN
Wow!!! My Haitian brother, You just wrote exactly what I have been talking with my younger brother ever since they killed our president. One thing you seemed to have left out is that those few people whom have their claws on the country’s neck are backed by the multinational companies here in the US, Canada, France, England etc… and these companies “fe et defe”. They created the embargo, they killed our pigs, they killed our crops to arrived to what we have now. LEVE KAMPE AYISIEN
You didn’t mention Soca Bank that was owned by St Louis of Villa St Louis Bourdon and some other Black Haitians. It went the same way of Haitel.
Soca Bank was actually Frank Cine’s bank, it was alleged activity at the bank which also took Haitel down, all a smoke screen for the “milats” to dig deeper in Haiti’s pockets
So a logical follow up question would be: how come the Martelly or Jovenel governments did not return his properties?
What happened that we are “open for businesses” or we are “fighting the oligarchy?”
UNITED RESPONSE TO YOUR STORY:
A Strategy to Fund Historically Black Neighborhoods & Communities Like We Fund Historically Black Colleges & Universities:
The UBUNTU Fund (Using Black Unity Nationwide To Uplift Us) ”
inspired by Habakkuk 2:2…
●1. Use Black History Month as a time of economic unity for African Americans from all walks of life to give a cultural love offering to start a 100 year economic movement: (Acts 4:32)…
●2. Set a reasonable amount of money for African Americans from all walks of life to give once a year: (Matthew 25: 14-30)…
●3. Create A Foundation or Trust for the UBUNTU Fund to ensure protection of monies & contributions: (Matthew 6:21)…
●4. Provide yearly donors with opportunities to be entered into a raffle drawing to win a $25k (DEBT RELIEF SCHOLOARSHIP) as an incentive for their giving. Allow nationally recognized debt consolidation or financial consumer nonprofit to assist with the process: (Proverbs 3:28)…
●5. Allocate a percentage of annual contributions to provide a (QUALITY OF LIFE SCHOLARSHIPS) for African Americans who are transitioning out of legitimate homeless programs with 3-month, 6 month or 1 year of rental assistance: (Matthew 25:40)…
●6. Allocate a percentage of annual contributions to provide (1st TIME HOME BUYER SCHOLOARSHIP) to expand first-time home buyer down payment or closing cost assistance for persons of color: (Acts 4:34-35)…
●7. Allocate a percentage of annual contributions to provide teens transitioning into adulthood with (SECURED CREDIT CARD SCHOLARSHIP) as an incentive for students who complete financial literacy classes. This will give teens/young adult the opportunity build FICO scores as they build GPA scores: (Proverbs 13:22)…
●8. Allocate a percentage of annual contributions to provide Civil-Rights funding to both grassroots and legacy civil rights organizations that advocates for people of color: ( Isaiah 61:8)…
●9. Allocate a percentage of annual contributions to provide a Minor’s Memorial Trust or Foun
dation to assist families with burial assistance for youth ages 0-17 who are killed by an act of violence: (Matthew 5:4)…
●10. Allocate a percentage of annual contributions
to provide both national & international disaster relief fund for both communities and countries of color: (Romans 15:2)…
●11. Allocate a percentage of annual contributions to provide future funding for new equitable ideas to build people of color (Isaiah 43:19)…
All excellent suggestions and doable. I would add to this list:
– Make people pay taxes and import duties
. Grow the economy by truly investing in agriculture and and create a legal framework to attract foreign investment in tourism. Basically do what the Dominican Republic has done. The economy has not grown in 71 years.
. Then reinvest the revenues in social goods such as health, education, etc, instead of diverting the revenues to buy multimillion dollars houses in Canada and the US.
Very powerful. Thank you for enlightening me and bringing this issue to focus. You certainly brought clarity to some misconceptions.
Joan Martin /firstname.lastname@example.org
I love the fact that you have opened this discussion. Talking about this reality publicly is a great step to fixing Haiti’s problems.
The minute that Haiti realizes that the answer to all the problems in the country and with her people lay dormant in her people is the minute Haiti will start to heal itself. The unified ‘will’ of a people can NEVER be beaten.
Being able to have these discussions without any social hatred based on skin color is a real challenge. Not only we need conversations on the root causes of haitian social complexes of superiority or inferiority , discrimination, but we also need to talk about social education, social investments ,ethics, civil rights and duties, equal rights and justice… There will always be a class of oligarchs of some sort, no matter the skin tones if these issues or not worked on.
Great Job Mr. Pierre Pierre. May God bless and protect you always.
What’s a wonderful article!
I grew up in Haiti and I can appreciate the gospel 🙏 truth of everything that’s being expressed in this article. My father was a doctor and the siblings and I went to the best schools in Port-au-Prince and I personally suffered so many actions of prejudices to my bkack skin. It was not funny…
This is one more testimonial that Haitians , natives and otherwise, are able to analyse our predicament with competence and clarity. In this article, the Haitian theatre is laid bare for those willing to understand many factors that , under various covers, have protected a few families ,in the time honored practices of profiting and self dealing that have hept the majority of the population in squalor without hope for a better tomorrow.
One good analysis that should induce many toward their participation in the dialogue about : La Perle des Antilles”.
Before all prejudice, I am missing the meaning of:
Your comment is awaiting “moderatio.”
This is a GREAT article and it’s true.
But, there’s more to it, the dark skin countries are controlled by the Europeans and the western countries to be where we are.
It’s all done by design.
The Western countries will always make us believe that they will come to our rescue but, remember, we (Haitians) mess up their plans.
We helped all these countries to be independent.
Who we think we are?
That’s why we have been punished for that.
They are using us all over the world to advance their businesses.
But, when it comes to do something at home, they are against it so Haiti doesn’t get better.
I read this article with a lot of interest. It seems to me, the main point that the writer makes, is as follows: Ayiti (Haiti) is part of a global system, i.e., Apartheid, Black Lives Matter, and so on.
I, totally, approve of this attempt to encourage Ayitians to look at the system. This way, the system analysts among us, using data, can begin to make some projections, as well as determine the appropriate action steps that will alleviate the pain and suffering of Ayitians.
With regard to my own projection, Ayiti is 1.1 step away from total collapse. The question then is, what can we do before the stop occurs?
In my judgment, the starting point is everything must be communicated. This is really the significance of this article. While reading it, Ayitians begin to see what makes sense, as well as what does not make sense. Once, Ayitians engage in this effort to grasp the original objective, i.e., metaphysics, their human condition will change creatively.
Finally, I must caution everyone the view expressed in this comment is not a plan for change. It is merely intended to encourage communication, collaboration, sharing, and above all, learning, interactive, fun, and experiential (LIFE).
Saint or evil Jovenel is the victim of the same system which killed Dessalines, Christophe, Leconte, Vilbrun Guillaume Sam. That is the system which chased Dumarsais Estime, Manigat, and Aristide from the power. When they cannot buy these leaders, they duped the people to make them think these leaders are against them. Duvalier father became a dictator against all, but the son was the traditional bourgeoisie’s Dictator. Jovenel failed in what Duvalier succeeded by creating a dark skinned middle class now destroyed by natural and man made disasters. The worse is our elites are nothing than brokers under the domination of the international merchants who invest in coups to keep the statuquo. By the time, our political is divided under incompetent leaders. Some of them too senile to fight, some others are too greedy or ill-educated to come with a solution for the goods of Haitian people. There is no miracle, from the first day of our independence to this day, we are paying the price of raising our head in front of the masters. Our only chance is for the oppressed people everywhere in the world come together to fight for our future. For the colored people in US who do not understand Haiti, the deliberate campaign in US to disqualify your votes enters in the same logic minimizing and delegitimizing anything colored gents realized. The election is fraudulent because you vote in mass, if you drive a luxury car you might steal it, you are the head of your class because of affirmative action, etc. Bam Bam cannot do the bad all by themselves they are being helped since the first day of our independence.
I found your article enlightening
How do we solve the problems? Haïti needs a leader that can touch the heart of the oligarchs not their brain. A change of heart can make a difference in the life of the country. Violence has no venue in solving deeply ingrained challenges like the ones we face in Haiti. A real emphatic leader must emerge to change the course of the future of the country. At this point we must start acting in unity to save our country. Let your heart listen to the plea for a shift in strategy to make this country function for all. Rich and poor are completely lost at this point. Nou tout dwe permet lanmou pou ayiti chérie dirige aksyon nou nan batay pou sove peyi a.
I want to shake your hand. This article is like a prophet calling in the wilderness, admonishing the vampires who suck the lifeblood of Haiti to repent. But alas, money matters more to them than equity. Thank you for this bold and beautiful piece. #FreeHaiti #JusticeForJovenel
Dead on! You capture and express what the majority of Haitians are thinking.
The only thing that I would add is that we need a true Revolution of conscience to pull our beloved Haïti from the abyss. It is way too easy for the corrupters to successfully corrupt the elected political slaves. Our senators, lower-chamber representatives, and other public officials are to “opened for business”.
Thank you, Gary
This is an upper shelf analysis of one problem Haitians have to wake up and face again…it was there in 1806 after Dessalines was murdered. Murders of Black’s by Black’s in Haiti is not perpetrated by the Oligarchs, no matter how vicious they may be.
Are you serious? When was the last time you stepped foot in Haiti? Have you really sound of these questions in your head before writing them. Do you not see the misery in the haitian people’s face?. How many darkskin haitians are that successful in haiti without be squeezed by these oligarchs. So please, grab a corner so you can sit a reflect . Because what you wrote is not it.
Good job Brother Pierre – Pierre
I grew up in Haiti and consider myself a well educated person . This article open my eyes about so many facts about Haiti . I always knew there was a big problem in my country . Like many Hatian I was lost and confused in the cast system I was exposed to growing up
We need the spread topic like this to the masses
All my Hatian brothers and sisters , light skin, dark skin, let’s unify , get out this caste system reclaim our country from those oligarchs
I am probably going to be the first one to say that I don’t agree. It really seems that the black community in Haiti is incapable of owning to their mistake or lack of ambition. Yes, there is a minority in Haiti of Lebanese and Syrian descent who control 80% of the wealth in Haiti. Why is that? well first, one needs to understand that the county prior to the arrival of these Lebanese and Syrians was control by whom? yes, Blacks. . We kicked the French out remember? Also, the Syrians/Lebanese migrated to Haiti between 1895 and 1941. That was under president Soulouque who himself was black and appointed black people in power only. And there is plenty of evidence that the Lebanese\Syrians did not possess such power back then, and even less under Duvaliers. So when these Lebanese/Syrians migrated, they open businesses such as linen, silk, and others, and had NO COMPETITION. I know that because when I was in school in the 1980’s the only place to get quality linen for uniform was “Chez Acra”. You could get linen from the “Machan toile nan Kafou” but this linen would not last long as they got them across the border for the most part. I need to clarify, that they did not have competition not because they suppress the black community, but because the black community was not interested. The black community was too busy fighting for power and control of the country leaving the other community with the vast opportunity to gain a vast amount of money and eventually the shadow who today control the county in a bad way… WE did this… We allowed them to be this successful, and powerful. WE are the ones who turned a blind eye to their corruption. We have a much bigger problem, and it is the mentality of the “Dark-skinned” Haitian. Depi nan Ginen ti neg Rayi neg. The author should know this saying and think hard about the situation prior to blaming the “Light-skinned” “White-skinned” bourgeois in Haiti whose power exists because we the dark skin Haitian had allowed them to.
Indeed. And even if it is true that Haitians of Syrian and Lebanese descent have not given back, it would have taken the complicity of black Haitian governments and the lack of meaningful philanthropy of from black Haitians to explain the poverty of the majority.
So basically we know why Haiti is poor. But it is past due to think how to make Haiti less poor? It is called growing the economy and governance. And yes philanthropy is always a nice complement.
Thanks for sharing.
I loved this article and totally agreed with the author. Well done!! I think he captured the essence of what is currently happening in Haiti (though it has always been there) and deeply entrenched. Gary had the “balls” to tell it like it is. No more white washing the truth. Haiti has been through too much. Time for action – EDUCATION!!!
Haiti doesn’t need any nightclubs but schools in the countryside. The Haitian population (mostly blacks) need to be educated so they can understand (1) what is truly going on in their country, (2) where they stand and what they can gain, (3) have pride in being Haitian (first black country to gain Independency from white suppressors) and finally come together as organized groups to fully understand what they up against.
Only then can each generation get better and do what is needed to get out from under these white racist suppressors.
What’s happening in Haiti is not new. Most countries are run by the elite 1% wealthy families. Haiti’s make up is 98+% black but run by 1-2% white oligarch. They can come and go as they please and import all the necessities of life. They don’t feel the strain that black Haitians have to go through. They take advantage and will continue to do so until Haitians wake up and do something! I’ll keep praying for Haiti.
Thank you. You let the cat out if the bag. At times it takes leaving our home to see the where we come from. Growing up in a middle class in Haiti, I brought into the system. I have been waiting someone to spill the beans for we cannot move forward until we get our own house in order. « When you know better you must do better. I believe Maya Angelo said this.The time is now. It will not be easy wt but there must be the willing to change as so many will fight it, because that is just the way things have been. We must stop the selfishness and start caring about our brothers and sisters. It can no longer be about our own needs. So many of us want to go home and the situation at hand does not allow it. I pray before I die I will see a new Haiti. She deserves better. Our ancestors deserve better! We must do better!
Monsieur Pierre Pierre,
This was a really good piece! However, considering the complexity of the issues, it merely scratches the surface of Haiti’s cast system. Your intentions, of course, were not to write a book, but to start the conversation, I am assuming. Therefore, I am hoping to see many more pieces on the subject.
For example, we cannot talk about cast system without mentioning the “restavek” system.
We cannot write a piece like this without deciphering entirely how these oligarchs arrive in Haiti and how they prosper. A mention of the monopoly, greed and and their refusal to give back even in the form of paying taxes is not enough. Solid data needs to be presented to avoid the Nadim, and Xavier of the world to have a field day with such important matters. You cannot write a piece like this without offering real solutions, you mentioned the Oligarchs spreading their wealth- this will never happen as this is not a communist country and they are too greedy to give back- so the solution has to come from the govt who will need to put in place measures about what foreigners can and cannot do, and most importantly combat corruption.
By the way a piece about corruption (tout pep la koronpu) is also overdue!!!
Actually “Stop Judging” I was suggesting balance via actual data and specific information. I am quite comfortable discussing race, ethnicity, class, colorism, provincialism, etc. But I prefer good governance and policies over empty rhetoric. I see myself a perfect synergy between a political power structure of most black persons and a financial oligarchy of most light skinned persons, and not just of Arab descent.
You are certainly entitled to your own opinions as I am. We are simply not entitled to our own facts.
I find this piece of article very interested . The Journalists conceived what he experienced about what happened to president Jovenel Moise, and the private sector controlling Haiti which is bringing more violent to Haitien peoples because of the government broken system.
The article does not address the true power of the oligarch. As President Jovenel said: ” They have the power to make the tormentors become the tormented and vice versa”. They control your thinking through the media. They can demonize you as they please. They start killing the President the moment he realizes that they are blood suckers and that you cannot reason with them. They are willing to kill with no mercy when their economic and social hegemony is in question. Their biggest weapon is poverty. With poverty as their faithful accomplice, they can manipulate, corrupt, dictate, assassinate one’s character and kill.
Haiti needs a revolution. The oligarchic system that you described has been in place since 1804, after our ” independance” . The first victim was Dessalines who wanted a fair distribution of the land. Then, we had Salnave, Aristide (removed from power twice) in spite of being elected in the only free and fair elections ever held in the country, killing thousands of his supporters in the process.They are talking about holding elections to continue with the criminal system in place. Poor Haiti!!!
So “they” are not Haitians because they immigrated? When? a century, two hundred years ago? Do you mean that Black Europeans are not citizens of their respective European countries of birth? I hope Haiti can achieve a better wealth distribution and a path to peace but not sure what you are sowing here will help. You are basically re-appropriating Mein Kampf’s thesis, only you have replaced “jews” by “whites”.
Thanks for such an honest and revealing article. As an outsider (Man, Latin, creole origin, living in a big city in Germany, raised in middle class in latin America), it gives me the answers I was looking for and must concurr with your statement, about how Haiti’s image is well fed and maintained by your ruling class. It just keeps everybody thinking, Haiti cannot be ruled.
I must say after looking at many other countries and systems, that it is a pity that your ruling class is choosing to keep Haiti in such a state.
Normally these systems try to push as much as they can so people just won’t revolt, but the aid from the outside and the parallel approaches and so on seem to give this ruling class the impression that what they need to give back is much much less than it really is.
Again thanks for your article. And to close with a friendly tone. I have to say I read your article in my mind with a young female African (American) voice in my head, before reading your name at the end.
When I think of Haiti’s many ailments, the first question that comes to mind is, why do we expect Haitians to put their heads together to solve Haiti’s problem when they have never thought of how to do so by educators who were supposedly shaping them for the future? They don’t teach kids how to collaborate in school by pushing them to do group projects where the grades depend on the group participants, and if the group wins, they win or drown together. Haiti’s rébati needs to start with getting the children ready for an asanm asanm nation.
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