By Vatican News staff writer
Ahead of the end of the current presidential term in Haiti, Bishops in the country released a statement last week calling for unity to overcome the ongoing political and socio-economic crisis in the Caribbean nation.
Monday 7 February marked what would have been the end of President Jovenel Moïse’s term in office, had he not been assassinated during an armed attack at his residence in Port-au-Prince on July 7, 2021. Insecurity has continued to increase since, with growing violence and kidnappings by armed gangs, while a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August claiming over one thousand lives has plunged the population into further poverty. Political tensions also continue to run high, with opponents to the current Haitian Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, challenging his authority and demanding his immediate departure.
In their statement the Haitian bishops emphasize the urgent need for “courageous decisions” at this difficult time, reminding that the present and the future of Haiti, and therefore its “very existence as a people, as a nation, and as a state are at stake”. “Haitian people cannot take it anymore. They are tired and exhausted of alienating, humiliating, inhuman, dehumanizing living conditions”, they write.
This is no time, they continue, “for division, disunity, disagreement, discord and fratricidal struggles for power, for the unchecked and shameless pursuit of personal, selfish and petty interests.” Instead, the bishops appeal for unity and call on all political leaders to seek the “the widest consensus possible" so as to definitely exit the crisis.
“Time has come for unity, which is strength, to pool our ideas and our efforts, for national and patriotic consensus to get our country out of the deep crisis that has been going on for too long threatening its very existence.”
Referring to today’s crucial date marking the end of the presidential term in office, the prelates calls on all Haitians to “work together so that February 7 is a day of dialogue, of consensus and of historic compromise aimed at unifying our people, and of saving and transforming our country, which is on the edge of an abyss.”
They address themselves specifically to political leaders, asking that they “do everything possible to ensure that order, peace, security and respect for lives and property are largely restored”. But they also refer to the armed gangs sowing death and fear across the island urging them “to lay down their arms, to give up violence and kidnapping and to stop shedding the blood of our sisters and brothers ”.
The Haitian Bishops finally implore the Virgin’s help so as to save the Haitian people from even worse predicaments.