How Did Haiti End Up In This Mess?
First of all, do not forget to watch our documentary, Oasis of Hope! It is a great way to put yourself in our kids' shoes and see what life is like in Haiti. We cannot wait to bring teams back down, but until it is safe, this is the closest you can come to seeing them! Click Here to Watch On YouTube.
If you think I really have an answer to the question asked in the title, then you do not know me very well! My point in writing this blog is to touch on huge, 1,000-mile high issues that have much more specific reasonings behind them that we will not get into. The bottom line is that it is complicated, but it is very important for All Things New and for our kids that we realize, "complicated does not mean hopeless!"
People have a tendency to say things like, "well Haiti is just so corrupt it will never get better." That is not true. Defenders of Haiti place all the blame on outside forces acting on Haiti like she has no will or power of her own. This is also patently untrue.
For a country to be around for almost the same amount of time as America and to still be struggling on so many basic levels, something has gone terribly wrong. I know every country has their own struggles, and many of the things going on in America are intensely negative so that this same type of blog could be written about it.
My purpose for writing this, however, is because things have been so negative in Haiti lately that it could be really easy to write her and her people off. That would be unwise. My prayer is that the struggles happening right now are nothing more than the precursor to a huge spiritual, economic, and social revival that our kids will be able to benefit from in the future.
With that said, think about some of these things and realize that Haiti's situation is not completely self-inflicted though much of it does fall to poor leadership and corruption that has been allowed to happen for far too long.
- Haiti's independence came from a world power, France, that was using Haiti as a slave state. Think, from a logical perspective, when Haiti won her freedom from the more powerful and rich country, as leaders of other countries, who would you choose as an ally? A military and economic leader or a newly formed country with no infrastructure, no leadership, and nothing but natural resources that you could just purchase anyway? Most countries chose France which left Haiti left to her own devices.
- Haiti has never had a really good and strong leader that had only the country's best interest at heart. If you look back through the years, you would be hard-pressed to find a truly good and God-fearing leader. Aristide was thought to be that when he rose from being a Catholic Priest to the leader of the nation. The old saying, "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" took over and Aristide has done more to hurt the nation than almost any other leader.
- American policy that has sent down aid in the form of agricultural staples (rice, sugar, etc.) that the country could already produce has destroyed Haiti's own agricultural standing. At one point, sugar cane was a huge cash crop for the country and they produced much of their own rice. USAID sent down aid in the form of "free rice" and no Haitian farmer could compete against free. Subsidies to sugar producers in America have made it cheaper to import sugar than for Haiti to make it herself leaving sugar cane fields that are now used for nothing more than just chewing the cane and fermenting it for alcohol.
- Government leaders have allowed things to happen that should have never happened and turned their heads for the right price. With labor as inexpensive as it could be in Haiti combined with proximity to America, it would make complete sense for there to be huge manufacturing centers there. At one point Haiti produced almost every baseball used in the MLB. Instability, corruption, and a general lack of organization and unenforceable laws have made it almost impossible for Haiti to take advantage of any of these relationships.
Obviously there is way more to it than this. Every point that I made has a counterpoint and a much deeper explanation not to mention the fact that I completely left out tons of other reasons that Haiti has not been able to pull herself out of the mess she currently finds herself in (lack of education, poor nutrition, a population that has not fought back).
My point is that it is complicated.
My point is to not give up.
My point is that things can and will improve.
My point is to pray.
My friend Lener sent me a message yesterday that simply said, "Matt the life is very difficult in haiti without Jesus, only Jesus who can protect us. Please pray for us."
There is a lot going on, and I know it is hard to wrap your mind around. It is hard for me to understand and I have been down there for 8 years now. The point is that is complicated, but complicated does not mean hopeless. Join us in prayer for what is currently happening there because we know that things can change, and that things will change, and we are looking forward to that soon!