Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Haiti's Bishop Romelus Hopeful but Sees No Sign of Movement

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Haiti's Bishop Romelus Hopeful but Sees No Sign of Movement

Article excerpt

ARLINGTON, Va. -- To Haitian Bishop Willy Romelus of the Jeremie diocese, nothing the United States has done or promised to do for Haiti in the past three months has made any difference to the situation in his country.

"As far as U.S. policy toward Haiti is concerned, I do not know how change is going to come," said Romelus, during a July 6 interview at Queen of Peace Parish here, where he later gave an address. "I am positive, very positive, something will happen, but for now there is no sign that anything is moving," he said through an interpreter.

In this first interview since undergoing surgery in May, Romelus said he believes the United States should join with the United Nations, "the so-called international community, to achieve change in Haiti." Asked if an invasion would accomplish the necessary change, Romelus diplomatically replied, "Haiti is a member of the United Nations. When something does not work for one member of (the U.N.) family, the other members of the family should do something to achieve change."

Romelus, whose Jeremie diocese is somewhat isolated from Haiti proper (it occupies the nation's southwestern promontory), is singular among the Haitian hierarchy for his open disagreement with the current regime.

He will be able to return to Haiti once air travel resumes, he said, "but as for my personal security, that is an open question because they have been threatening my life." Meanwhile, for the people in Jeremie, he continued, life is hard, people are malnourished, but people elsewhere in Haiti are suffering more than in Jeremie where farming is still possible. …

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