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From Pearl to Poverty (part two)

Read part one here.

Peace Keeping Chaos

In 2004 after the 10th coup took place in Haiti the country was again riddled with unrest and the crime rate had risen. Haiti was left in a lawless state. The UN, Brazil, Chili, Nepal, and a few smaller countries came together to develop a peace keeping force. Because all of those countries had ties to and investments in Haiti, it was in their best interest to ensure the security of Haiti. This special operation deployed to Haiti bringing with it enough security to ensure a fair election for several years in a row.

Throughout the years of this peace keeping mission there were positives and negatives. Haiti was more peaceful and the many gangs that had formed in the country were largely kept in check. However, much of the money that was donated by various countries to Haiti through this mission never made it into the Haitian economy or to the Haitian people.

There was sexual explotation of Haitian women and young girls by the forces, particulary by Nepalies soldiers. It was found out that many of the peacekeeping soldiers were involved in a trafficking ring, offering street kids food and toys in exchange for sexual favors. Haitians were exploited and mistreated again by forces who had come to “help”, there were many human’s rights violations.

In 2010 an earthquake devastated Haiti. It flattened the capital of Port Au Prince and killed an estimated 220,000 people. The peacekeeping soldiers assisted greatly with the cleanup as well as other humanitarian groups from around the world. But following the earthquake, as more soldiers were deployed to Haiti, a Cholera outbreak began. Infecting upwards of 800,000 people and killing over 10,000 Haitians. The discovery that UN peacekeepers had started the outbreak by dumping their waste into a nearby river that supplied water to many villages in Haiti was met with outrage.

At the same time so much unsustainable aid was pouring in from around the world crippling what remained of the Haitian economy. For example imported US rice was cheap compared to Haitian grown crops so the market collapsed and many farmers were put out of jobs. Americans and Europeans could feel good about themselves because they were sending funds to the poor populations of Haiti but unbeknownst to them much of the aid went to the rich making the gap between rich and poor wider, or was distributed in the form of handouts that created unhealthy dependency worsening the situation.

Haiti’s Resentment

Because of this long history of abuse in Haiti the Haitian people have largely grown to resent outside involvement in Haitian politics. Many also do not feel grateful for foriegn aid but rather that these past abusers owe them much more for all that they made them suffer. The peacekeepers finally pulled out of Haiti completely in 2017 to the relief of most of the population. After 13 years of some helping and a lot of hurting, Haiti was left in the same state it was in 2004. Things were relatively calm and the gang’s main threat was stealing valuables from vehicles stopped in traffic in the capital but most of the population was in deep poverty.

Ironically the richest country in the Americas was left the poorest after years of abuse from outside and from within. The neglected and depraved people largely depended on the empowerment the voodoo religion offered them. Built on anger, resentment, and revenge.

From 2018 the downhill spiral of Haiti was steep. Without a military, and a poorly funded and supported police force the gangs grew in number and in force. Out of desperation and poverty many young men and street kids joined their forces. They started destroying property, kidnapping, and trafficking around the country.

Though outside military forces could have intervened and quenched the growing gang threat they were reluctant as Haiti was no longer a rich asset to them but a crumbled liability and the Haitan people wanted no further involvement from outsiders.

Murder and A New Leader

In 2021 the situation in Haiti was chaotic to say the least. Covid-19 was taking its toll, kidnappings for ransom and murders were common, even unpaved village streets were dangerous. Fear was mounting in the Haitian people. New fears of a deeper level than previously known. Missionaries mostly pulled out. President Jovenel had lost favor as every ruler before him. He perhaps started out with good intentions but there was so much division in the government that very few of the improvements promised could actually be made. He was deeply involved in a scandalous misuse of funds. He fired most of his governmental cabinet ruling nearly solo.

The beginning of July president Jovenel was murdered in his home late at night. The nation was shocked. Everything locked down as they searched for his killers. Even now the details have not been totally revealed, it is suspected that powerful government personnel who wanted to rule or cover up their involvement in drug trafficking hired outside forces to carry out the deed. Columbian ex-military as well as rich American financiers were involved.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry took over the government, against the wishes of nearly everyone in Haiti. He was suspected to be involved in the president’s murder, and his previous position in the government was riddled with much scandal and abuse. Yet, he was backed by the US government so the Haitian people could say nothing about his rise to temporary presidency. He was supposed to set up a new election so that the people could vote for their replacement president but after a year and a half he has yet to step in that direction.

Fuel and Fire

The start of September Prime Minister Ariel plunged the country into greater chaos than it has known since before the earthquake. Acting of his own will, in dictator fashion, he doubled the gas prices in a single day in order to fund “government programs” of which he did not make clear. Inflation was already crippling the Haitian economy and the poorest of the population were suffering from greater starvation than they had yet known. The start of the year also saw deadly fuel shortages because of the capture of importing fuel barges docked in Haiti by powerful Port Au Prince gangs.

Unwilling to bow again to an oppressive ruler, the population took to the streets. Attacking and burning the homes of government officials, blocking every possible road in and out of the capital, vandalizing businesses owned by apathetic rich, marching through the streets chanting for the resignation of Ariel, shooting or throwing stones at anyone who dare drive on the streets (causing the fuel rise to bring in a profit for the government).

Right now, the situation in Haiti is the same. The people have not backed down. The US embassy was evacuated as it is too dangerous for Americans to go out for food, water, and medical supplies in the capital. Hospitals are largely functioning only in an emergency capacity. School has not opened for the year. People can only go where they can get to on foot. Flight routes to Haiti are cut down significantly as few people are flying in.

Currently several countries with ties to Haiti including the US and Mexico are discussing military intervention. Haitian society is split over the idea; Some feel the country is so far gone and military intervention to weaken the gang’s power allowing a fair election is the only path to calm. However, more of the population leans towards not wanting to be taken advantage of and abused again by another intervention, desiring to find a path forward from within themselves.

Specific ways to pray over Haiti

  • Pray for the strengthening of the church in Haiti. That the absence of missionaries would not be a hindrance to the gospel but Haitian Christians would rise up and reach more and more of the lost amongst their people for Christ.
  • Pray for the breaking down of spiritual strongholds. That the power of Christ would crush any symbols of voodou strength. That the curses would not be able to stand amongst God’s people and His power would be shown greater across the country.
  • Pray for healing in the hearts of Haitians from the generational anger and resentment that has been passed down to them for all these years. That they would know Christ’s love and experience true healing and peace.
  • Pray for the government, that corruption would be replaced with fairness. For a new god fearing leader to rise up and rule over Haiti in the interest of the people.
  • Pray for children who are enduring unimaginable poverty, starvation, trauma, and disease. Children who live in the streets with no one to defend them. Children who are trapped in abuse or spiritual darkness.
  • Pray for the international community to respond better to what is happening in Haiti. Especially for France and the US to see our responsibility to help in sustainable ways.
  • Pray for the few ministries still functioning in Haiti. Pray for protection, pray for strength, pray for greater influence.
  • Pray for Haiti’s gang participants and leaders. That God would move powerfully in their hearts. That the greatest perpetrators of evil among them would become the greatest advocates for change. Pray for their salvation.
  • Pray for protection against the many natural disasters that Haiti is prone to. (hurricanes/earthquakes/famines/mudslides/etc.)
  • Pray for my husband (Nelson) to get his green card interview soon so that he may step into my world finally. And for all the other couples and families that have also been forced to be apart for so long.
  • Pray for the financial state of our family in Haiti. The flourishing of their crops and an increase of customers. That they would have enough to get by during this trying season.
  • Pray for Espwa Demen. Protection for our volunteers and partners. That we would have wisdom for which projects to take up and who to help in the midst of so much need. Also for the nationwide opening of school, for all of our waiting sponsor students. Ways to give;
  • Donate a gift of any amount to our ‘where most needed fund’ this will first go towards our unsponsored students, beyond that is saved for unexpected needs that arise in various areas of ministry.
  • Sponsor a student for $300 for 12 months or $25 monthly (Because of the possibility of school not opening this year due to widespread unrest in the country we want to assure you, should that happen, your donations will still be used for the child you sponsored and his/her family. This may look like food provisions, the purchase of livestock to raise, or other financial help.)

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Hi! I’m Rachel. Through a series of God orchestrated events I ended up in Haiti, in 2017.  Through years of serving with a ministry there I came to love the country and its people. I met Nelson and we got married in 2020. It was the best decision of my life! 

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