"HAITI CRUCIFIED" - Jonas Profil

Yuji: I was thinking about what you said about Haiti.

Dane: Did you learn much?

Yuji: Yeah, I learned to do my homework.

Dane: What are you talking about?

Yuji: Well, you said so many Haitians are dying because America and France made them poor.

Dane: That’s right.  But I did say there were other reasons too.

Yuji: Yeah, but you didn’t say what other things.  So I checked online.

Dane: What did you find out?

Yuji: One thing is the natural environment.

Dane: How did the environment make Haiti poor?

Yuji: The mountains. There are a lot of them, especially in the Dominican Republic.  Some of them are over 3,000 meters high.

Dane: Switzerland is nothing but mountains but the Swiss aren’t poor.

Yuji: Yes, but the mountains on Hispaniola keep most of the rain on the eastern half of the island. That means Haiti gets less rainfall.

Dane: So what?

Yuji: So the forests aren’t as thick. And most the rivers flow to the east, so the soil isn’t as rich.

Dane: But Haiti is a lot greener than Iraq or Afghanistan.

Yuji: Yeah, it’s green but the land is drier than the Dominican Republic and most of it is mountains.  There’s not much land that’s good for farming.

Dane: So you’re saying the Haitian people are poor because the land is poor?

Yuji: Not only that.  There are also too many people in too small an area.

Dane: The French are responsible for that. They imported too many African slaves.

Yuji: Yeah, and those people cut down most of the trees for cooking fires. So the best soil is washed away every time it rains.

Dane: So now you’re blaming the Haitian people?

Yuji: Yes.  And not just for cutting down the trees.

Dane: What else are they guilty of?

Yuji: After they kicked the French out they imitated their old masters.

Dane: You mean they kept the French language and culture?

Yuji: No. Well yes, they did that.  But the bad part was they made a new caste system.

Dane: Like India?

Yuji: Like a slave state.  The lighter people acted just like the whites; they treated the darker people like slaves.

Dane: But that’s the case in most Latin American countries.

Yuji: It was worse in Haiti. The new elite just taxed the poor people and never invested in developing the country.

Dane: Now you’re starting to sound one-sided.  I’m going to have to do some more homework too.  Then I can argue with you.

Yuji: Okay, but this argument isn’t going to help the Haitian people recover from the earthquake.

Dane: I don’t know.  If people know more about how Haiti got to be so poor maybe we can figure out how to help them change all that.

Yuji: Good.  Then you’d better go do your homework!