This analysis was written by C. Campagne, a longtime foreign resident of Haiti, and edited by the Haiti Democracy Project
Objectively viewing Haiti at the beginning of 2006, it is impossible to deny that it belongs to the category of failed states such as Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and the Congo.* Yet it is not an obvious exercise to explain how it got that way nor to devise a realistic strategy for lifting it from this sad status.
The present situation owes much to the very circumstances of independence two hundred years ago, which left this beautiful country with its considerable economic potential ostracized by the West, isolated, and viewed in an extraordinarily negative light. The consequences have persisted to the present day. Now the issue is to prevent further deterioration in the security and socioeconomic situation, before Haiti becomes both a humanitarian disaster for its people and an operational base for corruption, criminal and even terrorist activity in the Caribbean.
The Haitian people share a unique history**: the vast majority descend from slaves from different parts of Africa, with internally very different racial characteristics; with a later admixture of adventurers such as French and Germans, who as plantation owners, merchants and shop-owners would exercise a considerable influence on social relationships. In this multicultural society people have remained suspicious of each other. A real nation has never come into existence. Although its people are very proud of how Haiti liberated itself from colonial rule, this justified pride has not led to real fraternization of the Haitian people.
Pursuant to the Code Noir issued by decree of Louis XIV in 1685, the free slaves and colored people of St. Domingue obtained full French citizenship. They could own land, marry, vote and trade. This was progressive for the time. It meant that by the time of the French Revolution, the freedmen had established themselves over four generations. This stratification would endure to the present day. The plight of the slave majority was scarcely noticed. They were not considered humans and were subject to horrible tortures by the French.
* The United Nations describes this phenomenon as follows: “Failing states can no longer fulfil basic functions such as education, safety or administration, caused by eruptions of violence or the existence of extreme poverty. In this power vacuum people become the victim of competing parties and of crime: sometimes the UN or neighboring states intervene to prevent a humanitarian disaster. States not only fail due to internal factors. Foreign powers can knowingly destabilize a country by encouraging ethnic differences or support rebels, resulting in the collapse of a society.”
** Excellently described by James Leyburn, The Haitian People (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1966)
St. Domingue was governed from Paris and the rich white inhabitants lobbied there against the freedmen?s rights. When subsequently the Code Noir was repealed 1771 by King Louis XV, a process began, amplified by the French Revolution and the perfidy of Napoleon, leading to the fusing of the cause of the colored freedmen to that of the black ex-slaves. The French were ousted in 1804. St. Domingue was rebaptized as Haiti. Haiti was the first black country in the world to get rid of its white rulers!
The great feeling of victory and the remarkable fraternization between ex-slaves and coloreds could have been the basis for the formation of a firm and lasting state. This did not happen, however, and the reasons have haunted Haiti ever since. In fact, the black former general Jean-Jacques Dessalines continued the hated French system by demanding total servitude to the state through the implementation of forced labor. Inspectors overseeing the workers formed the basis for a new elite. A new class system came into existence. For fear of Napoleon returning a large army was maintained, which, however was also used to enforce discipline. The army command also started to form part of the elite, as did colored landowners. Dessalines never broke through the color problem.
In 1806 the black former general Henri Christophe proclaimed himself king. He surrounded himself with a black nobility and developed into an enlightened despot who cared little about the constitution which had been designed by “gens de couleur.”
Confined to the north by a civil war, he leased out the land and demanded one-quarter of the harvest for tax, while one-quarter was left for the workers. He was successful in convincing people of the necessity to work hard. This brought prosperity. The workers accepted the orders of the military, which developed into a permanent characteristic.
This sort of mild servitude under Henri Christophe could have conceivably grown into a democracy, but there was no middle class.
The south of Haiti, meanwhile, was not prepared to subject itself to Christophe. There, the colored Alexandre Petion was chosen as the head of state by the Assemblee Constituante. Inspired by the Enlightenment, he divided state lands among the military, which, however, only cultivated them for their own needs and did not develop their productivity. He broke the economic power of his class. Productivity also suffered from the workings of the French law of succession which lets all children share in the land (as opposed to the Spanish law in which only the eldest son inherits). This dispersion of landholding lessened productivity. Supervision from the outside was no longer accepted and individual responsibility disappeared. State lands were occupied, because the people thought they were entitled to them. Petion introduced a system of education, but decided to abolish the tax on the harvest, resulting in an absence of state income. Education has never been funded since. Still, he helped Simon Bolivar in his campaigns in South America, and made considerable payments to France for the recognition of Haiti?s independence. This combination of factors was disastrous for the treasury. A total collapse was the consequence. A period of ambitionless pauperization, massive civil disobedience and steady decline started. “Laissez faire” became the policy of all in Haiti. Haiti, still rich in 1806, was poor by 1818.
This pattern has not changed since. A series of colored or black heads of state followed, usually to be murdered in office. With the introduction of “noirisme,” the dictator Francois Duvalier (Papa Doc) exacerbated racial differences to consolidate his power. Duvalier turned against the coloreds. Many were arrested and tens of thousands died in Fort Dimanche in Port au Prince. The country towns, which had been prosperous, were emptied out. Duvalier assumed all power and centralized it in Port au Prince. Many Haitians left for France, Canada and the United States. Currently the number of Haitians abroad is estimated at two million. Duvalier?s son, nicknamed Baby Doc, inherited the presidency from his father.
Safety and stability
After the departure of Jean Claude Duvalier in 1986 the possibility of a more modern blueprint attuned to the needs of the Haitians arose. Regrettably, this was quickly suppressed by the many army coups d?etat. Haiti did manage in 1987 to choose a new constitution, which had been written by some of the remaining intellectuals. Generally speaking this constitution is considered adequate, although it is open to improvement.
As army control failed, at the end of the eighties a mood of unity and fraternization was beginning to emerge. There were great hopes for the future. Many exiled Haitians returned from the diaspora. Their consernation would be great when the lack of coordination prevented anything positive from emerging.
In 1990 the security situation was finally such that general democratic parliamentary and presidential elections could be held. The former priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide (the Catholic church had expelled him from the priesthood because of his radicalism) was chosen president by a majority of 70 percent. He had been proposed as candidate by all cooperating progressive political groups. Everyone?s hope at home and abroad was put in this man. All expectations to build a democratic state together were pinned on him.
But even during his inauguration Aristide ? a liberation theologist educated by Belgian and Dutch Salesians?sacked the army chief and so set the clock ticking for the first coup against him. He appointed his political ally Rene Preval as the prime minister. Within nine months his main popular opponent, the priest Sylvio Claude, would be killed under mysterious circumstances in the south. When after seven months parliament debated a vote of no confidence, the prime minister refused to appear to give an accounting and senators and members of parliament were threatened with a “Pere Lebrun” (i.e. hanging a tire around someone?s neck, pouring gas over and setting it on fire). Indeed this was attempted.
From the start it was clear that democracy did not mean much to Aristide.
Regrettably in the same fashion ? as has always been the custom? a countercoup was staged by the army and some important Haitian families during the fall of 1991 and Aristide barely escaped with his life to Venezuela, and thenceforth to Washington. There he was introduced to the lobbying phenomenon, to which he would eventually devote a minimum of $7 million of Haiti?s money, which went to former congressmen such as Ronald Dellums ($600,000) and Thomas Downey. He still permanently employs an American attorney.
The negotiations on Governors Island for Aristide?s return to Haiti were initiated by the United States and were boycotted and blocked by both sides using the typically Haitian method of passive resistance known as marronage (on which more later).
The various embargos imposed by Presidents George H. Bush and Bill Clinton to sanction the military delivered a death blow to the assembly industry in Port-au-Prince and caused the loss of many jobs. When this disastrous embargo nevertheless did not cause the surrender of the army, Clinton threatened an invasion by American troops. At the last minute the departure of General Raoul Cedras was realized by the mediator, ex-president Jimmy Carter through negotiations, after which the Americans brought back Aristide in 1994 with much fanfare, accompanied by a large military force. The United States then started training the newly recruited police and coast guard.
Aristide by then had only one more year left in his presidency, because according to the new constitution one is not allowed to serve for two consecutive terms. At that moment, the coast had been for some time regularly inspected for drug smuggling, which suddenly stopped. Soon, too, one of the most prominent political opponents of Aristide, Ms. Mireille Durocher Bertin, was shot to death in broad daylight in Port au Prince. In fact as of that moment the crumbling of the new “democratic state” commenced.
Aristide pushed his buddy Rene Preval forward as presidential candidate. In 1995 he was elected for president for five years. It was not too long before the interior ministry official responsible for the police, Bob Manuel, was threatened because he posed an obstacle to Aristide?s control of the police. Manuel had to flee the country in 1999. His successor was subsequently murdered in broad daylight in the middle of the street. The American forces meanwhile had withdrawn and made way for temporary forces of the United Nations, which also withdrew, leaving the cause of Haitian democracy on its own.
Subsequently confidence in Aristide eroded very quickly. Disappointed, most of his most fervent supporters who, although they knew better, had supported him for a long time, gave up. After his questionable reelection, the leaders of the democratic opposition would ask him to resign. Total ruin set in.
The parliamentary elections, which took place in 2000 under international supervision, turned out to be the subject of serious and massive fraud, confirmed and denounced by the OAS electoral-observation mission. The president of the electoral commission had to flee to the United States after refusing to falsify the results. Photographs exist of heaps of ballots strewn over the streets. Under those circumstances, Aristide and his Lavalas party were pronounced the winners.
Haiti obtained a parliament and a senate consisting only of representatives of Lavalas, because when the fraud went uncorrected, the opposition boycotted every subsequent vote.
The turnout of approximately 10 percent for the presidential elections and the absence of opposing candidates put Aristide back into the saddle.
Due to the low attendance of the Lavalas representatives in parliament a quorum could rarely be obtained. Many of them started dealing profitably in drugs, in the company of members of the police. One convicted Haitian drug trafficker accused President Aristide, in a statement in Miami federal court, of participation in the trade himself. Aristide is known to have many millions of dollars stashed away in foreign bank accounts. Among the eighteen Haitians and Colombians convicted in Miami federal court on drug charges are the former Lavalas president of the senate, a former police chief, former head of palace security, and former head of the anti-drug unit. In November 2005 the prestigious U.S. law firm of Winston & Strawn brought suit against Aristide, on behalf of the Haitian government and telephone company, in Miami federal court. The investigation continues into Aristide?s offshore bank accounts.
Major fraud was discovered in the cooperatives initiated by Aristide, in which many Haitian families put their savings, sometimes with the promise of 10 to 15 percent interest per month. In the end all the money turned out to have disappeared and many lost everything.
Meanwhile many delegations of the Organization of American States traveled to and fro to break through the political deadlock. The agreements they achieved with Aristide were short-lived, victim of the marronage tactics referred to above, and shortly to be described at greater length.
The question remains how the United States ? in the name of democracy ? passively watched as Aristide (who characteristically spoke of himself in the royal we) changed Haiti with corruption, murder, deceit and the plunder of the state coffers into a rogue state.
The United States chose to cling to the status quo rather than defend the democracy it had done so much to encourage. Pretending that this democracy still existed made it easier to immediately return all the Haitian boat people after their interception at sea, while the predominantly white Cubans were allowed to land. The policy was, to put it mildly, racist and contemptuous of the Haitian people.
When in 2003 Aristide tried to pull the university system into his sphere of influence, the students started striking and took to the streets. In answer, in December 2003, the legs of the president of the state university were smashed with iron pipes by Aristide?s Lavalas neighborhood gangs (called “OP?s”). Then things really got out of hand.
For some time a movement had been starting up, ending in the united action of 184 organizations from all over the country, such as the tourism industry, the local oil companies, the chambers of commerce, the unions, women?s and farmers? organizations, taxi drivers, and youth organizations. The Group of 184 sent a “Caravane de l?Espoir” through the country to present and explain a new “social contract” to the populace. (This new draft social contract called for a national dialogue, a new communal beginning, the definition of new rules governing the collective life, the construction of an integrated society enabled by a new form of state at the service of the nation, i.e. of all Haitians, men as well as women.) Some of the Group of 184 were arrested and assaulted by the police and the OP?s. They were pelted with stones and shot at.
They joined the demonstrating students at the end of 2003. They were dispersed by the OP?s and the police. Impressively, tens of thousands defied the violence. They took to the streets of Port-au-Prince day after day, singing old slave songs together. Some radio stations did courageous work by not remaining quiet; frequently these stations were attacked and forced to close down.
Some courageous journalists broadcast their dispatches and editorials under death threat. They were prosecuted, threatened and murdered, as with the well-known journalist Jean Dominique, a former supporter of Aristide, and the young Brignol Lindor, who was beaten to death.
It was the end of December 2003 and January 1, 2004, and the bicentennial of independence would be commemorated in Gonaives. Aristide had invited President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa for this occasion. Most other invitees did not show up. Mbeki arrived by man-of-war and the following day the police suddenly threw a new type of very strong tear gas at the demonstrating crowd in Port-au-Prince. Aristide wanted to monopolize the celebration of this great historical moment. It was a major failure. In Gonaives he had had an OP leader, a former supporter, murdered. The entire population turned against him, the doors of the church where mass was going to be celebrated stayed shut and the official company was forced to return to Port-au-Prince without having achieved its aim. In the end, however, it was not only the people who protested. A group of former soldiers who had been fired by Aristide freed the north, moving around the country unopposed. They then marched on Port- au-Prince.
One can safely take the position that the expulsion of Aristide was accomplished by an overwhelming majority from all layers of society. Among foreigners, only the French minister of foreign affairs Dominique de Villepin recognized the nature of the emergency. The Americans supported Aristide to the end.
The French led the Americans to the realization that Aristide should be encouraged to leave, rather than be supported by the large force of Marines he and the Congressional Black Caucus were demanding. He was brought to Central Africa together with his family. From there on, after a brief Jamaican jaunt, it was arranged that he could move to South Africa.
A Council of Eminent Persons named the interim government. Under these circumstances, the constitution stipulates that the president of the Haitian supreme court becomes the next interim president. This was Boniface Alexandre. Prime minister is Gerard Latortue. In July 2004 this interim government was promised $1.2 billion by the international community, intended to support the infrastructure, to restart the totally plundered state again and to hold general elections at the end of 2005. So far the funds have been paid out only in driblets. This interim government is judged to be very weak. It cannot take many initiatives, because of lack of executives, finances and a trustworthy judiciary.
The present security situation
The French and American troops soon made way for 6,400 troops from the United Nations. A former foreign minister of Chile, Juan Gabriel Valdez, is chef de mission. The troops are composed of representatives from forty-one nations, including China for the first time. The mission is called MINUSTAH and is under Brazilian command.
Ever since the deployment of MINUSTAH, however, it has been blamed for inadequate performance. It is characterized by looking from the sidelines and in particular not systematically disarming the armed gangs of Aristide, which inaction is not understood by the populace. MINUSTAH hides behind its mandate, which calls for support, not supplanting, of the Haitian interim government.
But when leaders of the local community are asked if they would be prepared to help MINUSTAH and local police search for weapons and help disarm, the answer is more than positive, it is enthusiastic, because the Haitian people are glad to improve their own situation. MINUSTAH ignores such opportunities. There is practically no contact between MINUSTAH and the populace.
MINUSTAH has, however, given the impression of deliberately sparing the heavily-armed gangs of Aristide. Several times the Brazilian general who was then in charge made politically oriented statements in this vein. The appararent suicide of the succeeding Brazilian general on January 6, 2006 may shed new light on the compromises the MINUSTAH mission has made that make it so ineffective, if not counterproductive. One example of this is that MINUSTAH has attached an inordinate importance to combating the remnants of the former military, which in general has done good work in the ousting of Aristide and who subsequently volunteered to carry out patrols and protect unsafe neighborhoods. In addition, frequently MINUSTAH is frequently aloof from the remnants of the undermanned Haitian police, which remained ill-equipped for a long time after the departure of Aristide. Only recently a slight improvement in its attitude can be observed. An addition of troops to a total of 8,000 has taken place.
It will be difficult to improve MINUSTAH?s image vis-B-vis the populace, because they are frequently quartered in luxury hotels and frequent good restaurants and enjoy ample tax-free salaries and expense allowances. These missions cost a fortune.
Presently there is justifiable doubt as to whether the general elections called for the local and national government and the presidency can be held in the near future, given the disarray in the Haitian-foreign electoral apparatus.
While recently daily six to seven kidnappings typically take place in Port au Prince in clear daylight, there is a city guerrilla nest to be fought in the slums ? the supporters of Aristide who are heavily armed and financed, do the kidnapping, and demand his return. In February 2005 the state penitentiary was attacked, the doors were opened and more than five hundred hardened criminals were loosed onto the streets.
The people are still waiting for a really systematic search of neighborhoods in the capital and parts of the country.
In recent years the United States has sent all criminals of Haitian origin back to Port au Prince, regardless of whether or not they have ever lived in Haiti. The consequences of this deportation policy to a country without a functioning police are disturbing. Together with these released people the OP?s living in the “bidonvilles,” such as Belair and Cité Soleil, have initiated urban guerrilla warfare. Last year they announced Operation Baghdad and decapitated three captured police agents.
Analysts such as the noted International Crisis Group of Brussels are more and more asking whether elections can be held successfully anytime in the near future.
The Government and the Socioeconomic Situation
Haiti has become a nation in name only. The reconstruction of strong institutions, necessary in order to govern a state properly, so far has not been accomplished.
The country is open to drug-dealing, the populace can only survive by virtue of the checks sent to them from abroad by relatives. Illiteracy is estimated at 48 percent. There are only few youths who get a secondary-school education. The country has to import everything, because little is grown anymore. Problems include millions of unemployed youths, mass joblessness, AID infections rivaling those of Africa, and a massive migration towards the capital. Undernourishment is a fact of life in Haiti. Adolescents no longer want to work the land, they want to become an attorney or engineer and get rich, preferably quickly and whichever way, and leave Haiti as soon as possible. Day by day, the country is falling behind more and more.
The country has no central modern land registry, no adequate population registry, no modern energy policies (an alternative for the use of charcoal was never offered, the continuing logging and the erosion this causes are a major contributing factor to the natural disasters of the last couple of years; all fertile ground washes out to sea). The disaster of Gonaives after a rainstorm in 2004 was one result.
The supply of water is rudimentary. It is better not to mention health care and justice. Education is out of date, frequently based on rote learning, and the majority of the population is made up of children.
Some sort of international guardianship over Haiti for a long period of time is necessary. But the administration of this guardianship cannot be treated as an afterthought by the United States and farmed out to Third World countries. While the contribution of the major Latin American countries is to be greatly appreciated, it cannot substitute for the direct involvement of the dominant power whose interests are directly affected by the existence of a vacuum of power on its geographic doorstep, whereas only secondary interests of the distant Latin American countries are involved.
Such guardianship must coexist with, indeed foster, a Haitian government that should be elected democratically. Even after such election, while safeguarding Haiti?s ultimate sovereignty, the resulting government must be guided in the exercise of that democracy. Its personnel must be continually educated in the basics of democratic government and the organization of a modern state. Many Haitians are capable of administering such a state and need no such education. These Haitian have, however, been scattered abroad or removed from public life by the political chaos of the last half-century, seriously depleting the available human capital as the travails of the electoral commission most recently illustrate. The return of many exiled Haitians would make an enormous contribution to the formation of a modern state.
But for the Haitians as a whole, we need citizenship as a course in school. We need them to learn that an eye-for-an-eye, a tooth-for-a-tooth does not work and that populism has never really borne fruit; that one can only live by the grace of the other and that Haiti offers so many possibilities that it is worth the trouble to exert oneself for this country. Out of this comes a good self-image into which respect for the environment, such as animals and plants, can be integrated.
The Haitian government and the nongovernmental organizations will have to understand how it is possible that nearly all attempts at assistance have remained attempts and no more. Today there is so much knowledge available from all sorts of disciplines that Haiti?s problems can be systematically attacked. But?and this is crucial, for it has been neglected?it all must be properly coordinated. Not only is the failed Haitian state incapable of such coordination. But the advanced countries have yet to assemble a centralized coordination with the requisite political will. The advanced countries have yet to apply available, logical management techniques to the solvable problem that is Haiti.
One can no longer accept the great hunger, malnutrition, lack of all basic living conditions, such as the gigantic AIDS problem, a far-reaching degradation of the environment and at the same time accept a gradual decrease of the international contribution. Cf. the Reports of the IMF and the World Bank (resp. IMF RE-274 of 31 March 2003 and Report 23637 Haiti Country Assistance Evaluation of February 2002 World Bank).
The question is, however, whether the international community is willing and able to supply the necessary long-term stamina, patience and money. It will be a tremendous long- term job during which one will undoubtedly be confronted with a nearly complete powerlessness on the side of Haiti, due to the lack of enough remaining educated people. Without them, the existing mentality becomes a major problem that will be difficult to change.
Haiti has no dearth of good reports and projects, far from it, but they are seldom implemented. Frequently because the international funding is cut off due to political positioning, but also frequently because these reports disappear under a big pile of paper and the successors to the authors of these reports have to start from scratch. Perhaps a systematic review at these frequently well-thought out and expert reports is to be recommended.
It is impossible to write about Haiti without discussing the phenomenon of marronage. Marron means anger and contempt, to evade or sit something out while grinding one?s teeth, to hide.
Marronage is a standard concept in Haiti, a characteristic almost proclaimed to be an art. At every local initiative or initiative from abroad concerning political or other subjects, good or bad, Haitians have developed and refined the characteristic to squash a subject to death, either through gossip, or conjuring some rabbit from some hat, or by not quite reproducing the truth exactly, or promising all kinds of things and subsequently flouting them.
It is saying one thing but doing another. This is a tactic which has become a national art-form from two hundred years of practice. Probably this phenomenon is connected to the slavery period. In practice marronage makes negotiating with Haitian authorities an extremely difficult and long process. It is an effective form of divide-and-rule.
A Haitian does not readily assume responsibility for something. It is always someone else?s fault, which results in bringing things to a standstill and putting people on the wrong track.
A 2005-vintage example of marronage is the tragicomedy with respect to the arrested former prime minister Yvon Neptune. He was accused by relatives of the victims of complicity in a massacre that took place right before the departure of Aristide in February 2004. They accuse him of having initiated this massacre while visiting on-site. In dealing with these charges, the marronage on behalf of Neptune takes advantage of the obsolete Hatian legal system. Aristide and his supporters demand the immediate release of Neptune, who has been weakened by a hunger strike, pointing to his lengthy pre-trial detention. Such detention is regrettably at present normal in Haiti, because the judicial system works very slowly and laboriously. The conspiracy which has unfolded around this has caused among other things the resignation of the interim minister of justice. Charges were finally filed, however, and Yvon Neptune will have to appear before a judge to answer them.
For the socioeconomic development of Haiti to have any chance of success we must have the achievement of peace and security. In its absence there is murder on a large scale, and theft, plunder, rape, drug-smuggling and kidnapping are the order of the day. In this power vacuum the former president is trying to gain a foothold again through the action of his heavily-armed supporters. The risk of his return to Haiti is not small and it would bring a continuation of the existing squalor. In this respect his ties with Brazilian president Lula and other populist South American countries (such as Venezuela) and especially with President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa (where Aristide is exiled) must be watched carefully.
There is a strong suspicion that these countries are cooperating among themselves on a scenario to bring Aristide back to power in Haiti.
In view of the tremendous chaos on an administrative level and the dysfunctioning of the economy, we offer these recommendations to bring about a beginning of law and order in Haiti.
- Under no circumstances can Aristide be allowed to return and he must be given to understand this.
- National reconciliation should be implemented by way of priority: the Lavalas party will have to show proof of good behavior and a constructive plan for the country before being allowed to participate.
- The Haitian constitution should have more guarantees against sudden, undemocratic regime changes.
- Forgiveness of the Haitian national debt is necessary in order to be bring about a fresh start.
- The rehabilitation of the public administration requires in the first place the construction of a properly functioning police force and judiciary system, as well as the reconstruction of social organisations; here especially NGOs can play a role.
- A blueprint for the future of Haiti should be designed with the help of the United States, Canada and other friends of Haiti; in this respect “jumelage” (?twinning?) relations between areas in Haiti with countries, cities or provinces of other countries come to mind.
- Foreign troops will have to be stationed in Haiti for a number of years and the MINUSTAH mandate must be seriously stiffened.
- It is of great importance to train a trustworthy and therefore well-paid police, which presupposes the funding of the salaries involved. The employment of trustworthy former soldiers with the police should be considered.
- Experience with Haiti shows that imposing a democracy, starting some aid programs, walking out and subsequently imposing sanctions because no results were obtained, after which finally some money is given, while remaining blind for reality does not work and is irresponsible from a management viewpoint.
- In order to prevent Haiti from becoming a rogue state in the Caribbean region, it is essential that an integrated approach is developed, supported by the Bush administration, United Nations, ,the World Bank, and the European Union together with a number of countries which are favorably inclined towards Haiti, such as Canada and France.
- As noted, Haiti must be placed under some form of international guardianship for many years, during which the government will be elected democratically and guided in the implementation of that democracy.
- One of the first things which should be dealt with is training the Haitian people in democratic thinking. However, the international community cannot impose such thinking. It will have to be explained why democratic methods work best. It will have to be shown that a democracy carries with it rights but also obligations and that the state is there for the populace and not the other way around. Revenge is futile, but discipline and cooperation can build a better future. Haitians can do this with independence and active involvement, and not with a feeling of semi-slavery or subordination. The Haitians will have to see that populism so far never has brought anything lasting and positive anywhere in the world. Instead, they will have to work on the creation and perfection of political parties operating with freedom of speech and assembly, based on arguments coming from the different layers of the population and acommodating the distinctions of color or national descent.
- Apart from clear legislation and regulation concerning the ownership of land (including a modernization of the land registry), attention to taxation and the collection of import and excise duties is necessary. Reconstruction programs for the benefit of basic needs, such as clean drinking water, education and health care, must be undertaken.
- The national draft laid down in the constitution of Haiti should be used for reforestation with the help of young men and women in order to help restore the endangered ecosystem.
- The creation of jobs through the restoration of infrastructure (notably roads and waterworks), the rebuilding of neighborhoods by the population itself under professional supervision and the commencement of the building of dikes and dams to prevent erosion and natural catastrophes are all on the must-do list.
- On very short notice a grand socioeconomic plan should be activated, which provides the delivery of basic needs, in order to create confidence in the future for and with the poorest of the poor. At the same time this should be combined with courses. Participation in courses should be rewarded with study support.
- Decentralization (already stipulated by the constitution) is urgent in order to decrease the migration of the populace to Port au Prince and to stimulate the reconstruction in parts of the country outside the capital. Many institutes such as government departments and universities or parts thereof should be moved out of the capital to give a new stimulus to the small provincial towns.
- Tourism must be stimulated ? which not only requires national safety, but also the possibility to fly straight through upon arrival at Port au Prince airport to airports to be constructed in the north and south, where the beautiful beaches are. The improvement of infrastructure in general will bring with it a lot of employment for young people.
- Land consolidation will quickly have to be initiated and the rural areas will have to be provided with water and electricity, so the young people do not have to leave.
- In this respect Haiti is a country which preeminently lends itself to a pilot project directed towards an energy policy which is built from scratch with the help of water, wind and solar energy.
- Haiti is very mountainous and has very different microclimates due to the differences in height, which makes it suitable for vineyards, which requires cooperation or foreign investors.
- Organizing international sports events. In this respect one can think of international soccer and tennis tournaments and car rallies in the mountains. This will help deliver Haiti from its isolation and have a demonstration effect.