Fritznel D Octave

Full Book synopsis/summary:

Haiti Between Pestilence And Hope offers unique assistance with understanding Haiti’s political instability, social discords, and economic woes throughout its modern history. The book describes Haitians as generous, valiant, resilient, creative, imaginative, and mysterious. It takes the readers beyond the flashy and sporadic news reporting about natural disasters and political violence to appreciate Haiti’s true worth and potential. Having diagnosed Haiti’s ills, the book also offers the cure. It presents an insider perspective that makes it unique and an excellent read.


1.    We continue to insist and maintain that a stronger and more durable union between and among former enslaved blacks and free people of color (mulattoes) could have strengthened Haiti amid concurrences between foreign imperial powers. The Haitian leaders could have navigated the country’s diplomatic opportunities and possibilities better in light of openings and weaknesses shown by those foreign powers in search of monopoly. More inclusive sociopolitical and economic development projects would have reinforced Haiti’s standing in the aftermath of the revolution. That did not happen. But there is still good news. The hope is that today’s generations can look back and learn from the mistakes made to lead the country to redemption.

2.    It was the Haitian president Jean-Pierre Boyer who agreed in 1825 to pay 150 million gold francs (reduced to 90 million in 1838) to France for the independence that we had already won over two decades earlier. Wait a minute . . . What were Boyer and his government afraid of? Despite the gunboat diplomacy from France to impose the payment, there was no guarantee that Haiti could not have defeated them once again. Boyer and other mulatto leaders were too accommodating to Paris. They were, perhaps, too eager to make themselves look good and obedient in the eyes of imperial powers that they were willing to pay any cost.

3.    Haiti’s solution is not so much through money and the politics of those in power, who come and go; it is much more transcendent. It mostly depends on what we want to be in the future because our past and present have been predominantly shaped by turbulence, chaos, and bitterness. We must step up to make big changes of all kinds.


Examining Haiti’s unique past and troubled present, Fritznel D. Octave takes a proud but concerned look at his native land, proposing a way past the country’s poverty and civil strife. The author begins by proposing a different way of seeing Haiti. While acknowledging its many problems, he bemoans an image of Haiti as a perpetual victim, unnoticed by the world except when it’s struck by natural disaster or political violence. Octave wants readers to also consider the rich resources of its land and generous character of its people, and to respect the epochal achievement of its founding revolution, which ended colonial rule and slavery. Nonetheless, today the country is crippled by poverty and torn by strife, even compared to Caribbean neighbors with similar histories. In identifying culprits for the country’s poverty and instability, the author doesn’t neglect U.S. and European imperialism, but places less blame on foreign countries for pursuing their own pragmatic interests than on Haiti’s leaders for accommodating them. Due to such a long pattern of misrule, Octave believes, the Haitian people have adopted selfdefeating attitudes. Politics has become a winner-take-all game, with charismatic leaders favored over stable institutions. To illustrate this state of dysfunction, the author delivers a close look at modern Haitian politics, culminating in President Jovenel Moise’s 2021 assassination. The book isn’t despairing in tone, however, nor is it entirely given over to politics. Octave sprinkles nuggets of homespun Haitian wisdom throughout, in the form of proverbs like “bad teeth only have strength to eat banana” or “chickens are always right over cockroaches.” Having diagnosed Haiti’s ills, he also offers cures, though perhaps inevitably these are less specific. They include large-scale improvements in education, energy, and transportation. Less concretely, he calls for “unity, responsibility, accountability, and good leadership.” Although Octave certainly doesn’t have answers to all the questions he raises, his insider’s perspective on a country often seen from the outside deserves consideration from Haitians and concerned non-Haitians alike. Also available in hardcover and ebook.

– Blueink Review

What makes this book more fascinating to read is its concision, compelling stories, and projection of hope for Haiti.

– Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat, MD

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