Dominican Republic had “better dictators than Haiti” – HSG from US Institute of Peace, Washington DC, 26-01-2011
To the other side of the Atlantic to hear the other side speak — so to speak. With the election morass deepening, a Haiti Working Group meeting under the title “What is Haiti’s Future?” beckons if only because this is the coming out party of Ambassador Thomas Adams, Hilary Clinton’s new Special Co-ordinator for Haiti. His supporting act is Alexandre Abrantes, the World Bank’s Special Envoy to Haiti. There’s nothing new from either of them – it’s just more of the pre-earthquake same. Privatization has been a success in Haiti (for whom?), agriculture has a limited future (and even that revolves around exports it seems), jobs, (meaning quota-driven piece work at below minimum wage in multinational textile assembly plants), are an absolute priority. So their answer to the question “What’s in Haiti’s Future?” seems an unequivocal “Back to the Future.” Even their sense of humor, a useful qualification perhaps, betrays more than they realize. Ambassador Adams cites how he asked his in-house development economists why Haiti had been so outstripped by its neighbour the Dominican Republic in the past 40 years. “The only thing decisive difference could come up with was a better class of dictator.” If that’s the depth of their analysis, no wonder US policy is in such trouble worldwide, not just in Hispaniola. Martelly or Manigat as a 21st century Trujillo or Balaguer? Oh dear, oh no.