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Mon Jun 8, 2015, 03:16 AM

The Future of a Failed State

The Future of a Failed State

Nations like Haiti don’t “fail” because of their people, 
but because they’ve been relentlessly exploited by 
the more “developed” world.


(Bettmann / Corbis / AP)

How does a state fail?

It’s a question you can’t help asking yourself as you make your way in Haiti, through the chaos left by four severe tropical storms in 2008 and the destruction wrought by the 2010 earthquake—some of which is still evident on the streets of Port-au-Prince today, five years later. It’s not just the unrebuilt infrastructure that raises this question, but also the human and political waste caused by so many years of corrupting collaboration with the United States, the United Nations and outside nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

A state doesn’t fail because of some innate inferiority in its people. I make this obvious point only because people who don’t know Haiti often try, as subtly as they know how, to claim this is the case. They’re wrong: a state fails because of its history.

Haiti from its inception has been a peculiarly globalized entity. The slavery with which the French colony enriched itself was a global labor and agricultural phenomenon, bringing people from Africa to the Americas in order to serve as free labor on plantations owned by Europeans. Haiti’s revolution, too, was a global phenomenon, linking those same three continents. Haiti’s early debt was global; its economics under slavery and, later, the US occupation were global as well—and still are.

Many readers of The Nation may know something of the remarkable history of this country, since the magazine has been following it for more than a century. But for those of you coming to it cold: Haiti had unbelievably promising beginnings. Though tarnished by centuries of slavery, the country was the creation of some of the great geniuses of the 1700s. But the enormous potential of these singular men was destroyed by France, which kidnapped and killed some of Haiti’s ablest leaders, most notably Toussaint Louverture. In 1825, a scant two decades after Haitian independence was declared, France demanded an indemnity of 150 million francs (roughly estimated at $20 billion in today’s dollars) for the property lost by French plantation owners during the quite bloody, quite fiery revolution—one that Haiti had won.

Full story:
http://www.thenation.com/article/198905/future-failed-state

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newthinking Jun 2015 OP
brer cat Jun 2015 #1
Doctor_J Jun 2015 #2
appalachiablue Jun 2015 #3

Response to newthinking (Original post)

Mon Jun 8, 2015, 07:09 AM

1. Well worth reading the entire article.

I was vaguely aware of the centuries of slavery and the domination by foreign corporate interests, but the depth of destruction really didn't hit me until I read this chronology of Haiti's history.

Thanks for posting, newthinking. K&R

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Response to newthinking (Original post)

Mon Jun 8, 2015, 05:31 PM

2. China will be using the US like this when TPP passes

 

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Response to newthinking (Original post)

Mon Jun 8, 2015, 07:33 PM

3. K & R. Great article. I recall my uncles & father mentioning Papa Doc from their

fishing trips to the Carib. from FL. Haiti's tragic, chronic state of poverty and exploitation is absolutely not due to the people there. I've met Haitian immigrant women who worked for my aunt in in south Florida, they were helpful and kind.

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