It is still far too early to determine the scope of the horrific earthquake that struck Haiti over this week, but that poverty suffocated country has experienced a long and tragic history of government unrest and corruption. I personally have been to Haiti twice and witnessed first-hand the staggering degree of poverty that has crippled the country for decades.
When I investigated some background information for this piece I was astounded to learn of the involvement the United States has had in various interventions dating back to 1910. I had always thought it was the French colonial influence, but the Germans had a substantial influence along with American financial interests over many years. For a good background summary I suggest you look at the Wikipedia report.
Surely you, too, will be shocked by our repeated aggressive interventions into the affairs of this country. Apparently the Ugly American influences have long been felt. Foreign financial pressures and political unrest have long stifled the advancement of sound economic interests and corruption with continued violence has long been a fact of daily life.
When thinking about Haiti I remember the stark reality of a country without trees because the poor cut them all down for firewood to prepare their daily meals and for support of their tin shacks. People walking around in a haze, because they were starving, and then there was the obvious wealth of the elite class, which gave a day vs. night comparison to life in a country stagnating in unbelievable poverty.
Conditions will not improve in this sad country until order, good governance, and basic health issues are resolved. Haiti has a long road to climb and a successful government and economy will not occur for many years to come. Politics and foreign interference has destroyed a beautiful land, and the people have long suffered unnecessarily. The people of Haiti deserve a fair deal, not foreign interests taking advantage of their destitution.
American military personnel from all branches of the service are already on the ground or will arrive shortly. The United States has a long history of stepping forward to assist people around the world in their hour of need. But, with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US cannot afford to get bogged down in Haiti, too. It is now time for the United Nations to prove its mettle, especially the countries that refuse to assist us in the Middle East conflicts. Time will tell if the Haitian people are assisted or get screwed again.