Haiti’s earthquake brings nation’s disaster to its leaders
Posted by sanityinjection on January 13, 2010
As the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince lies in ruins in the wake of yesterday’s earthquake centered just 10 miles from the city, I cannot help but be struck by the notion that what the earthquake has really done is to force the nation’s elite to suffer the same disastrous conditions that the rest of Haiti has been living under for decades.
Haiti is, and has been, a “failed state” under any reasonable definition of the word. Its people suffer not only from widespread poverty, but horrible sanitary conditions and an incidence of disease that would make the most underdeveloped African nations recoil with horror. Successive corrupt governments continue to enrich themselves with foreign donations at the expense of the people, while the best and brightest Haitians flee for a better future in the United States and never return. The nation’s problems have defied the efforts of international relief organizations for years. Haiti’s failure is further thrown into sharp relief by the progress made in recent years by the neighboring Dominican Republic – once as poor as Haiti, but now improving steadily thanks to enlightened leadership.
So now that the villas of the Haitian leadership and economic elite are in ruins, and they are sharing the fate of their countrymen, could this experience lead to a new path for Haiti? One would like to think so, but the island nation’s sad and turbulent history suggests otherwise.