By Joel Ruth
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — In this land where witch doctors carry more
clout than conventional PhDs or professional campaign advisers, the
average citizen has been provided a mind-boggling explanation for why
Bill Clinton so handily beat President George Bush in 1992, triumphed to
re-election easily in 1996 and is now facing impeachment.
Acting on the advice of a “houngan” or sorcerer, supplied by
then-exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Clinton did not change his
underwear the last week of the 1992 campaign, voodoo practitioners say.
The same houngan also cast a “malediction” on President Bush by
manipulating a doll made in the president’s image, goes the story. The
torment climaxed when the houngan caused Bush’s projectile vomit into
the lap of the Japanese prime minister as the world press looked on,
disgracing him with the public.
Those and other bizarre stories were being told the Haitian people
through the Lavalassien, a newspaper published by Aristide’s ruling
Lavalas party. They were written by the Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, who was
a priest in Aristide’s entourage. The Rev. Gerard claimed that Aristide
had developed a powerful grip on Clinton’s psyche through the power of
The appeal and belief of voodoo and witchcraft in this largely
illiterate nation cannot be overstated. Surveys have put the number of
voodoo adherents as high as 85 percent, even among the educated classes.
Houngans are even more important in the Haitian capital than
psychiatrists are in Washington, D.C.
Grotesque as they are, the stories about voodoo’s role in the 1992
election — and its influence on Clinton are important because officials
at Aristide’s National Palace accepted them as factually true. They also
help explain why Aristide was able to maintain an emotional grip on the
Haitian masses, and why he felt he could repudiate promises to hold fair
national elections in return for Clinton’s help in regaining control of
The voodoo scenario is a classic example of how, in a Third World
country, what the general public accepts as truth is often more
than the truth itself.
As told in Lavalassien, in the Haiti Observateur, another popular
paper, and in private interviews by participants, Clinton staffers first
got the idea of invoking voodoo during conversations with Aristide who
was living in exile in Washington, D.C. The aim was to learn what the
future held for then candidate Clinton, and to cast spells to help
influence the election. In return for what the Rev. Gerard called a
“large sum of money,” a houngan was retained by the Clinton campaign,
the story goes, and a “wanga” or malediction was cast upon Bush to cause
his electoral defeat. Clinton, for his part, agreed to wear the same
pair of underpants the last week of the campaign.
Both Haitian officials and the Haiti Observateur stated that Clinton
reaffirmed his faith in voodoo during his March 31, 1995 visit to the
island. The official purpose of the visit as told by the American media
was to celebrate Haiti’s supposed “return to democracy.” However, the
Haitian press had a much different story. The headlines of the March 29,
1995 issue of the Haiti Observateur read: ” CLINTON ASSISTERA A UNE
CEREMONIE VAUDOU EN HAITI” (Clinton to assist in a voodoo ceremony in
Haiti). The story, confirmed by Haitian officials, stated that
initiating Clinton under the power of voodoo had two purposes — to
render him impervious to the attacks of his Republican enemies in
Washington, and to guarantee his re-election. While the initiation could
protect Clinton from his political enemies, they say, it could not
protect him from himself.
The ceremony was said to have been hidden within a public event
touted as a dedication of a monument to Haiti’s boat people. The focal
point was a “magic well” concealed inside a sculptor’s rendition of a
brick and concrete boat which was hurriedly constructed for the event in
the vicinity of Aristide’s residence at Tabarre.
It should be noted that Aristide, a de-frocked priest, earlier in
1995 had renounced the Catholic Church and said he was returning to the
voodoo faith of his ancestors. In July of the same year, he held a large
voodoo congress at the National Palace attended by over 300 leading
houngans and “bocors” (black magicians — including leaders of the dreaded “Bizango Cult,” which practices zombification and human sacrifice)). Upon addressing the first voodoo congress, Aristide proclaimed voodoo to be one of the “great religions of the world alongside Christianity, Islam and Judaism and also announced funding for a national voodoo temple. Both Aristide’s
renunciation of the Catholic Church and his voodoo congress, while
widely publicized in the Haitian press, were completely suppressed in
the American news media.
In the days leading up to Clinton’s visit, according to sources in
Haiti, many occult preparations took place. These were intended not only
to grant Clinton the power to overcome the challenges facing his
presidency and defeat the Whitewater investigations, but also to give
Aristide the power to continue to control Clinton.
One account that circulated in Port-au-Prince is that when Aristide
dedicated the “secret well” before Clinton’s visit that he “shed the
blood of a newborn infant in gratitude to the gods whom he believes
allowed his return to power.” Whether true or not, this report is widely
accepted by the Haitian people as fact.
Thereafter, in the days just before Clinton’s arrival, according to
the Observateur, the well became the scene of eerie nightly voodoo
ceremonies with drums and incantations as the site was further empowered
To maximize the occult forces at work, even the date chosen for
Clinton’s visit — March 31 — was part of an elaborate ritual. The
digits are the reverse of “13,” which the voodoo calendar considers the
most propitious date for casting spells. Thus, the voodoo practitioners
say, while Clinton believed that he was coming to the well at Tabarre to
sell his soul to Lucifer for power and protection through the initiation
of voodoo, he was also the victim of a classic Haitian double-cross.
Several persons close to Aristide stated that they believed that
Clinton’s will and fate would be permanently at the mercy of “Father Aristide” — a zombie slave so to speak, who would suffer dire consequences if he ever
betrayed his pact with the dark forces invoked at Tabarre.
Since then, Clinton forced Aristide to step down at the end of his
term and hold more bogus elections. True to his nature, however,
Aristide has continued to rule in secret through his hand-picked surrogate,
President Renee Preval. Clinton has, according to the voodoo practitioners,
also betrayed his old friend by withholding millions of extra dollars
that he promised would follow, an act which has undoubtedly resulted in
a Haitian revision of Clinton’s original contract at Tabarre.
With Clinton now facing impeachment, the Haitian sorcerers are able,
once again, to claim credit for the power of their black magic.