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Haiti: Persistent Devastation And Unreachable Stability

2157 words - 9 pages

The Republic of Haiti is located in the western hemisphere located between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. This mountainous landscape occupies a western portion of the island of Hispaniola that it shares with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is marked with fertile valleys, mountain ranges, plateaus, and dozens of small streams and rivers. Its tropical climate tendencies are hot and humid, consisting of heavy rainfall and reoccurring natural disasters. Its location near the center of the hurricane belt contributes to these storms in addition to flooding, earthquakes, and occasional droughts. Mostly residing in urban areas, the Haitian population mainly consists of Africans while the majority of others are of mulatto decent. The widespread AIDS disease and cholera brought from UN troops reflect main health factors that negatively impact the population. These untreated epidemics are apparent in statistics of higher death rates and lower life expectancy. Particularly after the devastating 2010 earthquake, Haitian peoples often migrate to the United States to escape destitution in hopes of discovering the “American Dream”, obtaining jobs, and sending money home. Haiti’s geographical location not only contributes to its poor physical conditions but also presents a detrimental obstacle to its economic standing.
Founded by Christopher Columbus is 1492, the country of Haiti is infamous for its devastating poverty rates and overall political instability. Haiti, then known as Saint-Dominque, was once a land illuminated with slave-filled plantations where nearly 800,000 Africans recruited by Spain and France supplied a large production of sugar cane, cotton and coffee. In August of 1791, however, this profitable land experienced, “the largest slave revolt in history” (Dubois 4). Led by Toussaint Louverture, African slaves took over the northern plantations by burning crops, destroying machinery used to process sugar cane, and brutally murdering their masters. In 1794, the French government officially abolished slavery throughout Haiti. This revolution of independence from colonial rule, however, remained detrimental to the country for a majority of neighboring countries still condoned slavery, therefore severing their relationships with Haiti. In addition, “the plantation system—the engine of the Haitian economy—lay in ruins after years of warfare” (Nations Online). This economic isolation combined with prolonged hierarchical disputes marked the beginning of Haiti’s lingering struggle of interdependence among the population.
The core source of Haiti’s economic stability originated from the export of plantation production. After the slave revolt, the newly freed Africans refused to return to the plantation system of which they once labored. Instead, they proceeded to seize the once enslaved land and began their own system of raising livestock and crops for their individual benefit. The government, becoming frustrated with the individualism, initiated a...

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