Shut down Haiti

2010-01-24 11:45

By Peter Vundla

HAITI is a God-forsaken country. God-forsaken not in the sense of

the drivel spewed out by the right-wing evangelist, Pat ­Robertson, who believes

the massive human suffering to be a result of a “curse” because that nation is

founded on “a pact with the devil”.

No: Haiti, in my view, is God-forsaken

because, difficult as this may be to imagine, it has no raison d’être as a

country or nation.

Proud history or not, should not the major Unisa symposium on

Haiti, envisaged on these pages last week by ­Professor Shadrack Gutto of the

Centre for African Renaissance Studies, consider shutting the island down as an

option in ­assisting the people of the ill-fated nation?

Drastic measures call for drastic action. Consider some of the

following facts and milestones in the life of this country, where national

cohesion is defined by degradation, misery and despair:

As editorialised in City Press, “disaster seems to

disproportionately befall this poor Caribbean country”. ­Haiti has had four

hurricanes in succession over a period of just 30 days. More are predicted, and

there is no defence against them since less than two percent of Haiti’s forests


The country has been a veritable playground for colonisation and

imperialism perpetrated by France, Britain, Spain, Portugal and recently the

United States of America. This has led to untold impoverishment of


The people of Haiti have been subjected in recent years in their

200-year history to unimaginable violence, murder and mayhem by successive

dictators such as the Duvaliers and their marauding force of ­Tonton Macoutes,

whose love of wielding machetes brutalised Haitians. Not without reason has

Haiti been called “an international crime scene”.

The country had never known constitutional democracy until

Jean-Bertrand Aristide became its first freely elected leader in 1990. But he

was to be ousted not once, but twice.

Nature, too, has not been kind to Haiti. Scientists have

determined that the recent earthquake is the largest in the Caribbean in more

than two centuries.

The country had three earthquakes in the 18th century: in 1701,

1751 (which destroyed ­Port-au-Prince) and 1770.

Haitians have been rendered forever helpless. Per capita income

is $450 (about R3 375) a year; the nation cannot feed itself and imports half of

its food; access to clean water for millions is unavailable, even in the cities;

Haiti’s government is highly dependent on foreign aid; there is no direct

foreign investment; the infrastructure has almost completely collapsed; and the

country, with some 40 percent of its population under 14, has one of the world’s

highest mortality rates.

One could catalogue even more reasons that militate against ­Haiti

becoming a prosperous and sustainable nation.

Andrew Buncombe of UK newspaper The Independent has accurately

observed: “Much will be written about Haiti’s ‘chaotic past’ and its status as a

‘failed state’. There are reasons for this. Few have anything to do with the

beleaguered people of Haiti.”

So, then, what is to happen to our brothers and sisters in Haiti

once we shut down this hell-hole?

It has been reported that thousands of Haitians attempt to flee

their country each year, unable to endure a living hell. I propose we help those

who want to leave the damned island, and resettle and integrate them, in the

most humane manner, in countries such as South Africa, the United States, Cuba,

France, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Canada.

The time for band-aid solutions to Haiti’s woes is over.

Vundla is a businessman and concerned citizen of the world

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