Haiti: Sad History

Haiti: It’s Sad History
Through January 12, 2010
Striking Gold
• Christopher Columbus sights Haiti in
1492. After the Island becomes a
Spanish Colony, disease and harsh
working conditions devastate the
indigenous population.
Eden Destroyed
• Spain cedes Haiti to France in 1697.
The island's ecology is wrecked as
slaves clear forest and sugar fields.
A Nation is Born
• Following 13 years of revolution,
Haiti becomes independent in 1804.
Former slave Jean-Jacques
Dessalines assumes the title of
Emperor. Rebels kill him two years
later. Civil war breaks out.
Ecological Costs of Freedom
• To pay for their freedom and to
finance the government, the freed
slaves deforested Haiti and sold the
tropical hardwoods. This resulted in
massive erosion and ruined the land
for agriculture which reduced the
country to the abject poverty that
has plagued the country for
America's Back Yard
• Citing the Monroe Doctrine,
President Woodrow Wilson orders
U.S.Marines to occupy Haiti in 1915.
They favor the biracial elite over
black Haitians, deepening
longstanding tensions. The U.S.
withdraws in 1934.
Bad Medicine
• Voodoo doctor Francois Duvalier is
elected President in 1957. "Papa
Doc" vows to extend power to the
black masses but turns the country
into a police state. In 1964 Duvalier is
proclaimed "president for life", a
title that is passed onto his son, JeanClaude, in 1971.
Papa Doc
Francios Duvalier and Jean-Claude
Duvalier ( « Baby Doc »)
Jean Claude – Dictator goes into exile
in 1986
• Switzerland will return
approximately $12 million, which is
only a fraction of all the money that
Jean-Claude Duvalier and his family
embezzled from their country, Haiti.
Duvalier has been enjoying a nice
retirement on the French Riviera
since he went into exile in 1986 (life
must be hard there, compared to
the chaos he left behind).
Hopes Dashed
• In 1990, Jean-Bertrand Aristide wins
the country's first free elections. He
is deposed less than eight months
later. Tens of thousands flee for
Florida in small boats.
New Era, New Problems
• After the ruling military junta agrees
to give up power, Bill Clinton sends
in 20,000 U.S. troups in 1994. HIV
and entrenched poverty ravage the
History Repeats - In 2001 Aristide returns
to power but is forced into exile in 2004.
Natural Disasters
• Hurricanes in
2004 and 2008
hundreds of
2008 Hurricane Track
January 12, 2010
• At 4:53:09 p.m. on Tuesday a 7.0
earthquake, centered only 15 miles
southwest of Haiti's capital city,
rocked the nation. The Red Cross
estimates that between 45000 and
50000 people died in the quake.
Deaths expected to surpass 100,000
Logistical Problems
• What little infrastructure existed in Haiti
has been badly damaged and covered
with debris. Getting the aid that has
been rushed to Haiti to the areas where
it is needed has been next to impossible.
Many have gone three days without
food, water, or medical attention. Bodies
have been stacked up at make-shift