A Most Peculiar Celebration: A Humorous Halloween Speech from Gaia Calcaterra

It was a delight to listen to my friend and fellow toastmaster Gaia Calcaterra share her Holloween story at the recent humorous speech contest in Fort Lauderdale. I am enthralled to have her permission to share the content of her speech with you.

Have a good read, and laugh.


Gaia Calcaterra (right) with David Desposito

With all the political turmoil in the world these days, I wanted to highlight THE most pre-occupying issue at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment……and that is…. HALLOWEEN!

Mr President, fellow witches, werewolves and most distinguished pumpkin carvers,
I have lived and travelled all over the world and have witnessed many strange rituals and celebrations, but I assure you, nothing confuses me and is more peculiar to me than Halloween in the US!

AND apparently, I am not alone….

My story started when I arrived in the US 10 years ago, from South Africa, just in time to see people taking down giant inflatable snow globes or Santas in a helicopters off their roofs.

Then a few months later the giant inflatable bunnies appeared out of nowhere in front yards, after that, lots of little US flags….all good, but nothing prepared me for Halloween!
The first disturbing sign happened one day as I walked into the Home Depot. Where the patio furniture section was is now a zombie apocalypse!  Pirate skeletons, mechanical witches, green flashing eyes, AND boxes full of body parts for $9.99.


 I’ll take 4 severed feet please.

“What was going on here?”
I turned to a gentleman in an orange apron cutting keys…
“Excuse me sir, what’s going on here?” 
“It’s for Halloween, Ma’am”. 
“Yes, but what’s if for?”
“To decorate your yard!”
“Why would you pay money to have this in your yard?”
“Not sure Ma’am.  Anything else, I can help you with?”

I left the store that day, certain that there were hundreds of workers in a factory in China somewhere, puzzled by the exact same question.
Then, a few days later, I went out on my daily walk through the neighborhood, turned the corner and I came to a screeching halt! 
As if by black magic, the corner house was completely transformed into a graveyard, complete with plastic tombstones.
 I read them:

“Here lies Fred, he is dead” – Who is Fred?
“Here lies Chris P. Bacon”  – Who the heck is Crispy Bacon?

On the porch, cobwebs everywhere (finally the ones at my house didn’t look out of place).
And the biggest hairiest spider I have ever seen. 
Now, I’ve been known to buy frivolous thing. But giant plastic spiders?  No.
Swaying gently from the tree, the skeleton of a little girl with pig tails holding her starving skeletal dog!
This was SO weird and very disturbing!

More houses started to pop up over the next few days.   I kept asking, but no one seemed to know why. The answer was always the same:  “It’s for Halloween,” or “It’s for trick or treating”.  No one seemed to be clear on the “why.”

I started to give up. The night of Halloween caught me completely off guard.
I was at home and heard a knock on the door.
I opened and was met by a lady bug and a Minion.
“Trick or treat!” they screamed
“Excuse me?”
They looked at each other puzzled.
The Minion said “give us candy or we’ll play a trick on you.”
“Ah! Okay…hold on.” 

I ran to my empty kitchen and found two melted, sticky mints from a restaurant and a banana that was turning brown.  I had no other choice.
I presented it to Lady Bug and Minion.
They weren’t impressed.
“I don’t think she understands,” the one said to the other. They shrugged their shoulders and left.
Victory!  They were gone.
But the victory was short lived.
There were more coming up the roadin droves!
I darted around the house as fast as possible, turned off all the lights, the TV and took a dive onto the floor by the couch, just in time for the next  group yelling“trick or treat!”
“We know you’re in there!  We saw the lights on AND your car is outside!”
I laid silent on the carpet in the dark, heart pounding.  They finally gave up and left.

I didn’t leave my spot for the rest of the night, which gave me a lot of time to think about how and why I was on the floor in darkness celebrating the most peculiar and  confusing holiday in the world!

Happy Halloween!

Madam Contest Chair!


Gaia Calcaterra

Division B speech Contest

District 47

Fort Lauderdale


I’m excited to be part of the upcoming LIFE UNIVERSITY Convention next weekend in New York!

Yes, I am excited, enchanted, and thrilled to participate in the next LIFE UNIVERSITY Convention wich will be held from Thursday October 24th, to Sunday October 27th, 2019 in UTAH, Michigan, and New York.

I will be attending the one in Albany, NY. But, some of my friends will be in UTAH, and Michigan.

New York Times bestselling authors Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward, creators and curators of the life superapp platform, will be keynote speakers at these three locations.

This will be an “amazing life changing event,” they said in a video conference call broadcasted globally at a thousand locations for active field leaders who are promoters of the superapp platform and the business matchmaker concept.

We are going to have fun, learn in details about the super app platform, and will also have an opportunity to meet leaders who are on the field building communities of people who have the vision to live the life they’ve always wanted.

Woodward defines vision as “tomorrow’s reality expressed as an idea today.”

“When you have a possibility to define your vision, your full success depends on your ability to be totally in sync with your vision as it becomes your today’s reality, as if you can’t stand the thought of another reality,” he said.

“It’s not because conditions change leaders lead. It’s because leaders lead that conditions change,” Woodward told the leaders attending the call.

This leadership convention though the super app concept aims at creating a culture of visionaries who start imagining where they’re going.

Instead of looking for what is, the people who win look for what will be and start racing in that direction to change the world.

This convention is one piece of the super app platform to team up with visionaries to make their vision a reality and get ready to set the world on fire.

Oct. 25-27 will be much more than a weekend away from home. This LIFE UNIVERSITY Convention will provide the right foundation for the community to create a long-term, sustainable, and successful business through the superapp platform.

Life’s top leaders will take the stage and provide increased belief and inspiration, in-depth training, and a true picture for you to visualize the LIFE that you’ve always wanted to live.

Thousands of people will be in attendance at the different locations. For more details, you can download the superapp here to have your own experience of this major convention event that I can’t describe in words.

A ticket is required for admission and is available in advance at a discounted price on the superapp platform.

Charlotte Friborg invites you to “make your own money again,” and live your whole life now.

Charlotte Friborg invites you to “make your own money again,” and to shine your light with purpose and balance.

What a delight! What a sublime call to you at this present moment!

Charlotte invites you to connect you with your own inner being, and act in the real world to use your gifts, talents, and abilities to the betterment of life.

Using the power of simple words to tell her own story, Charlotte challenges you to expand yourself beyond your immediate family space and time to reach your full potential and the wholeness of existence.

This a great book. I enjoy it. I read it in a trait flipping and tapping pages after pages on my cellphone. I had to pause, reflect, and ponder.

Although, Charlotte targets mostly stayed at home moms who want to get back on the market after years of fruitful family focus, as a man, I connect with her through reading her prose by thinking through, and pondering about my own life’s journey in my “own unique way in a Perfectly Imperfect world.

It’s always a pleasure to read a book from some one I know personally, or someone I can interact with beyond the written words.

It’s even more satisfying to read Charlotte’s work because for the last two years, I’ve had a front row seat to observe her growth, and achievement.

I’m even fortunate to have had several conversations with her which led me to connect deeper to her story, and testimony.

I went through the book from cover to cover. I completed the circle and kept my promise to the author’s request to read to the end.

My purpose, in this note, is not to resume the book. I want you to read it yourself and share the feelings, and emotions of the words sipping through you and calling you to act and to live the life you want.

“Make Your Own Money Again” is your navigation guide in the high seas of this “perfectly imperfect world.”

The book goes beyond money, fame, and power to shape an inner framework to make you you again.

Charlotte’s total “360 Degree Life Mastery” and profound references to wisdom, and leadership literature is the right instrument you can use to examine your wheel of life of these areas: intimate relationship, family, self-care (body, mind, spirit) , money, career, social life, society, home.

Sow the seed of reading “Make your own money again,” be ready to start reaping the rewards of a life worth living, and dreams worth pursuing.

To enjoy reading the book, here’s a link : Make Your Own Money Again. Shine Your Light With Purpose and Balance. Charlotte Friborg.

A Learning Call on Purpose, Trust, Character, Leadership, and building Communities against the Financial Matrix

I am so glad to be part of the learning call every Saturday where a group of leaders share their insight on leadership education based on a book worth reading recommended by New York Times bestselling author, INC. Magazine 20th leadership guru, community builder and Chairmain of the LIFE organization Board, Orrin Woodward.
The learning call is a private invite- only community call led by Orrin & Laurie Woodward and Turbo 5 and up leaders in the Life Organization (those who have at least two teams of 5 people attending local seminar sor major events with The LIFE organization).
Leaders Turbo 50 & up are selected to share comments, and their applications of the content in developping their business community.
We started this Saturday, April 20, 2019, with the first two chapters of Les Csorba’s book : “TRUST, the one thing that makes or breaks a leader.”
We have previously covered Simon Senek’s book: “Start with Why: How great Leaders inspire everyone to take action,” and Martin Lloyd-Jones : ”Studies in the Sermon if the Mount.”
This is an opportunity for Orrin Woodward to share the foundation of the principles that have shaped his life with the front line leaders of the Life Organization. Each book resumes the concepts he elaborated in his all time opus “Resolved: 13 resolutions for life.”
We started last summer with the “Studies of the Sermon on the Mount” to lay the establishment of Christlike principles leadership as Jesus stated in the Beatitudes.
Then we covered Senek’s Start with why as the footing of Woodward described in “Resolved” as PURPOSE which aligns our passion, potential, and profits.
We are reading and commenting Trust from author Les Csorba to move along with Woodward’s Resolved Character Chapter.
In introducing, this ongoing community learning, Woodward stated that we need to prepare for the upcoming One Million People organization that we are aiming for.

A quest for Freedom & Liberty

He quoted Peter Senge : “The only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition.”
This is a huge opportunity for us, as an organization, to learn together and to share real life’s lessons based on our learning and how we can better ourselves to build bigger communities of people free from the financial matrix (a concept coined by Woodward) and to live the life they want with total freedom and liberty.
My goal in this post is not to resume the books. You may go ahead and read ithem yourself. I want to share my notes, comments, and feelings on the conversations I heard, and how they impact me to move ahead in this journey to build compensated communities around the world.
In kicking off the learning call today, Orrin Woodward quoted the author Les Csorba : “Leadership is character in motion.”
“Without motion,” Woodward pointed out, “you’re not in action. And if you don’t act, how can people know about your leadership ability.”
Leadership is a personal choice. Some will start with you, others will quit, other ones will stand by waiting to see the results.
“Make the least of those who quit, and the most of those who come”, Woodward said.
In our case, the LIFE organization’s goal in to reach ONE MILLION people assisting our seminars, and major functions , and connecting to our app platform learning system teaching them the three keys to wealth: literacy (spiritual, financial), leadership, leverage.
Our design is to promote, and defend Freedom, and Liberty from the financial matrix which Woodward said is the “greatest evil which caused the greatest harm to more and more people in the world.”
We are building communities with regular weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings and events to set an environment where common courtesy, appreciation and respect are the norms.
We want to meet people where they are, listen to their stories, and influence them to join us in the rebellion against the financial warfare.

The right sound & the right tunes
“For if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” 1 Cor 14:8
One of our leaders on the learning call repeated the above verse saying as “leaders we need to give the right sound, play the right tunes, lead the right way for the right reason.”
God bestowed us a magnificent gift which is a beautiful mind to think, to create, and to defend ourselves.
“Use it purposely. Don’t feed it with garbage,” O. Woodward said mentioning “we are living in a dumb down culture where we are entertaining and amusing ourselves to death.”
“Amusing,” he said, is part of the word “muse” which means “thinking.” The prefix “a” means “no.” Amusing means no thinking.
” This is a denial of the use of the beautiful mind gifted to us by the Creator. Let’s stop amusing us to death, and start musing us to life,” Woodward said.
To which Laurie Woodward added her enjoyment, delight, and satisfaction to see “husbands and wives responding present together on this call, reading, growing, and leading together.”
“You don’t train warriors to stay in their comfort zone. Warriors are trained to go to war. Our war is against financial evils”, she added.
Our combat is the battle of the mind to develop self-trust , and to defend our plan one conversation at a time, one presentation at a time, and one influence at a time to make a dent, a crack and dismantle the matrix.
It starts with us having good character in our private and public lives.
“If you don’t have character in your private life, how can you have character in your public life,” Laurie Woodward asked.
There’s no compartmentalization. There’s only one you. Wherever you go , there you are.
We need to constantly check our motives, the motivation of our heart. Self-Examination, introspection are very important to our growth.
O. Woodward shared a couple of stories of his softball’s games playing with his pastor Scott. He won some, and lost some. But, his losses are more interesting for him as a winner. They are his learning crucibles.
“I can’t stand losing so bad, that I’ll do anything to win,” he said adding “fatigue makes coward all of us.”
Woodward invited us in the call to “take our losses personally so that we get better professionally.”
In building our community, we have 3 specific goals we focus on each month:
1.- build 10 levels in depth
2.- new team ten at the bottom
3.- new 1000 PV’s at the bottom

This is the riddle to be solved. When we do, our organizations explode and we impact positively more lives.
Edge and Certainty
Woodward said he woke up with those two words in his mind this morning. It was very early around 3:30 am when he texted them to his spouse Laurie.
He told us that we need an edge. “We are better than this,” should be our self-talk.
“When I lose, I can be very honest with myself, and confront brutal reality,” he said.
“We need to have a reason, a why,” he continued but “we also need to act.”
To know and not to do is not to know. With all of what we know, if we don’t act, we won’t have results, and without results and fruits on our trees, we become like professors of theory on leadership, and not leaders.
Woodward called for boldness, assertiveness, and a winning attitude. That’s why we have this learning call.
To develop our mind, we need to emulate more successful people, pour their brains into our brains, learn their thinking process, and act as they do to be successful.
Woodward invites us to listen constantly to the classic series in our marvelous system of audio learning. He announced that more and more quality audios will be available on our app platform after the upcoming major Week End of Entrepreneurs scheduled from April 26 to April 28 in three locations Massachusetts, UTAH, and Michigan.
“What happens first”, he asked: “do you become a millionaire and have the attitude of a millionaire, or have the attitude of a millionaire and become a millionaire?”
It takes time to develop the right mindset. It takes a conscious effort to get the edge, and to develop the certainty of the winner.
We are going to this upcoming major with one focus in mind: to start with why, to be certain of our why.
Starting with why does not mean, we will end there. The next step is to act with certainty of our just cause with 0 excuse given, 0 accepted.
Woodward concludes the call with a quote from Alexander the Great: “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”
“You are a lion,” he told us. “Remember who you are. There are lots of sheeps out there wainting for us to free them.”
“We’re going for them, “he said annoucing that” There are some lions who are ready to do their charge.”
Fired up!
Start the process. Download the free app on your cell phone now, be part of the rebellion, and better, lead the rebellion.

God bless!

Follow me on twitter: @rooseveltjf
Instagram: @rooseveltjeanfrancois


Wally Franckel Jeanrisca ‘s Story: Dreaming Big from Robin, Haiti, to Building Wealth in Santiago, Chile.

Wally is full of life. His captivating smile was reverberating on the abstract paintings exposed on the walls of the little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami where I met him last Saturday in a public gathering.

He gave me a firm handshake and told me about his growing WallyExpress business locking his eyes on my pupils.

We exchanged numbers and agreed to meet last night, Sunday, at his friend’s house in Hallandale Beach, South Florida. He welcomed me with a cold beer and food.

Moving things around the kitchen table, Wally invited me to sit. He turned on his Ipad, ajusted the light and the AC.

“Tell me about you. What’s your story,” I asked him.

He talked while I was eating rice and beans with fried fish, and siping my beer.

“I was born in Robin,” he said, repeating his full name and spelling his last name Jeanrisca which he told me is written in one word.

Wally is the eldest of a family of eight. They grew up, played , and lived in Robin, a small locality in Kenscoff, up in the mountains of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

His business veture started when he was 12 helping his mother in her little commerce.

“I remember as it was yersterday waking up at 4:00 in the morning to accompany my mom in the market to sell goods, and to spend the whole day putting sugar in small bags for resale,” he said.

“My mom was not able to count her money. She assumed money had been taken away from her and she could not explained she had been selling lots of crops and buy less and less items”, Wally said.

His ability to sudy math in school brought calculating the cost of goods sold, and the costs of items purchased, and to start a balance sheet for her mother’s business.

He went to high school in Petion-Ville. He invited a couple of friends to join him in investing $100 / each in a clothing ambulant store.

“We bought pants, shirts, and resold them,” he said adding “we made great profits,” but the partnership did not go far because those friends wanted to spend the capital-seed money in recreation.

“Then, I understood it was not easy to do business with other people”, he argued. While going to school, he created an organization called “Mouvement Paysans de Robin”, which became “Mouvement Paysans de Kenscoff” to help peasants in the locality to live a better life.

Social & Political Activism

His organization was very active when he was introduced to Chavannes Jean-Baptiste who was the national leader of the popular organization called MPP (Mopuvement Paysans de Papaye.)

“I became Chavannes’ protege. He offered me the opportunity to be trained in several countries, and I was elected in 2000 Secretary General of the whole organization who had more than 200, 000 members in the country.”

“I spent 6 months in the Dominican Republic learning Spanish. I traveled to France, and several other countries,” he said.

He created the first savings and credit mutual cooperative in Kenscoff with 15 family members, having his aunt donating a room, his uncle some chairs for the comunity bank, known by its Creole name Sere Chofe. This cooperative reached 300 members and was very useful during disasters and emmergency. After the passage of hurricane Georges, the giovernment sent a truck load of things to give away. But, “we decided to monetize the items with the total agreement of the population using the funds for reforestration and other social services,” Wally said.

Growing his free enterprise mindset, Wally opened a restaurant, and a soda warehouse in Petion-Ville.

His social activism, and leadership at the helm of the peasant organization led him to politics. He became an actve member of the Group 184 which led to the overthrown of Aristide’s power in 2004.

A Sourjouner in a new land

He left Haiti shortly after and emigrated to Miami to start a new life. He went back to school to learn English, while ajusting to his new environment.

“I found a job in a moving truck company,” he said.

“I became a great asset with the company. With my smile, and ability to communicate in Spanish, Creole, and French, I became a manager with the company,” he said.

Then, a wealthy customer who followed him, and appreciated his attitude offered him a job.

” You Franckel, I remember two years ago, when you started moving for us, you could not say a word in English. Now, look at you, you lead a team, you work hard, and you still have a smile on your face, how much money they pay you, do you want another job?, Wally told me while I walked away from the table to put my plate in the sink.

Wally was hired on the spot working for this businessman in a company selling airplanes.

“I spent 10 years working there. I had a good salary, a car, an apartment on Brickell Ave in Miami,” he said. But “he did not want me to have my own business.”

“I stated looking for other ways. I travelled to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile looking for opportunities”, he said.

“Most of the time I did not tellmy boss about my pursuits untill I decided to start something in Chile.”

“He looked at me and said ‘where will you find the money to invest in a business?”

I replied: ” the very same way you find money to buy your planes.”

I resigned.

Santiago de Chile: WallyExpress for a wealth community

“I travelled to Chile. I started losing money. I met the Haitian ambassador. I lost money. I met other Haitians living in Chile, I lost money'” he said.

“I travelled a second time. I stayed a couple of weeks before I found a Chilean business person who wanted to start a business with me. Then, one of my haitian associates met him on the side and begged him for personal help,” Wally recounted.

He decided to stay for a longer time in Chile, learning from the school of hard knocks, adjusting to the environment, and making his own assessment.

“I introduced a money transfer service helping the community to send money back home with with good customer service,” he said.

“I hired my brother as my managing partner, and another key guy as my business partner with an ownership percentage in my business.”

Today, after less than one year of operation, his business WallyExpress has a network of 220 agents selling minutes phones thoughout Chile.

“80% just own a phone. Others own mom & Pop shops, Walllyexoress has been teaching them to do business in community,’ he said..

Wally’s mindset is to build a community of entrepreneurs.

“Let’s build business together and when the Chileans talk with us, they will be talking with a community of businessmen with a cash flow of more than $ 20 millions, paying taxes in Chile and to organize a representative force,” he said reinforcing the idea of an organized community.

“My dreams,” he said, is “to build a community, a diaspora like the Jews have done, like the Cubans have done, to create wealth when we die, we can live a legacy, an inehitance for our kids and for the next generation to continue on the path of success and significance.

I was elated to listen to Wally’s story. I introduced him to the life digital and mobile app platform through our compensated community with the matchmaker project launching a global consummer rebellion with active members participating in a leadership revolution teaching the three keys to wealth: literacy, leadership, leverage.

I left him with set of books and loading his phone with content understanding we need to read, listen, associate, and apply to create wealth through compensated communities.

“All our dreams can come true, if wer have the courage to pursue thrm. Dreams do come true, if only we work hard enough. You can have anything in lifeif only tou sacrifice everythig else for it. A dream doesnt come to realti though mag; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”

The Remy’s launched their ministry in South Florida this Sunday. It was a delight to be there!

My delight was at its pic this Sunday morning in Lauderhill, Florida, when I joined my high school friend, Bruner Remy, and his spouse, Cathy Remy, in launching their South Florida ministry : Glory Center Church. 

It is always my pleasure to be part of a kickoff movement. It’s constantly a sublime moment to partake in a commencement, see a dream come to true, initiate a story, and construct a narrative with a community towards a future destination.

This was what I felt this morning when I left home to respond to a cordial invitation from Remy Brumer adressing to his friends living in South Florida.

When I put the address in my GPS, the directions indicated I would be there in 12 minutes from home. It’s pretty close.

It was 9:08 am when I opened the door. The ambiance has already been set. Hymns, gospel songs were crashing out glory, and praise through the speakers.

The audience, mostly women and kids as it is in the black community church in general, responded enthusiastically as a choir with clapping, singing “Alleluia, Amen” accompanied by a systhetizer, and a battery set.

The Remy’s hit the podium with zeal, conviction, and dedication. They were outstanding.

Wearing a traditional swahili kanga, the First Lady, Cathy, introduced her pastor, friend, husband with posture, and grace.

Bruner, in a full long sleeves white kanzu, started with a low tone telling his tale answering “God’s call to be in ministry,” after an elapse of 18 years.

“This was not part of my plan to get involved in active ministry,” he said pointing out that his initial background was in business not in theology.

Desperate for a change

His message was about change. His style was charismatic, enthusiastic, and participative.

“2019 is my year of change,” he proclaimed with a higher voice asking the assembly to repeat after him.

And the assembly repeated sentence after sentence while brother Remy was pacing from left to right from the front.

“This is not my new year resolution, but a change of mindset. This is my attitude adjustment. My attitude determines my altitude.
I am the change I’m seeking for . It’s my time now.”

I was taking notes. I was not part of the repeating squad, but I could feel his vibration, his momentum, and his passion growing into his message that he presented in 4 segments.

  1. Vision. A man without vision is without future. 
  2. Motivation. Disposition . Positive Attitude. Your attitude determines how far you’ll go. Read. Who are motivating you? What you listen to can contaminate you. Get control of your environment.
  3. Action. Do something about it. Not just talking. It’s action time. Just do it. Even if you fail, you’re not a failure.
  4. Persistence. Faith. Persistence breaks resistence. Be prepared for the test, and the pain. No pain no gain.

I could write a blog post about each segment of this content from what I have listened and noted from apostle Bruner Remy. But, I would prefer to give you the opportunity to discover yourself the depht of his sermons.

He quoted the ancient testament from the Kings, the new testament about Jesus minstry as related in the Gospel of Luc. He even repeated ex President Barack Obama telling his fellow citizens to “be the change they want to see,” even if I would prefer to see this csaying attributed to Ghandi.

I was thrilled, pumped, and excited to listen to Brother Remy. Having known him from high school, I can see how he has evolved to become a great speaker, a great man working to leave a legacy for God’s glory.

He had good vocal variety diving a low tone to gather full attention, and climbing to a high pitch to excite his audience. His body movement, gestures, eye contact were on point. He paused when he wanted to make a point, and walked faster when he wanted total command of presence.

I know a good speaker when I saw one. And Remy is a good one.

This is an experience to make. If you are in South Florida next Sunday, I invite you to associate with the Glory Center Church and share your part of twinkling contentment, and soul activating grace.

I also hope that, pretty soon, GCC will have technological ways and means to brodcast its content for a larger audience to stream.

I was so glad to be there at the launching, and enjoyed every drop of the moment.

Keep up!

HAITISHIFT & The Power Pendulum: Citizen, Society, & State in Haiti

The Power Pendulum swang to the far right of coercion at the inception of the nation building of Haiti. The earliest haitian administrations were engraved with abundant coercion as the new state absorbed its new constituents into its force realm.

What would the economy of the new nation look kike after independence? The march from slavery to freedom left its mark on the organization of the new state, and its citizenry. Before independence, Toussaint Louverture led a military regime and chose to continue the plantation system to prove to the world that economic productions can be sustained without slavery.

Dessalines followed the economic and agricultural policies set up by Toussaint. He used the army to force ex-slave laborers to work on the platations. This represented forced labor practices of the old regime and created conflicts in the building of the new state of Haiti’s new order.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines became inevitably the first in command. He led the black and mulatto forces to victory againt the Napoleonic army. He became chief of the new state as the most powerful man in the new nation. He took successively the titles of commander in chief, governor-general, head of state, emperor, giving himself the right to select his succesor.

As a military ruler, he was supported by fellow ex-slaves turned to be military generals of the revolutionnary army.

The plantation economy against individual liberty

There were two dominant thoughts in the power pendulum swinging in the buiding of the new nation: the plantation economy, and individual liberty.
Dessalines had total control of the state military force.

Those who opposed and resisted his commands were sanctioned, and put to death. His regime the forced labor practices of the past. He chosed to be on the side of the elite, and the wealthy landowners by upholding large properties and the export agricultural system.

The fight for independence should have shifted the center of liberty from society as a whole to the individual as a unit created by God to fullfill its destiny.

The worldview concepts and ideas in the moment were about liberty, equality, brotherhood, happiness, property, ownership. It was at the moment mainstream thought individual’s rights and responsibilities precede society’s settlement as a whole in which powerful rulers decide their might is right.

The mass of ex-slaves became citizens. As a whole, they had a territory to defend, and a nation to build. But, each one was a unique human being with specific gift, talent, and ability.

Each one wanted to be free to own his parcel of land to grow crops, to satisfy his need and his family’s; and not to be forced to continue working on a plantation under a new military regime similar the the old one to export sugar and coffee.

Economist Murray Rothbard wrote: “the glory of the human race is the uniqueness of each individual, the fact that every person, though similar in many other ways to others, posseses a completetly individuated personality of his own.” (1)

When individuals prosper; families, societies and nations prosper. Haitian people did not want to be mere objects to be used for the state’s or society’s ends which were profiting a tiny elite.

As Orrin Woodward wrote : “liberty has its limit, since a person does not have the liberty to deny others their liberty. The goal of a free society is to provide liberty and justice for all members to grow, and benefit from their gifts, talents and purpose.” (2)

The sense of unity, created in 1804 with a brod coalition of freedom fighters, did not last. The power pendulum oscillated throgh competing social forces and tensions emcompassing land ownership and power control. The power pendulum could not be remained in the middle where concord balanced coercion and chaos.

Dessalines ‘s regime unraveled in a situation where the oligarchy elite of the mulatoes and black generals of the army wanted total control and the masses of laborers wanted total freedom.

The affranchis, most of them of a lighter complexion, the coloured men had been on the side. They were most cultured, and educated, and preferred a shared power system with a legislature. There was no formal opposition. The strategy learned to change a government was creating chaos through armed revolt.

Dessalines was assassinated. The country was divided in two camps with each one a ruler: Petion in the West, and Christophe in the North.

Haitian Politics -throughout history- present a dichotomy of twose two groups fighting to have power for themselves and for the betterment of their own tribes.

(1) Murray Rothbard, “Freedom, Inequality, Primitivism and the Division of Labor.”

(2) Orrin Woodward “And Justice for All, The Quest for Concord.”

HAITISHIFT and The Pendulum of Power : the long quest for Concord amidst Coercion, Chaos in Haiti.

Southbeach-denisI was driving with my high school friend Denis Evens last Saturday in South Beach Miami when we finally found a parking space to drop our car and go for a walk, grab a bite, and talk as we usually do.

Leaving the parking lot, a security guard adressed us in Creole with his open arms welcoming us in this beautiful, cosmopolitan, and touristic area: “Mesye sa nap fè pou peyi-a?” –

Hey guys, what are you doing for the country?”, he asked us.

“Kiyès ladan yo: isit la osnon laba-a?” – Which country? Here or there?” I interjected.

“Haiti,” he replied back with a bright haitian  smile.

Evens asked him before we stopped at the street corner “what do you want us to do”? (Sa’w vle nou fè?).

He approached closer to us, told us his name is Delorme, and said “I don’t know, we have to do something… we have to do something…” (M pa konnen. Fo’k nou fè yon bagay).

Our conversation with Deslormes lasted less than 2 minutes just the time for us to wait for the lights to turn green, and cross the street going on our way to have some food and celebrate our retrouvailles and reminiscences.

It’s always a pleasure to spend time with some high school classmates. We can go back and retell our stories, and restart our projection of dreams and imagination for the future.

I am sitting at home today and reviewing this conversation with Deslormes which I want to put in in perspectives of my research on a systematic approach to bring ideas for a call of leadership in Haiti to stop the decline, and start the climb. 

This is what I call HAITISHIFT which is the subject of my new publication to be released in 2019.

215 years in search of concord

It has been 215 years ago on a January 1st like today, Haitians started a new nation. For the last 215 years, Haiti has been on an enigmatic pursuit, a long search, and an insatiable quest to establish a state of peace, harmony, and concord instead of tyranny, chaos, and “krazebrize.”

Why do we fall again and again into the same old patterns, and traps our ancestors did? Why do the more things change, the more they stay the same? Why can’t we understand the same causes will always produce the same effects? Why do we want to prove others wrong in continuing doing the samething and expecting new results? What can we do to reverse, and stop the current of decline, and start the climb and the ascendence to the top?

To answer those questions, I am using a systemic approach based on the scholarship and the creative mind of New York Times Bestselling author Orrin Woodward who defined the “quest for concord,” as that “idyllic state of affairs in which neither tyranny reigns nor chaos rules.”

I am also reviewing a trajectory of the haitian history under the miscroscope of Woodward’s Power Pendulum construct in an attempt to better understand the rapport de force within the haitian society and its relation with the rest of the world from its inception to now.

James G. Leybun, in his book The Haitian People, defined Haitian politics as “complicated.”

“It’s complicated,” Leyburn said “not only in the sequence of events, but in the intertwining of color, caste, sectionalism, education.”

Haitians destroyed by force the slave system and created a new state. The former slaves had least prepation for governement, leadership, and buiilding institutions to regulate economic life, social interactions.

There were no guides, no blueprints, no models upon which the free blacks, and mulattoes would relay to build the new black nation in America.

But today, after 215 years, we are assured that we can do better to solve the quest for concord by studying and identifying the Power Pendulum in action. We can seek long term systemic solutions to our woes avoiding superficial quick fixes, social band-aids.

The Pendulum in Action

Few Civilizations in history achieve concord. The crux of the matter is how much force a free society needs to apply to maintain justice, creates, and accumulates wealth for the betterment of its citizenry.

Orrin Woodward, argues that “When too much force is applied, freedom is lost as society falls into coercion by all-powerful rulers.” On the other hand, he affirms “when too much freedom is given, justice is lost as society falls into the chaos of competing factions fighting for control.”

Haiti’s ability to create the proper balance of force and freedom has been foiled. We have been oscillating with two main ideas acted upon within a minority 10% of the population. 90 per cent of the whole population being mostly absent, and unconcerned with politics, and the state organization.

Those two main constructs are the following: Nationalists and Liberals. Nationalists apply extreme force, constraints to assume power, and total control. Their motto “Power to the greatest number.” Their most prominent leaders are Dessalines, Crhistophe, Soulouque, Alexis, Salomon… Liberals control with apparent freedom. Their line of sponsorship regroups Petion, Boyer, Canal, Dartiguenave, Lescot…

In one or another case, the masses are not integrated in the system. With the Nationalists, the 90% are plundered under cealeless forced labor for the benefit of the military ruling class. with the liberals, the 90% do not participate in the welath creation, and lost their appetite for work.

Haiti will improve when it has identified a leadership scoreboard of enough leaders, a good 10% of its population to learn the appropriate lessons from history and orient the 90% in the right direction. The Power Pendulum is a great mechanism, and a useful instrument to facilitate the learning process.

It is Georges Santayana, reasoning on reason, and common sense, who stated that “Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Our most important weapon today to win the battle of concord, and a just society, is knowledge. Ignorance is our biggest enemy.

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