While Haiti isn’t on most American’s radar, until a disaster strikes, we’ve been screwing the country for the last hundred or so years.
In fact, our “help” has actually caused many of the conditions that made this earthquake even more deadly.
For a great synopsis of our history, read this piece from the St. Petersburg Times site- but especially pay attention to this part:
Nor was that the only time U.S. policy undercut gains made by U.S. aid.
Before 1950, Haiti produced most of its own food. But after the International Monetary Fund persuaded it to reduce import tariffs in the ’80s, U.S. rice poured into the country and put many rice farms out of business. Today, three-fourths of Haiti’s rice comes from the United States.
Greg pointed me to some other great articles- but, I’m going to let him sum them up in comments.
Here is our discussion on the issues- and how reactive solutions aren’t solving problems in third world nations.