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Haiti from the Air

2015-03-17

“If you’ve ever been there, you see firsthand the Catch-22 that is everything Haiti. I certainly root for them but it’s hard to imagine the country being anything other than a wreck. You can see all you need from the air as you fly in comparing Haiti to the Dominican on the same island. Those who fly there know what I mean.”

[comment by Tod Hawkins of Charlottesville VA 3/17/2015]

“The political problems in Haiti pale in comparison to many countries (read: U.S. congressional gridlock), but unfortunately it’s all people know of this county.

People here don’t want handouts, they want jobs. The minister of tourism is one of the hardest working politicians anywhere, in any country, and this sector is being viewed as a way to create employment while revealing the beauty to counteract the ugliness portrayed in the international media, such as this article.

Haiti offers much to those who have an adventurous spirit, looking for an authentic place to visit. Get outside of the capital to experience some of the nicest beaches in the Caribbean, eat delicious Creole cuisine, buy colorful and original artwork and craft (not the mass produced garbage coming out of China), visit historic monuments, and get swept away by the warm and welcoming vibe of a people whose resilience in the face of so many obstacles is astounding.”

[comment by JBK 007 of “Le Monde “(the World) 3/17/2015]

“Haiti is controlled entirely by the US.
It’s one of nearest sweatshops, what with the IMF, UN, NGO’s, Clinton Foundation, CAFTA—I think I’ve run out letters.

You get the idea.The reason that so many sweatshop workers were in PaP when the EQ hit, was they had left their farms.Why did they leave their farms? Under CAFTA, the farmers couldn’t compete with subsidized-Carolina Rice.Haiti can no longer feed itself.

And so it goes…”

[comment by JeanX of “US” 3/17/2015]

“Haiti has always been an oligarchy since December 1806 on purpose; oligarchic form of government set in motion by the minority mulatto ideologues Petion, Bruno Blanchet, and Alexis Beaubrun Ardouin; therefore the State of Haiti is incapable 99% of the time of organizing free and fair elections. Haiti’s 1987 Constitution is a joke written to reinforce the primacy of the Executive Branch (The Presidency) at the detriment of the other Powers. And this exactly why this de-facto president is the Don and the only one pulling all the strings. Haiti’s form of government must be eradicated, aka political revolution.”

[comment by Haiti the case study in New Jersey 3/17/2015]

“… Cheer up. Its not merely political corruption holding the country down as this article suggests. Haiti is a country on a microcontinent bordered by two major tectonic faults. Two San Andreas faults within 150 miles of each other. The 2010 event rupture killed 200,000 and left 1.5 m homeless and in the process killed 25% of the civil servants in the country. Many of the ministries were destroyed including the presidential palace. Hospitals were destroyed. The country also get pummeled by hurricanes regularly and flood damage. Sandy hit Haiti harder than NYC. There have been 2.5 major catastrophes per year on the tiny island over the past 20 years on average. Cut them some slack. It is what it is. The Haitians will figure this out.”

[comment by Certified Financial Examiner in Madison WI on 3/17/2015]

“As a Haitian citizen, I have a completely different take on the situation. The writer seems to know very little about the political situation in Haiti. Martelly did not get rid of parliament. Actually he pleaded with them to pass the electoral law that would have allowed for elections to go forward and keep the legislators in their place. Instead, they dithered and did nothing (sound familiar?). The problem with Haiti is weak political institutions.

Martelly is far from perfect. He’s a political novice and many times it shows. But many of us believe his heart is in the right place and has done his best. If Ms. Robles would have mad a cursory check, she would have realized he is far from the person being portrayed here.

Haiti is progressing, albeit slowly, but surely. For the first time in a long time, infrastructure is being replaced, hotels are going up, schools are being built all over the country. We are still a long way from a stable and prosperous country but at times it’s best to not believe the hype.”

[comment by Capois La Mort, Cap Haitien, Haiti, W.I. 3/16/2015]

“I agree with these comments. I have volunteered with a non-profit organization that has been working in Haiti for over 30 years. There are changes happening now, unfortunately most of it in the Port-au-Prince area but it was the most severely affected by the earthquake. I work in the northern hinterlands and not much has happened there – these hinterlands are where the majority of the Haitian people living primarily on subsistence farming. Therefore, the $$$$ are not reaching the vast majority of the Haitian people. It is going in the right direction but at this pace it will be several decades before the average Haitian will see much of a benefit.”

[comment by DB of Charlottesville, VA 3/16/2015]

“The title & content betrays anti Martelly bias. I am an American ex pat who has lived in Haiti for 38 years; two of my four children & two of my nine grandchildren were born here. Michel Martelly is the finest, most humanitarian, conscionable president Haiti has seen in over fifty years. Since the dreaded, blood thirsty Papa Doc who was only out done by the narco president, ex Catholic priest, Jean Bertrand Aristide, Martelly is a god send.

In Haiti, current consensus is that Aristide ordered the murder of Oriel Jean who reportedly testified of Aristide’s assassination of journalist Jean Dominic. Under Martelly, Columbian traffickers have disappeared though they once traded openly & with impunity landing planes and boats during Aristide’s reign of terror. Under Aristide, kidnapping, home invasion, car jacking ran unchecked by Haitian Police until the UN declared in ’04 that “Haiti was more dangerous than Mogadishu with more kidnappings than Cali, Columbia.”

Since Martelly has taken office Aristide’s destabilization tactics – violent crime have almost disappeared and again consensus is that any bloody act can be attributed to the greedy x President Aristide.

FYI, all protests are paid for by Aristide, and include Russian money. In a recent “protest” of all young men, signs of Putin were carried as the men cried, “Down with Obama and up with Putin!” We that live here understand Aristide is getting money from America’s number one enemy Russia!”

[comment by Yvonne Trimble of Port Au Prince, Haiti 3/16/2015]

Capois La Mort replied to Yvonne:

“Thank you Yvonne for spreading the truth. You and your husband do great work there. i recommend his vidoes to anyone who wants to see Haiti.”

and Jessie Michel of Florida replied to Yvonne:

“Thank you Yvonne, you said it all. I have been following you and your husband for a long time, and I know you are good people and Haitians back home trust your judgments. Please keep divulging the truth about the country and the actual government. Aristide is a poison for our country, he needs to be stopped.”

Capois La Mort also wrote, in response to Nancy, who claimed that Martelly was not democratically elected:

“Not sure how you know that Martelly was not democratically elected, but I live here, yes Port au Prince Haiti, and I speak the language, Creole. When Preval tried to pay off Martelly to take a dive in the run off election, Martelly refused the bribe. Preval wanted his son in law Jude Celestin to be president, the only problem was that no one voted for him, so Preval attempted to pay off the front runner Martelly. When Preval declared Celestin the winner, millions of Haitians took to the streets, blocking roads in a peaceful demonstration, they converged on Preval’s house (right near mine) and demanded Martelly be instated as the democratically elected president that they voted for! The international community informed Preval that they would not help him and he must respect the will of the people; this is how it happened, I was an eye witness. Where were you?”

here’s another post from a different point of view:

“I suggest you research the following topics:

— French naval embargo of Haiti–backed by the U.S.–after the Haitian revolution abolished slavery; also, French agreement to end this embargo which was strangling the island nation, in return for a huge sum of money, the historical source of the Haitian national debt;
— U.S. invasion of Haiti (1915) which began by seizing the assets of Haiti’s national bank and physically transferring them to a New York bank;
— U.S. occupation of Haiti (1915-1937) during which the US created, trained and developed a lasting relationship with the brutal Haitian national army;
— AID plan for Haiti (1980s) and particularly the forced destruction of the entire Haitian pig population which was the foundation of the Haitian peasant economy;
— U.S. policy of flooding Haiti with cheap rice in the 90s, which bankrupted the native rice growing sector which was previously the most thriving part of agriculture;
— Close U.S. relationship and aid to the Duvalier dictatorship (1958-1985), notorious for its savagery;
— One direct invasion, and one U.S. backed “insurgency” to overthrow the popular Aristide.

After you know something, say something!”

[comment by Jon of New York 3/16/2015]

There appears to be a large difference of opinion, particularly about whether Aristide was associated with violent crime and attached to Putin in some way or was simply “popular.”

Obviously Haiti is suffering the effects of overpopulation and destruction of the native habitat, along with economic devastation some relate to the importation of cheap rice that destroyed local farmers.  Those who blame Haiti’s troubles on a series of despotic rulers may be missing the point.  The despotic rulers may be a consequence of Haiti’s repeated impoverishment and frequent natural disasters.  The degree of government corruption and brutality may be related to the competition for extremely scarce resources among local inhabitants, rather than a cause of general impoverishment.

More clearly, Haiti has been abused by the United States and other governments and this has affected the economy as well as allowing the local strongman form of government.  In recent times, Haiti has been devastated by natural disasters after being left impoverished by agricultural failures; huge amounts of international aid have been expended without affecting the rural poor at all, at least not yet.

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