By: Patted Shamanth, GSDN
The inherent geological location of Haiti renders it prone to flooding and mudslides, which attack Haiti at twice the rate, to which the US plays the geopolitical card to its advantage. A more comprehensive understanding of the predicament must be assessed through the prism of historical events stretching back to Haiti’s independence and its intertwined relationship with the United States.
On January 1, 1804 Haiti proclaimed its independence from France, making it the second-oldest independent country in the Western Hemisphere. Prior, Haitians contributed to America’s glory in the Revolutionary War. However, during Woodrow Wilson, the United States invaded Port-au-Prince in 1914, looted its reserve, and seized it. Up until 1934, the United States reigned over Haiti. Haiti still suffers the effects of imperialism and the dictatorship that was supported by the United States that ruled from 1957 to 1986.
Further, when in 2010, a catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti, killing at least 200,000 people. The US granted $5.1 billion to relief, recovery, and reconstruction efforts. Also, provided for temporary visas allow certain Haitians to seek better economic opportunities in the US. Foreign aid to Haiti benefits the United States because it fosters goodwill and recognizes that the United States has taken a lot from Haiti in the past.
Nowadays, the United States and Haiti are trading partners. Foreign assistance to Haiti benefits the United States because it promotes more trade with the US. The majority of clothing offered at Walmart, JCPenney, Gap, Old Navy, and other well-known retailers is made in Haiti. According to the Association of Industries of Haiti, the country’s garment manufacturing industry has remained stable for decades and currently employs 60,000 people. And this garment industry accounts for at least 90% of Haiti’s overall exports.
Despite what might be expected, the U.S. stands to gain from the employees who enter the country on temporary visas. There is unequivocal economic proof that migrant workers significantly fill vacancies in the US labour market. According to a 2013 research, North Carolina’s unemployment rate peaked at 12% during the worst of the Great Recession. Only 250 of the state’s 500,000 unemployed people applied for the 6,500 available agriculture jobs. Haitian immigrants contributed to the U.S. economy by filling the labour shortage in agriculture.
Not to be outdone, referring to Haiti’s current political instability and its proximity to the United States, the leading Spanish daily “El Pas” stated that Haiti is “on the verge of becoming the ‘Somalia of the Americas.'” Ipso facto, The United States must maintain a stable political calendar in Haiti. The lack of democratic governance, security concerns, and absence of rule of law leads to violations of citizens’ human rights and fundamental freedoms, which disrupts their economic growth and jeopardizes US investment. President Biden pledged a new era of US involvement with Latin America and the Caribbean. following which the 2022 Global Fragility Act made Haiti a priority nation. This intends to offer financing to support stability and lessen and prevent violent conflict.