Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti's Descent Into Hell

The tragic earthquake that struck this island nation is only the latest in a series of catastrophes dating back two hundred years.  This column from the Guardian is a fine precis of events that have shaped this country: "Haiti's Long Descent Into Hell."

The situation will not get better there ANY time soon - essentially there wasn't much of an economy before this monster quake struck...many of the citizens eked out an existence making charcoal and selling it to provide food for their families.  As a result, huge swaths of the island have been almost completely deforested compounding the typical flooding problems that Caribbean nations have.  There is little law and less order; not much incentive for a corporate relocation.

The millions that the United States has spent on Haiti through the years ($426 million in the last nine years alone) usually end up back in Miami banks thanks to corrupt officials.  I don't know what the solution is, short of some sort of UN Receivership, but in the near term we must all keep these wretched people in our prayers and give in whatever ways we can to help them out of their misery.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

France's colonies tend not to do too well in a post-colonial world. The French actually extorted a huge settlement from the newly-free Haiti to compensate them for the colony, which was the beginning of the nation's economic woes. Would be nice for the French to step up now and show some leadership in lieu of any kind of formal reparations. Also a good project for Bill Clinton. Not sure you should expect much of any real help from the UN, though. They're just a bit less of a kleptocracy than Haiti seems to have been.