We represent a large group of Haitian citizens who live abroad and have silently watched the sad developments that we see unfold in our homeland. Many of us left our country in the context of political turmoil as a result of the missteps of our leaders over the years.
Although we are far from Haiti in distance, we are all still deeply engaged in our country. We visit regularly our parents, children, relatives and friends who still live there, and daily we hear from them about the situation our country faces.
They tell us, and we also know, that during the past four years Haiti has experienced a dramatic recovery from the earthquake, economic growth has been restored and new infrastructure and social programs have helped a great portion of the population. We have reveled in these accomplishments with pride when they are shared in the international media.
We are aware of the great amount of work that still needs to be completed. At the same time, we are most aware that if our leadership doesn’t come together to address the problems that affect us all, Haiti will again fall into the pattern of the past and become a worrisome item on the international agenda.
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As Haitians, we know that international goodwill and assistance have been important parts of our recovery from the earthquake. But we cannot, and should not, again ask the international community to step in to resolve even our most political disputes. For this reason, we believe that it is time for Haiti’s political leaders to display the maturity necessary to help the country move forward.
In that direction, we are hopeful that current leaders, both in the government and in the opposition, can set aside their differences and come together in the best interests of the country and the long-suffering people of Haiti.
Along these lines, we urge Haiti’s leaders to immediately follow through on all agreements reached through conversation and dialogue. We urge leaders to establish a viable and constitutional mechanism for achieving a peaceful and consensual solution to the problems that separate them. In particular, we ask them to design a workable, efficient and transparent electoral process.
We also urge them to engage all sectors of society, including civil society organizations, the business community and religious organizations in a direct dialogue that can lead to the construction of a viable outcome that will contribute to the consolidation of our young democracy.
We hope that this serves as a call to action not only to those of us who live abroad, but especially to our compatriots back home. We seek to build a modern, stable and democratic Haiti. Let’s take this opportunity to make sure that the politics of old don’t surface again to destroy our future.
Rudolph Moise, Miami
Joseph Smith, mayor, North Miami
Joseph Champaign, mayor,
Toms River, N.J.
Marlene Bastien, Miami