Contrary to what you may initially think, Pat Robertson isn't making this up. The story of Haitian revolutionary leaders making a pact with Satan has been around for a long time. Missionaries believe it. Even native Haitians believe it. It's accepted as historical fact in many Christian circles.
Jean R. Gelin, Ph.D., born and raised in Haiti and now serving as assistant pastor at a church in the U.S., covers the legend of the pact in an article entitled "God, Satan, and the Birth of Haiti" (part 1, part 2, part 3). In short, he hasn't found any evidence to support it.
He does, however, offer a reasonable explanation for Haiti's extreme poverty:
- Haiti's emergence as a free nation in the New World was similar to the birth of an unwanted child. After winning its liberty through the literal destruction of the entire colonial structure, the new country was simply not welcome in the community of nations. ... Haiti was forced to pay a large compensation to France before its independence could finally be accepted. Many historians believe that this huge financial burden, in the order of several millions and lasting one century, plays a critical role in the country's slow but steady descent into poverty.
Along with France, the United States and even the Vatican initially refused to recognize the new nation. For reasons known only to them, the leaders of the Catholic Church in Europe, who were very much involved in Saint-Domingue, declined to have diplomatic relations with Haiti, even after repeated attempts by several heads of state, and despite the fact that Catholicism was made the official religion of the new country.
Yes, there are dark spiritual forces at work in Haiti, just as there are everywhere else in the world, but let's not give the devil more credit than he's due. Satan may be "the god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), but the God of all eternity is still in control.