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And before that Haiti was ruled by "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc" Duvalier for 30 years.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 18th, 2007 at 09:00:53 AM EST
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While I am restricted to on-line sources to prove my point (which aren't the best), this is common knowledge to the point that it is written into the history books (In fact, Aristide himself will tell you what I am telling you).  Nevertheless, here is one source:

About 70 percent of the agricultural land is hilly, and the average agricultural plot is only a little more than an acre. The plots worked by the poorest peasants are even smaller, of course. There are also some commercial farms that produce for export. Because of the poor soil and the smallness of most of the plots, productivity on the land is very low. As a consequence, the rural population, which is about two thirds of the total, produces only about a third of gross domestic product. The main crop is coffee, much of which is exported.

The subdivision of the land into small plots took place early in the nineteenth century. After the death in 1806 of Dessalines--the second of the two great leaders of the Haitian Revolution, the first being Toussaint L'Ouverture--his two principal generals Petion and Christophe established kingdoms in the South and North respectively. Petion immediately parceled out much of the land of his kingdom to his troops. Christophe at first kept his land together and instituted a highly productive plantation agriculture with a form of forced labor not far removed from slavery. But before he died he succumbed to the unrest of the peasants and subdivided the land in the North as well.

As long as the population was relatively small, there was great poverty in Haiti but not the ecological crisis that has come to maturity in the years since the Second World War. It is evident that if the rural economy is to survive, at the very least there needs to be both a system of catchments, reservoirs, and irrigation conduits and an extensive program of reforestation. But the peasants need also to withdraw land from regular cultivation so as take measures to restore its fertility. If the rural areas were organized collectively, some of what is necessary could be carried out by the collectives, but the predominance of small tenant plots and individual responsibility makes such organization impossible on the scale that is needed for survival.

Here is another source.

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne

by maracatu on Wed Jul 18th, 2007 at 01:50:32 PM EST
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