Haitian Government Puts Stop to National Celebration by Evangelicals

Friday, November 21, 2003

A battle for the soul of a nation

By Jim Uttley
Special to ASSIST News Service

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (ANS) -- November 18, 2003 was to be a day of major celebration by Christians across the island of Haiti. However, the Haitian government, changed its tune at the last minute and barred evangelicals from joining hands across the nation.

According to Ed Walker, former president of World Team U.S.A., and a long-time missionary in Haiti, reported that the evangelical celebration did not take place yesterday as planned.

Early yesterday morning the government rescinded the permission for evangelicals to hold hands and pray across the country. The official statement stated that this movement was contrary to the official policy and plan to dedicate the country to the Voodoo loas [spirits].

Walker stated however that Christians did meet together in prayer across the country. They plan to try again December 7. The HAVIDEC (Vision for the Third Century) plans are going ahead on schedule.

Walker urges us to keep on praying! "Christ is building His church in Haiti and the gates of Hell can not stop it."

The government, led since 1994 (and for nine months in 1991) by the Lavalas party, is headed by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide was expelled from Haiti in 1991, less than a year after being elected in what has been called the first free democratic election in Haiti's history. Some would question that label.

However, in 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton, authorized a military force of 20,000 American troops, to occupy Haiti in preparation for the return of "Haiti's Savior" President Aristide. Although Mr. Clinton had doubts about how democratic Aristide really was, was pressured by the Black Caucus in the U.S. Congress and by the waves of "boat people" washing up on Florida's shores, to return the deposed president to power.

U.S. troops occupied Haiti for six months and poured $3 billion dollars into "rebuilding" the country. However, the occupation was soon turned over to the United Nations peacekeeping forces.

Some observers would tell you that Haiti is now no more democratic than it was under infamous presidents Dr. Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his son Jean-Claude "Baby Doc". Haiti certainly is not better off than it was during Aristide's exile.

Since 1994, Aristide has moved further and further away from his Roman Catholic roots and has gone so far as to declaring Voodooism, a religion. It has been the president's plan to rededicate the nation to the voodoo loas or spirits on January 1, 2004, Haiti's 200th anniversary of its independence from France, making her the first Black republic in the world.

Christian leaders have laid out extensive plans for countering this attempt and are going to do whatever is necessary to call the Haitian nation back to God and dedicate her to Jesus Christ on January 1. But it is already apparent that the battle has only begun.

Haitian leaders urge Haitian Christians at home and abroad to join with them in calling upon God to do a miracle on Haiti's behalf.