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#39: Democracy in Haiti: Poincy replies to Corbett
From: Jean Poincy <email@example.com>
The "Ti Legliz" phenomenon? Where some of us see the birth of a
democratic movement, I see a movement that shook or raised the political
consciousness of the oppressed masses which is a necessary element to
give birth to a democratic structure in Ayiti. However, the embryo was
avorted at its forming stage by the constitution of the CNG after the
departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier. The movement went astray and lost the
steam to become democratic. In other words the people got tricked.
The continuation of the struggle with the emergence of Aristide was the
remnant of the movement consacrated by the december 1990 elections. Then
the hope of democracy got its blow. Rushing up to call up the whole
thing democratic is due to the fact that the governed at no point in the
nation history had the chance to speak, raise their voice and undertake
communal activities on their behalf. That's a misconception.
Yes! there was a wake up call in the 70s in Ayiti as the Carter
Administration was pretty serious about human rights. Nicaragua went
under the flood; news were coming from there and commented in relation
to Ayiti's situation on a daily basis through the voice of "Kompe Filo"
and good political talk was going on with Jean Dominique on sunday both
from Radio Haiti Inter. All Ayitian were glued on their radio at the
9:00 PM news by Kompe Filo and on sunday at 5:00 PM. This kin interest
in what was going on then all over Ayiti was a clear indication that the
people's conscioussness was arising. That was something similar to the
"Ti Legliz" and was not in the least democratic.
That period can be called an identification period. The identification
of ways to pursue a well-being through political justice. That's a given
the people came to realize very late in their existence or had noone
besides Aristide that could spur their energy in the manner that he did
or they could understand. I said it is a given because it's quite
natural for a people to fight for their well-being through political
justice. Not being able to do so or just being resigned to an oppressive
state is a negation of the nation self-realization or pure cowardice.
Otherwise, they would fight tooth and nail to the last breath like they
did to gain their independence.
The outcome of such a fight would logically bring concerned parties
together including the vanquished by force or will to debate on set
acceptable ways to all, on how to reach the common good, the nation
well-being. Any movement that does not reach this level is far from
being democratic. For that reason only, one can't qualify the "Ti
Legliz" movement as the birth of democracy. Just because, people sit
around to discuss their struggle, the ways to go about improving their
living conditions or decide to work together makes such an initiative
democratic. What to grant to this kind of activities is the necessary
seed to righteously bring democracy into being.
What was missing is the pourparler between the governed and those who
were governing to create a covenant which all would agree to observe
whether some like it or not. This is where the embryo was avorted, as I
stated earlier, by the constitution of the CNG. At this turning point
people seemed satisfied because Jean-CLaude was no longer there and
things were cooled down, especially when Namphy made sure that things
were cheap. The people got tricked thinking that real changes were on
A bogus constitution (1987) was constructed as a covenant without the
participation of the people or their representatives whom could truely
voice or defend their cause. The worst, they presented it to the people
in a referendum for the people to approve, which they did with no
questions asked. For it was aimed at reversing the old order, the flag
could no longer be black and red, anyone in the Duvalier regime was
barred from politics for a number of years, create a democratic system
and the list can go on. Anything else that seemed to break away from the
past would receive unanimous consent of the people then.
Constitutional democracy is not built on sheer destruction and
exclusion. There are ways to deal with unwanted participants without
denying them their rights to begin with if democracy has to take roots
in a society. Was there a point in time the content of the constitution
discussed fairly and objectively by the "Ti Legliz" movement or "Tet
Ansanm", if it was I don't know, please feed me in. However, allow me to
speculate that if it were discussed it is less likely that it would be
done fairly and objectively due to the state of mind the people then.
I just showed that there was a missing crucial element which could make
the movement democratic. Interpretating the involvement of the people
against a body of authority that oppresses them as democractic is a
mistake. It could plainly be a revolution with no democratic intent. As
I underlined above, the fact that the people take upon themselves the
initiative to better their lives by wanting to change their current
situation is not democratic. What is democratic is when different
factions of a population with differing views or set of preferrences
would come together in a political association to deliberate on what is
suppose to be a common good to them, political justice I would say in
Any agreement that would come out of such a deliberation is the
covenant discussed earlier that each member of the association ought to
respect and observe as a guideline. The validity of such a covennant can
be understood in light of compromise among everyone, its acceptance by
everyone and its observation. At this point, a society would reach a
full blown democratic process. We can identify three sequential
situations in that very democratic process.
1) The situation that raises the level of consciousness of the people
to get together and form an association to identify and determine the
common good (a necessary element in a democratic journey which does not
give birth to democracy contrary to what some of us think).
2) The situation when all opposing factions come to the realization of
resolving the conflict satisfactorily to reach a common good. This is a
crucial stage at which the "Ti Legliz" movement was aborted. At that
point, a covenant is to be reached through deliberation and the
reckoning of everyone's preferences in order to obtain common good and
to determine the role of each faction in the pursuit of such a goal.
3) The situation where the implementation and observance of the
covenant on the basis of respect, order, equity and justice is in
effect. The 1987 constitution, which is somewhat the covenant was
violated after and after and still being violated as a result of the way
it came about, as explained earlier.
In light of these three situations fully completed we can speak of the
birth of democracy and not by the presence of the first one only. At any
point during the democratic wave in Ayiti could we observe the later
two. They are to give body to the first in order to create a democratic
system. The "Ti Legliz" was very far from achieving this. As I said in
the beginning, it was just a movement to raise the political
consciousness of the people.
The political immaturity of the people lead them to believe that the
birth of the 1987 constitution as a genuine covenant when it was not.
The campaign behind it was not the well-being of the people but the
whipeout of whatever was understood as the Duvalier heritage. I don't
know, but I don't think the "Ti Legliz" had helped the people see the
blunder; instead they lead them to approve the 1987 constitution in a
For the movement to continue on, people were to be enlighted and
encourage to partake through their representatives in the conception of
the constitution. It would be democratic if the people were to elect
their representatives in the body of the "Ti Legliz" movement to go and
deliberate on issues that were important to them. Was there such a case?
Please enlight me.
Ayiti has lived, lives and will live