The Dual Citizenship Issue

Post Reply
User avatar
Guysanto
Site Admin
Posts: 1288
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:32 pm

The Dual Citizenship Issue

Post by Guysanto » Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:58 pm

I started this discussion in the Windows on Haiti group page, but it occurs to me that Ann Pale members should be interested in the arguments just as much.

The discussion should be broad, so I invite you to pass it along to as many groups where the discussion is appropriate and to friends of yours that you think would be interested in contributing to the exchange or simply learning from it.

I don't want to repeat everything that has been said so far, so here's the url for the topic. I hope that everyone can read it, whether they belong to the group or not.

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=5 ... opic=12925

Guy Antoine

User avatar
Guysanto
Site Admin
Posts: 1288
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:32 pm

Post by Guysanto » Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:37 pm

I will start the discussion on Ann Pale with the four entries I have posted so far on Facebook.

User avatar
Guysanto
Site Admin
Posts: 1288
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:32 pm

Post by Guysanto » Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:38 pm

This has been an explosive issue in Haitian circles. The reason, unfortunately, is that Haitians are in essence so political (that is, defending particular sets of privileges) rather than integrative. However, it is possible to defuse the tensions by considering uniquely the long-term effects for Haiti as a whole, and seriously debate whether those would be overwhelmingly positive or negative (or anywhere in between).

I firmly believe that in order for Haitians to come together as a nation, we have to stop separating ourselves into divisive constructs, such as: moun andeyò, moun lavil, ti peyizan, gran nèg, and other categories that famously include the unimaginative concept of a foreign "dyaspora".

My opinion: Dual Citizenship should be granted. Not casually. Not fraudulently. But legally, to all law-abiding native Haitians living abroad who request it.

Note that I did not say "unconditionally". This is where the jurists come in to define a legal framework, after a period of vigorous and broad debate that should involve every segment of society including the politicians who should strive to voice the concerns of their constituents rather than representing narrow special interests. The debate should be broad in its considerations but limited by the parameters that should insure its timeliness and effectiveness. As a nation, locked interminably in a state of emerging towards a decent level of social and economic development, we cannot afford several more years of blah blah blah. Haiti needs the full support and investment of ALL her sons and daughters.

Haiti's politicians, for the most part, have betrayed the interests of the nation in favor of special interests that do not serve the nation. Can we change that? Yes we can. [Do not worry, I have no political ambition whatsoever. My greatest ambition is to, one day, write a book about what it was like to grow up in Haiti in the fifties and sixties.] However, I believe that with good faith and with a sense of civism, we can bring about a very positive change to the lives of our country-men and women. All of us. It is our duty.

That's my opinion. What's yours?

Guy

User avatar
Guysanto
Site Admin
Posts: 1288
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:32 pm

Post by Guysanto » Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:39 pm

Dual citizenship should not be approached from the standpoint of individuals running for the highest office(s) in the land. Especially if those citizens happen to have a lot of money and try forcefully to buy their way through the political system. This just gives way to a circus-like atmosphere charged with histrionics and corruption. We can't completely disregard the constitution. But the constitution should evolve to protect the rights of all Haitian nationals and to create the conditions that will be favorable to Haiti's full economic emancipation. If a new door is to be opened, then it should be opened for us all to enter through it at once, not on an exception, lawless or fraudulent basis.

User avatar
Guysanto
Site Admin
Posts: 1288
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:32 pm

Post by Guysanto » Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:41 pm

Dual citizenship: What are we waiting for? Just some organization, that's all.

I will not provide that directly from Windows on Haiti, because quite frankly I can only do so much. However, I would be happy to offer some assistance where I can, to those who want to organize this into a social movement. We have all recently witnessed centuries of accumulated prejudice in the U.S. getting dismantled with a flexible, dynamic, but determined organization. It will not be enough to collect signatures and present a petition and passing a number to call, as this is not the USA where you already have structures that collect and measure public opinion. In Haiti, it appears often that everything has to be created from scratch. I have seen dozens of petitions circulated to commit the Haitian government to bring light to the assassination of Jean Dominique and the disappearance of Lovinsky Pierre Antoine, just to name those two. As time goes by, the petitions (even those backed up by major Hollywood celebrities) become forgotten. Therefore, something more is evidently needed. It requires thought, formulation, organization, and force. When you face some entrenched special interests that have successfully kept the common interest at bay, it is time once again to organize and present a strong unified front that will not be easily dismissed; that shall not be dismissed, period.

Dual citizenship is a tool that should belong in the arsenal of all ordinary Haitians who become citizens of the U.S., Canada or elsewhere for a variety of reasons. As it is, many rich and powerful Haitians use it fraudulently by always having two sets of passports ready, to be used for traveling purposes and running for political office. So who is kidding whom? We need to call their bluff and extend the privileges of dual citizenship to all Haitian nationals who request it (except in cases of a criminal nature to be determined by the Law that applies).

Dual citizenship? It's not just the politicians who need it. The Germans can have it. The Irish can have it. The Jews can have it. Numerous other people can have it. Why is the government of Haiti preventing real Haitians from having it (in this life, not in the next one) ?

User avatar
Guysanto
Site Admin
Posts: 1288
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:32 pm

Post by Guysanto » Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:45 pm

Constitutions should/must be respected, as much as possible. Constitutions are also living documents, that is they should evolve to accompany a nation of people on the path to their evolution, through a process of amendments. Any constitution that would be SO RIGID as to effectively close all pathways to change is not worth the paper it's written on, as far as I am concerned, precisely because it lends to its own revocation, usually by acts of force and despotism. How many Constitutions have we had in Haiti, since Toussaint Louverture's 1801 Constitution? I am not talking of amendments, but brand new constitutions! The picture is not a pretty one.

On fundamental questions, like dual citizenship (which is not allowed under the current constitution), there must be A CLEAR PATH to a possible amendment to the constitution. If that path is not provided, I can guarantee you that some day the 1987 Constitution will be revoked. The 1987 Constitution will be swept under the rug, unfortunately, even though as you rightfully indicated, it "was (for once) a document that had significant support from all sectors of Haitian society." How right you are! However, our political class has been playing verbal games, even dangerous games, for far too long in lieu of enacting a process by which the legitimate grievances of an important sector of the Haitian population can be finally addressed.

I understand that there is actually some bad language in the 1987 Constitution that suppresses forever all referendums on important national questions, and WHAT MAKES EVEN LESS SENSE, it suppresses even the means to pass any amendment (then, now, or in the future) that would remove or modify some provisions of said constitution. In other words, it's a Constitution that does not trust the people it was drafted to protect and resorts to protecting itself against the will of the people whatever it might be. If this is true (I am by no means a constitutional scholar, I submit that this is ludicrous. Nothing but nothing can be more important than the spirit of freedom that animated our ancestors, and in particular the Father of Our Nation, Jean-Jacques Dessalines. He wanted to include all lovers of freedom (not those who spoke of freedom with a forked tongue, like George W. Bush) and not exclude significant numbers of Haiti's children who have never rejected "Ayiti" their ancestral mother, as a matter of conscience.

So, yes, I totally agree with you that we should be respectful of the constitution. But the constitution should not be tyrannical, or it becomes suicidal. Dual citizenship has been requested by Haitian nationals for decades. Haitian Jurists, and politicians alike, should responsibly provide A CLEAR PATH to how this will be accomplished OR they should be courageous enough to take the position that IT WILL NEVER BE GRANTED, for whatever legitimate reasons they come up with, in their considerable wisdom.

To keep playing games as they do is to invite chaos.

Guy

Post Reply