“The severe crisis that has affected Haitian society for several decades has now reached unimaginable dimensions. It feels as though we are living in total chaos, at the bottom of an abyss with no prospect of escape. Uncertainty and suffering seem to have taken away all hope. Our nation is slowly collapsing, and with it our institutions and the fundamental values on which our common life depends.”
This tragic situation has prompted the Jesuits in Haiti to write a statement that details the various aspects of the crisis (social, political, economic, constitutional) and urges various actors to rally to save the country. The document, signed by a group of Jesuit experts in social affairs, analyzes the main structural causes of the crisis and proposes some solutions.
One crisis, multiple facets
The crisis in Haiti affects all spheres of society and threatens the very existence of the state.
“With great distress, we are witnessing the collapse of public institutions, especially representative institutions, the trivialization of the core values that make it possible to live together, and the loss of ethical guidelines, which translates into outright disrespect for others.”
Acts of violence are on the increase, as is poverty, whereas basic social services are often inaccessible. The crisis can also be seen in the total loss of credibility of politics and politicians, the threat of a return to dictatorship, widespread public deficits, and noncompliance with state budgets.
The Jesuits note that the reasons for this crisis are numerous and include the glaring social inequalities and injustices, a lack of empathy and civic awareness that is becoming the dominant culture, and the missed opportunities for a stable transfer of power.
Hope in spite of everything
Given that the crisis is the result of human action, it is possible to find a way out through collective awareness and action.
As stated in the document, Haiti has many riches that can be significant assets in any effort to overcome the crisis and set the country on the path to progress. It also has immense natural and cultural potential. In addition, we see the emergence of a citizen movement in all parts of the country.
The Jesuits recommend a number of measures that would contribute to a solution. Among them are the following:
- The creation of a true civic movement that aims to promote love of country, civic engagement, selflessness, respect for life, promotion of the common good, and a sense of volunteerism—especially among young people—in support of good causes in the social and political fields
- The promotion of a genuine return to fundamental spiritual values such as love of others and empathy; in short, a spiritual rebirth that will serve as the basis for action in the socioeconomic, political, cultural, and other fields
- The provision of quality education for all without exception
In conclusion, the Jesuits of Haiti urge all national and international actors (the people of Haiti, social and political activists, organizations of the Haitian diaspora, etc.) to continue the struggle to restore hope and dignity to the country.
To read the full document, click here.