We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Haiti, once called The Jewel of the Antilles, was the richest colony in the entire world. Economists estimate that in the 1750s Haiti provided as much as 50% of the Gross National Product of France. The French imported sugar, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, cotton, the dye indigo and other exotic products. In France they were refined, packaged and sold all over Europe. Incredible fortunes were made from this tiny colony on the island of Hispaniola.
How could Haiti have once been the source of such wealth and today be the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere? How could this land that was once so productive today be semi-barren? How did "The Jewel of the Antilles" become the Caribbean's hell-hole?
Why Haiti is poor? And why is the other country on that island fairing better? The article lays a heavy load on the USA, but fails to explain why the USA invaded and ruled Haiti for a while and, thus, makes the paper suspicious, in my mind. It also leaves out any responsibility of the people to make a go of their country. The example of their behavior at Gitmo points to other reasons. Their attitude that they could treat the US Marines as their lackeys and the US government as their benefactor and see to all their demands leads me to believe that that is part of their problem. Someone else will take care of them and they have no responsibilities.....and the world helps them perpetuate that idea.
Re Why is Haiti so poor? Not politically correct speculation, but perhaps a national IQ of around 72 has something to do with it? Dominican Republic apparently has an IQ of about 84. Perhaps that is why they fare a bit better?
Why is Haiti poor? Because it's had too little influence from the US. Investment in productive agriculture and enterprise, development of a government responsive to its people, and education would all have gone a long way to bring Haiti to a state of peace and prosperity. Vis US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, S. Korea, Phillipines -- all of which have their problems and all of which are a lot better off than Haiti or most of the Caribbean.
I followed Driscoll's second link about George W. Bush. The US didn't oust Aristide, we helped put him back. Haiti was hardly off the international radar: the UN has had "peacekeepers" there for a long time. So the Salon article is flat wrong.
J - I hear the Gitmo golf course is still a mess thanks to the Haitians. A friend who served there said he had to carry a strip of astroturf with you and hit off of that.
My theory - The last thing you want to be is a French or Belgian colonial. The British were hard but fair. The Spanish were lazy and corrupt. The French were just cruel and evil.
The best thing that could happen to a French colony was a British take-over. French Indochina, Algeria, Haiti, Niger, Chad, Congo, and Rwanda – seems the French and Belgians screwed up those places permanently. Count you blessings Canadians.
Re the success of former French colonies, agreed. In trying to think of a successful former French colony, Quebec excepted, I am reminded of the story about Ike being asked about what Tricky had accomplished as VP. Give me a weekend and I'll come up with something.
Re former British colonies, it is mixed. Singapore: grand slam.
Caribbean (Barbados, Trinidad, Belize etc.): Pretty good. Compare the former British sugar colonies of Barbados and Trinidad w Haiti.
India: once they stopped following British Fabian Socialism policies, fairly good.
Pakistan: blame it on the Muzzies. In some respects, the gap between Pakistan and India is not as far as assumed, such as PPP Per Capita income: $2900 versus $2500. In others, the gap is as big as assumed, such as Infant Mortality:30 versus 65 for Pakistan. (CIA World Factbook.)
South Africa: fairly good, especially when compared w its neighbors.
Zimbabwe: say no more.
Howdy, Old Soldier
A Hadji or Hajjii (several spellings) is a Muslim who has completed the traditional Mecca pilgrimage. I'd call the ones who need shooting "jihadis" or "shaheed" (holy warrior or martyr).
I can disagree with the Muslim faith and I can despise the acts of terror and oppression while still being respectful of the faithful.
Haiti is poor for the same reason that North Korea is poor, and that Zimbabwe is poor, and that every other poor country is poor: bad government.
For example, North & South Korea have the same geography, the same culture, the same people, the same history. But the North is dirt poor and starving, while the South is rich and well fed.
When people are allowed a free market, with honest legal guarantees, and are allowed to freely buy and sell property, and to start and run businesses without having to worry about government corruption, the country will become wealthy.
That applies to every country. There are plenty of Haitians in the U.S., and they have become as well off as any other American immigrants.
This is not secret knowledge. The problem in very large part is the thoroughly corrupt UN, which NEVER replaces a dictator like Mugabe – the UN sends money, which ends up in Mugabe accounts, and it sends its blue helmeted soldiers – which pillage and rape just like the people it is intended to control.
It is the form of government that determines whether a country is rich or poor. Nothing else.