For the past eleven years, since the coup and overthrow of the elected government in 2004, Haiti has been deemed so dysfunctional, so failed, a state, that the international community has decided to run it directly. UN troops patrol its streets. Nongovernmental organizations oversee most aspects of social provision. Donors provide the finances. The resources and reach of the government is limited.
If the Dominican Republic had decided in 2013 to nationalize its industries, announcing a deadline of June 17, 2015 for the expropriation of all foreign-owned enterprises on its side of the island, it is unlikely that the US would throw its hands up and say nothing could be done because the DR was a sovereign country. We know it is unlikely, because the US overthrew the president on the other side of the island in 1991 and in 2004 for trying to raise the minimum wage.
First published on TeleSUR english
Joe Emersberger's got a sharp eye for discerning when media information is misleading or false. When the 2004 coup happened in Haiti, Joe published his correspondence with the Globe and Mail reporter in Haiti at the time, and very ably showed me how someone with a keen eye and decent principles can hold their own in a debate with someone with a privileged position and (undeserved) authority.
What constitutes a dictatorship? Haiti had an election in 2006, which the popular candidate won. It had an election in 2011, which had one of the lowest turnouts in recent history and which was subject to all kinds of external manipulation. Given these elections, is it unfair to call Haiti, a country that suffered 30 years of classic dictatorship under the Duvaliers from the 1950s to the 1980s, a dictatorship today?
This talk was recorded on November 15, 2012 at Concordia University in Montreal.
In case you didn't notice the new tab above, my first book, Haiti's New Dictatorship, is set to come out at the end of October.
I will be doing talks about the book all over Canada and probably in NYC in the US as well. Check the book tab for updates on the book tour. It's in the process of being organized now, the largest, Canadian part of which is thanks to the hard-working folks at Between the Lines.
Tim Schwartz is an anthropologist with extensive experience in the foreign aid sector in Haiti. He is the author of the book, Travesty in Haiti, and of an upcoming book studying the nature and problems of the ways nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operate in Haiti. He answered my questions over email in February and March 2012.
There are at least 595,000 Haitians living in camps around Port au Prince (1). President Martelly has a program, called 16-6, which proposes to resettle residents of 6 large camps in 16 neighbourhoods in Port-au-Prince. In total, if the program succeeds, it will touch 5000 families, or 4% of the camp population. I spoke to the director of 16-6, Clement Belizaire. So far, 190 families have been resettled from the first camp, Place St. Pierre, in Petionville. Belizaire expects the 1500 families who live in the first two camps, Place St.