Unaware he was being recorded, the consul of Haiti in Brazil, George Samuel Antoine, told Brazilian TV network SBT that the earthquake that hit his country may have been caused by “voodoo.”
“I think it has to do with messing so much with voodoo, I don’t know what it is ….” Antoine also said that ” the African himself has a curse. Everywhere there are Africans it’s f…..”
The consul also commented that the tragedy caused by the earthquake that struck Haiti is good because it brings visibility to his consulate. “The disgrace there has become a bliss for us here, for us to get known,” he said.
The diplomat has about 100 relatives in Haiti and at the time of the interview still hadn’t heard anything about them. During the interview the consul said he was depressed about the situation in Haiti and that he was using a rosary to calm down.
Talking to reporters on Friday afternoon, the consul, who lives in Brazil since 1975, said he had difficulties with the Portuguese. “My Portuguese is not good. I would never wish my country bad things. I do not mean I’m perfect and I’m not used to so many people following me,” he said, in a reference to the press.
“I speak several languages, but I haven’s studied Portuguese, and I make mistakes sometimes,” he argued.
In a statement issued by the consulate, Antoine also apologized for the comment, claiming he had been misinterpreted.
“In face of the tragic event that struck Haiti and shook the world, Consul Jorge Samuel Antoine, in the heat of the facts and above all for having hundreds of relatives in the country, from whom he has little information, knowing that they are missing, probably dead, in a commentary, had his words interpreted in a misleading way,” says the official note.
The Haiti Red Cross says it now estimates the death toll from the January 12 earthquake could reach 50,000. And it presents a startling figure: another three million people are injured or homeless.
The capital of the country, Port-au-Prince, was practically leveled. Thousands of building collapsed and thousands more were seriously damaged.
Relief efforts are complicated by the incredible extent of the destruction and loss of lives which did not spare international organizations.
For example, 150 members of the United Nations peace mission in Haiti are simply missing. The chief of the UN mission, Hedi Annabi, was killed. The Brazilian, Luiz Carlos da Costa, second in command, is also missing.