Hope for a Fragile State
Publication Year: 2006
“This book...avoids the political debates about Jean-Bertrand Aristide that dominate so many current writings about Haiti. Its focus is the society itself, the sources of difference, the origins of violence, and the possibility of change....The superb work done by the editors has established a high standard for future efforts.” (Terry Copp and John English from the Preface)
Haiti is a country in the midst of a political, economic, ecological, and social crisis. Violence has sabotaged attempts to establish the rule of law, and state infrastructure is notably absent in much of the country, leading to an overall climate of insecurity. Haiti: Hope for a Fragile State sheds light on the varied and complex roots of the current crisis, dispels misperceptions, and suggests that the situation in Haiti, despite evidence to the contrary, is not completely desperate. It brings together diverse perspectives on development, the military, history, NGOs, and politics and discusses the peace-building efforts of the past, suggesting ways to move forward to make Haiti a strong state.
Co-published with the Centre for International Governance Innovation
Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
This study of contemporary Haiti, ably edited by Yasmine Shamsie and Andrew Thompson, derives from a conference on Haiti as a fragile state held at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo, Ontario,Canada. The sponsors were CIGI, the Centre for Foreign Policy at the University of Waterloo, the Laurier Centre for Military...
Haiti: Hope for a Fragile State is the product of a conference on Canada's current "3-D" (defence, development, and diplomacy) engagement in Haiti, that took place in Waterloo, Canada, in early November 2005. As with any edited volume, this book would not have been possible without the help and support of a number of individuals and organizations...
List of Acronyms
Introduction—Haiti: Hope for a Fragile State
In his book Collapse, the American biologist/ecologist Jared Diamond ends his chapter on Haiti and the Dominican Republic by asking whether there is any hope for Haiti.1 Although pessimistic, it is, unfortunately, a fair question. At present, Haiti is a divided country in the midst of a political, economic, ecological, and social crisis. HIV/AIDS rates are among...
The Current and Historical Context
1. The Fall of Aristide and Haiti's Current Predicament
To understand Haiti's authoritarian and turbulent politics—only seven of its forty-four presidents have served out their terms, and there have been only two peaceful transitions of power since the beginning of the republic— it is critical to analyze the material and historical circumstances of the colonial period. French colonialism generated an authoritarian...
2. Assisting a Neighbour: Haiti's Challenge to North American Policy-Makers
One day, while at his ranch in Texas, US President George W. Bush was engaged in a trademark vacation activity: clearing brush. Suddenly, Mr. Bush happened upon a genie's lamp. Immediately, he rubbed it. When the genie appeared, he told the President that he had only one wish, not the standard three wishes. After all, Mr. Bush was the leader of the...
3. The Economic Dimension of Peacebuilding in Haiti: Drawing on the Past to Reflect on the Present
Haiti is a country that has frustrated donor governments and agencies, at times to the point of disengagement. One of the more daunting objectives pursued by outside actors has been poverty reduction. As the peacebuilding literature indicates, and as donors recognize, poverty is among the factors leading to violence, insecurity, and political instability...
Justice and Security
4. Haiti's Tenuous Human Rights Climate
Since the armed insurgency of February 2004 that removed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from office, the human rights situation in Haiti has been in a state of crisis. At present, the country is politically polarized, and lawlessness and violence have become common, despite the renewed presence of international forces in the country. The human...
5. Reflections on the Situation in Haiti and the Ongoing UN Mission
This chapter examines, through a military lens, the situation in Haiti between January and July 2005. The perspective advanced is a personal one, informed by my position as the former Chief of Staff (COS) of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) Military Force during those months. The chapter begins with a brief description of the country...
Building Haiti through Civil Society
6. The Role of the Private Sector and the Diaspora in Rebuilding Haiti
Extreme poverty and political instability have made Haiti a bellwether of changes in the practice of development and nation-building. Advances and trends less pronounced elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean are more visible in Haiti, bringing into sharp focus two of the most important recent changes in the reality and practice of development...
7. Dissonant Voices: Northern NGO and Haitian Partner Perspectives on the Future of Haiti
The United Church of Canada is the country's largest Protestant denomination with approximately 3,600 congregations across the country and close to three million people who identify the United Church as their religion. It maintains a large program of resource-sharing with other churches and nongovernmental organizations (NGOS) around the world and has formed...
Conclusion—La difficile sortie d'une longue transition
Dans le cadre d'un processus complexe de transition à la démocratie, Haïti vit une profonde crise institutionnelle qui, dans ses expressions pluridimensionnelles, se situe dans une trajectoire d'épuisement et de difficile renouvellement du système socio-économique et politique. Elle charrie les conséquences de la longue dictature des Duvalier et aussi...
Notes on the Contributors