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Jacques Jonassaint

Liberté. Égalité. Fraternité.

Haiti has never fulfilled its potential. From its courageous and noble beginnings to the chaos that seizes the country today, the true Spirit of Haiti has never been allowed to thrive. As the only nation where slaves themselves threw off the shackles of servitude to establish a constitution where liberty and citizenship were guaranteed to all, Haiti has since suffered setbacks from natural disasters and greed driven elitism to foreign intervention and international retribution.

In the humblest terms, the Haitian people have regularly petitioned their government and the international community for redress during our 200 plus years as a fragile state. But our repeated petitions have been met with ineffective foreign interventions and global occupations that have injured our most vulnerable citizens with cholera rape and socio-economic displacement.

To add insult to injury, some foreigners have claimed diplomatic immunity while harming our people for many decades. Others have deliberately taken advantage by plundering our resources and assaulting our people. At the same time, we have not been negligent in our attention to our brothers and sisters from the international community. We have repeatedly warned them of our dissatisfaction with their activities and monopolistic attitudes. We have even reminded them occasionally about the circumstances of their immigration and settlement in Haiti, and we have petitioned them through our common ties to the first black republic to stop this exploitation of our resources without getting us our fair shares.

At times, foreign nations and potential partners even sought to punish Haiti through embargoes, excessive tariffs, and other sanctions. And these have often created an economy of scarcity and the greed inherent in a zero-sum game. These conditions create breeding grounds for oligarchs, gang violence, and lawlessness when it comes to Justice and the rule of law.

It’s time to put away the past. It’s time to climb above rancor and recrimination. It’s time to create and build on common ground with the real stakeholders of Haiti. These are the people themselves and they include partners from around the world who understand and sustain the founding values of our beautiful nation. For too long, the voice of justice and fraternity has been ignored.

But no more.

We must seize this moment to reconcile differences between Haitians irrespective of social hierarchy, monetary status, or political position. With the wisdom of experience, we must build true alliances across the sea with partners who give as much as they take. From the most simple gesture of placing a seed in our fertile soil to effectively negotiating among the corridors of power throughout the world, we must come together. We must work from the bottom up and from the top down. We must restore hope through good works. Peace through Brotherhood, and the future through honest engagement. It is only in this way and with fervent prayer that we will eventually come to leave the slogan embroidered on our flag: Liberté. Égalité. Fraternité.


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