Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A minute for Haiti

If there is a country, at least in the Americas, that seems to be cursed it is Haiti which as you all know by now has been struck by a devastating earthquake. At this point it does not matter that the Haitian natural disasters are made worse through grinding poverty: hurricanes are worse there than any place in the Caribbean as poverty as done away with the once lush forest so people can cook delicacies such as dirt cookies. Sometimes one even wonders if the UN should not go back to the former Society of Nations system to create "mandates" over countries, to have them ruled for a decade or two by a group of foreign powers just to put some order, rebuild the basic infrastructure and create some jobs. Haiti today is the kind of place on earth where you cannot come up with any economical system that seems it could work out there.

It should not have been like that. Haiti did start well, if in a dramatic bloodbath. The first black rulers where able to build impressive castles, conquer next door country. But they also called themselves emperors. You might have forgotten it but the Dominican Republic was worse off than Haiti for a while, becoming a Haiti possession for a few years. And yet today Haiti is dirt poor while the Dominican Republic is an up and coming country where poor Haitian flee to get a shot at cleaning tourist toilets.

And even as it is dirt poor, people compete over Haiti control including Chavez.  And thus the curse of Haiti, petty and cheap little leaders fighting it off for power (not even for wealth anymore, besides the one they can skim from international help programs).  As a result a devastating earthquake because, well, construction codes cannot be enforced and even less afforded.

I shudder at what a 7.1 intensity earthquake will do to Caracas. Not only because of the shacks that will collapse but because we also know that the governmental response today will be way off what it should be. Look at simple things as electricity production and wonder what will happen when hospitals fill up with hundreds of earthquake victims.......

Thus we must offer to Haiti all the empathy and help we can, hoping that mother nature will spare us...


  1. sheik yer bouti4:36 PM

    Caracas is next

  2. sheik yer Bouti5:23 PM

    a wager.......I remember during the bombing of the Tora Bora caves some whack job "Scientist" in India claimed that the bombing was causing earthquakes in India...

    how much do you want to bet that El Mucho Macho Jefe Grande or one of his stooges will soon start to claim the US presence in the dutch islands is causing seismic instability in Venz?

  3. Help Haitian children and families struck by this disaster. SOS Children’s Villages ( has been working on the ground in Haiti giving orphaned and abandoned children homes and education since 1979. SOS has a solid commitment to Haitian children through this disaster and beyond. Please visit to contribute to our relief effort.

  4. 1979 Boat People9:04 PM

    So far i have only heard/read that the imperialist U.S and the ALWAYS nice guy CANADA were quick to provide help to Haiti's earthquake disaster.

    Heck, where is the ALBA?

    Shouldn't ALBA help out its OBSERVER STATE?

    My heart goes out to all the Haitian.

  5. Daniel,

    This is an excellent book and has a lot of interesting information about Haiti versus Dom. Republic and many other places:
    After I read that book I thought more Venezuela is really going towards a collapse - with or without Hugo of Sabaneta - unless we do several very urgent things in the next 10 years or so. It won't get to Haiti levels, but colombia would be a dream.

  6. super mega terrible about Haiti

    I worry about earthquakes in Venezuela too.Am I wrong or is Caracas not overdue for one ? A friend of mine designed the CCT which is supposed to be earthquake proof.I asked him about Parque Central which is also supposedly earthquake proof.He told me that instead of collapsing Parque Central will just tip over sideways.

    Some consolation

  7. Roger2:58 AM

    I saw pictures of their hillside "Ranchos" collapsed and your right visions of Caracas came to mind.
    What also comes to mind is an engineering study that concluded that traditional construction of thatched sticks with mud-brick adobe that is seen in the Indian and Colonial buildings in LatAm had far fewer deaths than modern buildings in ranchos build with fired brick or cement block. The reason.... the latter was put together with no re-bar or other reinforcing to keep all the brick or blocks (and the roof) from collapsing on those inside. i don't have a l;ink but countries like Chile, Colombia and Peru have been trying to get people out of buildings like that for years.


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