In Haiti, Voodoo is a constitutionally protected religion practiced by about half of the population; roughly the same percentage of the population can read. Many citizens lack the degree of education needed to understand the spread of cholera. By contrast, local beliefs about the powers wielded by Voodoo priests are strong and pervasive. As a result, Voodoo priests are becoming scapegoats for the epidemic, because many citizens believe they are using their powers of Witchcraft to spread the disease.
The local police have been unwilling or unable to stop the lynchings, and the Minister of Communications has called for the implementation of widespread public health education about the spread of cholera, which she believes will bring these killings to an end.
According to the CIA world fact book, the life expectancy for Haitians is about 30 years.
For more on this topic:
- Haiti mobs lynch voodoo priests over cholera fears – BBC
- Officials: 45 people lynched in Haiti amid cholera fears – CNN
- Haiti urged to halt cholera anti-voodoo lynchings – Reuters Canada
- The World Fact Book: Haiti – CIA
- Voodoo killings reportedly rise in Haiti epidemic – Associated Press
- Background Note: Haiti – U.S. Department of State