Bishop Daniel P. Reilly
Chairman, Committee on International Policy
United States Catholic Conference
September 19, 1994
Yesterday's agreement between U.S. emissaries, headed by former President Jimmy Carter, and Haiti's de facto military rulers is a much welcomed step toward a peaceful transition to democratic rule in the island nation. President Clinton is to be commended for walking the extra mile by commissioning these eleventh hour negotiations to avert the shedding of blood. We hope democracy in Haiti will be restored and relations between Haiti, the U.S. and the United Nations will be the better for this nonviolent passage from dictatorship to democracy.
For three years we have urged dialogue and negotiation as the way to a just settlement in Haiti; we renewed that call again only last Friday. While the restoration of democracy is still weeks away, the terms of the agreement signed yesterday show respect on the part of the international community and the United States for the sovereignty of the Haitian people.
The growth of democracy still requires reconciliation on the part of all the people of Haiti. Accordingly, we once again urge all sides in Haiti to come to agreement with one another on the return of democracy, the observance of constitutional limits, respect for human rights and, above all, justice for the poor.
The dignity of the Haitian people will be best served by a national consensus that will strengthen democratic government and the cause of justice for all of Haiti's people. The only sure path to democracy in Haiti lies along the way of mutual respect, sincere dialogue, and reconciliation. May Our Lady Queen of Peace bless Haiti's progress on this path.