Haiti’s been under effective occupation by the United Nations Stabilization Mission In Haiti (MINUSTAH, in French) for ten years, since 2004, after the United States, Canada and France came together to drive out Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Over that decade, MINUSTAH troops have shot at protesters, introduced cholera, raped, raped again and engaged in other acts of predation. Meanwhile, the “international community,” again led by Washington, Paris and Ottawa, carried out a second coup—an electoral coup—in 2010-11, engaging in heavy-handed vote manipulation to install Michel Martelly as president. After Haiti’s devastating earthquake that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives—the five-year anniversary of which just passed—even Bill Clinton apologized for forcing Haiti to gut its rice industry to benefit US agro-industry.
And yet The Washington Post, in a recent editorial, thinks Haiti needs even more intervention:
From time to time, Haiti’s chronic political dysfunction erupts in crisis and violence, compelling the international community to re-engage with an impoverished country it might prefer to disregard. Haiti is at just such a juncture right now. Policymakers in Washington and elsewhere should pay prompt attention, before the predictable calamity arrives… . Recognizing that the standoff has become dire, Secretary of State John F. Kerry has urged a negotiated settlement that would “open the door for elections to be scheduled as soon as possible.” Yet without more aggressive mediation by U.S., United Nations, French, Canadian and other diplomats, the chances of such a settlement are slim…. As Mr. Kerry pointed out, too much progress has been made since then toward rebuilding Haiti to risk extinguishing all hope amid renewed political violence. To dismiss Haiti as a basket case or shrug off its troubles as insoluble is to forget a history that suggests that without outside help, the country can deteriorate into anarchy, at which point ignoring it is no longer an option.
To paraphrase Clinton, there’s nothing wrong with American imperialism that can’t be solved by what is right with American imperialism.
Here’s the “too-much-progress” that has been made in the last decade, drawn from the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s “Haiti by the Numbers”:
Extreme poverty in rural Haiti in 2000: 38 percent
Extreme poverty in rural Haiti in 2012: 38 percent…
Number of people still living in tent camps, as of September 2014: 85,432…
Number of individuals living in informal settlements on outskirts of Port-au-Prince, not counted in official displaced population, according to Haitian government: 300,000…
Total amount awarded in contracts and grants by USAID: $1.5 billion
Percent that went directly to Haitian organizations: 1