Haiti at the Crossroads: How Should the US Respond?

IJDH Senior Staff Attorney Alexandra Filippova speaks to the National Catholic Register. Below is an excerpt of the article by Peter Jesserer Smith.

“Sasha Filippova, senior staff attorney for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, however, said that while Haiti is ‘facing a multitude of challenges and crises,’ the U.S. and international community have exacerbated these in the past by backing successive governments in Haiti whose corruption and repressive tactics led to the hollowing out of Haiti’s institutions and the current security, humanitarian and political challenges. Today, at least 4.4 million Haitians don’t have enough food, hospitals are forced to consider shutdowns due to scarcity of fuel and insecurity, and kidnappings have soared to the highest per capita rate in the world.

Filippova said the assassination of President Moïse shows how the lawlessness now affects everyone in Haitian society. 

‘It’s not exceptional,’ she said. ‘It’s a symptom of what has been a broader problem.’

Filippova said the U.S. and international community can change that trajectory by supporting Haiti’s civil society, which continues to be ‘vibrant’ even as they are ‘actively working on solutions in spite of the incredibly difficult circumstances.’ The U.S. can further help Haiti through supporting the rule of law, she said, and offering humanitarian aid and assistance in bringing criminals to justice if requested to do so. ‘But its first task must be to stand in solidarity with Haitian people and to stop trying to impose external solutions.’

More than ‘600 signatures from a variety of civil society actors,’ she said, have been signed to an Aug. 30 accord that lays out a blueprint for a transition to restored national governance by constitutional norms. The accord, which has wide buy-in from Catholic groups, also gives a voice to the Haitian diaspora that still maintain their citizenship, providing a way for the diaspora’s entrepreneurs and professionals to positively join forces with in-country Haitian civil society to reform the government.”

Read the full article here.