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#1 Feb 11, 2019 11:52 am

New Historian
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Horror in Haiti

From the very first minute of landing in Port-au-Prince Airport, your senses are assailed by the staggering poverty. Simply getting out of the airport is traumatic enough. Clutching your baggage tightly, you follow your driver through a throng of clutching hands begging for loose change or a chance to carry your bag. With the crowds and the oppressive heat you’re drenched with sweat (most of it not yours) by the time you reach your car, invariably to be told that the air conditioning doesn’t work. To get out of the car park you drive through an even larger crowd, feeling guilty about closing the window (more heat), and trying not to make contact with the eyes behind desperate, outstretched hands.

The streets of Port-au-Prince are pitted with enormous potholes full of brown, fetid water. I saw a woman bathing her baby in one of these stink-holes. I have never seen a more overcrowded city than Port-au-Prince, millions of people spilling over into the streets, selling all sorts of everything among the gridlocked cars. And the stench from the sewage! When I got home after each Haiti trip my wife would open my suitcase and go: phew!

Once I was driving in a taxi to the airport, stuck in slow-moving traffic behind an articulated tanker. As usual the sidewalks were packed with people weaving around the potholes, and as the tanker swung into a tight right-hand corner a man and woman emerged from behind a wall, to come face to face with this behemoth bearing down on them. The driver showed no sign of seeing them or caring about their existence, inches from his front bumper.

The man and woman tried to back away but their feet got tangled up, and the truck’s back wheels trapped first the woman’s then the man’s feet under its giant tyre. I screamed a futile warning knowing what was to come. Right in front of my terrified eyes the truck slowly crushed both people under its enormous wheels, killing them instantly. It was horrific, I screamed to the taxi driver to stop but he would have none of it. In truth what could I have done anyway? I was still shaking when the plane took off.

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#2 Feb 12, 2019 1:50 am

Calypso
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Re: Horror in Haiti

New Historian wrote:

From the very first minute of landing in Port-au-Prince Airport, your senses are assailed by the staggering poverty. Simply getting out of the airport is traumatic enough. Clutching your baggage tightly, you follow your driver through a throng of clutching hands begging for loose change or a chance to carry your bag. With the crowds and the oppressive heat you’re drenched with sweat (most of it not yours) by the time you reach your car, invariably to be told that the air conditioning doesn’t work. To get out of the car park you drive through an even larger crowd, feeling guilty about closing the window (more heat), and trying not to make contact with the eyes behind desperate, outstretched hands.

The streets of Port-au-Prince are pitted with enormous potholes full of brown, fetid water. I saw a woman bathing her baby in one of these stink-holes. I have never seen a more overcrowded city than Port-au-Prince, millions of people spilling over into the streets, selling all sorts of everything among the gridlocked cars. And the stench from the sewage! When I got home after each Haiti trip my wife would open my suitcase and go: phew!

Once I was driving in a taxi to the airport, stuck in slow-moving traffic behind an articulated tanker. As usual the sidewalks were packed with people weaving around the potholes, and as the tanker swung into a tight right-hand corner a man and woman emerged from behind a wall, to come face to face with this behemoth bearing down on them. The driver showed no sign of seeing them or caring about their existence, inches from his front bumper.

The man and woman tried to back away but their feet got tangled up, and the truck’s back wheels trapped first the woman’s then the man’s feet under its giant tyre. I screamed a futile warning knowing what was to come. Right in front of my terrified eyes the truck slowly crushed both people under its enormous wheels, killing them instantly. It was horrific, I screamed to the taxi driver to stop but he would have none of it. In truth what could I have done anyway? I was still shaking when the plane took off.


Of course the country is derelict for the Duvaliers took the money and run. I can't believe that the people have forgiven them? Look at all they damaged they've caused.

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#3 Feb 12, 2019 8:23 am

Expat
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Re: Horror in Haiti

One experience I shall not be envious of.

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#4 Feb 12, 2019 8:19 pm

houston
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Re: Horror in Haiti

Not a pleasant thing to witness.
I guess a visitor to Haiti would have to be prepaired for that sort of shock.
Why in the world anyone would go to Haiti if they didn't have to, I don't know.
That is one sad place to be.

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#5 Feb 12, 2019 8:45 pm

Expat
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Re: Horror in Haiti

houston wrote:

Not a pleasant thing to witness.
I guess a visitor to Haiti would have to be prepaired for that sort of shock.
Why in the world anyone would go to Haiti if they didn't have to, I don't know.
That is one sad place to be.

I'll have to find out tomorrow.... my house guests went there some time back. I am guessing it was self contained?.... I do remember them saying the locals looked a bit fierce.

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#6 Feb 13, 2019 11:38 am

New Historian
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Re: Horror in Haiti

Calypso wrote:
New Historian wrote:

From the very first minute of landing in Port-au-Prince Airport, your senses are assailed by the staggering poverty. Simply getting out of the airport is traumatic enough. Clutching your baggage tightly, you follow your driver through a throng of clutching hands begging for loose change or a chance to carry your bag. With the crowds and the oppressive heat you’re drenched with sweat (most of it not yours) by the time you reach your car, invariably to be told that the air conditioning doesn’t work. To get out of the car park you drive through an even larger crowd, feeling guilty about closing the window (more heat), and trying not to make contact with the eyes behind desperate, outstretched hands.

The streets of Port-au-Prince are pitted with enormous potholes full of brown, fetid water. I saw a woman bathing her baby in one of these stink-holes. I have never seen a more overcrowded city than Port-au-Prince, millions of people spilling over into the streets, selling all sorts of everything among the gridlocked cars. And the stench from the sewage! When I got home after each Haiti trip my wife would open my suitcase and go: phew!

Once I was driving in a taxi to the airport, stuck in slow-moving traffic behind an articulated tanker. As usual the sidewalks were packed with people weaving around the potholes, and as the tanker swung into a tight right-hand corner a man and woman emerged from behind a wall, to come face to face with this behemoth bearing down on them. The driver showed no sign of seeing them or caring about their existence, inches from his front bumper.

The man and woman tried to back away but their feet got tangled up, and the truck’s back wheels trapped first the woman’s then the man’s feet under its giant tyre. I screamed a futile warning knowing what was to come. Right in front of my terrified eyes the truck slowly crushed both people under its enormous wheels, killing them instantly. It was horrific, I screamed to the taxi driver to stop but he would have none of it. In truth what could I have done anyway? I was still shaking when the plane took off.


Of course the country is derelict for the Duvaliers took the money and run. I can't believe that the people have forgiven them? Look at all they damaged they've caused.

For the answer as to why Haiti is such a basket case you have to go much further back than the Duvaliers - you have to back to history, because we are the product of the past. Ever since Haiti had the AUDACITY to free itself from slavery, the imperial powers specifically France, UK and USA, have punished and exploited Haiti, propping up various dictatorial and kleptocratic regimes. When the country was paying "reverse reparations" to France up to as recently as the 1950s, how could they educate themselves?

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#7 Feb 13, 2019 1:45 pm

Expat
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Re: Horror in Haiti

Between 1793 and 1798 over 20,000 British soldiers were sent to Saint Domingue (the name of the French colony that became Haiti) to put down the slave revolt and to seize the island for the British Empire. More than half of them died there from yellow fever or at the hands of the revolutionary slave army led by Toussaint Louverture. The remnants of the beaten British force withdrew in September 1798 – one of the forgotten catastrophes of Britain’s imperial history. In 1804, after the slave armies had defeated the French monarchists and republicans, and the Spanish, and British colonial forces, and Saint Domingue became the first black republic, agents of the British crown contacted the independent country’s leader, Jean-Jacques Dessalines. They told him that Britain would look favourably on trade and other links with Haiti if all remaining French colonists were killed. They were. Throughout the second half of the 19th century, British banks and financiers, in common with those from the US and Germany, lent money to members of the Haitian elite who were competing among themselves for control of the Haitian government. When interest payments on these debts were overdue, Britain sent gunboats into Haitian waters to force the increasingly bankrupt Haitian state to pay up. Following the US occupation of Haiti (1915-34) British influence declined. The last British ambassador to Haiti, Gerard Corley-Smith, was expelled from the country in 1962 when he complained about the mistreatment of foreign nationals by supporters of the dictator Papa Doc Duvalier. Since August 1998, responsibility for representing Her Majesty’s government in Haiti lies with the British Embassy in Santo Domingo – previously the British Consulate in Kingston, Jamaica, fulfilled this task. Hence, despite a very large presence of UK aid agencies, there is no FCO representation in the country.

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#8 Feb 13, 2019 7:05 pm

New Historian
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Re: Horror in Haiti

You forgot to add one important part: Copyright Her Majesty's Government.

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#9 Feb 13, 2019 10:14 pm

Expat
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Re: Horror in Haiti

New Historian wrote:

You forgot to add one important part: Copyright Her Majesty's Government.

That did not come off a Government site, it was a charity site.

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