Haiti: In total chaos, Redemptorists remain in Carrefour-Feuilles to continue their missionary work

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Haiti is going through a time of extreme violence. The population lives in panic while economic misery dominates the country. International organizations are abandoning the poor people who need everything at this time. Scala News publishes here the testimony of the Redemptorist community and the request of the Regional Superior of Haiti, Father Pétuel Gerard, C.S.S.R. from the poorest country in America:

What is happening during these days in and around Port-au-Prince is unprecedented. Although several signs could make us think we would know such dark days, no one expected what is happening in Carrefour-Feuilles, where the Redemptorists have been settled for 94 years. For some confreres, we are in a dream, but the reality is that we are forced to evacuate from our motherhouse because of armed bandits who sow terror in the surrounding area.

In a report by Father Pétuel Gerard, C.Ss.R, Regional Superior of Haiti, we read the following:

“We in Port-au-Prince, especially in the area of Carrefour-Feuilles (Monastery-Saint Gerard Parish, and the Mon Rêve Residence), are in chaos; we are living through very difficult and unprecedented moments…Armed bandits attack the civilian population, rob and set fire to houses and everything they find. They looted and set fire to the police sub-station in the Savane Pistache area (San Gerardo mountain area) and killed several members of the civilian population. All over the area, up to our houses, bullets are coming from everywhere and touching the walls and roofs of our houses. The inhabitants of the area had no choice but to flee their homes to avoid the violence of the armed bandits.

As for the regional archives, we have them stored for now in the St. Clement House in Bois Patate, another neighbourhood that is still safe from the fury of armed bandits, but no one knows for how long. The confreres who lived in the two communities of Carrefour-Feuilles also took refuge there. Despite everything, some of us are staying in the St. Gerard monastery in solidarity with some of the faithful who remain in the neighbourhood, and every morning they come to Mass despite this chaotic situation.”

As was well known, Haiti, since its independence, has known many crises that have made every page of its history a picture of misery, ruin and blood. However, the combined action of economic and social conditions resulting from harmful policies, besieged by political clientelism, corruption, natural disasters, the incapacity and amateurism of those who hold political power and the violence of criminal gangs have reached their peak. If we continue on this path, we are heading directly to the self-destruction of our nation.

On this World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, we denounce what is happening in Haiti and demand that those who hold political power do what is necessary to stop this wave of violence and suspend this bloodshed that is sowing death and despair in these lands that our ancestors have bequeathed to us. To the international community, it is time to show active solidarity with the Haitian people so that peace returns to the country. As Jacques Stéphen Alexis did, many are asking themselves, “we want to know whether or not we are being denied the right to live in our country”.

As Nelson Mandela rightly said in one of his speeches, “we want our country to prosper and provide basic services to all because our freedom can never be complete…if we do not meet the basic needs of our people…And we also know that peace is the most powerful weapon that a community or a nation can use for development.”

Fr. Renold Antoine, C.Ss.R.