The Caribbean island nation of Haiti, the hemisphere's poorest and which has yet to recover from its devastating 2010 earthquake, is once again on the verge of collapse after days of deadly rioting. The crisis was caused by the public's fury at recent reports that the government squandered roughly $2 billion that it received in subsidies from Venezuela's Petrocaribe discounted oil program which was supposed to have been invested in social projects. Several people were killed as rioters shut down the capital of Port-au-Prince and several other cities, demanding the President's resignation but trapping foreign aid workers, missionaries, and others in the process.
The situation seems to have comparatively calmed down this week after the government pledged to implement reforms such as cutting some budgets, curtailing state employee expenditures, and carrying out anti-corruption investigations, which in turn caused the capital to reopen after the protesters peacefully dispersed for the time being. The authorities will still have to address the doubling in price of basic goods and the rampant inflation that's recently set in, but there's always the possibility that it could receive emergency international aid to assist with this, though at the obvious expense of the state's practically non-existent sovereignty.
Haiti has pretty much existed as a hybrid UN-NGO condominium since the early turn of the century when international forces intervened from 2004-2017, while NGOS such as the scandalous Clinton Foundation swarmed into the country after the 2010 earthquake. The recent remobilization of the Haitian Armed Forces that followed the UN's withdrawal in 2017 was the first time the country had a military since it was originally disbanded in 1995, but fears about its effectiveness might be why there are still private military contractors (PMCs), such as the several men who were captured a few days ago with sophisticated weaponry.
The perennially unstable state of affairs in Haiti combined with the country's dismal economic conditions and the government's lack of authority over most of its territory have raised serious concerns that a Syrian-like migrant crisis might be impending, one that wouldn't just swamp the neighboring Dominican Republic but also possibly lead to the large-scale exodus of people to other Caribbean nations and even the US as well. Haiti always seems to be on the knife's edge of collapse, though this time it might be more serious than observers think, but many of them are too distracted by Venezuela to even notice.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Fernando Martinez, translator, interpreter, and news analyst and Andrew B. Raupp, Founder @stemdotorg and a Forbes Technology Council contributor.
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