A Word From Our Founder
Many of you have been reading about the problems in Haiti. Some of you have been disappointed to have your mission trip canceled. Others of you are worried about the children you are sponsoring. With all of the questions and confusion, I wanted to give you a brief explanation of the situation and hopefully help you understand what’s going on.
Why all the problems in Haiti?
I am no expert in the political dealing of this country, but from my observations and readings let me share with you a brief summary of why the country is in such unrest.
Haiti is now entering its eighth month of protest due to the Petro Caribe oil scandal. In 2005, long before Venezuela’s economic collapse, Venezuela was producing 2.5 million barrels of oil per day. At that time its president, Hugo Chávez, wanted to win allies against the U.S. in the Organization of American States. To gain these new allies, he was willing to make loans to surrounding Caribbean countries. However, he was not loaning money. He was loaning oil.
(Side note - have you ever noticed the brand-new park at Haiti’s airport and wondered “why would they name a park after the president of Venezuela? Well.... now you know).
According to Time Magazine, Venezuela’s state oil company sold oil to Haiti and 17 other Caribbean countries and allowed them to defer payment on 40% of what they bought for up to 25 years, charging a low rate of interest for the debt. Recipient governments then sold that oil (at retail price) and used the proceeds to pay for social programs.
However, in true Haitian fashion, those “social programs” were never funded and the money disappeared. How much money? In November 2017, a five-person commission in the Haitian senate investigated the program and reported evidence of widespread corruption in the use of the funds under the past three governments during that period.... It claimed to have funded around 400 social projects using almost $4 billion dollars raised by Petro Caribe oil between 2008 and 2016.
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The people are angry for two reasons:
1) There is no evidence of where the 4 billion dollars have gone and no evidence of programs it supposedly funded.
2) With the economic collapse of Venezuela, there are no more discounted loans for fuel and the 4 billion dollars of debt is now being passed on to the people by way of increased taxes. The former Prime Minister tried to enforce these taxes earlier this year when he attempted to raise fuel prices 300%. As a result, he was forced to resign.
Since this scandal has been going on since 2006, why are the people angry with the current president Jovenel Moïse?
1) Before Moïse came into office, when he was head of the company Agritrans, Agritrans was allegedly paid around $700,000 to repair roads–even though its entire businesses were growing bananas, not building roads. These types of fraudulent business deals were carried out all over the country. Roads, schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure were supposed to be built. Instead, the money found the pockets of only the rich and dishonest.
2) The president has promised to investigate where the missing money went and to prosecute those responsible. However, after two years in office, he has not pursued the matter, leading people to conclude that he is protecting those involved, including himself.
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Conclusion: In my opinion, Haiti is in a situation that only God can change. For months I believed that the President would survive the protest, but with the continued opposition and growing protest, I’m not so sure anymore. I don’t see how he can stay in office if the protest continues as the country continues to suffer. Even if he is innocent of the charges against him, the past two years have made it clear that he cannot effectively govern the country.
What can we do?
1) Pray. Pray that the Lord would intervene and save this country that we love. Pray that the Lord would convict the hearts of the leaders. Pray that the guilty would be brought to justice. Pray that the protestors would realize that violence and chaos are instruments of satan and in the long run will only lead to more suffering. Pray for Jimmy, Pastor Dorcean, Ganaud, Neo and all of our Haitian pastors and leaders. They are on the front line of ministry and greatly need our prayers, support, and encouragement.
2) Give. Please continue to give to Disciples’ Village as we minister to the people and villages around us. The protest and blocked roads have put our villages in an even more desperate situation. People can’t work, go to school or to the doctor. They can’t even safely go out to buy food. It’s vital that we have funds to provide for our Alex’s House children and the surrounding villages we partner with.
3) Be patient. Many of you have had to cancel your mission trips and the ensuing change of plans has brought frustration and a financial burden. I am sorry this has happened. But please know that God is in control. He loves Haiti and the dear people we minister to. In the end, He will be glorified and we will praise Him for His faithfulness.
I hope this information sheds some light on the situation and brings a bit of clarity. Thank you for your love and support of Disciples’ Village. You are a vital part of what we do and your support allows us to continue on.
God is in control,