Mr. Aristide speaks out!

What we have learned in one long year of mourning after Haiti\’s earthquake is that an exogenous plan of reconstruction – one that is profit-driven, exclusionary, conceived of and implemented by non-Haitians – cannot reconstruct Haiti.

No, no, of course not. Profits are bad, M\’Kay?

Education has been a top priority since the first Lavalas government – of which I was president – was sworn into officeunder Haiti\’s amended democratic constitution on 7 February 1991 (and removed a few months later). More schools were built in the 10 years between 1994, when democracy was restored, and 2004 – when Haiti\’s democracy was once again violated – than between 1804 to 1994: one hundred and ninety-five new primary schools and 104 new public high schools constructed and/or refurbished.

How excellent: although this isn\’t so good.

Haiti\’s devastating earthquake in January last year destroyed up to 5,000 schools and 80% of the country\’s already weak university infrastructure. The primary school in Port-au-Prince that I attended as a small boy collapsed with more than 200 students inside. The weight of the state nursing school killed 150 future nurses. The state medical school was levelled. The exact number of students, teachers, professors, librarians, researchers, academics and administrators lost during those 65 seconds that irrevocably changed Haiti will never be known. But what we do know is that it cannot end there.

You never know, profit seeking might mean building to the earthquake code: unlike the building done by the government you led.

3 thoughts on “Mr. Aristide speaks out!”

  1. Aristide claims that the 299 schools his government built were more than had been built since 1804…

    …and the earthquake destroyed 5000 schools.

    Which leads me snarkily to wonder where the other 4402 came from.

  2. FlatEric – just what I was wondering.

    I suspect the true statistic is that his government built more schools than previous Haitian governments had built since 1804 – but that all government schools are still a tiny number compared to private ones.

    And this being Haiti, I would guess that most of the remaining 4402 were built by the Catholic Church, financed by European / American charitable donations.

    In which case his basic premise, that Haiti needs government rather than external action, looks a bit shaky.

  3. “A bit shaky”, oh my sides.

    I’ve experienced a 6.2 tremor. It was a bit scary, and I lost a couple of expensive champagne flutes but otherwise my place was undamaged. I didn’t even lose power or internet. The 7.6 earthquake on 22 April 1991 killed 47 people. The 2003 Bam Earthquake, which was a 6.6 and thus 10 times smaller, killed 27000 people. I have to use a hammer drill if I want to hang a photo. Houses in Bam were made of cow shit. I live in a peaceful democratic society with the rule of law, extensive freedom to engage in commerce and the right to free speech and assembly, and people in Iran live in a theocratic hellhole. ‘Nuff said.

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