Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Haiti Connection....A Poor Answer for the Slavery Issue

Haiti…it’s been a week and one day since the devastating earthquake and every day we hear more and more heartbreaking stories tempered with a triumph here and there.

As I write this post one major news outlet reports 200,000 dead and 1.5 million homeless….and now a second earthquake.


Haiti has had such a sad and terrible history considering certain accolades. Haiti was the first independent nation in Latin America. The island-nation is the first black-led country in the world from post-colonial times, and Haiti has the distinction of being the only nation that gained independence as part of a successful slave rebellion.

Yet…..falling victim to such a horrific natural disaster isn’t the only time Haiti has fallen prey to hard times.

Times have always been hard for Haiti. The list is long, but to be brief I have to mention exploitation at the hands of the Spanish, the process of being racked with infectious diseases brought by the so-called civilized Europeans and the virtual rape of capital resources by Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier during recent times.

Economically, Haiti is the poorest country and least developed in the Americas. Most of Haiti’s citizens live on $2 or less per day making it is easy to see why the literacy rate is 50%. Sadly, the rampant poverty forces many of Haiti’s children to become unpaid house servants…virtual slaves.

…and Haiti even has a small foot-note in the history of the United States involving slavery, colonization, and Abraham Lincoln.

Liberia is the colony most often cited in American History textbooks, but what many don’t realize is a colony for freed slaves was proposed along the coast of Haiti….and by President Lincoln.

It was a scheme that the Lincoln approved of, but then had to back-track and totally repudiate.

See the whole story over at American Presidents here.


Deborah Stewart said...

Wow - I didn't know all of that. My daughter and I love history and it so interesting to read a historical perspective on current issues and events.

DegreeFinders said...

I don't think the history of Haiti is really all that different than a lot of other countries, including here. Native American Indians were here first, yet people came over, stole their land, killed off nations of people and then gave them reservations and protected land to try to make up for it.

As for Haiti. The recent events are sad. It's always sad anytime any place of people have disasters (natural or otherwise) impact their lives, especially on such a major scale. I would hope they can come together and get their lives back on track over there, but given the past events I wonder if their leaders and the people living there have learned enough to make their future better.