We waited a very long time and have wondered when the new generation, the young people who are our future, will be determined to be heard in this downward spiral into an abyss of grief and misery that has become daily life in Haiti. Since the assassination of the President of Haiti Jovenel Moise, on July 7, 2021, Haiti, the small country of the Caribbean, the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, is acutely aware of the failure of its democratic transition since the fall of the Duvalier’s. Haiti, today a failed state, poor, without democracy, a political class exceeded and sanctioned by Canada and the Americans; without a legitimate government, operating outside the constitutional order, is in dire straits. Kidnappings, murders and rapes have reached unparalleled levels.
After the request of the de facto government for the intervention of a military force in Haiti, the international actors do not know what to do; today Canada admits its inability to intervene. So armed gang violence borders on absurdity; it is as if we were in a final act for Port-au-Prince, the capital that is collapsing. Despite a political agreement initialed at the end of last year; which was to lead to the revision of the constitution, the organization of elections at the end of the year; nothing is changing and it is becoming more and more obvious a new government for February 7, 2024 is wishful thinking. There is a large contingent that believes that the first black republic in the world is heading straight for genocide or a protectorate.
It is against this background of a multifaceted crisis of a country left abandoned, truly an island, that young Haitians organized in Little Haiti in Miami the first Conference on the future of democracy and peace in Haiti (COFHA23) March 3rd and 4th.
This meeting brought together young leaders from Haiti and the diaspora (20 in total) to dialogue between Haitians from abroad and from Haiti in order to exchange their understandings on the national crisis and make decisions on their commitment to the future of the nation. It was also an opportunity for leaders of the diaspora such as the keynote speaker of this great event, Commissioner Marleine Bastien, to support this youth effort which, according to her, was highly anticipated. Among the speakers were the former President of Guatemala Vinicio Cerezo, professors Jean Marie Théodat, Guy Serge Pompilus and Nelson Jean Francois; the activist Paul Christian, the brilliant lawyer Frandley Denis Julien, the specialist in international affairs John Dickson, etc. The two-day debates focused on the principles and values that should guide the new leadership that must lead the new democratic transition on the goals of progress and lasting peace; on how Haiti can count on itself to rebuild its economy; the new civil society that can help build peace; on the role that the diaspora can play in guaranteeing the success of the democratic transition; many proposals and interactions and commitments that inspired hope. Unheard of, young people with conscience and without hollow talk discussed the future of their countries. But at the heart of all of this, a leader, gave a speech that moved the whole room of the Little Haitian Cultural Center and suddenly transformed this trial initiative into a real movement of action.
At the end of the Conference, he was called upon to summarize the proceedings of the conference; Alexandre Telfort Fils did things differently and gave a speech that no one expected. What is generally criticized for Haitian politicians is their lack of vision; to stand out from the start, he established a vision for HAITI’s 250 years of independence that finds the country emerging from a cesspool and achieving the second democratic transition and becoming a leading economy in the Caribbean. With an extraordinary charisma we see a man expressing his belief and his confidence in the future of a nation. He placed the conference in its historical context to dedicate it to the destiny of the Arcahaie congress at the foundation of national independence. With a rare authenticity, he takes on the mantle of true democratic transition through old verses new political class which must carry the visualization: “We told you to be narrow minded and trifling in politics, today we say to ourselves authenticity in politics is a duty; You’ve been told to serve ‘white’ to succeed in politics, we tell ourselves we don’t need white, blue, yellow, pink to love your country…Not long ago you were told politics were defined by barricades, destroying state property, demonstrations to block schools; today we tell ourselves these are the actions of the axis of evil to impoverish families, annihilate the middle class; and prevent a promising youth from going to conquer their future… You have been told that in order to practice politics in Haiti you have to organize your band of gangsters, arm the young people of working-class neighborhoods; we say to ourselves that politics is love for one’s country, it is the sacrifices to transform it… You have even been told that politics is not for women; we say that we are 52% women in population and must participate in the decision-making that concern this country.”
This speech galvanized all the young leaders present and the audience who attended live through social media. The reactions were unequivocal. “…It’s this kind of man who makes history…We all expected a summary of the results of the conference and he gave us the inspiration we were looking for” Reacted Charlot Jacquelin Junior, a participant from from Haiti. “It was a historic speech he made; we have all regained confidence in ourselves to bring the Haitian renaissance to the baptismal font…” maintained a young leader of the diaspora evolving in Florida, Gotchen Bernard. “He has just put us on the podium of new leaders capable of making the democratic transition a success,” he continued.
Let's do it now! Let's do it now for our families and our friends…Let's do it now for our mothers and fathers; for our sisters and brothers. Let's do it now for our ancestors; Let's do it now for ourselves, for everyone we love... Let's do it now for Haiti!
We can only wait for the upcoming commitments and follow-ups of the conference. But it must be said through this conference the participants touched the wound of the law, it is necessary to think the new democratic transition. And Alexandre Telfort Fils brilliantly exposed the sense of commitment of a new generation that can rebuild from little. He urged the audience, the participants to act now “…This dream laid out at the beginning of my speech is ours; it cannot be a mirage, nor hope do you want some here; it must be the result of hard work with our fingernails here and now… Let’s do it now! Let’s do it now for our families and our friends…Let’s do it now for our mothers and fathers; for our sisters and brothers. Let’s do it now for our ancestors; Let’s do it now for ourselves, for everyone we love… Let’s do it now for Haiti…”
For a country that seeks itself and seeks leaders, and now comes Alexandre Telfort Fils. It’s a big speech, no doubt in a big conference, maybe Haiti has not said its last word. Isn’t that how real leaders emerge?