Port au Prince (Agenzia Fides) - The heavy state of instability, violence and terror that has continued to rage in Haiti for four long years also affects the Clerics of Saint-Viator missionaries present on the Caribbean island. “Our missionaries experience this insecurity like the rest of the population, trying to survive. To avoid excessive exposure to danger they had to take a series of safety measures. Among these many people have had to leave the town of Croix des Bouquets, where their confrere, Father Jean-Yves Médidor was kidnapped last March (see Fides, 14/3/2023)”. This is what Father Nestor Fils-Aimé, Provincial Superior of Canada of the Clerics of Saint-Viator, CSV, wrote to Fides regarding the unstoppable crisis that is destroying Haitians. The missionary explained that the situation 'is getting bogged down due to the bad faith of the actors who are making great profits from it'.
“Ariel Henry, the (unelected) president and interim prime minister of Haiti as of July 20, 2021, has no interest in putting an end to insecurity and the growth of criminal gangs. He remains deaf to the cries of the entire population who are taken hostage by the gangs. It is said that Port-au-Prince is 80% controlled by armed gangs who sow terror. Many people have had to leave their homes and everything they own to escape criminals.
We Viatorian confreres also limit the travel of confreres. Most meetings take place via the Zoom platform and other exchanges via a Whatsapp group from the community in Haiti. In Croix-des-Bouquets, the community has no news of a property intended for the establishment of the Novitiate. It is located in the heart of a lawless zone held by bandits.” Referring to the recent message of the Haitian Episcopal Conference, in which the bishops echoed the cry of an entire people faced with abandonment, Father Nestor highlighted how this appeal also remained unheard "along with all those muffled cries that leave government authorities completely indifferent." “Very ecently – adds the Provincial Superior – the various gang leaders recorded a message in which they invited the population to freely go about their activities and promised to no longer ransom or kidnap citizens. They launched a campaign they called: "Living together”. But between speech and reality, there is a world of difference. They say nothing about the heavy weapons they have". "We only live on hope. We Viatorians and the entire population continue to dream of a new morning where they will be able to resume all their activities without difficulty. Even if that day still seems far away, we are making plans and building projects. Is not our God the God of the impossible?” he concludes.
According to the United Nations, between January and mid-August 2023 alone, at least 2,439 deaths were recorded found on the streets and at least a thousand injured, executed, dismembered with machetes, set on fire, girls and women often raped by gangs. At the end of June the number of kidnapped people, including foreigners, had already exceeded one thousand with an increase in more and more women and children. There are almost 200 thousand internally displaced people, 5.2 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and 4.9 million are suffering from a very serious food crisis. (NFA/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 25/9/2023)