Responding to Haiti

By Denebola
Published: February 2010

The South response to Haiti is nothing if not generous and compassionate; from door-to-door cash collection to concerted student efforts, the entire South community has shown extraordinary empathy towards the Haitians in the aftermath of the disastrous earthquakes.

President Barack Obama has pledged help Haiti “to the very end, and this is exactly what should be done. There is no doubt that in this time of tragedy, the devastated country deserves all the aid necessary from its neighbors.

The entire nation has demonstrated admirable leadership in spearheading the relief movement’€which is only natural, considering the close relationship between the Haitian and American governments. The United States has had a long history of intervention in Haitian politics, which has led some to question to what extent and for how long America’s effusive measures at earthquake relief should last.

During the Cold War, the United States supported the brutal regimes of Haitian President François Duvalier or “Papa Doc, and his successor, Jean-Claude Duvalier or “Baby Doc, as bulwarks against the communism of Cuba. Then, in 1991, the States aided the military coup that deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, leading to a mass exodus of Haitian refugees into America and the deployment of American troops in Haiti in “Operation Uphold Democracy.

The issue of dependence is a sticky one, but the fact is that the constant aid to Haiti for the past few decades has made it impossible for the nation to sustain itself without external aid. The government and economy are both riddled with corruption, and the dumping of American food aid has undermined local agricultural production, stunting the economy and establishing Haiti as the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

While Denebola firmly supports the relief efforts towards Haiti, it also calls for the United States to use this extension of humanitarian support as an opportunity to reorganize its relationship with the struggling nation.

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