Haiti's good people don't stand a chance with gangs and 'imbeciles' in charge – Wooster Daily Record

Within my immediate family, six of my nephews and nieces have been kidnapped for ransom in Haiti.
The last event was over Easter by the same gang (400 Mawozo) responsible for the kidnapping of 17 Christian Aid Ministries missionaries and family members.
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Their leader (Lanmo 100 Jou) posts dozens of YouTube videos that glamorize his lifestyle and encourage others to follow in his footsteps. 
We got our people back safely. I hope and pray the 17 who were abducted Oct. 16 are released soon.
In the last five years, kidnapping in Haiti has been vulgarized and anyone can get kidnapped, from the Catholic priest to the child of the single mom selling candies on street corners.
The difference is, if the candy seller has no family with a job, or no family in the United States, her child is more likely to turn up dead when mom is unable to produce ransom as low as $100. There will be no police investigation and no desire to lift a finger by the very corrupt justice system.
I grew up in Haiti in the 1970s and ’80s under the relatively peaceful time of dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. According to my DNA results, my ethnicity is ¼ Hispanic, ¼ African, 4% Jewish and the rest a mix of northern European with a trace of Native American.
My ancestors are both the slave and the master. Some have murdered each other and both sides have been in the right and the wrong. I can pass for just about any ethnic group but in Haiti I stuck out and got picked on for being too light. My skin color placed me squarely into the traditional Haitian bourgeoisie.
From the age of 10, my parents allowed me to walk around Port-au-Prince, Pétion-Ville, or any part of Haiti by myself. This is surprising as in the decade of my birth, under the “Papa Doc” Duvalier rule, two of my uncles and one cousin were “disappeared” into political jail, and others arrested and/or forced into exile.
Starting in sixth grade, I walked and rode public transportation at will with no fear for my safety other than the obvious risk of a poorly maintained public vehicle.
Times have changed. Haiti has become a stateless kleptocracy. Actually it is a “gangocracy.”The country is in a state of war. This is not a war for a political ideal, a religion, or an ethnic tribe. Those in power are like hyenas defending a smaller and smaller piece of carrion.
Most of those in power including high level senators and low-level mayors and police are all part of this territorial warfare with no central authority. They are part of the drug and weapons trade. They kidnap anything: ambulances with wounded people, dead bodies, cars.
My family has always been a traditional bourgeois family. Two of my direct ancestors signed the declaration of independence and one was the fourth ruler of Haiti. We have our share of failures and misguided attempts toward an ideal Haiti, but we have always been patriotic and wanting to improve the country and the life of all Haitians.
We place a high value on education and up until the 1960s, had relatives active in the old Haitian military, government institutions, education, health care, church, law etc.
Being a fonctionnaires d’État, an elected senator, or having a military career were abandoned under Duvalier. Today, we would never be welcomed in any sort of government office and in public leadership positions. We would be seen as a threat to the existing kleptocracy.
Those over 40 years old in the family are still very much invested in the country although most have secured foreign citizenships for their children. As for those under 40, they are all are planning for a future abroad.
Of my parents’ 25 grandchildren, 19 live abroad. Whereas other countries try to bring their youth back after they receive an international level education, Haitian leaders actively block them. Just send the money Western Union, please. Humans are Haiti’s No. 1 export as the United States witnessed last month on its southern border.
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It is very sad that outside of Haiti we as a people are shining in all sectors of international economies. The country could recruit an army of professionals for anything it wants to build: A real army, a health care system, a corps of engineers, agricultural production, a medical research facility of the highest order, etc.
Haitians desire two things most of all: Personal safety and a job. What they wish for the least are elections. Elections have so far only served to legitimize corruption.
My grandparents may roll over in their graves, but it might be best to put Haiti under a very long-term international hired government to rebuild institutions and infrastructure.
This could be done using the hordes of unemployed Haitians and by recruiting among the multitudes of Haitians who are thriving abroad, and the capable ones still living in Haiti.
Perhaps a set of options could be placed in front of the Haitian people using a WhatsApp vote? The results would be more legitimate than the travesties of the past 30 years.
Were it put to a vote, most Haitians might “trade-in” their independence to officially become a territory of either Canada or the United States. They have a greater mistrust of the French.
There are good, trustworthy people in Haiti, but with the team of “imbeciles” (quoting 100-year-old living legend Maurice Léonce from the town of Jérémie Haiti) in charge, good people don’t stand a chance.
Most gang members could quickly be incorporated into a laboring army of 1 million people scattered around the country building infrastructure under qualified leadership. Many are gangsters because there are no other options. It will be crucial that development be equally distributed throughout Haiti’s roughly 11,000 square miles.
It is well known that when things are desperate, Haitians will share their last piece of bread. Once a neighbor appears to get ahead, envy turns Haitians into a destructive force. I think this is an unfortunate legacy of our French masters.
Although I consider myself Haitian first, I am also a very proud American business owner. I do not blame America for all of Haiti’s ills. I am aware that the solutions offered have so far mostly benefited the United States.
Imposed policies such as forcing Haiti to import rice from Arkansas or dismantling the military have greatly damaged my homeland. The billions promised after the 2010 earthquake were squandered by outside forces and special interest instead of being invested into Haiti.
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Just when I think Haiti cannot sink any lower, it does. It’s like watching the events of Sept. 11, 2001, happening over several decades. With every plane crash, one assumed it could not get any worse — and then it did.
I believe the United States is the greatest place to live in the entire world, which is why it is the #1 destination of immigrants worldwide when given the choice.
Myriam Raber, D.D.S., lives in Wayne County and practices general dentistry and orthodontics at Raber Dental offices in Kidron (Wayne County) and Mount Hope (Holmes County). She was born and raised in Haiti, the youngest of 11 children, and started her private practice in 2007.


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