HAITI RESEARCH PAPER 6
HaitiStruggle to Rebuild the Nation
Althoughmost disasters are natural, extreme poverty and levels of inequalityin the nation aggravated the shocking earthquake in Haiti. On theother hand, historical events in Haiti have created poverty andmisery among the citizens, making it hard to rebuild the nation. Thispaper will investigate some historical events namely: the 1825settlement between Haiti and France, relationship between the US andHaiti, and the Duvalier dictatorships and how they have contributedto the problems Haiti faced when rebuilding after the 2010earthquake.
The1825 settlement between Haiti and France
Haitiwas forced to compensate France with 150 million gold francs fortheir financial losses, in exchange for their independence. This debtburden had a huge impact on ordinary Haitians where a sequence of taxpolicies was imposed in order to generate revenue. Consequently, theHaitian treasury was drained off its capital. On the other hand, theeconomy could not support debt as the country was cut off from exportmarkets. This huge amount materially affected Haiti’s future anddevelopment since it represented more than twice the whole country’snet worth. This independence debt took 122 years to repay. As aresult, this debt has led to poverty, as healthcare, education andother infrastructure remain unfunded all through the Nineteenthcentury. Alternatively, the cost of housing and food drasticallyincreased, and this had adverse effects to poor citizens (Bryan,1984).
Asa result, the economic instability in the nation provoked politicalvolatility as dictatorial presidents were assassinated and forced outthrough military coups. In the wake of 2010 earthquake, Haiti hasfaced many problems when trying to rebuild their nation due to thiseconomic instability as the nation lack infrastructure, as well aseconomic resources to deal with the current crisis (Coupeau, 2008).
Therelationship between the US and Haiti
Inthe year 1915, the United States occupied Haiti in reaction to“political instability.” Therefore, the interventionist policieswere the main reason United States Marines went to Haiti. to maintainorder as well as bring changes in the political and economic spheres.During this time, Americans banks became in charge of the nation’sfinancial system and institutions. American occupation from 1915 to1934 had several results such as, a rebellion by disgruntled citizensthat claimed more than 2000 lives. In addition, white foreigners inthe nation practiced racial discrimination and repression (Dayan,2000). Racism prejudices are still prevalent with the occupationwidening the gap between the elite and poor. On the other hand,although this American occupation had some positive benefits such asimprovement of the road infrastructure, most revenues were used toservice foreign loans. As a result, no progress in the economy tookplace and this relationship between the US and Haiti worsened theeconomy of Haiti as it interfered with the economic and politicalinstitution, causing instability and management of the nationdifficult. On the other hand, consequences of hostile externalinterventions have led to the removal of democratically electedpresident with elected ruler incapable of bringing the needed changein the nation. Haiti slow recovery is also attributed to politicsand elections, which have been marred with widespread irregularities,and this has led to street protests (Plummer, 1992).
TheDuvalier dictatorships of 1957-1986
Duvalierregime is attributed to the legacy of brutality, corruption, andrepression in Haiti. During this regime, the government accumulatedmore than $900 million foreign loans. The funding was misappropriatedinstead of being used for development. As a result, this led to poorgovernance and lack of donor confidence. As a matter of fact, thereis widespread inequality where power and wealth is only concentratedto few political and commercial elite. Haiti is therefore facingthese problems when trying to rebuild since corruption is a challengethat alienates citizens further from their government and makes themlack trust in the ability of their government to act on their behalf.In addition, poor governance also restricted the disaster response asthe state lacked the ability to meet the citizens’ social needsweak institutions (Hall, 2012).
Insummary, despite huge financial aid to help with Haiti recovery afterthe earthquake, the pace is slow due to challenges such asinstitutional weaknesses, resource limitation, pre-existingcondition, and the magnitude of the calamity. In reality, rapidrecovery has proved unrealistic because Haitians faced the abovementioned problems even before the earthquake. As a result,overcoming these challenges may be hard, but the best solution torebuilding the nation (Senauth, 2011).
Inconclusion, Haiti is a poor nation where more than eighty percent ofthe citizens survive below the poverty line. Political problems inHaiti lie in social inequality and unequal wealth and incomeapportionment. As a result, abject poverty makes it hard to deal withthe current crisis. However, if the crucial historical issues thatcontribute to the problems Haiti faced when rebuilding after the 2010earthquake are dealt with, then democracy in the nation may beguaranteed.
Bryan,P. E. (1984). TheHaitian revolution and its effects.Kingston, Jamaica: Heinemann.
Coupeau,S. (2008). Thehistory of Haiti.Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.
Dayan,J. (2000). Haiti,history, and the gods.Berkeley : Univ. of California Press.
Hall,M. R. (2012). Historicaldictionary of Haiti.Lanham: Scarecrow Press.
Plummer,B. G. (1992). Haitiand the United States: The psychological moment.Athens: University of Georgia Press.
Senauth,F. (2011). Makingand the destruction of haiti.S.l.: Authorhouse.