Haiti is one of the most important nations in world history because it was the first to defeat the French Empire under Napoleon, the first group of enslaved Africans to free themselves from slavery, and inspired the world to advocate for the end of the transatlantic slave trade.
But Haiti has suffered greatly from economic oppression, political corruption, and most of all natural disasters especially in recent years. In the Summer of 2021 Haiti experienced the assassination of their president, one of the largest earthquakes on record, and another hurricane all which devastated the people of the country.
But there is hope and help for Haiti. One of the people doing tremendous work not only in the aftermath of natural disasters, but daily, is Father Joseph Philippe. UrbanFaith sat down with this incredible man who has founded and led multiple organizations that are building up Haiti to talk about the needs today and his ongoing work to transform his home country. Full interview is above, information on how to support his organizations and Haiti relief are below.
Fr. Joseph Philippe is a Haitian born Catholic priest who has founded multiple organizations over 35 years that are dedicated to building up Haiti for the long term. The Association of the Peasants of Fondwa (APF), empowers Haitian peasants and farmers at the grassroots level and creates Local Development Committees which help them to build up their community, maintain their natural resources, and organize together to build their local economy. Fonkoze is a microfinance bank that is dedicated to helping Haitians lift themselves out of poverty and has impacted thousands of families and millions of people over its existence. Sisters of Saint Anthony of Fondwa is a nuns organization that helps support the community of Fondwa, and University of Fondwa is a fully functional university which provides college and vocational education to students across Haiti with a goal of building up the 572 communities that make up Haiti over time. The websites are apfhaiti.org, fonkoze.org, and ufondwa.org.
For short term relief:
People can make their check at the order of APF ( Asosyasyon Peyizan Fondwa) and mail it for us to:
C/O Sabrina Brice
382 125th St.
New York, NY 10027
This money is going to be used for
1)Temporary job (Cash for work)
2) Housing (repair and rebuilding)
3) Access to basic Health care
4) Access to water ( assessment, basic needs, replacement of destroyed water tank and repair)
Moïse, a businessman turned president, made his way into politics using political connections that stemmed from the business world. Initially he invested in automobile-related businesses, primarily in the north of Haiti, where he was born. Eventually, he ultimately landed in the agricultural sector – a big piece of the economy in Haiti, where many people farm.
Existing street protests exploded in early 2021 after Moïse refused to hold a presidential election and step down when his four-year term ended in Feburary. Instead, he claimed his term would end one year later, in February 2022, because Haiti’s 2016 election was postponed.
When mounting Haitian protests ended the regime in 1986, Baby Doc fled the country. The Duvaliers had enriched themselves, but Haiti was left in economic collapse and social ruin.
The 1987 Haitian Constitution that Moïse sought to change was written soon after to ensure that Haiti would never slide back into dictatorship.
Beyond Moïse’s use of state violence to suppress opposition, anti-Moïse protesters before his killing pointed out another similarity with the Duvalier era: the United States’ support.
In March, the U.S. State Department announced that it supported Moïse’s decision to remain in office until 2022, to give the crisis-stricken country time to “elect their leaders and restore Haiti’s democratic institutions.”
That stance – which echoes that of Western-dominated international organizations that hold substantial sway in Haiti, such as the Organization of American States – sustained what was left of Moïse’s legitimacy to remain president.