The assassination of the President is a visible symptom of years of injustice, corruption and distrust, says Wegens Dextra, a Christian leader working in pro-childhood initiatives.
Haiti is back in the spotlight, and again it is because of tragic news.
The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse after an attack that also heavily injured his wife has schocked the international community. In an environment of high tensions, the police killed four suspects and detained several others (including foreigners).
There is also a debate about who should lead the country politically from now on.
But the most worrying reality of Haiti has to to with the long years of injustice, poverty and desperation of the population, says Wegens Dextra, a Christian who leads initiatives to provide a better future to children.
Wegens, who is involved in a church near Port-au-Prince, answered to questions of Evangelical Focus.
Question. After the assassination of the president, what is expected to happen next in the sphere of the political leadership of the country?
Answer. The assassination of our President is a crime that increases the trouble that the country has faced since many years.
Since our independence, we still struggle to create the country that our ancestors dreamt of. Political leaders never sit together to come up with a real plan that includes everyone to develop the country.
The assassination of our President is probably going to bring a lot of tension: it could be civil war, civil unrest. It can create social, political and economical trouble. This villainous act may bring back a battle for power among political leaders.
We are in the midst of a constitutional void. At the moment, we have two Prime Ministers at the same time: one was just nominated and has not been sworn in yet and the other is still managing the country. This reality can bring social and political revenge.
But the big issues will make survival even more difficult for people. People could be deprived from basic things such as water and food. The poorest are potentially going to suffer the consequences of the situation created with the murder of the president.
However, this situation is also an opportunity. It may bring Haitian to think and act differently. We may be able to think as brothers in the same land; think about another economic system, and to generate a new agreement that pushes the country towards a development that lasts.
Q. How is your church and other Christians seeing the crisis of the country now?
There are different perspectives among churches in Haiti.
Some groups of Christians think we approach the end times. Biblical prophecy says that in the end of time there will be immorality, war and hunger everywhere.
Other Christians think, the crisis is the result of political leaders wanting to enrich themselves and their supporters. They offer rich people more possibilities and stop others from accessing to better living conditions. It is for this reason that our country is one of the most corrupted in the world. Most politicians do not have a honest word.
For other Christians, our big problem is a problem of heart. We don’t love each other. We see ourselves first rather than seeing the collective. This group of Christians puts the emphasis on the fact that we need to learn to love each other, to appreciate others, to include others in our life.
Yet another perspective is that of those who believe that this crisis is the result of many of the behaviours of our President. Most of our political leaders create enemies instead of behaving as leaders leading all people adhere to a common vision.
Q. Violence and insecurity have been present in Haiti for months and years. What can be done to see an end to this suffering?
A. The situation here is complex. Many people and institutions are failing in the way they address the Haitian problem.
We need to look for God first. As Christians we need to pray, pray for unity, pray for love, pray for peace, pray for changing ourselves first.
The Core Group (formed by representatives of Haiti and other countries in the United Nations) needs to work with us as a facilitator to provide a good analysis of the reality.
I believe Haitian problems can be solved by God and we can find a Haitian solution. International partners can work with us as a facilitator to help Haiti achieve our goal.
Updating our Constitution and many other laws can solve the eternal conflicts. There are continuous misunderstandings between political leaders. Leaders talk but we don’t understand and see things in the same way.
Beyond all of this, it is good for citizens to vote honest people, leaders that hate corruption. We need to vote leaders with competency, with a good level of education and love the country and his people.
The misery of the poorest is the first thing to address. Our nation is starving. Many crimes that happen are related to social inequality, with levels of poverty that are too high. The system of security of the country needs to be rethinked. The Police and Army institutions need to be reinforced and work independently, far from the political control.
The gangs here are more powerful than all social forces that we have. The government needs to find a proper way to disarm gangsters, reinsert them in society by creating ways to supply their needs and hunger, create infrastructure for people to circulate freely, and create a climate of confidence for investors to come and invest in country, so jobs will be created and people will be able to work and sustain themselves.
We need to create a society based on Justice. The justice system and others democratic and republican institutions need to be reinforced. Justice is the first weapon that a nation needs to stand.
Also, we need to take care of children. Gangsterism is a result of hunger and children that live in the streets with no education, no work and no food, are open to join gangs to find a way to live.
Children are the future of the nation. We need to create a space and environment to help our children to dream and live a better future.
To stop this suffering, our leaders need to have a speech that brings people to love others, love the country, and promote life in every way. Like Mandela did to save his country. Here, most people are afraid of others; most people think others can act badly against then. Leaders need to change that mindset and the heart of people by behaving well and present a model of leadership that does not look to serve himself first, but serves others. And they need to marry their speeches with their action.
Q. How can Christians in others parts of the world pray for Haiti?
A. Christians in others part in the world can pray for a spiritual revival in the country focused on love, protection of life, and a change of mind. They can pray for God to lead our leaders in His path; taking direction of the country.
They can pray also for durable development happening every community. They can pray for serious Christian institution to find finance to accompany the community and the poorest of the poor towards durable development. They can pray for Christian institutions to play their role in this situation and Christians to live their daily live as salt and light that leads to a change in the whole of society.
[title] About Wegens Dextra
Dextra Wegens was born in Haiti and is living in Port au Prince, Haiti’s capital. He is a leader of the Christian Church of Barbeau (Leogane). He has a BA in Educational science, as well as a MA in Christian Education and a MA in Theology.
He directs the Ministry for Christian Development (MCD), a Christian corporation dedicated to equip leaders of Christian churches and schools toward community transformation. He co-founded and is director of Haiti's Children’s Hope organization, a Christian institution works for development of children in the country. He is board member of project HA-314, a child development project supported by Compassion International in Haiti.