I think it’s time for Aid to leave Haiti.
I’ve certainly defended Aid enough on this blog, including different things about the earthquake response in Haiti. In this case, though, I see the earthquake response in Haiti as simply the icing on the cake. Many have said that Haiti was a disaster before the earthquake, and I’d agree. What is said less often, is that Aid also was broken in Haiti before the earthquake. Depending on which numbers you crunch, and how you crunch them, Haiti is only incrementally worse off now than it was on January 9, 2010. I do not say this to in any way compliment the combined, inter-agency relief response, but rather to highlight just how bad things were pre-earthquake, despite decades of foreign assistance. It’s time to call this what it is: a massive debacle.
I honestly think that the very best thing for Haiti would be for us all to leave. I do not (yet) believe that Aid is broken globally. But it is certainly broken in Haiti. I sincerely believe that in the grand scheme of things we are not doing Haiti any real favors by staying on. We need to get out. All of us. All of the foreign governments with their incentives and their politicians who visit and make speeches about “Haiti’s bright future.” All of the UN and INGOs with their massive compounds and their VHF radios and their strategies. All of the hippy architects with their houses made out of recycled trash, the BOGO entrepreneurs with their GIK dumping, the bright-eyed innovators with their “platforms” and their earth-friendly gadgets. For heavens’ sake, all of the church groups with their matching T-shirts and their pet orphanages.
I honestly believe that what Haiti needs more than anything else is simply the opportunity to figure out for itself what Haiti wants and needs, without interference variously disguised as “help” from outside. Haiti has never in its’ entire history had this opportunity. Yet is seems clear to me that this is what is needed most.
The only question we would have for J is what about other countries? The case can certainly be made that aid has flooded into other parts of the world for many years and has done little to improve their state. So if you recommend for everyone to leave Haiti, where else should we pull out of? Using J's logic it could be every single country.