Fixing Haiti

MINUSTAH and Beyond

image of Fixing Haiti
References to the land of the black Jacobins are almost always followed by the phrase the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere”. To that distinction, on 12 January 2010, Haiti added another, when it was hit by a devastating natural disaster, a 7.0 Richter scale earthquake. Since 2004, the United Nations has been in Haiti through MINUSTAH in an ambitious attempt to help Haiti raise itself by its bootstraps. This effort has now acquired additional urgency. Is Haiti a failed state? Does it deserve a Marshall-planlike programme? What will it take to address the Haitian predicament? In this book, some of the world’s leading experts on Haiti examine the challenges faced by the first black republic, the tasks undertaken by the United Nations, and the new role of hemispheric players like Argentina, Brazil and Chile, as well as that of Canada, France and the United States.



Haiti: Malversive state and teetering nation

As a former slave colony with a multifaceted and difficult heritage of social exclusion imposed by various governments and reinforced by foreign entities, Haiti has experienced a variety of contradictory politics and policies that have rendered it structurally vulnerable. The harsh stratification of Haitian society during slavery and the years that followed created massive social chasms along race and colour lines. The 1825 indemnity imposed by the French Imperial Government and the subsequent longterm annexation of Santo Domingo exacerbated a fragmentation of the state that eventually led into the formation of two distinct republics. However, it is politics that have led to Haiti’s diminished capacity for survival. Haiti is a tropical island and, as such, the occurrence of naturally occurring disasters is unavoidable. The dearth of cultivated natural resources is also a strong contributor to Haiti’s economic underdevelopment. Time and time again its leaders have failed to create policies that were/are aligned with the patterns of natural occurrences (hurricanes, drought, earthquakes) that could potentially lead to disaster.


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