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Oligarchy and Haiti!

By: Jean H Charles

The everyday lexicon have adopted some terms originated from the Latin or the Greek and put them into the popular language to describe a situation. We can cite amongst others terms, status-quo, coup, de-facto, and oligarchy which is the mot du jour in Haiti and around the globe. The term derives from the Greek which means government by the few.

After the war in Ukraine, the American Government has gone tout azimuth against the Russian oligarchs who are supporting Vladimir Putin in his war against Ukraine. But the embargo and the sanctions impose on the Russian oligarchs did not put a dent on their wealth and their influence. The reason behind this resistance lies in the fact that oligarchs around the world are united. Whether you are an American, Russian or Haitian oligarch you belong to this big great family of oligarchs who will protect your assets against the commoners.

This unity stems from the middle Ages when the Convention of Westphalia in1492 crafted article 5 that said all the other nations would come at the rescues of the country which is menaced by the others. 

The Haitian oligarch started with the mulattos and the generals carving out most of the land and the spoils of the colony for themselves to the detriment of the 400.000 former slaves. More recently we can trace the oligarchy in the politics of Dumarsais Estime closing the open market of the export of bananas by the Haitian peasants to distribute it to the cartel made of his politician friends. The Haitian peasants were on their way to progressive wealth in selling their organic bananas directly to Standard Fruit when Estime closed the open market policy to direct it to corrupt politicians who sent the golden goose to the butcher.

We find later under Jean Bertrand Aristide the same collusion between politics and economics. Being the tutor of the future Mrs. Aristide I was called to become the architect of the sale of the government assets under the guise of privatization. That call was killed by Aristide and his allies who did not see in myself a loyal a friend. Jean Bertrand Aristide and his government went on to create the largest class of new recruits in the family of oligarchs by wholesaling chunk of Haitian richness such as the telephone company to Digicel.

Rene Preval his nemesis continue the policy of selling for almost nothing to political friends the richness of Haiti such as the Minoterie. The same policy intensifies with Michel Martelly and Jovenel Moise carving large portion of land to themselves or to their friend like the concession in Savane Diane to Andy Appaid for the production of stevia for Coca Cola.

In the United States, the oligarchy has its origin in 1860 in what Charles Summer described as the “slave oligarchy” where the planters of the South “like an evil spirit” would go to war to preserve slavery. In the Soviet Union we find the beginning of oligarchy with Boris Yeltsin privatizing the former Soviet State to cents on the dollar to politically friends creating the new corporate government. With the help of economists from Harvard or Columbia these new businessmen cut deals with the language and the clothing of the American businessmen. As such some 150 billion dollars were transferred from Russia to the American banks, stock markets and friendly States such as Delaware, Wyoming and South Dakota through hedge funds, private equity and venture capital.  

With their money they can buy influence with donations to universities and museums. As such you find the than Mayor Michael Bloomberg declaring Mr. Abramovich a Russian oligarch an honorary citizen of New York gasping “wouldn’t be great if we could get all the Russian billionaires to move here”.

In this government of the few to the detriment of the masses, what is the solution to create a better nation for all the citizens of a country whether it is Haiti, Russia or the United States?

My solution is to go back to Ernest Renan and his principles of creating a friendly nation.

1-  By infusing a solidarity and a sense of inclusion amongst all the citizens to ensure the national heritage is enriched by and for all the citizens.

2-  By providing the country with healthy institutions and excellent infrastructure from the most rural county to the capital.

3-  By reaching out to the marginalized communities the rural world, the world of women and urban ghettos to give them special attention so they will arrive to the bliss of the middle class.

4-  By finding and reaching out the divine mission of this particular nation

5-  Last but not least armed the youths of the country with the best education and training in leadership, resilience and creativity to lead the nation to its zenith.

In applying those five principles the grip of the oligarch will slowly disappear to create a just and equitable society where happiness for all is the goal of the government. Toussaint Louverture had that dream. With his friend John Adams both men were on their way of crafting for the world where two just nations would be a model for the globe. The election of 1800 in the United States disrupted this canvass.

May Haiti, revive for the globe this dream interrupted by Thomas Jefferson and Napoleon Bonaparte.

Jean Hervé Charles was a presidential candidate in the elections of 2016.

He can be reached at



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