"Vodun and the Politics of Haiti"

Robert I. Rotberg

An excellent overview of Voodoo begins the article.

p. 356 "It is often said that vodun kept Haiti backward. Probably the reverse is true: vodun flourished because the rulers of Haiti denied their multitudinous citizenry a chance to transform a socially and economically stagnant rural life."

Rotberg argues in part that Voodoo presents a form of government in the rural areas since the country does not. But, later he takes a very narrow view of Voodoo as Church, and claims Voodoo, as an institution did not oppose the occupation. This is 1. too narrow a view of Voodoo 2. Contradicts his own earlier, and more satisfactory view.

He takes the stand that Voodoo will only be replaced by development:

" Vodun is resilient. Without Duvalier, as without Soulouque, its links to the state will fade away. Its small, secure, parochial base of power will remain until that distant day when modernization--if it ever comes to innermost Haiti--erodes the very foundations of a protective security-giving cognitive universe." 365.


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Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu