1990s: 'Even planting trees was political': MCC in military-governed Haiti
Men anpil, chay pa lou.
"Many hands make the load lighter."
Over the last 60 years, MCC has worked alongside Haitian partners, putting our hands together in healing suffering, cultivating the soil, supporting the vulnerable, and holding on to peace. In 2018, MCC in Haiti will celebrate this legacy through a series of six stories highlighting each decade.
Lesreste Sidort started working for MCC in 1986. He had grown up in Desarmes, Haiti and jumped at the opportunity to both to provide for his family and to grow professionally in his chosen field.
1986 also marked the year that the dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier (“Baby Doc”) was overthrown. Jean-Claude and his father Francois (“Papa Doc”) had ruled Haiti for a combined 29 years characterized by rampant corruption, censorship and terror. When it was clear that the era of the Duvaliers was over, many Haitians believed freedom and democracy were finally within reach.
Within months, however, the new military leadership began a program of violent repression. The coming years of political upheaval would label MCC’s work as a political threat and lead to the arrest of MCC workers.