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#3493: Answer to Karen E. Richman (fwd)
From: Ednair Xavier <email@example.com>
Re: "The New York Times informed us that Haiti's political system is a
chiefdom run by chiefs. News to me."
Welcome to Haitian History 101, Ms. Richman! Ever since 1804 Haiti has
been run not by laws, but slaves turned military geniuses, personally
powerful individuals, illiterate kings and leaders, French-educated
presidents, eloquent traitors, superior citizens, and highly paid,
unconcerned foreign political designers. They may have known much how to
acquire, use and retain power, but little if anything of what it takes
to move Haiti from darkness to enlightenment, from comedy to democracy.
What else can one say? By the way, Haiti is not alone in this regard.
It is said that the 1991 military coup robbed president Aristide and
Haiti of an exceptional experience. And it is obviously too early to
pass judgment on president Preval. Maybe, in both cases. Meanwhile, none
of the traditional excuses offered to explain Haiti's specific plight
(it's independance or official languages; its detractors'racism or
imperialism, etc.) seems to make sense under rigorous scrutiny.
I am a native Haitian, but I am not blind to the fact we must look for
and address the issues of Haiti's "poverty, ignorance, and the lack of a
tradition or desire for orderly free government", i.e democracy, at home
and question its "chiefs" in the absence of its "institutions".