Washington (AFP) Jan 13, 2010
US evangelical preacher Pat Robertson levied blame Wednesday for the devastating earthquake in Haiti on Haitians themselves, saying that the country "swore a pact to the devil" at its creation.
"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it," Robertson said on his Christian Broadcasting Network show "The 700 Club."
Haitians were originally "under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the third, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil," said the 80-year-old former presidential candidate.
"They said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal," the televangelist said.
"Ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other."
Over 100,000 people were feared dead Wednesday after a massive 7.0 earthquake razed homes, hotels, and hospitals in the capital Port-au-Prince. Bodies of the dead were laid out on city streets as residents dug through rubble for survivors.
Robertson contrasted Haiti with its neighbor Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispanola.
The Dominican Republic "is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. 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," he said.
Right now, Robertson said, "the suffering is unimaginable."
Ruled for centuries by the Spanish and then the French, Haiti gained independence in 1804 through a slave-led revolution, creating the first country governed by African descendents in the Americas.
The fire-and-brimstone Christian conservative preacher is seen by critics to espouse an anti-gay, anti-liberal agenda, but he describes his ministry as pro-life and pro-family.
Founder and chairman of The Christian Broadcasting Network, Robertson in 1988 beating out sitting Vice President George Bush Sr in the Iowa Republican caucuses, but ultimately failed in his presidential bid.
Perhaps most famously, Robertson in 2005 stirred outrage after calling on the US government to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Robertson, who often makes predictions of upcoming disasters and horrific attacks, came under fire in 2006 after suggesting the stroke then-Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon suffered was divine retribution for ceding land to the Palestinians.
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UN having trouble communicating with its mission in Haiti
United Nations (AFP) Jan 12, 2010
United Nations officials said late Tuesday they were having trouble contacting the UN mission in Haiti to get a clear picture of the huge earthquake that struck the Caribbean island nation. "We are trying to get in touch with our people on the ground but we are experiencing communication problems, which is not unusual in a disaster such as this," Stephanie Bunker, spokeswoman for the UN Offi ... read more
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