The sudden, violent and unjust overthrow of the duly elected head of the government of Haiti is more than simply the latest tragedy to befall that long-suffering land. After years of foreign occupation and decades of a corrupt dictatorship, the people of Haiti were finally enabled, last year, to express their will freely and democratically. They voted overwhelmingly for Jean-Bertrand Aristide and had the satisfaction of seeing him take office, despite threats and an attempted coup, last February. Now, once again, their hopes have been dashed, perhaps more cruelly than ever before.
Not only has a fragile democracy been thrown aside by armed forces who have yet to explain their actions, but hopes of economic assistance from the international community, aid desperately needed in this poorest of the countries in our hemisphere, have probably been wiped out for the foreseeable future
I wish to express the deep sympathy of our Conference with our fellow bishops of the Haitian Episcopal Conference with whom we have just recently met, and with all the Church and people of Haiti. We join with them in praying that this lawless disregard for the democratic process will soon be reversed and that the Haitian people can begin again to construct a more just, prosperous and peaceful society.
We call on the United States government to collaborate with other nations in the hemisphere to support the return of the elected government and the long postponed hopes of the Haitian people for both democracy and justice.