Haiti Is under the Grip of Wealthy Elites, U.S. Finds

By 1995, Newsday | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), April 3, 1995 | Go to article overview

Haiti Is under the Grip of Wealthy Elites, U.S. Finds


1995, Newsday, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Among the Haitian VIPs mixing with President Bill Clinton were some of this impoverished country's richest people. In U.S. Embassy circles they are known as MREs - the morally repugnant elites.

"They control everything," said one veteran American official who asked for anonymity. He is involved in a dispute over U.S. policy toward a handful of mulatto families who for generations have bribed government officials while extracting millions from a society where the average worker is lucky to make $6 a day.

The wealthy elites have amassed fortunes by avoiding taxes so that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and previous governments have had little revenue to finance government services. For decades, Haiti has been almost totally dependent on religious charities and U.S. and other international aid to fend off hunger and epidemic disease.

Based on U.S. documents and interviews with Haitian scholars, business and political leaders as well as U.S., Latin American and European diplomats, the elites today are at the core of "The Mix," the Haitian euphemism for corruption. The Mix has left most of the 6.4 million people without roads, schools, hospitals, housing, public transportation, electricity, sewage or a safe water supply.

Breaking the wealthy elites' grip on government and business may be Aristide's most dangerous mission. When he tried it before, the elites underwrote Gen. Raoul Cedras' 1991 coup, which sent Aristide into an exile that ended only when the United States restored him to power by force of arms last October.

Ironically, the elites benefited from the bloodless U.S. invasion of 21,000 troops that has cost an estimated $900 million of U.S. money. Piers, fuel storage tanks, warehouses and other property used by the U.S. military provided the wealthy who owned them with a windfall, U.S. embassy officials said.

While in exile in Washington and since his return to office, Aristide has been pressured by U.S. government officials to seek an accommodation with his wealthy opponents. "It's part of the democratic process," said a senior U.S. official. "They are Haitians, too.'`

But some Haitian experts believe the wealthy elites will soon corrupt Aristide government officials and derail any efforts to finance even modest public welfare programs.

Among them, the elites control Haiti's petroleum, telephones, electricity, cement, sugar, flour, plastic, soap, cooking oil, steel and iron.

Writing in the journal Current History, Professor Anthony Maingot of Florida International University in Miami argues that the failure to prosecute the wealthy elites and those involved in drug smuggling is a signal that there are no penalties for criminal behavior in Haiti.

Many of the elites are descendants of about 200 mainly German immigrants who took control of the country's international trade in the 19th century and exploited Haiti throughout the 20th century.

Most notable are the families Mev, Acra, Brandt, Madsen and Bigio. They refused to be interviewed for this story or were out of the country and unreachable. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Haiti Is under the Grip of Wealthy Elites, U.S. Finds
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.