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Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Since the devastating earthquake in Haiti revealed such a fragile infrastructure, I've been interested in how it is an African run Haiti has been so poor while a France run Haiti was so rich. And I'm even more interested now since the Dominican Republic seems to be going through what looks like another, milder, period of ethnic cleansing(?).

Part of the answer lies in France, Britain, and the United States cutting off trade in revenge for the slaves freeing themselves. After that, France was able to force African run Haiti to pay France millions and millions of dollars for freeing themselves. And Haiti paying France combined with unstable government there has a lot to do with the poverty that led to Haiti having a poor infrastructure.

And this partially explains why Haiti's infrastructure was so poor prior to the earthquake that killed thousands in 2010.
Grey-Brown Haiti on the Left Side of Hispanola
Green Dominican Republic on Right Side of Hispanola

But how the natural resources on the island itself and humans came together differently on both sides of "Hispanola" is also interesting. The article below explains why the Dominican Republic and Haiti were different from the ground up, from the very beginning.

The Haitian side of the island was less well endowed environmentally but developed a rich agricultural economy before the Dominican side. The explanation of this paradox is that Haiti’s burst of agricultural wealth came at the expense of its environmental capital of forests and soils...

"[However, compared] to the Dominican Republic, the area of flat land good for intensive agriculture in Haiti is much smaller, as a higher percentage of Haiti’s area is mountainous. There is more limestone terrain, and the soils are thinner and less fertile and have a lower capacity for recovery...

This lesson is, in effect, that an impressive-looking bank [when France ran the Haitian side] account may conceal a negative cash flow [results coming into effect when Africans took over] ."