Haiti Between Pestilence and Hope: The Progressive Ideals from the Revolution of 1804 Set the Pace


Product Details

Gatekeeper Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.81 inches | 1.17 pounds

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About the Author

Fritznel D. Octave was born and raised in Bombardopolis, a commune located about eight miles South of Môle Saint-Nicolas on Haiti's northwestern peninsula. Ironically, Môle Saint-Nicolas, was the part of the island where Christopher Columbus first landed in December 1492. It was also the subject of a diplomatic dispute, the 1891 Môle Saint-Nicolas affair, when United States President Harrison attempted to force the lease of Môle Saint-Nicolas to the United States for a naval base, but Haiti refused. A veteran journalist specializing in social and environmental reporting, Octave spent years at the heart of Haitian events contributing to several media outlets. He holds a BS in Communications from the Faculté des Sciences Humaines of the State University (Haiti). He attended Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication at the University of West Indies (Kingston, Jamaica) and Green College at the University of Oxford (England) for certification studies in Journalism. After almost two decades of experience in business management in the United States, Octave decided to further his education by pursuing an MBA with a concentration in International Business at the Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, Florida). Among his most important writings include his academic publications: Du Droit et de la Déontologie des Médias Haitiens (Rights and Ethics of Haitian Media), a thesis presented at the State University of Haiti; and Being an Environmental and Social Reporter in Haiti, an essay presented at Green College, University of Oxford, UK.Octave currently lives in Kissimmee, Florida, with his wife and two children. He is a successful entrepreneur and leader in the insurance industry.


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 self-defeating 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.

-BlueInk Review

It argues that, despite Haiti's troubles, there is more to the nation and its people than just their tragedies. It thus reintroduces Haiti as a land of unrealized opportunities that has only so far failed to provide for the majority of its citizens. . . . Still, even as it highlights the problems that have long afflicted Haiti, the book shares reasons to hope that it will have a better future.

-Eileen Gonzalez, Foreword Reviews