The International Community, Haiti and its Challenges…

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 0 comments
Prepared by Mirvaldy B. Joseph

After a successful slave rebellion in 1804, Haiti became the first country in Latin America to gain its independence, concurrently making it the first black-led republic in the world.  Falling from such glorious heights, Haiti is presently the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

Fact and Reality
Life has never been easy for Haitian people. Personally, I was born in 1983, and I've never had the chance to be witness of any stable government, or socio-economic development and stability. I’ve never known what is free education, or free Health Care.

Let’s take a few steps back in the time to facilitate you the understanding of the mess that characterized Haiti of today.

From 1986 – when the 30-year dictatorship of the Duvalier family ended – until 1991, Haiti was ruled by a series of provisional governments. In 1987, a constitution was adopted to provide for an elected bicameral parliament, an elected president to serve as head of state, and a prime minister with his cabinet of ministers. The Haitian Constitution also provides for the election of mayors and administrative bodies responsible for local governments.

In December 1990, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a Roman Catholic priest, won 67% of the vote in a presidential election. He took office in February 1991, but was overthrown by the army and forced to leave the country in September of the same year. There began the nightmare of the last 20 years.
 More than 500 Haitians were killed in the days following the coup, and 3,000 in the following three years. The coup provoked a large-scale exodus from the country. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a total of 41,342 Haitians from 1991 to 1992, more than the number of rescued refugees from the previous 10 years combined.
And in the land, the consequences were phenomenal. Thousands were killed while others simply disappeared. Horrendous acts of torture and rape were committed, combined to thefts and sacking. Arbitrary and illegal arrests were daily facts.  There were the characteristics of life in Haiti from 1991 to 1994)…
Many things have occurred over the years: Governments over Governments, International mission over others.   The same old thing again and again: Destabilization.

Haiti has been destroyed and the Youth have been forgotten and dilapidated. The Haitian people were left with hunger and poverty in a land where there are no adequate infrastructure, no education, poor health, high mortality,  No clinics or hospital available, no job, no Justice, no love, no respect, and in an overall Perspective No future

Already on the verge of despair, the country has been hit by a terrible earthquake, which occurred to draw the world’s attention and bring light to this small country.
 “A catastrophic earthquake of a magnitude of 7.0 Mw hit Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, 12th of January 2010. By the 24th of January, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake; the Haitian government reported that an estimated 230,000 people have died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. They also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings have collapsed or were severely damaged.”
“Many government and public buildings were damaged or destroyed: the Palace of Justice, the Congress, and the Cathedral of Port-au-Prince. The National Palace. The Prison Civil de Port-au-Prince was also destroyed, allowing around 4,000 inmates to escape a run free.”

The education system had totally collapsed. About half of the public and private schools, and the three main universities in Port-au-Prince were affected.  More than 1,300 schools and 50 health care facilities were destroyed.
The headquarters of the United Nation Mission Stabilization in Haiti,  destroyed.
It seems everything that doesn’t work well in Haiti has been destroyed.

By the end of the 2010, Cholera and Presidential Election, their arrival further aggravated the preexisting instability due to Haiti's social decadence, furthermore, contributed to increase Insecurity of socio-economical precarity.  

With this gloomy tableau, we have tried to stand the reality and the real needs of the Haitian people, like Education, Justice, Health Care, Love, Respect and foremost the need of being understood!
Through the years, unfortunately Force and Distrust has always characterized the relationship between the International and Haiti but not dialogue. The world has never known how to deal with Haiti.  The two hundred years of solitude of Haiti on the international stage is the result of this misunderstanding.

Over 90% of education and health in Haiti are in private hands. When the unemployment rate reaches 80%. When the state has no public resources to be operational. It is unbearable to deploy a mission of stabilization, there is nothing left to stabilize but to rebuild and to reconceptualize.

It’s about time to understand that the development of Haiti must be done based on Cooperation and Dialogue. And that, for the creation of a Modernized State, definition of a new economic policy in which it will reveal essential SUPPORTING of small businesses, and grants for all wealth creation initiatives of the youth and Global cooperation to create infrastructure around of the country, where every country desiring to help can collaborate to give what he can.

To do so, the International community must consent to:
  Redefine his Policy of Aid in Haiti where Help must be given according to the necessities of the people and not according to what is politically or commercially correct.  They have to Coordinate, synchronize and Harmonize the works of those NGO in harmony to the policy of the Haitian government, to prevent the implementation of a  “NGO Republic” where NGO have more power than the government.  

Education must be the most important factor to enable people to overcome extreme poverty. We need a Modern Education with better teachers and more schools – element of basic infrastructure – to educate our children or adults and block the cycle that deprives later generation of learning.            
 For the past five years, The International Community has invested more than four (4) billion dollars in the Mission for Peace (Minustah), according to their website from July 1rst, 2009 to June 30, 2010: they spent U$ 611,751,200 financed by all UN member states in proportion to their means (for example the contribution of Haiti's annual budget is 0.2%, or U$ 1,200,000). To understand this Budget, you have to know the Haitian government has invested 4,530,704,429,00 Haitian-Gourdes that means U$1,132,676,11 for the 2006-2007 fiscal year, one of the years where Security was a priority for the Government according to Alterpress.   Imagine If 50% of those 4 billion dollars were invested in Education and the remaining in the modernization of our Police system and in the creation of a Standard Health System. The magnitude of our problems now would be lower.

Why they don’t help to bring some groups of francophone professors instead of these Minustah soldiers?  The budget per year of Minustah represents more than 37% compared to the annual Budget of the government.
Why they don’t think about reducing the troops and help to modernize our education with that money?
In 2007, more than 800,000 children didn’t have access to basic education because of money and more than one billion dollars have been invested in a mission for peace. Peace for what?  If they really want to help us, these 37% have to be invested in Education, Health and the modernization of our Police corps.

Let’s change all these Military Bases for Public Schools with Francophone Teachers who would receive the same treatments and salaries as these soldiers.
 Let’s help to modernize the Education system by making it more accessible and more inclusive with more implication of ITC (Information –communication and Technology).
Help bring and pay more decently smart Teachers who are ready to go teach at the countryside.

Also, Haiti can show itself as a country that holds real economic potential in diverse area as tourism, light manufacturing, biodiesel, and agriculture. Just help us to wake up and we will move on by ourselves, help us to bring and set up a System where we can modernize our institutions and a State system where we can fight more effectively the Corruption.
Help us to spread opportunity and generate jobs, and empower our vulnerable population (Women and children). Help us to implement program that can modernize our agriculture, and empower our farmers.  
Stop spending so much money on Red Cross International Help us to modernize our Health System. Give an urge for the creation of some dispensaries, Hospitals, and train more family doctors.

Besides all of this, Haiti is a country to rebuild in all aspects, in addition to focusing on the materialistic facet of reconstruction; we need anthropologists, sociologists, historians, political scientists, professors and even theologians. Haiti is too complex for people who don’t have patience. Nobody takes enough time to understand what I might call the soul of Haiti.

In conclusion, to effectively help Haiti, joint decisions have to replace lip service for coordination. The management of the Haiti Fund will require joint leadership by the Haitian government and its major partners – most notably, the United States, Canada, the Inter-American Development Bank.  Today, the UN applied blindly Chapter 7 of its charter, deploying its troops to impose a peace operation. Why? The country is continually described in terms of its violence. So if we look at the facts, the level of violence does not, however, represent a fraction of that of Latin America.  Haiti needs education, Health, jobs creation, empowerment of its population, respect and love.
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid to watch and see the light."
Here is the light on the situation in Haiti.

By Dr. Mirvaldy B. Joseph

·       The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 17, No. 3. (Summer, 2003), pp. 23-48.