Jonathan M. Katz

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‘Haiti’s government has become far weaker and more riven by corruption than the one that flailed in 2010.’ Photograph: Reginald Louissaint Jr/AFP/Getty Images

The latest statistics from Haiti’s August 14 earthquake are stark: at least 2,207 people have been confirmed dead and more than 12,000 injured. More than 130,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. Aftershocks continue, and new landslides in the wake of the follow-on Tropical Storm Grace mean those numbers are expected to rise in the coming weeks.

But the most dispiriting number is 11. That is the number of years that passed between Haiti’s last major earthquake and this one – years in which corruption has hollowed out the state, armed gangs have expanded their territorial control, and political turmoil has intensified, culminating in the assassination of the president, Jovenel Moïse, in July.…  Seguir leyendo »

When a major earthquake clobbered Haiti in January 2010, a shift in how international officials talked about solving the country’s ills was already under way. Starting with then-U.N. special envoy, Bill Clinton, the word “aid” had fallen from use, in favor of the new buzzword in international development: “investment.” The term was sexier, more optimistic and promised something not only for recipients but also givers with diminishing economic and political confidence: a return.

After the catastrophe, investment fever was everywhere, expressing itself in hundreds of millions of dollars poured into efforts to scale up Haiti’s moribund export sector, particularly in low-wage textile factories, tourism and niche-crop agriculture, such as mangoes.…  Seguir leyendo »