Haiti in the 1950's Wasn't a Bad Place!

I was surfing youtube, and came up with this clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRVPoxDgbBo
What amazed me: Haiti today is a horrible place, but in the 1950’s, it looked pretty good-the streets were clean, people were well dressed, and it looked like there were jobs to be had. Check out the night clubs and restaurants-Port au Prince looked like a pretty prosperous town.
So, what happened to turn the place into the dump it is today? Too much corruption? Haiti must have had significant exports in the 1950’s-how did they pay for the cars and the gasoline? Plus, check out the houses…there must have been a significant middle class in those days…what went wrong?

As I understand it, what little ‘prosperity’ Haiti ever had was based on a few folks at the very top consuming the nation’s resources faster than they could be renewed.

Doubtless someone with a more intimate knowledge of Haitian history will be by to discuss the slave rebellion, Papa Doc, and other Haitian historical figures in more detail.

Look at the comments. I suspect that corruption destroyed the people’s faith in their own institutions, gangsterism arose, commerce and the middle class fled, the people became poor, then it was a war of gang against gang on the backs of the poor. Cuba under Batista might have gone the same way if it weren’t for the revolution. If you look at the area in Google Maps, Haiti is significantly more deforested than the Dominican Republic next door.

On seeing Qadgop’s post, I am reminded of the article Cisco linked to: post 168 in the “loathsome cities” thread. Extractive societies with high inequality aren’t long-term stable.