Haiti’s “Devil Pact” Explained

Trust wacky old Pat Robertson to put a devastating natural disaster into his, um, unique perspective.

Via Media Matters, here’s the transcript of Robertson’s remarks.

And, you know, Kristi, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, “We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.” True story. And so, the devil said, “OK, it’s a deal.”

And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other. Desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It’s cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti; on the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, et cetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I’m optimistic something good may come. But right now, we’re helping the suffering people, and the suffering is unimaginable.

Robertson’s “true story” struck me as just more of his typically insane nonsense, similar to when he concurred with Jerry Falwell’s suggestion that the ACLU, abortionists, feminists, gays, and the People For the American Way (amongst other heathens “mocking God”) were partially to blame for the attacks of 9/11.

It turns out however that this tale of a pact with the Devil has been around for quite a long time and enjoys some legitimate currency in certain Christian circles. In 2004, following the ousting of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Tom Barrett, a minister and publisher of Conservative Truth wrote a lengthy article on the subject in the wingnut American Daily called “Government Of The Devil, By The Devil, And For The Devil.”

It is a matter of well-documented historical fact that the nation of Haiti was dedicated to Satan 200 years ago. On August 14, 1791, a group of houngans (voodoo priests), led by a former slave houngan named Boukman, made a pact with the Devil at a place called Bois-Caiman. All present vowed to exterminate all of the white Frenchmen on the island. They sacrificed a black pig in a voodoo ritual at which hundreds of slaves drank the pig’s blood. In this ritual, Boukman asked Satan for his help in liberating Haiti from the French. In exchange, the voodoo priests offered to give the country to Satan for 200 years and swore to serve him. On January 1, 1804, the nation of Haiti was born and thus began a new demonic tyranny.

At the time of the pact Haiti was France’s richest colony, and was known as the “Pearl of the Antilles” for its singular beauty. But it soon became one of the world’s poorest and most benighted nations. Scoffers may say that there is no connection between the fact that Haiti was the richest nation in the hemisphere, and then became the poorest after selling its national soul to Satan. But the scoffers can’t come up with a better explanation.

Hardly the case for anyone remotely familiar with the island’s history, not to mention its hazardous environmental and geophysical situation, but never mind all that bothersome factual stuff. After a rambling diatribe against voodoo, Aristide, and his “liberal” supporters in America, Barrett picks up the thread of the story citing Haitian bishop Joel Jeune who explains in detail how Satan was eventually expelled from Haiti.

On 14 August 1997, God’s people in Haiti experienced a historic victory over Satan, a milestone in winning our country back for God. The reason lies in history. The slaves brought here from Africa have suffered incredibly for many years. On 14 August 1791, a slave leader by the name of Boukman called a secret meeting in a wood called Bois-Caiman near Cap Haitien, which was attended by a large number of slaves. They celebrated a satanic ceremony, sacrificing a pig and drinking its blood, swore to serve the Devil and dedicated Haiti to him. For 206 years, Bois-Caiman was a very holy place, a high place which could only be entered by witch doctors during Voodoo ceremonies. For 206 years, they have been meeting there every August 14 to sacrifice to Satan.

A number of Christian leaders, including Paul and Gerald Clerie of Vision: Haiti and Christian leaders among the large numbers of Haitians in the USA, Canada, France and other countries, called Christians to unite on 14 August 1997 to pray and fast that Haiti would return to God. In Haiti’s towns, villages and mountains, Christians came together to fast and pray, held victory marches in the streets and a large event in the capital from 6am to 10pm during the holy invasion.

Our church members started their march in front of the President’s palace and marched for 6 hours to the place where the satanic ceremony took place 206 years ago. We had informed the government and media of our intentions weeks before the event, and were told that the witch doctors would be there, as they were every year. When we arrived, they had hidden themselves, unable to directly confront the Christians. It was a significant spiritual battle to reach the tree under which the pig was sacrificed in the original ceremony. We formed a Jericho march, circling the magic tree seven times. On the seventh time around, God gave many people a vision of the Devil fleeing from the area. The Christians were overjoyed. We cancelled the satanic contract and broke the curse, before celebrating communion and dedicating the area as a place of prayer. We also declared 14 August to be a national prayer day, on which people should pray that Haiti will return to God.

On the same day, several witch doctors were saved during the events in the capital. Three days after our holy invasion, the witch doctors returned to Bois-Caiman to bring their sacrifices and call on the spirits. After days of effort, nothing happened, because we had commanded the spirits never to return and dedicated the area to Christ.

The witch doctors complained to the government and media. At first, the government also protested, speaking in a press release of ‘terrible damage to a Voodoo holy place in which no Christian had set foot for 206 years.’ By the grace of God, the government relented and respected our legal right as Haitians to gather at any place on Haiti, including Bois-Caiman, where they now allow all Christian groups to meet. The place is now very popular, and local Christians gather there daily for prayer and fasting. All Haitians now know that the country no longer has a pact with the Devil; the contract has been cancelled, the curse broken.

So there… even if one actually subscribes to the “Devil Pact” legend, as Robertson appears to, the unholy contract was voided some years ago by Christian do-gooders.

58 Replies to “Haiti’s “Devil Pact” Explained”

  1. I love Robertson’s take on the Dominican Republic, a veritable Utopia, apparently–thanks, of course, to its close ties to the U.S. I wonder why so many Dominicans are so eager to leave the bloody place. Do they not know how to appreciate all those resorts?

  2. “…True story. And so, the devil said, “OK, it’s a deal.””


    Robertson actually said that.

    He actually said that into a microphone.

    Good God.

  3. In a sense, he has said worse things about Israel: that according to his interpretation of the Revelation of John the Divine, Israel will be destroyed and the Jews exterminated down to the last 144,000 persons, all of whom would be converted to Christianity.

    Robertson and other Evangelical “friends” of Israel are only interested in the nation as a way to see their notion of prophecy fulfilled, not because of any sympathy for the desire of Jews for a homeland or for refuge from anti-Semitism.

  4. I do believe it is time for Pat Robertson be be “recalled” as was Oral Roberts and Jerry Falwell. Can we get an AMEN, brothers!

  5. I knew Pat was in over his head as soon as he said “Napoleon III and whatever.” In fact, he wasn’t even born until four years after Haitian liberation. But you know, whatever…

  6. If people here don’t like the man’s religion, fine. If you don’t believe in the devil, that’s fine too. A lot of people would agree with you, I’m sure.

    But given that Dr. Robertson’s statements were, in fact, historically accurate, and the miserable condition Haiti has been in since independence, most of the commentary I’m seeing here, including the original blog post, is quasi-intellectual rubbish intended to mask simple anti-Christian bigotry. You beggar your pretended sympathy for the Haitians by your very real contempt for someone whose religion you despise.

    The connection between Voodoo and the impoverished condition of the Haitian people is a matter of historical fact, not opinion, whether you choose to subscribe to spiritual causes or not. Yes, the Haitian elites have used Voodoo very effectively to control the population, enrich a tiny minority, and devastate Haiti’s governance, and they have done so for more than two centuries now.

  7. Ow- I rolled my eyes so hard I think I pulled something.

    Perhaps, then, the real problem is superstitious rubbish in all it’s forms.

  8. ” quasi-intellectual rubbish intended to mask simple anti-Christian bigotry. ”
    Ooh! I like my intellectual rubbish genuine, too.
    The thing with pacts with the Devil is they usually leave you improved in some worldly way. Not all poor and bedraggled.
    Actually, if anyone has made a lucrative agreement with the Devil, he’s probably on TV a lot.

  9. Since when is the Voudou religion devil worship?

    Newsflash: it isn’t. It’s a version of African animism. Voudou is estimated to be 10, 000 years old. Voudou in Haiti is a mixture of religious practice from many African ethnics groups such as the Fon, the Nago, the Ibos, Dahomeans, Congolese, Senegalese, Haussars, Caplaous, Mondungues, Mandinge, Angolese, Libyans, Ethiopians, and the Malgaches.

    Voudou recognizes one God called Gran Met. There are a host of spirits or deities called loa which act as intermediaries between humans and God. The loa have significant powers relatively independent of God, and embody both positive and negative forces, somewhat like Christian angels and demons.

    Secondly, the connection between Haiti and the “pact with the Devil” has been debunked so many times it’s hard to believe anyone can call that historically accurate with a straight face. It’s historically INACCURATE and bad theology.

    Thirdly, I am a practising Anglican Christian and I still think the guy is nuts and an embarrassment to the rest of us. Calling yourself a Christian doesn’t make one exempt from criticism.

  10. And I should add that Robertson can’t even get his facts right. Haiti became an independent republic 4 years before the birth of Napoleon III and it is certainly not the only Latin American country that combines Catholicism with animism.

    And did I mention that blaming people for natural disasters is very, very, very bad Christian theology? Jesus denies this connection several times in the Gospels.

    There are very complicated historical reason why Haiti remains poor. Many of them have to do with racism from the great powers of the 19th and 20th century and its neighbours. None of them have anything to with Voudou. Any religion can be misused.

  11. In addition, of course, to be snide, condescending, self-righteous and completely misrepresenting what Robertson actually said, what so many of the comments miss here is that, unlike many who will criticize his religion, Robertson is actually doing something to help the Haitians.

    In a matter of days his organization is going to have boots on the ground feeding and housing thousands of people. Aside from smugly deriding Pat Robertson for his religion, what are you doing? What have you contributed? What does your superior attitude actually contribute to hungry bellys?

  12. i dont agree with robinson but the way most people from haiti behave at places of work here in US, you might notice some kind of inhuman in them.

  13. Snide, condescending and self-righteous. Project much?

    No one misrepresented Pat’s comments. They are historically false and based on bad theology, period. They have been debunked in numerous places. Here is one: Black and Christian: God, Satan, and the Birth of Haiti

    I am not deriding Pat for his religion. I am contrasting it with what Jesus taught. Even Jesus said that everyone who says “Lord, Lord will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.” So Pat can call himself a Christian but it doesn’t necessarily make him one.

    You have made an interesting presumption that we haven’t contributed or done anything. Interesting judgment by innuendo. I seem to recall Jesus saying that we shouldn’t make a public spectacle of our good works for others. Many people give without discussing it.

    But if you must ask, I have contributed to Episcopal Relief and Development as the Episcopal Church serves 150,000 people there and has a network of congregations and relief agencies on the ground. Most of my secular friends have also made special contributions through their employer, United Way, Canada Helps and other agencies.

    What have you done?

  14. One more thing: It wasn’t a pact with the devil that made Haiti poor. It was a pact with the French:

    In July 1825, the king of France Charles X sent a fleet of fourteen vessels and troops to reconquer the island. To maintain independence, President Boyer agreed to a treaty by which France recognized the independence of the country in exchange for a payment of 150 million francs (the sum was reduced in 1838 to 90 million francs) – an indemnity for profits lost from the slave trade. The French abolitionist Victor Schoelcher wrote “Imposing an indemnity on the victorious slaves was equivalent to making them pay with money that which they had already paid with their blood.”

    A long succession of coups followed the departure of Jean-Pierre Boyer. In its 200-year history, Haiti has seen 32 coups. National authority was disputed by factions of the army, the elite class and the growing commercial class, now made up of numerous immigrants: Germans, Americans, French and English.

    On more than one occasion US, French, German and British forces claimed large sums of money from the vaults of the National Bank of Haiti.

    Expatriates bankrolled and armed opposing groups. In 1888 US Marines supported a military revolt against the government. In 1892 the German government supported suppression of the movement of Anténor Firmin. In 1912 Syrians residing in Haiti participated in a plot in which the presidential palace was destroyed. In January 1914, British, German and United States forces entered Haiti ostensibly to protect their citizens.

    That 90 million franc debt was only paid off in 1947.

  15. “i dont agree with robinson but the way most people from haiti behave at places of work here in US, you might notice some kind of inhuman in them.”


    jil, here’s hoping your own personal earthquake finds you in 3, 2, 1…

  16. Aren’t your glad the First Nations of Canada cut their deal to get rid of the French with the British?

  17. Well… In my humble opinion, I believe, as a Christian, that pacts with the devil do exist… Every single person that has posted on here has raised a good point (barring jil, who, apparently, has some other issues going on there), but the main thing that needs to be dealt with is the devestation that this disaster caused! Who gives a crap who or what caused it (what caused it was plates shifting and who caused it was God, but only because, in my religion, He is the reason for EVERYTHING) I don’t believe for one second that any one person has any right to say something like that, it’s judgemental, whether you believe it to be based in historical fact or not. It also shows his ignorance… ” Well these people made a pact with the devil so hahahaha, sucks to be you”… No, not cool. As far as I’m concerned, the French people of that time and the devil… not too terribly different… Being a Christian doesn’t make it OK for you to pass judgement on anyone. But being a Christian doesn’t automatically make you smart either, we all mess up and that’s ok, I have the luxury of messing up on a much smaller scale and not so publicly. However, if you send me a check for $100 I can try my best to absolve your sins and get ya into heaven! lol… My point is that it doesn’t matter your religion, or the supposed reasons for your misfortune, everyone deserves help and arguing over who did what 200 years ago on a website isn’t helping anyone…

  18. Toujoursdan
    //There are very complicated historical reason why Haiti remains poor. Many of them have to do with racism from the great powers of the 19th and 20th century and its neighbours. None of them have anything to with Voudou.//

    Unless you consider voodoo economics —

    From the outset Haiti inherited the wrath of the colonial powers, which knew what a disastrous example a Haitian success story would be. In the words of Napoleon Bonaparte: “The freedom of the negroes, if recognised in St Domingue [as Haiti was then known] and legalised by France, would at all times be a rallying point for freedom-seekers of the New World.” He sent 22,000 soldiers (the largest force to have crossed the Atlantic at the time) to recapture the “Pearl of the Antilles”.

    France, backed by the US, later ordered Haiti to pay 150m francs in gold as reparations to compensate former plantation and slave owners as well as for the costs of the war in return for international recognition. At today’s prices that would amount to £10bn. By the end of the 19th century, 80% of Haiti’s national budget was going to pay off the loan and its interest, and the country was locked into the role of a debtor nation – where it remains today.

    But, finally, the U.S. and France simply intervened and removed the President. France was particularly infuriated, because Aristide had politely called upon France to do something about the crushing debt that had been imposed on Haiti back in 1825 as punishment for their having them — for liberating themselves from France. They had been bearing this ever since, and naturally that infuriated France. How can the Haitians dare to say this? So, the U.S. and France basically kicked him out. Horrible atrocity since. Now, they’re trying to reconstruct somehow. Again, we owe them enormous reparations, as does France, for the atrocities we have been carrying out there actually for over a century, after we took over the project of torturing Haitians from France.

  19. “Aren’t your glad the First Nations of Canada cut their deal to get rid of the French with the British?’ — the Seer

    I am not so sure you are right. All the evidence suggests that they did make a pact with Beelzebub. French Canadians have clearly been living under a curse since — what? –1763? The curse? They have to live shoulder-to-shoulder the rest of you semi-English speakers, heh?

  20. ‘i dont agree with robinson but the way most people from haiti behave at places of work here in US, you might notice some kind of inhuman in them.”

    That’s because those are zombies. It’s not that they’re inhuman; it’s that they’re undead.

    Which is a matter unrelated to their curse.

  21. There is no curse.

    Advanced life, including human beings, depends on plate tectonics for survival. The moving of the continents across Earth’s mantle recycles air and water and builds mountains which leads to weather patterns that create rain which is used to grow crops and feed us. We wouldn’t exist at all if it wasn’t for earthquakes. Earth would instead be a warmer version of Mars: dried up with a thin atmosphere.

    God doesn’t curse people and in the Christian theology found in the New Testament, God doesn’t punish people through natural disasters either.

    Besides, earthquakes don’t kill people. People kill people. What kills people is buildings not constructed to withstand the shaking of an earthquake: as often as not the result of either poverty and/or corruption. What kills people is landslides on deforested and eroded hillsides once the inevitable hurricane or tropical storm comes along. What kills people is settlement in areas of known danger because there is no where else for them to go and no resources for them to make that existence safer. Geologists have known for decades that Haiti is on the edge of a plate boundary and everyone knows that Hispaniola is in a hurricane zone. Haitians live in these places and in these conditions in part because of a world economic and political system that keeps them trapped there and in poverty.

    The Haitians have died and will die in far greater numbers than, say, North Americans in the same magnitude event,because they are poor and because their society is chaotic, not because any God has it in for them.

  22. i dont agree with jil but the way most people from US behave here in comments, you might notice some kind of stupid in them.

  23. dont agree with jil but the way most people from US behave here in comments, you might notice some kind of stupid in them.

    That’s why were here. Imagine if they said those things out loud, to those beside them? You know, to those inhuman Haitians?

    Canada: America’s psycho-therapist.

  24. “But given that Dr. Robertson’s statements were, in fact, historically accurate”

    Like Robertson, you’re a dishonest piece of scum.

  25. Haiti didn’t revolt and “win” their freedom. They BOUGHT there freedom, from the french for millions, which made them poor to begin with. Countries like America are rich because they were built on the backs of slaves (free labor).

  26. “i dont agree with robinson but the way most people from haiti behave at places of work here in US, you might notice some kind of inhuman in them”

    What I notice is that you’re a racist bigot.

  27. “Haiti didn’t revolt and “win” their freedom. They BOUGHT there freedom, from the french for millions, which made them poor to begin with. Countries like America are rich because they were built on the backs of slaves (free labor).”

    You’re no more historically correct than Robertson.

  28. The truth will set you free. It may be true or not but everyone, including the Haitians, are looking for answers. I think any act of compassion will help and prayers for their circumstances to change would certainly be a benefit. I don’t think Pat Robertson spoke with malice.

  29. It was me…I told those dang Haitians to only say my name 3x’s and they said it 5x’s!! Can you believe these people, cant even follow simple instructions…sheesh!! So anyway, yes I sent the Earthquake, blame me, ole’ Beetlejuice!

  30. Darlene — Perhaps not, but unfortunately it’s a pernicious habit with him whereby he effectively blames the victims for catastrophic misfortunes that befall them because of their sinful, ungodly ways. Whether it be those killed on 9/11, the people of NOLA and the surrounding area that were wiped out by Hurricane Katrina and now Haiti, Robertson is quick to ascribe the tragedy to the wrath of vengeful Christian God.

    It’s dishonest and morally reprehensible.

  31. I don’t think Pat Robertson spoke with malice.

    You’re right. Send him your kid’s college fund.

  32. I don’t get it. Isn’t the 200 year pact up now? So why would that have anything to do with the earthquake.
    Or is that to do with the poverty?

  33. Tim — That was kind of the point I was making… this “Devil Pact” not only expired in 1991, but was supposedly terminated once and for all by the so-called “holy invasion” of Christian exorcists 13 yrs. ago.

  34. No Darlene, Pat did not speak with malice. He spoke with ignorance. Pat Robertson believes in magic every bit as much as the eighteenth-century Haitian slaves. He believes the quake was the result of 200-year-old Haitian black magic. He believes Christ gave him 21st Century white or Christian magic. But it’s all magic to Pat, which is why Harry Potter is so threatening to Pat.

    The reason librils think conservative nutcases are so nutty is that the nutcases, like Pat, have reduced Christianity to the level of superstition and magic, and insist upon reducing science and government to the same level. It’s hard to have a productive exchange of views with people who believe in magic as a way of life, religion or politics.

  35. Speaking as a Christian, I actually do believe that Robertson spoke out of malice. A very Christian brand of malice that tries to pass itself off as compassion and concern.

    I’ve seen it all my life. It’s a false serenity that serves to mask deeply-rooted hatred and ill-will and turns to malice and vindictiveness at the slightest provocation.

    Or he’s just fleecing the rubes, as usual and is not motivated by anything darker than that.

  36. Let me start saying I’m a Christian, and also as a Christian I’m convinced God IS NOT the course of this terrible earthquake, neither is the devil, voodoo, or some pact claimed to have been made centuries ago. Why look for supernatural causes, when we know the natural cause of this is in the geological condition of the island?

    Secondly, no person has been killed by nature. Earthquakes don’t kill that many people. These were killed, because the building they were in, collapsed. And it’s the poor quality of building in Haiti that caused the large number of victims. It’s a direct result of the poverty of the country. An earthquake of the same magnitude in California wouldn’t have such an extreme death-toll.

    The terrible truth is, that poverty strikes in almost every aspect of life. For centuries, this country hasn’t got a chance to work its way up from poverty, the French have long supported and endorsed corrupt regimes that put all riches into their own pockets at the expense of the ordinary people. That’s what’s going on there.

  37. Previous post: “God IS NOT the course” should be “God IS NOT the cause”, of course!

  38. This is not beating a dead horse. I revive this thread to demonstrate that Pat is not all bad.

    During Charles Taylor’s war crime trial, it came out that Pat cut a deal with Taylor to mine gold in Liberia. “This concession was granted by the Liberian government to promote economic activity and alleviate the suffering of the people of Liberia following a terrible civil war,” said Pat’s spokesman, who denied any quid pro quo for granting the concession, and said that Robertson saw this as a way to help the suffering people of Liberia. http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/pat-robertsons-gold-deal-african-dictator/story?id=9749341&page=1

  39. The story has been a well known part of Haiti’s history long before Pat Robertson. What’s the matter? Don’t believe in the devil?

  40. Yes,please stop for one moment and think people,if you believe in voodoo,your god can only be satan,end of story.
    If you do not see this,you have a problem.

    Have a nice day voodoo haiti,those who made a pact with the devil will find GOD,S WRATH,and those defending haiti is defending the Devil himself.

  41. Yes,please stop for one moment and think people,if you believe in voodoo,your god can only be satan,end of story.

    Out of curiosity, does it physically hurt you to be that stupid or have you just be accustom to it over the years.

  42. You actually make it appear really easy with your presentation however I in finding this topic to be actually one thing which I believe I would never understand. It seems too complex and very wide for me. I am looking ahead for your next publish, I will try to get the cling of it!

  43. Haiti was hit because of a pact. blah blh blah. But I wonder what he have plan for this country. Sodom and gomorrah.

  44. What if were led to believe that god was satan so we would turn away and be weak. People wrote the bible not god.
    Who stated the following (Satan, Tinkerbell, Santa Clause, The Easter Bunny, A Burning Bush, Jesus, A talking Snake Selling apples)
    “Do not think I came to bring peace on Earth but a sword and to turn father against son, mother against daughter…”

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