The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

Op-Ed: How to Fix the “Haitian Pattern”

Port-Au-Prince+pinned+on+a+map+of+Haiti.
BigStock
Port-Au-Prince pinned on a map of Haiti.

Haiti has a very complicated relationship with the developed world. As gang violence and political instability grip Haiti, the international community prepares for the conflicts that will undoubtedly emerge in the country. 

Haiti knows the sting of oppression, having been the first country to abolish enslavement following the Haitian Revolution in 1804. This reality was met with hostility rather than support from other nations.

In fact, the United States attempted to economically strangle Haiti, fearing the spread of its revolutionary ideas to their own lands or colonies.

When the history of Haiti is examined more closely, a pattern unfolds: Foreign interference leads Haiti into poverty, with these external powers subsequently exploiting Haiti’s economic situation, driving the country deeper into despair.

Here, slavery was not abolished until 1865, with the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

However, the end of legal enslavement was followed by the implementation of racist Black Codes during the Reconstruction era, which sought to perpetuate slavery under a different guise—continuing the oppression of Black Americans.

Even France kept its distance from Haiti, forcing the nation to pay reparations for its freedom, a sum that equates to $20-30 billion in today’s value.

Furthermore,  in 1915, the United States invaded Haiti, seizing control of its financial institutions and commandeering 40 percent of the country’s income to pay off Haitian debts to American and French banks. This occupation, motivated by strategic and economic interests, lasted until 1934, deeply affecting Haiti’s political and economic independence.

Today, Haiti is battered by political instability and negative media representation, with the U.S. Embassy advising Americans to stay away.

BBC News

Amid widespread protests and political turmoil, Prime Minister Jean Michel Lapin’s resignation in 2020 underscored Haiti’s chronic instability. Lapin served as Prime Minister for approximately 15 months before stepping down.

The political uncertainty, coupled with reports indicating that approximately 80 percent of Port-au-Prince is controlled by gangs, has heightened concerns for the safety and security of Haitian citizens.

The situation demands urgent national and international action to address underlying issues of poverty, inequality, and weak governance, lest Haiti’s descent into chaos worsens.

“The government is completely in shambles, and the gangs have united to prevent any sort of government right now.” Director of Global Studies Kelly Neely said. “[Gangs] are really preventing any groups that are actively trying to support the Haitian people.” 

Neely also pointed out that historically, other nations have refrained from deploying a police force without the authorization of the Haitian government.

I agree with Neely.

As a student in her class, I understand that aid needs to be distributed effectively, strengthening the community it assists. Haiti is a very interesting case, as it has been excluded from major trading partners for over 200 years.

However, as foreign aid is being denied from entering the country, I look at Haiti in not as a country in constant, desolate, and hopeless poverty, but as a country failed by international aid and foreign policies.  

In my experience with the media, I have always come across articles or videos of the violence in Haiti, and how it is a country consumed by war and gang violence. In the periphery of media coverage, I see a country of incredible mountains and beaches, along with a blend of African, French, and Caribbean cultural values.

When the history of Haiti is examined more closely, a pattern unfolds: Foreign interference leads Haiti into poverty, with these external powers subsequently exploiting Haiti’s economic situation, driving the country deeper into despair.

This situation has occurred with several foreign powers, such as the United States, France, and England. If it persists, Haiti will likely accumulate more debt, and other countries may refrain from sending troops to Haiti out of fear of exacerbating the situation further.

To break this pattern, an international force needs to be dispatched to Haiti, preventing any single nation from assuming complete control. Furthermore, the United Nations must oversee the operation, enabling all member countries to vote on the actions of the military leaders. However, this involvement of the UN could potentially backfire in a significant manner.

Five countries, Russia, China, U.S., United Kingdom, and France, all have the power to veto any peacekeeping operation. If any of these countries have conflicting interests in Haiti, they could make a peacekeeping operation impossible.  

To achieve peace, it’s essential for nations to collaborate and acknowledge that Haiti has suffered under the influence of external powers. The path to peace involves empowering the Haitian population with freedom and opportunities, rather than leaving them in poverty.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Edward Flint
Edward Flint, Co-Managing Editor
Edward is a 10th-grader at Brimmer and in his free time enjoys hiking and playing soccer. He enjoys Journalism because it can help other people learn more about the world.

Comments (0)

The Gator does not accept anonymous comments to any of its social media feeds or posts.
All The Gator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *