Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm Thankful

I've taken a bit of a break from posting lately, but wanted to share my thoughts on the situation in Haiti while I've got a sounding board.

First off, I'm very thankful that I am where I am right now. Don't get me wrong, I love Caribbean countries and I'm fascinated with Central America, The Caribbean, and South America, so Haiti would be some place that I would travel to, if I could do so safely. That's remains in question naturally, but right now especially, safety would be questionable.

I feel as if the country has big enough problems that this became a "straw that broke the camels back" sort of scenario. Haiti has really steered clear of UN help recently and is obviously in need of it. There are many reasons why Haiti is struggling economically as of late, but here's a bit of a window in to why and how Haiti got to be so poor. There seems to be a common them of imperialism that pops it head throughout Haiti's history, and then abandonment after. Those two things have worked in other countries, but there is a bad cocktail of combinations that occurred in Haiti.

Slave labor created a great productivity during the French Colonial period. This left a lasting population of freed slaves that were uneducated, unemployed, and socially inept after the French backed out of Haiti. That's a powerful combination when you consider the social and economic implications. Combine that with the incredible amount of debt that Haiti incurred with their desire to be recognized by Europe on an governmental level. This debt plagued the Haitian government for almost 100 years. Imagine the amount of interest that they payed the French government to do so.

Then you come upon the U.S occupation of Haiti, which adequately did it's part to create the downward spiral that we're now seeing in Haiti. Guilt may play a big part in our agenda with regards to aid relief and assistance during these major earthquakes that rocked Haiti as well.
The US Marines took over the banks, revenues, government servants, and created a new constitution for Haiti in 1915. The Haitians have never really recovered from the creation of aid relief and the governmental influence from US backed governments. This has been a pretty lethal cocktail.

Then we have something similar to what's going on in Jamaica. Exporting food crops instead of relying on their own resources and planting techniques. This has caused prices to increase as the fuel costs and transportation costs rise with importing/exporting. Couple that with low income wages and you get a pretty disastrous scenario as well.

So, why am I thankful? I'm thankful because I've been fortunate to be born in to the US economy and be well educated. With that, I've not been stuck or without options in my life. For that, I'm very thankful. I do feel great empathy for the people of Haiti. I hope and pray that things stabilize and life gets back to some sort of normalcy for them. God willing, it will.

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