New Pirates of the Caribbean


Tourism in Haiti is big business and set to get even bigger. Yet while most independent visitors to the country stay with family members or are off-road backpackers, the government is focusing its efforts on high-end luxury travel from North America, Europe and East Asia. 

In our Briefing New Pirates of the Caribbean we argue that Haiti's tourism model - touted as the solution to its economic stagnation - is exclusionary and damaging for the poor majority. Multi-million dollar investments that could potentially revolutionise Haiti are being spent on making life much more comfortable for the foreign visitor and the country's elite, cutting most Haitians off from any opportunities to benefit.

Our Briefing features a story on Île-à-Vache, a 20-square mile island off the south-west coast. Declared an area of "public utility" in 2013, the concerns of local residents regarding a proposed tourism "development" project were ignored. Forced expulsions, unlawful imprisonment, threats and beatings followed. In a place where they thought fewer people would be watching, the government rolled out its plans, bulldozing over the rights of local residents and destroying livelihoods in an effort to silence opposition.