PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haiti continues to be on the spotlight, but for all the wrong reasons.
As the first small black Caribbean nation to take on the might of a European colonial power; France, Haiti gained its Independence in 1804.
Haiti has nothing much of substance to boast of, other than 200 plus years of self-rule.
The small island nation has the dubious distinction of being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. But why is this so?
When Haiti gained its independence from France, it was forced to pay a large indemnity to the French, or else face isolation from many countries, including the United States, because they feared that the successful slave revolt in Haiti would inspire their slaves to revolt too.
The Haitian people have also suffered political oppression at the hands of their own ‘leaders’ at the behest of powerful foreign players that have no regard for ordinary Haitians.
The Duvalier’s, Jean Francois (Papa Doc) and Jean Claude (Baby Doc) raped and plundered the resources of the island for decades from 1957 to 1986.
Haiti’s once-fertile Agricultural lands have now been laid waste, through soil erosion and over reliance reliance on the United States for its food supply.
Additionally, Haiti’s illiteracy level rank among the highest in the world. In short, the masses of the Haitian people have suffered years of debilitating and depressing misery.
Fast forward to January 12th, 2010, when Haiti was devastated by a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake which resulted in over 200,000 deaths and infrastructural damage ranging between $ 7.8 billion to USD 8.5 billion.
This disaster was waiting to happen. Most of the buildings are built on slopes without proper foundations, not enough steel, and improper buildings practices. There’s no national building code in Haiti.
The damage to Haiti’s infrastructure also resulted in a Cholera outbreak in October 2010, which to date has claimed about 82,000 lives.
Additionally, since this earthquake hit, Haiti has been struck by a series of hurricanes; including Matthew, Sandy, Thomas, Laura, and most recently Grace, which came on the heels of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake which struck the Island on August 14th 2021.
The effects of these consecutive natural disasters could have been mitigated if the political structure in Haiti was stable.
From being at the mercy of foreign dominance, including by the United States, Haiti has struggled over many years to be politically stable.
The Duvaliers were just bandits, masquerading as leaders of the people, who instead of educating the people thrived on their ignorance to enrich themselves.
Even its first democratically elected President; Jean Bertrand Aristide, a Roman Catholic cleric, was the victim of two coup de tat and had to flee to South Africa, eventually returning in 2011, but staying out of politics.
The present-day Haiti, the acting Prime Minister is implicated in the assassination of President Jovenel Mosie on July 7th, 2021.
According to reliable sources, there’s sufficient evidence to prove that Prime Minister Ariel Henry and one of the suspects Joseph Badio were in communication just before the assassination. Phone calls between both men placed, Badio just outside the Presidential residence immediately before the assassination.
The Chief Prosecutor has requested that charges should be laid against the Prime Minister. While he has not yet been charged and has denied any involvement in the assassination of the President, Prime Minister Henry has been asked not to leave the country.
It gets murkier by the day and the world watches and waits for the next chapter in this tragic saga that is Haiti.