Haiti: Birthpangs of Democracy

Latin America is a region of lost illusions and lost opportunities. Within this syndrome of frustrations, Haiti offers an eloquent case study. Though a small country of limited geopolitical and economic relevance in the globalised world, Haiti’s recent experience strikes a cord with the contemporary wave of democratic euphoria and growing attention to issues of human rights that is sweeping the international community.

The World Today Updated 27 October 2020 Published 1 January 2000 6 minute READ

João Clemente Baena Soares

Former Secretary-General, Organization of American States

In an area of less than three hundred square kilometers, its natural resources largely exhausted, live roughly seven million people of almost entirely African stock. They share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Theirs is a history of violence, but equally of a vigorous popular culture and national identity. Haiti faces enormous challenges.

Urgent tasks lie ahead that must be undertaken simultaneously on a broad front: set up and strengthen democratic institutions, defend and foster human rights, rebuild the economy, provide adequate services in health, education, employment and security, recover the depleted soil to boost agricultural production, build institutions – especially the judiciary – fight corruption and overcome prejudices and distorted coverage by the international media.

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