As we all try to process the assassination of Jovenel Moïse in Haiti, we wanted to share what we are learning and doing, and what you can do concretely to make a difference.
We’ve been checking in daily with Florcie Tyrell, who leads OPODNE in Northeast Haiti, to make sure she and her staff and volunteer leaders are safe and ask how we can support their organizing during one of the most difficult periods in Haitian history.
In the years before President Jovenel was killed he dissolved Parliament, canceled local elections, and worked with criminal gangs to repress opposition. Despite calls by civil society and Catholic and Protestant religious leaders for Moise to leave office when his term ended in February, he continued to rule by decree, with support from the U.S. and other countries.
Just this week Diego Charles, an investigative journalist and Antoinette Duclair, a human rights activist were assassinated in Port-au-Prince, along with more than a dozen other people struggling for democracy. Everyday Haitians have increasingly faced violence and kidnapping. The fear is that the assassination of Moïse will lead to even more violence and insecurity.
Earlier this year, as conditions deteriorated in Haiti, we launched A Way Forward in Haiti to lift up the voice of Haitian diaspora faith communities and allies to change U.S. policy toward Haiti. You can read more about how we’re working with the Congressional Haiti Caucus and organizations in Haiti and the diaspora to push the Biden Administration to support a broad inclusive transitional government in Haiti.
We’re also continuing to support OPODNE’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID in Northeast Haiti, which you can read more about below. Haiti is the only country in the Western Hemisphere and only one of five in the world still waiting for vaccines.
What gives me hope amid so much violence and uncertainty is knowing OPODNE is carrying forward a long Haitian tradition of people working together for survival and self-determination. Here are three concrete ways you can support that work:
- Sign our petition calling on President Biden to send vaccines directly to Haiti and share it with people you know.
- Call your Congressperson and tell them you want the U.S. Government to change its policy toward Haiti and support a broad inclusive transitional government.
- Consider making a donation to OPODNE to support their grassroots organizing in Northeast Haiti and expand into other Departments.
Please take a look at what OPODNE has been doing in Haiti and what we’ve been doing together in the U.S. to mobilize support for the people of Haiti.
Fr. John Baumann, S.J., Faith in Action Founder and International Director
P.S. I also want to share another fundraising opportunity for Faith in Action Haiti. Our good friend Morgan Zo Callahan has published Revelation and Healing: A Father and Son Reunion. It is a story of finding his Haitian identity and features some of our work. All royalties will go to OPODNE. You can purchase the book on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/