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Now's a Great Time to Stop Meddling in Haiti

January 13, 2018 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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By: Ryan McMaken

Earlier this week, President Trump allegedly disparaged Haiti, describing it as “sh*thole.” The response has been what you might expect. It's been a torrent of demands for apologies from the Trump administration and commentary on how “troubling” Donald Trump's views are.

Upon hearing of such comments supposedly directed at Haitians, a well informed person might be tempted to think “if only this were the worst thing a US president has inflicted upon the Haitian people.”

But, as is typical for the American left and the mainstream media, uttering mean words is the worst thing a politician can do. Actively meddling in another country's internal affairs and undermining its elections? Well, that's no big deal — unless you're Russia, of course.

Indeed, anyone who has any familiarity at all with the history of US-Haiti relations knows that the US has a long, well-established habit of intervening in the island nation — often in a brutal manner.

For more than a century (beginning in 1915) the United States has indulged in various invasion, massacres, coups, and other interventions designed to keep Haiti in the shadow of the United States and appropriately subservient as desired by American statesmen.

In just the last 25 years, the United States has sent American military forces to the island twice — in 1994 and 2004 — and continues to repeatedly undermine Haitian political institutions every time the nation attempts an election.

If Haiti is as awful as Donald Trump (allegedly) says it is, Trump could do some good by directing the state department, CIA, and all other federal institutions to take a hand's off approach to the island nation. Until then, unfortunately, the United States continues to share the blame for the destruction and corruption of Haitian institutions.

A History of Occupation

As Edwidge Danticat recounts in the NewYorker:

On July 28, 1915, United States Marines landed in Haiti on the orders of President Woodrow Wilson, who feared that European interests might reduce American commercial and political influence in Haiti, and in the region surrounding the Panama Canal. The precipitating event was the assassination of the Haitian President, Jean Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, but U.S. interests in Haiti went back as far as the previous century. (President Andrew Johnson wanted to annex both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Twenty years later, Secretary of State James Blaine unsuccessfully tried to obtain Môle-Saint-Nicolas, a northern Haitian …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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