Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Haitians Tire of Waiting for 'Big Brother' to Help Protests and Anti-Foreigner Sentiment Are on the Rise in Haiti. Many Haitians Say Foreign Aid Has Fallen Short

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Haitians Tire of Waiting for 'Big Brother' to Help Protests and Anti-Foreigner Sentiment Are on the Rise in Haiti. Many Haitians Say Foreign Aid Has Fallen Short

Article excerpt

On any given day in Haiti, someone is protesting something, somewhere. It could be corruption of officials, the high cost of living, or pay for civil employees.

Ironically it is the blan, Haiti's catch-all phrase for foreigners, who are the target of some of the most pointed criticism. Hailed as heroes when 23,000 United States troops helped overturn a military dictatorship and restore exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to office in October 1994, Americans today are blamed for everything from an illegal occupation force to a failing economy.

Two-and-a-half years after the intervention, the economy is recovering at a snail's pace. Inflation continues to rise, and about half the country is un- or underemployed. "There is an anxiety that transition brings," says US Ambassador to Haiti, William Swing. "These people brought in the policy, so blame them. For the majority of the population, change hasn't come fast enough; for another group, it has come too soon." Port-au-Prince's mayor opened an April benefit concert by a Haitian-American rap group, the Fugees, with a song cursing the blan. A few days later, a Roman Catholic priest, himself a foreigner, warned Haitians that "foreign governments too often hide behind international organizations and nongovernmental organizations to work against the interests and desires of the Haitian population." The US has played a large role in Haiti this century. US troops occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934. The US funneled millions of dollars to the Duvalier dictatorship from 1957 to 1986. And it provided a haven for Mr. Aristide and gave Haiti $235 million in aid on his return. Today, funds from the World Bank, the Interamerican Development Bank, and the European Union help finance Haiti's budget. Troops from the United Nations provide security. The US has provided about $100 million in food aid to Haiti for 1996 and '97. Despite all this intervention, the country is still the poorest in the hemisphere. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.