By Sir Ronald Sanders, originally posted by Caribbean News Now.
“International interests in Haiti, in addition to checking off an ‘elections done’ box, are largely defined by controlling emigration, maintaining stability, and managing poverty. The latter is approached either through the creation of low wage factory jobs or by channelling toward Haiti vast sums of international aid most of which are captured by national or international elites, with next to nothing ‘trickling down’ to those who really need it. As a result, the root causes of poverty are not being addressed, and inequality continues to plague Haiti’s citizens as lives once full of promise are wasted.”
That’s the observation of long-time analyst of Haitian affairs, Dr Robert Maguire, Professor of International Development Studies at George Washington University in the United States.
This statement by a respected and neutral US academic is important amid the dissonance that has emerged in the last few weeks from certain governments concerning the holding of presidential and other elections in Haiti. Of special significance is Professor Maguire’s remark about “checking off an ‘elections done’ box”.
Haiti’s elections process has always been deficient. Shortcomings and fraud have underlined the imperative of reforming the system so that it truly reflects the will of the electorate. Election observer missions, largely sent by countries that have meddled in Haitian affairs, more in their own interest than in Haiti’s, have repeatedly stamped approval on elections with the objective of merely “checking the box”. They have failed to look beyond lines of voters at voting stations on polling day.
The Haiti Renewal Alliance, in partnership with the George Washington University Center for International Business Education Research (GWU-CIBER), hosted the 7th Annual HRA Business Investment Expo & Conference on GW’s campus June 14-15, 2016.
The Focus On Haiti Initiative previously partnered with the HRA in September of 2015, co-hosting the Haiti Presidential Townhall meeting, available online.
Raju Singh and Robert Maguire
The Focus On Haiti Initiative hosted Haiti: Towards a New Narrative with Raju Singh, the Lead Economist & Program Leader for Haiti at the World Bank on May 3, 2016. The event featured a presentation of the World Bank’s most recent systematic country diagnostic published, co-authored by Dr. Singh in September 2015. Continue reading
Candidate Jovenel Moïse with Professor Robert Maguire
On Monday, April 18, 2016 the Focus On Haiti Initiative hosted a discussion with Haitian presidential candidate Jovenel Moïse. The event continued a broader discussion began on September 15, 2015, when the Focus On Haiti Initiative and other partner organizations hosted a townhall meeting of five Haitian presidential candidates at the George Washington University, which Mr. Moïse was not able to attend. Continue reading
On Friday, February 19, 2016, the Focus On Haiti Initiative hosted a conversation with performer Emeline Michel and Dr. Robert Maguire. In part, the conversation reflected on Emeline’s experiences as a cultural ambassador for Haiti, in the context of Haiti’s reputation as ‘the poorest country in the Hemisphere.’ Continue reading
By Robert Maguire, originally posted by Latin America Goes Global.
February 7, 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the ouster of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier as President of Haiti, ending the 29 year Duvalier family dictatorship. When Baby Doc fled the country in 1986 for exile in France, massive street celebrations burst out, calling his departure Haiti’s second independence. In the weeks that followed, it seemed as if almost everyone wore a tee shirt proclaiming “Haiti Libérée.” Optimism reigned that the misgoverned country would transition in relatively short order from dictatorship to democracy and that life would improve for all, particularly the more than 75 percent of the country’s population surviving on an average of $2.00 a day or less. Continue reading
The Focus On Haiti Initiative cosponsored an event with the Inter-American Dialogue on Monday, November 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. The inaugural Haiti Policy Forum event featured a discussion with US Department of State Haiti Special Coordinator Kenneth Merten. Continue reading