Vodou has been maligned for decades by those with little direct experience of it. However, Vodou has been the one constant during varying Haitian crises, representing more than 50 percent of the Haitian population.
The Haitian Constitution cannot create democracy in Haiti. But it can reinforce it. And it can do that only if Haiti's leaders first foster a political culture within which the constitutional text can become a real promise of human rights and an effective check on their own power.
Allende powerfully evokes the events of the 18th century in Island Beneath the Sea, about a slave's journey to freedom through the jungles of Haiti, neighborhoods of Cuba and households of New Orleans.