The Haitian Dilemma: A Case Study In Demographics, Development, And U.s. Foreign Policy

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The prolonged Haitian political and economic crisis, ongoing since the military overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in September 1991, has been a story of human suffering and societal decline. Despite more than two billion dollars of external support, including a US military intervention to restore Aristide to the presidency and a massive economic recovery aid programme, Haiti today is less stable politically and far more destitute economically than it was when Aristide was elected president. This case study examines the conflict between longer-term development objectives and the shorter-term US foreign-policy objectives that almost always override them. The analysis focuses on the powerful demographic forces at play - rapid population growth and declining arable land in the countryside, the relentless rural/urban migratory flow and building pressures for outward migration to the United States - that are central for any viable strategy for sustained economic growth and political stability in Haiti.