Haiti’s ‘Dealing with the Devil’: Stories of malevolence that emerge in every crisis


appears every time Haiti suffers crisis.

Take 2010 as an example, when 7.0-magnitude earthquake flattens Port-au-Prince, causing about 220,000 deaths.While aftershocks still wreak havoc in the capital Pat Robertson accept christian broadcasting network Find out the cause of the disaster.

“Something happened in Haiti a long time ago that people probably didn’t want to talk about,” the televangelist-turned-seismologist told viewers of “The 700 Club,” his news and talk exhibit. “They were at the feet of the French… They gathered together and swore an oath to the devil. They said, ‘If you can free us from the French, we will serve you.'”

“True story,” Robertson continued. So the devil said, “Okay, that’s it.” “But since then, they’ve been cursed with one thing after another.”

Robertson, who died last year, may not be the most reliable authority: he agreed: Feminists and gays held responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and predict at different times Asteroid that destroyed the earth“It’s just like” terrorist nuclear strike about the United States, and Mitt Romney’s Presidency.

But he didn’t invent the story of Haiti’s dealings with the devil. Versions of it have been passed down for centuries.

According to the current form, Yale scholar Marlene Dotter, which has been around for at least 30 years and is popular among evangelicals committed to spreading their interpretation of Christianity in Caribbean countries. (I first heard this from a group of young American missionaries in Port-au-Prince in early 2004—another Turmoil in Haitithere is one rebellion uprising In the countryside, fatal violence in capital flight with the president Jean Bertrand Aristide went into exile.)

But there’s much more to its history than that, and many historians believe it was a real event: secret meeting of africans 1791 Conspired against European slave owners in Saint-Domingue, then a French colony.as a practitioner VodouBeing a mixture of West African and the country’s native Catholic faith, they sacrificed an animal.

Since then, the rally has been distorted by frightened white people.

Now, as Crime violence surges in Haitiwhose embattled prime minister Prepare to step down America is trying again arrive Form a new governmentthe story is resurfacing — this time with the help of social media.

“Remind the Haitian rebels of making a deal with the devil (probably Satan himself) to gain independence,” one X user wrote this month. “Haiti’s endless suffering is a debt-collecting demon.”

“Haiti is hell, according to pre-revolutionary voodoo rituals,” agreed another. A third suggested: The country “needs to repent of their deal with the devil so that Christ can undo it.”

That night in the Cayman Forest

As theology, this story has holes. “exist Haitian Voodoo“Satan does not exist in the world,” said Dot, a professor of French and African diaspora studies. “There is a god, but he is Bundy, everyone’s god, a good god. There is no devil at all.”

But as history, it’s even worse: It turns the triumph of the Haitian Revolution—a successful slave revolt that created the world’s first black republic, a key achievement in the history of human rights—into a cautionary tale. It also absolves the United States, France and others from trying to nip the young nation in the cradle— Foreign interference destabilizes This has been plaguing Haiti virtually since its founding.

“It’s a lazy way to explain the complexity of what has happened and what is happening now,” said Bertin M. Louis Jr., anthropologist, University of Kentucky. “It masks the actual crimes being committed against Haitians.”

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So what exactly happened on that stormy August night on the wooded hills outside the northern French city of Cap-de-France?

For Haitians, the rally in Bois Caïman (Crocodile Forest) was a glorious moment: the first step in the country’s 12-year journey from slavery and colonial rule to freedom and independence.

There are no known witnesses to the ritual, and some scholars believe it is a legend created to unite and inspire rebels.However, there are several near-contemporary reports from french colonists and the Africans, who claim that on or about August 14, 1791, there was some sort of meeting outside the city now known as Cap-Haitien, at which participants sought their blessing for the uprising.

Most agreed on key points.As many as hundreds of Africans representing several regional plantations met at prearranged times and locations Hear the performances of voodoo priest Dutty Boukman and mambo priestess Cécile Fatiman.

A report issued by the Haitian government said that “it is raining and the sky is dark and cloudy.” “The slaves then began to admit their dissatisfaction with their situation.”

Fatiman was “attracted to the spirit of the spirit” – the supernatural intermediary between humans and Bundy – and “began to dance lazily.” She slit the throat of a black Creole pig in honor of Ezili Danto, the female goddess of love. Attendees then “swore to kill every white man on the island.”

make saint domingue The most profitable colony in the world — By the end of the 18th century, it was a major producer of coffee and sugar, and a major source of cotton, indigo, and cocoa — The French practiced slavery Notorious Violence.

Men and women were forced to work 12 or more hours a day under the tropical sun to meet ever-increasing production quotas. Those who were injured or sick were often discarded; France could import replacements. Punishments for suspected violations – working too slowly, feigning illness, running away – included rape, amputation, being burned or buried alive.

When Africans rose up in revolt, they reciprocated their brutality by invading their homes, awakening and killing their slave owners, and pillaging and burning plantations. Over the next dozen years, Haitian rebels and French soldiers engaged in a vicious war of attrition. Both sides lost tens of thousands of warriors—several times the number of American and British casualties in the American Revolutionary War.

France eventually surrendered, and on January 1, 1804, revolutionary leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti independent. But Paris was not done with its former colonies. At first, France refused to recognize the new country. So did the United States and European powers, who feared that Haitian success would inspire similar rebellions among the people they had enslaved in their own territories.

Finally, in 1825, King Charles X of France proposed a way forward: compensation —For former slave owners. The price for joining the family of nations, he said, was 150 million francs—ostensibly an indemnity intended to repay French colonists for property they lost during the revolution, including slaves.

This true king’s ransom was estimated to be 10 times the annual revenue of the Haitian government at the time. Charles sent warships to Port-au-Prince to collect the first payment.

French President Jean-Pierre Boyer agreed to have more than 500 French cannons aimed at the capital and immediately took out a loan from a Parisian bank to cover the down payment. Thus began a snowball of double debt, compound interest owed to French and later American creditors, that effectively stunted the development of the new, war-torn nation.

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US reintroduces forced, unpaid labor

While its Latin American neighbors gained independence, built infrastructure and modernized their economies in the 19th century, the Haitian government remitted much of its income to France. Poverty spreads, corruption is rampant and public discontent grows.

France did not establish diplomatic relations with Haiti until 1838; Britain, not until 1859. The United States held on until 1862, when the Civil War reframed the national debate about slavery.

Meanwhile, ongoing assertions of a Faustian bargain have isolated Haiti from its neighbors.

“People believe that the American Revolution was providential because the founders made a pact with God, while the Haitian Revolution was evil because the Haitian revolutionaries made a pact with Satan,” Dart said.

It took more than 60 years for Haiti to finally repay the compensation in 1888, and another nearly 60 years to pay off the related interest in 1947. The New York Times reported in 2022 that the cost of this burden included monetary expenditures and lost development, Reaching US$115 billion — eight times the size of Haiti’s economy in 2020.

But the damage doesn’t stop there.The reparations-related debt held by Americans provided President Woodrow Wilson with an excuse to order Marines into Port-au-Prince in 1915, establish martial law and Occupying this country for the next 19 years.

Ironically, the United States subjected Haitians to slavery—forced, unpaid labor—for public construction projects. For Haitians, it was the reintroduction of slavery. But the rebellion was quickly suppressed. Marines and U.S.-trained military police killed thousands of Haitians.

President Franklin Roosevelt ended the occupation in 1934. Still, Washington will remain closely involved in Haiti, financing development while also backing a tyrant who pledges support for U.S. interests.These include the original Francois “Papa Doc” and Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” DuvalierBetween 1957 and 1986, ruthless kleptocrats terrorized and plundered the country.

In a recent example, U.S. officials Pushed the Haitian government to include Michel Martelly in the 2011 presidential runoff. The pop star’s five-year tenure was marred by accusations of corruption and violence. A United Nations panel indicted him last year Using “gangs to expand their influence over communities to advance his political agenda created a legacy of insecurity whose repercussions are still felt today”.

This is enough to explain at least most of the challenges faced by Haiti without resorting to stories of satanic influence. But Dot thinks the argument serves another purpose.

“It was really a way to distract from the fact that the Haitian revolutionaries did something the world had never seen before by permanently abolishing slavery and creating a slave-free country in the middle of all the other slave-holding empires, “she says.

“If you said the Haitian Revolution was the most radical revolution the Western world had ever seen, people would say, ‘Yeah, but look at Haiti now. How can you say the Haitian Revolution was successful?

“But of course! We now live in a world where everyone thinks slavery is bad and it is powerful and important for Haitians to be the first to make that claim and should not be fooled by those peddling the true nature of slavery Covered up by theoretical charlatans. Just to convert more people to their religion.”

Widlore Mérancourt contributed to this report.



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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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