Haitian lawmakers late Sunday amended an article in the old constitution that will do away with a law that bans dual nationality. That means the 2 million Haitians living in the United States, Canada and elsewhere will have more say in the political affairs of Haiti. They are now able to run for lower levels of office and own land, a senator said.
Running For Public Office
Prior to yesterday’s vote, Haitian expatriates were permitted to remit funds back to their homeland and even donate to presidential candidates, but they were barred from running for public office. Dual nationals under the new rules will not be allowed to run for president, or to hold the offices of prime minister, police chief or Supreme Court judge, but supporters of yesterday’s changes say they will still help to redefine what it means to be Haitian.
“More than anything else, this double nationality gives a clear message to people of Haitian ancestry who have gone to the diaspora that there is a place for them in Haiti, not only in the reconstruction aspect, but in the everyday life in Haiti,’’ Bernadel said. The recognition of dual or multiple nationalities for Haitians has the support of the U.S. government. Miami Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson, who visited Port-au-Prince Saturday for a few hours, said she also supports the concept. “What they are describing is fine,’’ said Wilson, who represents the largest constituency of Haitian-Americans in the United States.
Helping To Decide The Future Of Haiti
That harsh reality is just one of many examples of how Haitians who have accepted citizenship from other countries have been left out when it comes to deciding on the future of their unlucky homeland, Bernadel said. But he and some other Haitians living outside the country are hoping that will change soon. Members of Haiti’s parliament began debate Saturday on several changes to the country’s 1987 constitution, including one that would do away with a law banning dual nationality. “More than anything else, this double nationality gives a clear message to people of Haitian ancestry who have gone to the diaspora that there is a place for them in Haiti, not only in the reconstruction aspect, but in the everyday life in Haiti,’’ Bernadel said.
Published by Daily News Pulse