Haitian Protests Against Economic Instability And Political Corruption


David Smith Jr.

He recently graduated with a BA in Economics from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill and will pursue a MA in Applied Economics from American University. His present concentrations of study and research include international trade and macroeconomic policy, along with their effects on global welfare, economies, and the environment. After finishing his graduate education, he hopes to become a part of the U.S. policy making process through consulting and research.

The ongoing protests in Haiti are troubling United States and Canadian officials, as they warn against tourists travelling there. These demonstrations advanced ferociously for months. Amid the outrage, the working class demonstrators campaign against the nation’s evident inflation problem and its adverse effects. Simultaneously, this unanimous public outcry denounces the alleged embezzlement of funds provided by the Venezuelan oil program, PetroCaribe, to Haiti and other Caribbean countries. Rallies escalated even further in the past few days, as demonstrators stoned the Presidential palace, with many left dead or injured.

President Jovenel Moise finally issued a national address to this public dissent earlier this week. He announces, “I heard the voice of the people. I know the problems that torment them. That’s why the government has taken many measures. I asked the prime minister to explain them and to apply them without delay to relieve misery.” Also, President Moise apparently still holds the backing from international influencers. For example, the United States recently affirmed, “We also encourage the full implementation of sound economic policy measures for the benefit of the Haitian people…we urge the government to redouble its efforts in fighting corruption and in holding those implicated in the PetroCaribe scandal accountable.” However, citizens did not appear to accept this justification. A leader of Moise’ opposition declared, “If Jovenel Moise does not want to step down from power we are going to name an interim president in the coming days.”

Either way, Haitian nationals demand adjustments and, ultimately, justice. Witnessing the concurrent international manifestation of economic growth, Haitian citizens possibly question the absence of their own share in that pronounced wealth. This situation is an essential instance for a new proposal on foreign political intervention in developing nations’ domestic affairs, just as the political climate in Venezuela has already become. For now, the theory of modernization appears to have run its course regarding the foundation of economic development. Most developing countries operate in a complex, interconnected geo-political system, not a vacuum. As a result of globalization and trade, external factors strongly influence the effectiveness of domestic policy, especially of economic growth. Likewise, historical and cultural context limit the fiscal and monetary options that developing nations have at their disposal as well. Therefore, those leading Western powers need to acknowledge their role in this disadvantageous existence and become a genuine part of its solution.

During periods of worldwide colonialism, countries positioned in the Global South experienced economic subjugation and enslavement. Yet the standard continues in the form of neo-colonialism, as these newly independent colonies experience autonomy and coinciding dependence on their previous administrator. Haiti underwent drastic change, as the nation broke free of French suppression. Even still, the Haitian government quickly experienced American direct settlement and fiscal management. This direct intervention in Haitian affairs left the country essentially unpredictable in political and economic terms. Coincidentally, natural disasters and health epidemics desolated the country. Thus, the Haitian federal government unfortunately had little time to establish a legitimate democratic process or an individualized plan for enduring economic advancement.

Now, Haiti seeks a new direction, which inevitably involves reform of its economic infrastructure. Yet, the question becomes: how much should they incorporate foreign involvement? Also, is the United States responsible? If so, how much should they intervene? Haiti is dependent on foreign aid and intervention. Yet its citizens obviously fear the continuation of the neo-colonial cycle. For this reason, they demand to exercise their democracy, and rightly so.


About David Smith Jr.

He recently graduated with a BA in Economics from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill and will pursue a MA in Applied Economics from American University. His present concentrations of study and research include international trade and macroeconomic policy, along with their effects on global welfare, economies, and the environment. After finishing his graduate education, he hopes to become a part of the U.S. policy making process through consulting and research.