[News] MANIFESTO: Ten Commandments of Democracy in Haiti

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Feb 17 16:01:29 EST 2021

 MANIFESTO: Ten Commandments of Democracy in Haiti, September 25, 1991
Editors, The Black Agenda Review
<https://www.blackagendareport.com/author/Editors, The Black Agenda Review>
17 Feb 2021

[image: MANIFESTO: Ten Commandments of Democracy in Haiti, September 25,
MANIFESTO: Ten Commandments of Democracy in Haiti, September 25, 1991

Almost 20 years ago, the president elected by Haiti’s poor majority gave
the United Nations a lesson in the meaning of democracy for historically
oppressed peoples.

*“Everyone must work to achieve a laboring civilization in which the roots
of hunger will be eradicated.”*

On Wednesday September 25, 1991, Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the first
democratically-elected president of the Republic of Haiti, addressed the
forty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly. For Aristide,
the address offered an opportunity to describe to the international
community Haiti’s long historical contribution to the struggle for freedom
and human rights, as well as to outline the very meaning of democracy for
the Haitian people -- especially as it was articulated through the strategy
and praxis of the “lavalas

Titled the “Ten Commandments of Democracy in Haiti,” Aristide’s address is
expansive, generous, humorous
and radical, centering the poor and dispossessed over the rich and
powerful. While Aristide captures Haiti’s historic struggle for democracy,
he also maps out Haiti’s position in the wider world of the early 1990s, a
world riven by “profound upheavals,” as he called them, that were
fundamentally reordering global politics. As such, he addresses questions
of poverty and militarism, of the fall of the Soviet Union and the
struggles of South Africa, and of the history of Haitian-Dominican
relations and the status and rights of Haiti’s “tenth department,” the
Haitian diaspora.

*“Aristide maps out Haiti’s position in the wider world of the early

Significantly, while the bulk of the address was made in Haitian
Kreyol—perhaps the first time the UN General Assembly had been addressed in
what, under Aristide, would become one of Haiti’s official languages—its
extended preamble (not included here) also contains fraternal addresses to
the nations and peoples of the world in Swahili, Spanish, French, Hebrew,
Arabic, English, Italian, and German. While Aristide has been cast
<http://thirdworldtraveler.com/Haiti/EnemyAlly_Aristide.html> by the
Western media as a demonic and demagogic figure, the “Ten Commandments”
remind us of his roots as a humble parish priest whose thought is grounded
in a humanistic practice of liberation theology and radical democracy,
conveyed in his promotion of liberty, the democratization of wealth, and
the preservation of human dignity.

It is perhaps not surprising that on September 29, less than a week after
his address to the United Nations, Aristide was deposed in a U.S.-sponsored
d’etat. Democracy in Haiti has been under attack ever since.


Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide, President of the Republic of Haiti

*Address to the Forty-Sixth Session of the General Assembly of the United
Nations, New York City, September 25, 1991*

This decade has begun with events that can shape the future of mankind and
of course give rise to hopes and questions. The forty-sixth session of the
General Assembly crystallizes, in our view, a period of profound reflection
for the international community. Unlike previous periods, this session is
taking place at a time when profound upheavals are appreciably changing the
geopolitical axes of our planet. The dialectic of a bipolar policy is
prompting the international community to wonder who is to accede to the
seat of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the General Assembly and
the Security Council of the United Nations? What about democracy at the
global level?

We are talking about the future of the geopolitical axes, which should
never be allowed to develop into totalitarian and absolute power.

At a time when the international community is concerned with changes in the
geopolitical axes of the planet, let us turn to our dear Haiti, the
rebellious, faithful daughter, a rebel against all imperialist dictates but
faithful to all democratic prescriptions.

I should like to speak of ten milestones that line our way; we could call
them the ten democratic commandments that arise from our democratic praxis.
Our message will be confined to the democratic arena, where the ten
democratic commands stand up in a straight line.

*The First Commandment of Democracy: Liberty or Death*

The first milestone, or the first democratic commandment, is liberty or
death. As you know, Haiti was one of the first beacons of liberty in the
western hemisphere. In 1791 we gave the world its first slave revolution,
which enabled hundreds of thousands of Blacks to throw off the yoke
repression. The leaders of that victorious revolution helped to finance the
liberation crusades of Simon Bolivar in South America. It was in Haiti that
slavery was first abolished, taking a giant stride towards human freedom.
>From the Haitian Revolution grew the roots of the declaration of human
rights. The Haiti of Boukman, Dessalines and Toussaint Louverture was and
remains the first black republic in the world.

Like a star of liberty, Haiti shines in the eyes of all. Throughout our
history, often glorious, sometimes troubled, we have always recalled with
pride the unprecedented exploits of our ancestors. The cries of “Liberty or
death, liberty or death,” far from being stifled in a sterile past, ring
out continually in the heart of a people that has become, forever, a free

All throughout our long march toward 1991, in spite of our contribution to
the free world, Haiti has not been able to open all the doors of the
international community. The colonists of those days and their allies were
afraid of freedom, as were our leaders and the traditional oligarchy. White
colonists, black colonists—we had to throw off the yoke of black dictators
and their international allies.

Happily, in 1986, to the surprise of the entire world, the Haitian people
overthrew a dictatorial regime of 30 years’ standing. This was the
beginning of the end of a dictatorship which has left indelible scars. But
the more we recall these scars, the louder we cry: “Liberty or death,
liberty or death!”

*The Second Commandment of Democracy: Democracy or Death*

The second milestone, or democratic commandment, is democracy of death.
After having thrown out the repressive, corrupt regime of the Duvaliers on
7 February 1986, the people of Charlemagne Péralte had only one choice: to
establish, once and for all, a democratic regime in Haiti. Hence, “liberty
or death” is equivalent to “democracy or death.” We therefore struggled
relentlessly for the attainment of our rights against minority groups that
held a monopoly on power after 1986. A relentless struggle and a legitimate
one, since those in power did nothing to change the nature of the State,
which for such a long time created conditions for maintaining the status
quo and the functioning of the machinery of exploitation and repression.

Finally, on 16 December 1990, thanks to the valor of the Haitian people and
thanks to your contribution, for the first time we held free, fair and
democratic elections. Honor to the Haitian masses. Glory to our ancestors,
who thwarted colonialism at the beginning of the 19th century. Hail to the
international community and hail to the United Nations!

This is indeed an important first in history. For once, for the first time,
a people with an ingenious tactical movement brought a revolution by the
ballot box. The election of the President of the Republic by more than 70
percent on the first ballot symbolizes the victory of the people, the power
of the people and the demands of the people.

These free, honest and democratic elections are ultimately the result of
our own political strategy, that is to say, the historic upsurge of
‘”lavalas.” We fought in the manner of “lavalas,” we won in the manner of
“lavalas” and we are advancing in the manner of “lavalas.”

*“For the first time, a people with an ingenious tactical movement brought
a revolution by the ballot box.”*

In union there is strength, this is our motto. With the fork of division
one cannot drink the soup of elections; with the fork of division, one
cannot drink the soup of democracy.

In a way, the “lavalas” strategy is akin to the thoughts of the Pope, who,
in his “Centesimus Annus” encyclical, suggested that events in Eastern
Europe and the Soviet Union were paving the way for the reaffirmation of
the “positive character of an authentic theology of the total liberation of
man.” In Haiti, this theological approach cannot be confined to a simple
analysis of reality; it is meant to be, rather, a method of thought and
action in the school of the poor, a privileged site of the revelation of
God, the historical subject of this struggle for the total liberation of

It is on the basis of the experience of the poor that we base the teachings
of the democratic praxis, fueled and illuminated, of course, by the
theology of freedom. The dialectic to be established between the theology
of freedom and the politics of freedom necessarily passes through the life
and experiences of the poor.

When Jean-Paul Sartre criticized Hegel he noted that the latter had
overlooked the fact that a void is devoid of something, and we liberation
theologians can state that the void of poverty is an avid void, and not
devoid of what is essential. A void of liberation, its void entails a
legitimate expectation whose essence dwells within the spirit of the poor.
It lives by giving life to democracy. We, who are elected democratically,
must be faithful to its rights.

*The Third Commandment of Democracy: Fidelity to Human Rights*

I turn now to the third milestone of democracy: fidelity to human rights.
If a man has duties, he certainly also has rights, rights to be respected
and to respect, rights to guarantee that ultimately a State ruled by law
will emerge.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
<https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/> is and must
remain sacred. It is our heavy responsibility to observe the Constitution
faithfully to guarantee our inalienable

rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, in keeping with our Act
of Independence
<https://www.marxists.org/history/haiti/1804/liberty-or-death.htm> of 1804
and the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

There must be respect for the Constitution in order to build a socially
just, economically free and politically independent Haitian nation.

There must be respect for the Constitution, in order to establish
ideological pluralism and political diversity, to strengthen national
unity, to eliminate the differences between towns and rural areas, to
ensure the separation and the harmonious allocation of executive,
judiciary, and parliamentary powers; so as to establish a government based
on fundamental freedoms and respect for human rights, a national dialogue,
and the participation of the population as a whole in major decisions
touching upon national life through an effective decentralization.

*The Fourth Commandment of Democracy: The Right to Eat and to Work*

The fourth milestone or fourth commandment of democracy is the right to eat
and the right to work.

It goes without saying that the right to eat is an integral part of human
rights. The existence of a person who is hungry because he is exploited
indicts both the oppressor and the authorities who are responsible for
enforcing respect for the inalienable and indefeasible right to life. In
Haiti, victims of international exploitation have difficulty getting enough
to eat because they themselves are being ground by the axes of
international exploitation. In the arms race, the nations of the world are
devoting to it more than $500 billion a year, or $1.4 billion every day.
Only 15 days of such expenditure could eradicate hunger from the planet for
many years.

The tragedy of hunger arises not out of lack of food but out of a lack of
social justice. Work, more work, always work – this is what man needs if he
is to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. It has been noted that if
the amount being spent on building a B-1 bomber were to be spent on
constructing dwellings, 70,000 jobs would be created.

How can we justify the fact that 71 percent of Haitian farmers cultivate
only a small square of land, less than 1.2 hectares? How can we justify the
fact that 30 percent of the wealthiest landowners in our country own more
than two thirds of the arable land?

*“In the arms race, the nations of the world are devoting to it more than
$500 billion a year, or $1.4 billion every day.”*

We must rise above the age-old indifference of the dominant political and
economic sectors and demand respect for the right to food and the right to
work. The hunger of one man is the hunger of all men. Everyone must work to
achieve a laboring civilization in which the roots of hunger will be
eradicated. The hunger of one man is the hunger of all men.

We must go beyond verbiage and explore some of the factual pathways that
have been traversed since 7 February 1991. On 7 February 1991 the “lavalas”
government began to bring order to the administration. State resources have
increased appreciably. In the last four months of the prior government,
fiscal and customs revenues stood at a monthly average of 86.8 million
gourds, in contrast to an average of 122.9 million for the first four
months of our “lavalas” government, with a clear upward trend -- 137.6
million in the month of June. As for expenditures, in November 1990 the
former government spent 164.7 million goures; in June 1991, the “lavalas”
government spent only 86 million. Thus, for the first time in a long time,
public funds showed a surplus of 41 million gourdes.

An increase in food production is a necessity. In order to achieve this, we
are going to implement the agrarian reform set forth in article 248
<https://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Haiti/haiti1987.html> of the
Constitution and provide peasants with the wherewithal for production.

The participation of the private sector is essential for the creation of
highly labor-intensive business. Whereas in the past illegal practices made
it possible for some sectors to plunder the country to the detriment of the
vast majority of the population, our “lavalas” government is ensuring
respect for the rights of all: the right to invest in accordance with the
provisions of the Constitution; the right to work for human and economic
growth. To our dear friends and investors abroad, Haiti here and now
extends a most cordial and heartfelt welcome.

*The Fifth Commandment of Democracy: The Right to Demand What Rightfully
Belongs to Us*

The fifth milestone of the democratic commandment is the right to demand
our due. In the past five years the Haitian people have made an outstanding
and remarkable contribution to the democratic struggle that is being waged
throughout the world. As the democratic tide surged in—in Eastern Europe,
in Asia, in the Middle East, South Africa and Central and South America—we
in Haiti witnessed an avalanche of democracy we have called “lavalas.” No
democratic nation can exist in isolation without geopolitical, diplomatic,
economic, and international ties.

Today, we see our right to demand our due as part of this network of
relationships, in which we can on the one hand recognize the fruits of a
rich but impoverished past and on the other discern the fruits of an
exploited but hopeful present, thanks to the opportunity we now have to
combine a colonized past with a democratic present.

Heraclitus of Ephesus rightly said: “Awakened men have but one world, but
men asleep have each their own.” Awakened men and women of Haiti, our world
is a world of justice, justice for all, justice for us Haitians, who have
all too often been the victims of social injustice.

If we scan the horizon of this world of justice, we wonder how long the
impoverished will be forced to cry out, with Democritus: “We seek the good
and do not find it; we find evil without seeking it.”

In the belief that *mens agitat molem**—*mind can move matter—our policy
will continue to be attentive to the masses, who are calling for the
respect and dignity due them. The same applies for the treatment inflicted
upon so many of our Haitian brothers and sisters who live in foreign lands.

*The Sixth Commandment of Democracy: Self-Defence of the Diaspora*

The sixth democratic milestone or commandment is: self-defense in the
diaspora—the so-called tenth department. Hunted and harassed until 1991 by
the blind brutality of the repressive machine, or by the structures of
exploitation fashioned into an anti-democratic system, our Haitian sisters
and brothers have not always experienced the joy of finding a promised land.

They were considered to be illegal because the torturers would not give
their victims properly signed certificates of torture; they were considered
to be illegal because they had to travel as boat people or without legal
identity papers. But they made a large contribution to the economic
prosperity of bosses who preferred malleable and freely exploitable human

What can we say about our sisters and brothers imprisoned in Krome
and elsewhere? Is it not time, in the name of democracy, to study their
cases and turn their suffering into rejoicing? With a view to encouraging
the authorities concerned to take the appropriate steps to bring about this
long-awaited rejoicing, we in the Haitian Government are constantly
fighting against fraudulent practices and the procurement of false visas on
Haitian territory.

As we address the forty-sixth session of the General Assembly, we are
expressing ourselves in these terms for the sake of the well-being of our
community. We feel bound to denounce and condemn before the whole of
mankind the flagrant violation of the rights of Haitians living in the
Dominican Republic. While we recognize the sovereignty of the Dominican
Republic, we must firmly denounce and condemn this violation of human

*“What can we say about our sisters and brothers imprisoned in Krome?” *

Haiti and the Dominican Republic are the two wings of a single bird, two
nations which share the beautiful island of Hispaniola. Echoing the cries
of all the victims whose rights are denied them, and in keeping with our
commitment to respect human rights, despite the social problems and
financial difficulties caused by this forced repatriation, we intend to
show respect for both wings of the bird. This is attested to by the welcome
that Haiti gives all those men and women who cross our border, be they
Haitians or Dominicans. In solidarity with disadvantaged minorities, we
call for reparation, as much for Dominican citizens by birth but of Haitian
origin as for Haitian citizens who have fallen victim to this repatriation.

*(spoken in Spanish)*

It is not a matter of weeping when one realizes what is happening in the
Dominican Republic; it is a matter of defending human rights, in the name
of the Haitian people, in the name of all men who are really men and all
women who are really women throughout the world. Therefore, we Haitians are
working together with our Dominican brothers and sisters to be able to live
in communion, with a continuing dialogue.

That is why, together with Dominican men and women who do not agree with
this flouting of human rights, we Haitian men and women, we the entire
Haitian people, declare to the world that we demand reparation.

We shall always walk side by side with the Dominican people as brothers and
sisters, in order to live in peace, but a man worthy of the name can never
bow his head when human rights are trampled upon as they now are in the
case of Haitians born in the Dominican Republic or in Haiti, Haitians of
Dominican origins, or Dominicans of Haitian origin. It is regrettable that
the question of color comes into play even when Dominicans are involved.

*(spoken in French)*

Arrested and expelled into Haitian territory, they generally have no homes,
families or employment. Conservative estimates place the number of
repatriated persons at more than 50,000 already. In the hope that the
international agencies concerned will assist us to ensure respect for
fundamental human rights, we here and now solemnly proclaim with pride and
dignity that never again shall our Haitian sisters and brothers be sold so
that their blood may be converted into bitter sugar. Blood in bitter sugar
is unacceptable—and the unacceptable shall not be accepted.

*(Spoken in Spanish)*

I hope that my Dominican brothers and sisters will always walk side by side
with us in dialogue so that together we may protect the rights of all
Dominicans and Haitians.

I say to my Dominican brothers, whom I love so much:  let us go forward to
build a world of peace.

*The Seventh Commandment of Democracy: No to Violence, Yes to “Lavalas”*

The seventh democratic milestone or commandment is: No to violence, yes to
“lavalas.” Is an unarmed political revolution possible in 1991? Yes.
Incredible, but true.  This is “lavalas” teaching: the tactical and
strategic convergence of democratic forces brandishes the weapon of unity
to combat that of violence. A stunning victory, a historic surprise!

In the schools of the poor, the teaching of active non-violence and of
unity is triumphing over institutionalized violence. 1804 was the date of
our first independence, but 1991 marks the beginning of the era of our
second independence.

Is there any democratic nation that is capable of remaining indifferent to
this victory of non-violence precisely where structures of economic
violence still exist? Is it legitimate to try the patience of the victims
of economic violence? There is no policy apart from relations of strength,
but there is also no economy apart from relationships of interest.

Because of the restoration of peace, the capital of non-violence that the
Haitian masses have invested is yielding considerable economic interest. A
simple psycho-social analysis is very eloquent. For the more social ego is
attacked by oligarchical sclerosis, the healthier it becomes,
psychologically, politically and economically. The teaching of non-violence
should arouse a collective awareness of our land of non-violence. Ours is a
land of non-violence, where 85 percent of the population is still crushed
by economic violence, is still illiterate—but is not stupid. Making these
victims literate requires help from the true friends of Haiti—not simply
friends, but true friends. You who are our true friends, work with us not
as observers but as performers, as citizens of the world. We hope we can
count on your cooperation in our literacy campaign. Any cooperation at this
level attests to a determination to combat economic violence by active
non-violence. Where the guns of violence sound, let the sun of non-violence
shine in the “lavalas” spirit.

 *The Eighth Commandment of Democracy: Faithfulness to the Human Being--the
Ultimate Form of Wealth*

The eight democratic milestone or commandment is: faithfulness to the human
being —the ultimate wealth.

To speak of the human being as the ultimate wealth may perhaps suggest that
one is disregarding gold, oil, and dollars. Far from it. There is wealth
and wealth. According to certain experts, if the hydro-electric potential
of the United States were to be fully exploited, it could provide more
energy than all the oil consumed in the world.

All these riches should be placed at the service of mankind—the axis of the
“lavalas” policy. We are ready to demonstrate our faithfulness to that
approach by embracing anything that can promote the full development of the
human being. Thus the harmonious links that we have already established
with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are part of the framework of
Caribbean solidarity, with a view to more effectively fostering human

We are also working to expand South-South relations, between us and our
neighbors in Latin America. It goes without saying that South-South
relationships are not the only important relationships for Haiti. For we
share a political heritage with the United States, whose independence
reminds us of the Haitian pioneers who fought and died precisely for the
same independence. France, with which we also share a political heritage,
the United States and other countries of North America, and the countries
of Europe, of the Middle East, of Africa and of other parts of the world
form a part, together with us, of the interdependent network of nations
throughout the world.

We patriotically hail the Haitian men and women living in Cuba, and we also
hail Cuba and the Cuban people, to whom we address our wishes for peace and
democratic growth. We address the same good wishes for peace and democratic
growth to the Middle East and South Africa.

In recent years the United Nations, under the guidance of Mr. Javier Perez
de Cueller, has demonstrated that, given the means, it can be effective in
settling conflicts. This is attest to by the cessation of hostilities
<https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/collection/48/iran-iraq-war> between
Iran and Iraq, the independence of Namibia
<https://www.sahistory.org.za/dated-event/namibia-gains-independence> and
the dawning of a solution to the question of the Western Sahara
<https://www.refworld.org/docid/3b00f15f5b.html>. Further proof of this is
the way in which the United Nations, in accordance with its Charter,
reacted when one of the States Members of the Organization fell victim to
such cruel aggression on 2 August 1990
the hands of Iraq. The manner in which the conflict was handled raised some
legitimate reservations, but the role of the United Nations was never
challenged. Nevertheless, the Gulf crisis has given rise to a number of
still unanswered questions.

*“We hail Cuba and the Cuban people, to whom we address our wishes for
peace and democratic growth.”*

We all know that, in spite of the efforts of the United Nations, there are
still parts of the world where divergent interests and lack of
understanding between peoples continue to cause conflicts between States
and within them. Despite the victories of the people of Azania over the
juridical apparatus of the apartheid system, we are far from reaching the
peak—that is, democracy.

Out of our sense of unity with the black people of Africa, who should enjoy
all the rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we
take this opportunity to appeal to the international community and, above
all, the industrialized countries not to lift the comprehensive sanctions
decreed against the Pretoria regime at this early stage. In its diametrical
opposition to apartheid, the Republic of Haiti is struggling to ensure that
the black majority of South Africa enjoys its rights to the full in a
multiracial and democratic society. Bravo Mandela! Honor to Mandela!

If the memory of Mandela evokes such applause as I am hearing now, applause
is surely due the memory of another truly great man—Martin Luther King.

The Haitian Government has noted with satisfaction the cease-fire recently
arrived at between the parties in conflict in Western Sahara. We reaffirm
our support for the process now under way.

The suffering of a single individual is the suffering of mankind. Our
policy aims at providing, day after day, eloquent testimony to our
faithfulness to man.

 *The Ninth Commandment of Democracy: Faithfulness to Our Culture*

The ninth democratic milestone or commandment is: faithfulness to our

The “lavalas'' praxis intertwines cultural links at the very heart of the
political universe. Resistance to cultural alienation guarantees the
psychological health of the democratic fabric. For any cultural suicide
leads to the devitalization of the social body and cannot but threaten the
democratic cells of the body.

To live, and live to the full, is also to draw nourishment from the source
of one’s culture. To live to the full is to send one’s roots deep down to
the source of one’s own culture.

This embraces the totality of the life of a people. What is involved here
is a depth of being that must be delved and explored, and by this being we
mean a fabric of relationships, pluri-dimensional relationships. Defining
man not as an end but as a bridge, Friedrich Nietsche places him—whether we
like it or not—at the crossing point of the process of acculturation and
inculturation. What is involved is a transmission of cultural seed which
may give life to the being or wound it [sic] in its very essence.

The germs of pathologic culpability transmitted by contact between
so-called dominant and dominated cultures can only be damaging to any
democratic growth.

The “lavalas” praxis seeks to give our cultural identity its true value.
Any in-depth change can be achieved democratically only if indigenous
values are [interwoven] in a particular social-cultural tissue.

This faithfulness to the culture of mankind prompts us to share the
concerns of the Kurdish people, the Palestinian people, the Jewish people,
the peoples of Iraq—all cherishing the roots of their beings.

In this context of respect and peace, the Republic of Haiti warmly welcomes
the accession of the two Koreas to the family of the United Nations.

Fidelity to our culture prompts us to sharpen our critical senses in order
to protect our culture’s health against certain evils such as illicit
trafficking in narcotic drugs. The Haitian Government wishes to recall that
effective work to combat the production of drugs also involves greater
assistance to Latin American countries.

As far as drug trafficking itself is concerned, it is important to recall
that it is generated and fueled by the demand that comes from the North.
Thus, at all cost, stimuli to production from the consumers of the
industrialized countries must be eliminated. Concerted action between the
States of the North and those of the South, with the assistance of the
United Nations, would make it possible more effectively to combat this evil
of drugs in its devastating effects on men and women.

*The Tenth Commandment of Democracy: All Around the Table*

The tenth—and last—landmark, or tenth democratic commandment: all around
the table:

Yes, all around the democratic table.

Not a minority on the table.

Nor a majority under the table.

But all around the democratic table.

We are faced with an historic encounter as we approach 1992. It is an
historic encounter on the eve of the 500th anniversary of the
evangelization and of the struggle of the Haitian people to survive and
retain its dignity and identity. As we approach this 500thanniversary of
resistance, both qualitative and quantitative, we can speak of a meeting
around the table. This is in truth a real challenge facing us at the
threshold of the third millennium.

Brothers and sisters of Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, Cuba, Dominica,
Guadeloupe, Martinique and so on, our past in the struggle against
colonialism leads us inevitably to establish stronger and deeper links
throughout our progress toward the Democratic Table.

A new social contract at the Caribbean, Latin American and international
levels is necessary so that we may all one day meet around the Democratic

Since 16 December 1990, the date of elections held under the lofty
sponsorship of the United Nations, we in Haiti have been moving towards
that meeting-place.

If we are all to get there, it is time that indebtedness cease to effect a
net transfer of resources from our impoverished countries to the rich
countries. In fact, between 1983 and 1988, the net transfer of resources to
the so-called developed countries amounted to $115 billion. For one year
alone, 1989, that transfer amounted to approximately $60 billion—financial
resources the countries of the South desperately need for growth.

*“A new social contract at the Caribbean, Latin American and international
levels is necessary.”*

I hope that the Fourth Decade will yield positive results in the context of
the new international order that is to be established.

At this close of the twentieth century, the Republic of Haiti renounces
absolute power, embraces participative democracy and sings the hymn of
liberty, pride and dignity – liberty won; pride regained; dignity reborn.

At this close of the twentieth century, the Republic of Haiti has the honor
to hail the unity of nations: the United Nations for a united world; the
United Nations through united peoples.

As for the Haitian people, we once again hail its heroic courage, crying
out tirelessly and in the spirit of “lavalas”:

It is better to perish with the people than to succeed without the people.
But with the people there can be no defeat. So, victory is ours.

In the same vein: we believe in Man; where a Man is exploited, call on us.
To your call we will respond “yes,” 77 times
<https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/early-days-group-77> “yes.” To
exploitation we will answer “no,” 77 times “no.” To defend human rights,
such is the mission of the United Nations. We believe in peace; where war
rages, call on us. To your call, we will answer “yes,” 77 times “yes.” To
war we will answer “no,” 77 times “no.” Guaranteeing peace, such is the
mission of the United Nations.

We believe in the brotherhood of peoples. Wherever people turn away from
each other, call on us. To your call we shall answer “yes,” 77 times “yes.”
To rejection we shall answer “no,” 77 times “no.” To be a place for
dialogue: that is the mission of the United Nations.

We believe in the Haitian people. Wherever they are struggling tirelessly
in the “lavalas” spirit, we shall be; we shall always be there. It is
better to perish with the people than to succeed without the people.

With the echo of this creed resounding in our ears, by way of conclusion
let the echo of the democratic creed also resound. We believe in these ten
democratic commandments. We believe in this democratic policy. We believe
in that meeting where there will be no minority on the table and no
majority under the table, but where everyone will be seated around the
democratic table. So be it in the name of the people, of its sons and of
its Holy Spirit. Amen.

United we are strong. United in the Caribbean we are a Power. United in the
world we are a power for peace, justice, love and freedom.

Have we the right to speak here? If we have, let us say it together so that
the echo can be heard in Haiti.

*This column was created by **The Black Agenda Revie*
* team.*

*Reprinted from the **Provisional Verbatim Record of the 9th Meeting of the
Forty-Sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Held at United
Nations Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 25 September 1991, at 3 p.m*
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