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View Full Version : Haiti. Is there hope?


Mighty_Girl
01-03-2004, 06:37 PM
This from an article in the Sun Sentinel (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/sfl-haiti1dec07.story):
The United Nations calls Haiti a "silent emergency," noting its vital statistics rival those of sub-Saharan Africa:

Haiti has the third-highest rate of hunger in the world, behind Somalia and Afghanistan.

Its people have less access to clean water and sanitation than residents of Ethiopia or Sierra Leone.

Its malnutrition rate is higher than Angola's, and life expectancy is lower in Haiti than in Sudan.

A greater percentage of Haitians live in poverty than citizens of the war-ravaged Congo.For those of you that werenít paying attention in the last 50 years or so (which is the majority of the world) Haiti has turned into a very effed up country. If you must know, I am their neighbor to the east. I know about the situation in Haiti, I am undoubtedly more informed that most other people in the planet and possibly more informed than most of my fellow citizens.

Haiti is at the end of the rope. And although we Dominicans are accused more often than not of been insensitive of their condition at best, racist and discriminatory at worse at least we cannot be blamed for causing Haitiís problems. As it happens we also have our problems and are now in the worst shape this country has been in over 50 years. I see us sitting on a barrel of gun powder... in front of a bonfire. It is a scary situation, our country is in no position of helping our neighbor and the rest of the world doesnít seem to care. Even America (the continent, not the country) seems to, either willfully or not, as the case may be, ignore Haiti.

I have heard some people argue that the only solution at hand would be turning Haiti over to the U.N. for administration. This could or could be not a good idea, but I canít think of anything else. What the heck can be done with Haiti? And what are we waiting? What will it take for the world to care?

elucidator
01-03-2004, 06:46 PM
I have kept up a curiosity about Haiti and its history and affairs for some time now, esp. the reign of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, truly a fascinating and repellant study in political pathology. The only thing that stopped him from being more of a monster was the puny size of his turf.

You're dead right, Haiti is a basket case, and there is damn little that can be done about it. Our Global Economy has only the smallest interest in nations that only have labor to offer, Haiti has almost no natural resources to be exploited.

The best hope I could see, reasonably, would be that a United Nations protectorate might embarass the US into taking Haiti under its wing. Cold comfort farm.

adaher
01-04-2004, 12:36 AM
Haiti was turned over to the UN from 1995-2000.

That went about as well as most UN missions.

elucidator
01-04-2004, 10:39 AM
Well, hokily-dokily, Adaher, now that you've indulged your swipe at the UN, perhaps you will be so kind as to explain how you would do a better job? Given that Haiti has diddly squat to export, massive ecological problems, and fuck-all to invest in. Get government off the backs of business? De-regulate? A cut in capital gains tax?

What you got in mind?

These people have nothing. Nothing! It doesn't make any difference how brilliantly you administer nothing, it remains nothing. Haiti is, and will remain for the forseeable future, a basket case entirely dependent on the charity of others. Only question is, which others?

Lumpy
01-04-2004, 03:53 PM
About the only solution I can see would be to force the prosperous nations of North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim to allow unlimited immigration from Haiti. Whereupon 90% of the entire population would relocate, get jobs as busboys and taxi drivers, and subsidize the remaining 10% by sending money home. Eventually the depopulated nation might become a tropical country club for retired rich people.

BTW: Ireland was once a center of dire poverty. It now is, if not the most prosperous nation in the world, at least no longer shamefully poor. How was that done?

Mighty_Girl
01-04-2004, 08:04 PM
Originally posted by Lumpy
BTW: Ireland was once a center of dire poverty. It now is, if not the most prosperous nation in the world, at least no longer shamefully poor. How was that done? Isn't that the US$64,000-question?

Mighty_Girl
01-04-2004, 08:10 PM
BTW Lumpy, your solution is totally out of the question. How can we force these nations to take on inmigrants that have fewer skills that those that they routinely reject. Furthermore, if they do that what will the argument be for rejecting people from other countries that may be just as needy.

Lumpy
01-04-2004, 08:38 PM
My answer was about 95% tongue-in-cheek, since it pretty much has zero chance of happening. I used a semi-absurd solution to demonstrate just how extreme and unsolvable the problem seems.

Governor Quinn
01-04-2004, 09:24 PM
The only solution is the "Grand Fenwickian" approach:

Declare war on a foreign country that's far richer than you, lose the war badly, and hope to get a lot of money for repairs.

On a serious level, I can't think of any solutions of any practicality.

Brutus
01-04-2004, 10:03 PM
Originally posted by elucidator
...The best hope I could see, reasonably, would be that a United Nations protectorate might embarass the US into taking Haiti under its wing. Cold comfort farm.

That is rather ironic, given the conniptions and hissy-fits that erupted from us taking Iraq 'under our wing'.

As has been pointed out, the United Nations has tried to fix the situation, and has failed. While little would make me happier than to point out the failures of that useless body, I certainly don't blame them for Haiti. Some problems simply defy solutions. Oh, we could muse about how better things would be if Haiti wasn't ruled by a typical third-world kleptocracy, or if the Haitians would just stop increasing their poplation, but neither of those are complete solutions. So, what would you have us do, Elucidator? Just keep pumping in money until...? Where is the light at the end of this tunnel?

elucidator
01-04-2004, 10:32 PM
Boy, I was afraid of that! I should have known that friend Brutus would not be decieved, that he could instantly perceive the hypocrisy inherent in an interest in a humanitarian effort in our own hemisphere in contrast to a pointless military adventure half a world away.

One can understand his disappointment and lassitude, it is difficult indeed to forsee Fox News with a stunning graphic of an eagle swooping down on Haiti with lasers bursting from its wings: "Operation Haiti Eats!" Lacks a certain, oh, I don't know, je ne sais quoi?

adaher
01-05-2004, 01:50 AM
Well, hokily-dokily, Adaher, now that you've indulged your swipe at the UN, perhaps you will be so kind as to explain how you would do a better job? Given that Haiti has diddly squat to export, massive ecological problems, and fuck-all to invest in. Get government off the backs of business? De-regulate? A cut in capital gains tax?


Explain to me what natural resources Singapore, Israel, and Taiwan have? Why do all the other Caribbean nations save for Cuba have two to three times Haiti's per capita GDP?

What should have been done is for the UN to stay there until the job was finished. As soon as they left, everything went to crap. Actually, I would never have turned it over to the UN to begin with, but kept it a US operation. We didn't need anyone's help in Panama or Grenada, we certainly didn't need the UN's help in Haiti. Now we will eventually have to go back AGAIN.

Oh, and by the way, the Asian tigers, despite having little in the way of resources, became wealthy precisely by allowing as much economic freedom as possible.

Rune
01-05-2004, 06:49 AM
Originally posted by elucidator
The best hope I could see, reasonably, would be that a United Nations protectorate might embarass the US into taking Haiti under its wing. Cold comfort farm. This does sound like wanting to reintroduce colonism into Haiti, in practise if not in name - and if only for a time. I've heard the same been said of some African countries; that they'd be better off under some competent Europen nation's rule than what they have now. Is a reinvented, modernised form of colonism the best hope for these failed countries?

- Rune

Mighty_Girl
01-05-2004, 10:06 AM
WS, I am open to any suggestions. What would be yours? I have to accept that I am out of ideas.

Kalhoun
01-05-2004, 12:05 PM
Give, give, give...and then give some more. They have nothing going for them except possible tourism, but I think people are afraid to go there due to the AIDS factor (which I'm not even sure how serious it is at this point -- anyone have stats on that?). I don't foresee this mess getting fixed for many decades to come...if at all.