Haiti’s history is inextricably intertwined with that of Jamaica.
It can be said that the Haitian revolution started and ended in Jamaica – Boukman Dutty, long held to have been the instigator of the uprising, was sold by his Jamaican slavemaster to a Haitian plantation owner (guess he didn’t realise he was getting the wrong end of the bargain). And the revolution effectively came to an end when General Donatien Rochambeau fled to Jamaica in 1803, surrendering to the British authorities.
Haiti proclaimed its independence in 1804, and since then has endured a litany of woes that could make for several Hollywood tragedies. The dynamics of race (endless political and economical battles between the mulattoes and blacks), politics (numerous upheavals and egregious abuse of the office of the presidency) and deleterious foreign policies towards this island nation that dared seize their own independence, have combined to make Haiti one of the most impoverished and debt-ridden nations in the world. A remarkable feat, since Haiti (St. Domingue) was once the wealthiest island in the Caribbean! (That’s right, NOT Jamaica, Haiti…by a mile!!)
I won’t have the space here to outline all the factors that have led to Haiti’s modern-day demise (excellent details of her history can be found here – TravellingHaiti.com), but I feel compelled to respond to the ignorant, dogmatic bunk that people insist on spewing when our thoughts and conversations turn to this nation.
“All this is retribution from God for their VooDoo worship”
Are we serious??? Retribution from God??? With one of the highest murder rates in the world, a consistent practice of obeah for centuries, corruption and malfeasance of the highest order in all aspects of our society, and what many would consider a rapid decline in morality and discipline, just “what the backside” is sparing Jamaica from God’s retribution???? Even many of the pastors are corrupt! Being called to answer charges of fraud or rape on a regular basis!
Yes, I’m mad, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!
What kind of God do you serve? The Word preaches forgiveness, and says that all men (yes, even the Haitian ones) have a chance at salvation. So why have all these holier-than-thou Christians taken it upon themselves to speak on God’s behalf, and pronounce fire and brimstone on a nation???
Haiti’s problems stem from:
- Greed – successive presidents up until the 1986 ouster of ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier continuously arrogated totalitarian powers, and amassed great wealth at the expense of the nation’s development.
- Racism – machinations of the mulatto elites repeatedly unseated leaders who did not ensure their constant enrichment, or who would seek to place too much power in the hands of Haitian blacks. These mulattoes were also in large part responsible for the financial rape of the island, as their coffers were always filled before national responsibilities were met.
- Foreign Policy – the British, Spanish, French and the United States, have all contributed – through foreign policy decisions and actions – to the indebtedness and lack of progress of Haiti. An onerous debt to the French, and the invasion by the US under the guise of restoring stability, are but two examples of the many negative foreign policy decisions that have impacted the island (while I must agree that Haiti had indeed become an unstable nation, the history of US occupation anywhere in the world is marked by a self-serving utilisation and harvesting of a nation’s resources, then leaving them high and dry once their craw is full).
Haiti has caused a great deal of its own problems – the nation has had fifty-five (55) presidents in 206 years of independence, many of them lasting only months in office before being assassinated or ousted. In contrast, the US has had forty-four (44) presidents in 221 years, with two successful assassinations. At the time of it’s independence, the vast majority of Haitians (estimated at 500,000 field slaves, and 50,000 mulattoes and house slaves) were illiterate. This would have had an exceedingly great effect on their methods of self-governance and the development and progress of the people and the country.
Sadly, the confluence of all these factors have contributed to our neighbour being several decades behind, and sinking deeper with each new catastrophe. Speaking of catastrophes, Jamaica, other Caribbean nations, South America, the US and all the nations of this world have had as many, if not more, catastrophes as Haiti in the past 20 years. The difference has been our preparedness for these calamities, and our ability to recover from them.
If you have nothing positive to utter or offer on Haiti, the world (and that nation) would be best served if you kept your mouth shut.