Monday, February 1, 2010

Real help for Haiti: Impose Martial Law Now.

Haiti needs martial law now. Run by foreigners. It needs stability and to root put corruption. Yes, there are certain situations were other forms of government are better than democracy. We have martial laws in the US for just such situations. Haiti needs similar laws imposed now. The Haitian government, which was barely functioning prior to the earthquake, need to be totally reorganized. Democracy, is expensive, divisive and subject to corruption. You might be able to keep some sort of local representatives, but, nationally, the country needs to be run under martial law.

The new Haitian martial law government must tackle three issues: Stability, corruption and long-term capacity building. It must use Haitian nationalism and pride as a tool to achieve it's goals.

Haiti should be run as a protectorate of the UN, France or US. Kind of like a benign dictatorship. Run in a fashion similar to how China and Iraq operate. This type of governance would help Haiti "move from misery to poverty." The protectorate would need large subsidies from France, US, and Canada to operate.

France gives the residents of Martinique and Guadeloupe about $3000-$4000 in subsidies per capita (Martinique and Guadeloup per capita income is about $20000) per year. With 9 million Haitians, that would be about $27-36 Billion per year subsidy. Perhaps a figure of $500 to $1000 per capita ($4.5 to 9.0 Billion is required). That is the size of the yearly effort.

That much money requires a large effort to spend wisely and for the long term. Building capacity is a very large effort which has been master by few: only Korea, China and Brazil come to mind. The money must be spent to develop and educated ruling class (military, political, judicial and economic) and then expanded from there.

That would involve a gigantic commitment of cash by many nations to fix the problem. The amount is still less than what was spent Iraq and Afghanistan($1 Trillion Dollars). Any other approach is a just a band aid.

So what can you do to really help. Well, unfortunately, there aren't many options:
1. Give money to a charity. Fund charities that use Haitian workers and buy Haitian products.
2. Buy Haitian products: Coffee, Mangos(the best in the world), peanut butter, and textiles and manufactured products.
3. Visit Haiti as a tourist. Or make sure one of your cruise stops is Labadee.
4. Lobby your congressman or senator to allow 100,000 Haitian refugees into the US both temporarily and permanently.

Other ideas include
1. Free or cheap money transfer to Haiti. It can cost up to $100 dollars to send $1000 to Haiti.
2. Closer integration with CARICOM states. Sadly CARICOM imports more from China than from Haiti.
3. Capacity building efforts around education.
4. Stop US agriculture subsidies on products sent to Haiti or raise local tariffs to stop low cost food imports.
5. Encourage other countries to take refugees. Haiti needs to export about 1 million people to be stable. Those 1 million would send money back and return to build the country.
6. Increase the US limit on Haitian immigration from 21,000 at year to 50,000.
7. Promote family planning. The population is out of control leading to extreme poverty. China is a world model for family planning and now they are a middle class country.
8. Promote investments in education. Haiti need to expand its small educational system by 3X - 5X to develop a nation of leaders.
9. Promote Haitian nationalism.

Ok, here are some of the best Haiti articles I could find.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a great blog! Thanks.

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