by Richard Freeman and Cynthia Rush
Any moral, caring citizen would have been horrified by the photos splashed across international media over the weekend of September 18-19 showing upwards of 12,000 Haitian migrants huddled in squalid conditions under the Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, desperately hoping to be granted asylum in the United States. After the horrific January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, tens of thousands of Haitians fled their destroyed nation and took refuge in other Ibero-American countries only to leave those nations in the recent period in response to rumors that the U.S. would be offering protected status for Haitian migrants.
This was not the case, and the Biden administration, which loudly claims to have a “humane” immigration policy, on September 19 began loading Haitians like cattle onto the first of what will be multiple daily flights over the next six weeks to return them to their “home” wracked by a COVID pandemic, economic collapse, and the after-effects of the August 14, 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Of the many different nationalities of migrants who have gathered at the U.S. border, only the Haitians are being immediately deported. Many who landed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital on September 20, reported they were not told where they were going when they boarded planes. Some said they had been shackled at the wrists, waists, or ankles while in flight.
If this isn’t a modern-day version of Jews being loaded onto rail cars and sent to their deaths, it does evoke the image of the racist Thomas Jefferson, who after becoming President in 1801, made known that once the warring nations of Britain and France made peace, the U.S. would act in concert with them “to confine the [Negro] pest” to the island of Saint Domingue [now Hispaniola] where Haiti is located.
One particularly gut-wrenching video of today’s crisis showed a U.S. Border Patrol agent on horseback using the reins of a horse to threaten Haitian migrants in the water of the Rio Grande (which separates the U.S. and Mexico), rounding them up as if they were escaped slaves from a 19th Century Southern plantation.
In the face of this policy of “depraved indifference,” where the government deliberately ignores the consequences of its own murderous policies, Haitian authorities are imploring the United States, to no avail, to halt the deportations, warning they have no means to handle such an influx of people under current crisis conditions.
On September 20, the Miami Herald quoted Jean Negot Bonheur Delva, the head of Haiti’s National Migration Office, who warned that “to be repatriating people back to Haiti at this same moment, and with COVID-19, I think the U.S should be trying to help Haiti at this moment with a humanitarian moratorium.”
This horrific situation cries out for both urgent humanitarian aid as well as the immediate implementation of a crash development program and acceptance of the mission outlined by American statesman and physical economist Lyndon LaRouche shortly after the 2010 earthquake, calling on the U.S. to sign a 25-year treaty with Haiti to help rebuild its economy. The Haitian people have been “subjected to all kinds of terrible history,” he said, “who have been promised this, and betrayed, and promised that, and betrayed, and promised and betrayed. Never delivered.” Now it’s time to deliver, LaRouche insisted then. There can be no bandaids or patchwork approach. “We make a contract with the government, as a treaty agreement, between the United States and Haiti, to assure the rebuilding of their country, in a form in which it will actually be a functioning country which can survive.”
Today, a decade later, the mission LaRouche described can and must be carried out—and now must include China as a major partner—to lift Haiti out of bone-crushing poverty and make it the model for economic development for the Western Hemisphere and the world.
Yes, Haiti lies in the pathway of earthquakes and hurricanes. That’s an issue that can be dealt with through modern technology. The overriding issue is that it suffers from a vast deficit of modern infrastructure that is crucial for building a universal healthcare and sanitation system. That system requires the provision of clean water, functional road and rail system corridors, education, power generation and transmission, air- and seaports. All this infrastructure requires earthquake-resistant cities with structures such as Japan has built; and the development of high-technology agricultural infrastructure, to enable farmers to produce an expanding and nutritious food supply.
The task of rebuilding Haiti is a daunting one because of the level of destruction deliberately imposed on it by two centuries of Malthusian policies. Every sector of its physical economy must be rebuilt from the bottom up, to uplift its impoverished population. But it’s not an impossible task if China and the U.S. collaborate along with other nations of the Caribbean Basin and Central America, as part of an expanded Belt and Road Initiative and Maritime Silk Road throughout the region.
Haiti will have to establish diplomatic relations with China: it is still one of the few countries in the world that maintains diplomatic relations instead with Taiwan. China rightly insists that it will only work with nations that recognize the principle of One China, and Haiti would be wise to follow the path taken by its neighbor, the Dominican Republic—which recently broke with Taiwan and established ties with China—if it is to have any hope of attaining Chinese participation in its reconstruction.
Deliberate Genocide …
Haiti has been repeatedly subjected to an intentional depopulation policy every time a “natural disaster” strikes the country. For 125 years, the looting of Haiti by the City of London, Wall Street, and other Trans-Atlantic banks (France is key among them), joined in the 20th Century by the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral lending agencies, has denied it the right to develop into a modern nation, leaving it defenseless in the face of repeated disasters, the August 14, 2021 earthquake being only the most recent one.
The Schiller Institute program for the rebuilding and reconstruction of Haiti, the initial outlines of which are presented below, includes a unified infrastructure plan, financed by a Hamiltonian system of ample directed credit, created as a central feature of a bankruptcy reorganization of the disintegrating international financial system. The Schiller Institute has estimated preliminarily that a viable Haiti reconstruction program will cost between $175 and $200 billion, or $17.5 to $20 billion per year over ten years.
Statesman and physical economist Lyndon LaRouche, identified the development priorities this way in an international webcast on March 13, 2010:
Look at the case [of earthquakes] in California. And the case is a comparable case, in a sense…. Look at the [very few] number of deaths, casualties, and other things, in the California quakes, as compared with Haiti. What’s the difference? Infrastructure!
Earlier, in a March 4, 2004 radio interview, LaRouche had stated in discussing Haiti:
In my view, you always go to the worst case, to set a policy. In your own country, you look at the poorest layer of our population, and say, “Will this policy work for their children and grandchildren?” And if it works for the poorest ones, justly, then it’ll probably work for everyone—as Franklin Roosevelt defined that: Always go to the “forgotten man.” Take the person who’s the greatest victim, of injustice or neglect, and start there; and prove that you are really for the general welfare of people, by showing you’re willing to face that problem. Look it in the eye and talk about curing it.
The failure to address Haiti’s dramatic infrastructure deficits, especially in energy and healthcare, will condemn its people to a future of primitivism, underdevelopment, and unending poverty.
Today, this nation of 11 million people has the highest mortality rate for infants and children under the age of five, as well as the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere, even surpassing those of many African nations. Life expectancy is 64.3 years, by far the lowest in all Ibero-America. Forty percent of the labor force is reported to be unemployed, although the reality is far worse than that; 59% of Haiti’s population earns less than $2.43 per day, a “wage” that has driven the majority of its people into an existence below subsistence, unworthy of the dignity of Man. Poverty stands at a shocking 80% of the population, according to some estimates. The United Nations’ World Food Program reports that 40% of Haiti’s population, 4.4 million, are “food insecure,” although again that figure is probably on the low side. Last year, Haiti registered 104th out of 107 countries on the Global Hunger Index.
The three graphs of comparative selected physical-economic parameters presented here (see Figures 1a, 1b and 1c) give a snapshot of this destruction. They are based on the latest available data (usually from the mid-2010s) provided by the UN, World Bank, and other multilateral agencies, with the intention of presenting consistent time series for the compared countries, and in some of the parameters they clearly understate the horrid reality of Haiti.
The sense of hopelessness bred by this situation—and the criminal indifference displayed by the world community over decades and centuries—have led to a takeover of large chunks of the Haitian economy by the international drug trade (organized out of the City of London) and its associated drug gangs. There have been relentless waves of refugees fleeing the island. Today there are in the range of 2 million Haitians living abroad—half in the U.S., half in other countries in Ibero-America and Europe.
What sanitation infrastructure Haiti does possess is woefully inadequate—especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the planet—with clean water and waste treatment being almost non-existent. The call by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and Chairman of the Schiller Institute, to address the pandemic by creating modern healthcare systems in every country of the world must be implemented in Haiti. As she said in a keynote address on May 8, 2021: “The building of a modern health system in every country can and must be the beginning of overcoming the underdevelopment of the developing countries for good.” Poverty levels, lack of a nutritious diet and the out-of-control COVID-19 pandemic makes the need urgent.
The lack of an adequate healthcare system combined with the lack of earthquake-proof buildings produced the situation described on September 2 by UNICEF’s representative in Haiti, Bruno Maes, who reported that “the lives of thousands of earthquake-affected children and families are now at risk, just because they don’t have access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.” Citing UNICEF, the United Nations reported the same day that more than half a million children in southwestern Haiti lacked access to shelter, drinking water and hygiene facilities, and “are increasingly under threat from acute respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, cholera and malaria.”
Appallingly, of the world’s 200 nations, Haiti ranks near last in electricity consumption per capita, deriving 75% of its energy from charcoal (derived from burning wood), a 16th-Century technology that makes economic advancement impossible and is a dangerous pollutant, as well as a health hazard. Haiti’s installed electrical capacity is a negligible 350 MW, with an average annual electricity consumption per capita of 37 kilowatt-hours. By comparison, in Spain the annual electricity consumption per capita in 2020 was 5,275 kilowatt-hours, more than 140 times greater than Haiti’s.
… Not ‘Natural’ Disasters
Neoliberal and IMF “structural adjustment” and privatization schemes had largely destroyed Haiti’s economy by the start of the 21st Century. But the devastating 7.0 magnitude January 12, 2010 earthquake, which killed 319,000 people, was a major turning point. A horrific—and predictable—cholera epidemic followed in October of that year and a series of additional extreme weather events occurred in the intervening years. Together, they dealt lethal blows to a fragile nation. When the earthquake struck in January of 2010, with the capital of Port-au-Prince at its epicenter, almost 2 million residents of the capital were displaced, left homeless and crowded into unsanitary and squalid camps, sometimes given tents but often only tarps or just bedsheets to protect them from the elements.
Immediately after January 12, Lyndon LaRouche warned that if steps weren’t taken right away to evacuate the homeless and move them to higher ground and place them in emergency housing before the rainy season started, this would lead to a health catastrophe. He called for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to be deployed to build the necessary housing and medical facilities and provide clean water.
U.S. President Barack Obama rejected LaRouche’s proposals, instead facilitating the invasion of Port-au-Prince by an army of well-financed Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), with millions of dollars to throw around but nothing to show for it. Nothing was done to alleviate the dangerous, squalid conditions in the capital and other cities affected by the earthquake. Flimsy “temporary” housing became permanent for years after the quake, and the outbreak of cholera in October of that year was a foregone conclusion. Even today, in some areas on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, “temporary” encampments set up after the 2010 earthquake have become permanent communities, some including the original tents handed out to the victims and other “houses” patched together with bricks and assorted flimsy materials.
The earthquake that struck Haiti on August 14 of this year, with its epicenter 93 miles west of Port-au-Prince near the town of Petit-Trou-de-Nippes, wrought tremendous destruction, coming as it did in a country that had never recovered from the 2010 catastrophe. Instead, Haiti was denied such earthquake mitigation technology or the chance to rebuild from the 2010 earthquake using modern methods.
That catastrophe was then followed by the 2015- 2017 drought, caused by the El Niño phenomenon, which wiped out an agriculture sector terribly weakened by lack of mechanization and adequate irrigation, causing losses of up to 70% in some areas.
Then in October of 2016, Hurricane Matthew slammed into southwestern Haiti, and partially or totally destroyed approximately 200,000 homes, leaving 1.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. In the Departments of Grand’Anse and Sud (South), two of Haiti’s ten departments, crops were nearly totally destroyed, greatly exacerbating existing food scarcity.
The final blow came in February of 2018, when the International Monetary Fund strategically intervened to destroy the economy, offering a meager package of a $96 million in low-interest loans and grants, on the condition that fuel subsidies be slashed. In July, when the government complied with this demand, the price of gasoline for the average citizen shot up by 38 %—to $4.60 per gallon, higher even than the price in the United States. The price for diesel fuel rose by 47%, and 51% for kerosene. This led to widespread and often violent street demonstrations.
Thus, the nation had no means of defending itself from the August 14, 2021 earthquake, in which, according to government reports, more than 2,200 died and more than 300 are missing, believed to be buried under rubble. More than 12,000 people have been injured and some 600,000 are estimated to need humanitarian aid; more than 50,000 homes are completely destroyed and another 77,000 damaged, for a total of 127,000. For decades, homes in Haiti were not built according to strict codes, because builders sought to avoid the cost of acquiring such crucial but expensive materials as cement. So, houses were not earthquake-proofed, and many of these shoddy homes collapsed with a puff of dust within minutes.
And yet, high-technology infrastructure and basic economic development can mitigate or eliminate nearly 95% or more of the worst effects of storms, earthquakes and drought. Japan, for example, has invested large sums and research into earthquake mitigation. Of the 14 or 15 tectonic plates known in the world, four converge on Japan, where over 2,000 active faults can be found; several earthquakes occur every year. Japan’s secret: fundamental research and infrastructure investment, which can easily be reproduced in Haiti’s case.
Implementing an emergency economic mobilization now is the only way to end chronic poverty, malnutrition, and disease, and give Haitians the opportunity to develop their creative powers to direct their economy to higher stages of development.
A Chinese Cornerstone Project
China’s involvement is central to the launching of a Haitian reconstruction and regional development program, that by necessity must include the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, and the other nations of the Caribbean Basin and Central America, which jointly will function as part of the World Land Bridge. As China has demonstrated in the many projects it has financed as part of its Belt and Road Initiative in other parts of the world, it has the financial resources, the technological know-how, and above all the willingness to tackle the daunting challenges posed by situations such as Haiti’s—such as what China is undertaking in Africa.
Were there to be a change in Haiti’s diplomatic status, China could start with projects already on the books to build, from the bottom up, Port-au-Prince’s sanitation, water-and sewage treatment, housing, and transportation systems, among others.
In August of 2017, two Chinese companies—the Southwest Municipal Engineering and Design Research Institute of China (SMEDRIC), and the Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC)—outlined a series of detailed projects valued at $4.7 billion to carry out the rebuilding of the capital and its environs. In publicizing its proposal and producing a short video on it, the SMEDRIC company indicated that the projects for Haiti’s capital were part of a broader $30 billion proposal for the whole country. According to a September 1, 2017 Telesur article, the idea for this series of projects was conceived at the May 14-15, 2017 Belt and Road Initiative summit in Beijing. A short time after that, a Chinese delegation carried out an 8-day investigative visit to Haiti and met with local officials.
SMEDRIC’s proposals for Port-au-Prince are impressive, and reflected in some of the graphics which follow:
• Build a new sewage treatment plant that can treat 180,000 cubic meters of sewage per day in Port-au-Prince. (See Figure 2.) It will utilize a process flow of pre-treatment, primary treatment, and secondary biological treatment. There is not a single sewage treatment plant in the city today, whose metropolitan area contains more than 3 million people. There are no central sewage systems in Port-au-Prince or other Haitian cities and towns.
• Build a water purification plant that can purify 225,000 cubic meters per day for safe and pure potable water. (See Figure 3.)
• Install 450 public toilets, spaced at 3 per every 0.4 square miles (1 sq. km), institute a garbage collection system, and build a waste landfill that can accept 1,500 tons per day.
• As presented in a short video prepared by SMEDRIC, the plan calls for “road engineering, such as upgrading and reconstruction, widening, rehabilitation, and transportation facilities. The scope covers 12 main roads with accompanying facilities, of total length of 100 km, with road drainage being an important part of the works.” Sixty-two miles (100 km) may not seem like much, but if it is in and around Port-au-Prince, and has drainage and is widened, it is very important. (See Figure 4.)
• An array of plans propose building water drainage/runoff systems to prevent flooding for “100-year and 50-year floods,” that is, floods classified as such, because they are so exceptional and with such large water accumulation as occur only once every 100 or 50 years. The rainwater will be collected into pipes and discharged into the rivers and the sea. This is a first step toward flood mitigation, especially given the fact that Port-au-Prince occupies a totally vulnerable flood plain. (See Figure 5.)
• Build a 600-Megawatt natural gas power station, which can be expanded to 2000 Megawatts. (See Figure 6.)
• Build a new city hall as a central landmark as part of the reconstruction of Port-au-Prince’s old city.
Port-au-Prince Mayor Ralph Youri Chevery enthusiastically endorsed the plan in an August 25, 2017 letter addressed to Xie Yong Jian, advisor to the Southwest Municipal Engineering Design and Research Institute of China, affirming, “We are pleased to accept the ‘Port-au-Prince Municipal Renovation project construction planning project proposal.’”
At the same time that SMEDRIC made its proposals, the Haitian engineering company, Bati Ayiti, which is working with the Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC), publicized in its own brochure, “An Infrastructure Project for Haiti: A Collaboration with the Metallurgical Corporation of China,” which included the additional information that “the State of China and other Chinese private investors declare an investment goal of $30 to $70 billion in Haiti and up to $100 billion in the Caribbean Market with the goal of Haiti becoming a major development hub in the next 10 years.”
These wonderful proposals, whose implementation would have begun the process of transforming Port-au-Prince and the country, never advanced beyond the planning stages.
The Schiller Institute was told at the time that the International Monetary Fund and related Wall Street interests put the squeeze on Haiti to reject them. The State Department and the U.S. government, already nervous that Panama had broken with Taiwan just two months earlier, on June 13, were not going to tolerate any plan whose acceptance by Haiti would imply its willingness to break with Taiwan.
The Haiti-Dominican Republic Railroad
The proposal for the construction of a Haiti-Dominican Republic railroad, made by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), adds another dimension to the discussion of transforming Haiti with China’s help. On February 20, 2018 the Haitian online publication Hougansydney.com published an article titled, “Project to Build an International Railroad between Haiti and the Dominican Republic Proposed to [Dominican] President Danilo Medina,” which outlined the proposal to Medina by the Dominican Regional Development Council (CRD) based in the region of Cibao, that a railroad be built, starting in the southeast of the country (the port of Haina), going counterclockwise, linking port cities, heading across northern Dominican Republic, until it “end[s] its journey in Haiti.” For this to work, there will have to be a railroad in Haiti.
This was not a new proposal; it has been discussed for years, going back as early as 2008. But, after the Dominican government announced on May 1, 2018 that it had broken with Taiwan and established diplomatic relations with Beijing, the CRD and the China Civil Engineering Construction (CCECC) Corporation in September of that year, presented an official proposal to Medina for the construction of an international railroad, to be financed by CCECC, to connect the Dominican Republic with Haiti, and included as well several large infrastructure projects to be built in the Dominican Republic. The proposal was reactivated again by the CRD in May of 2021, according to BNamericas, but according to sources in the Dominican Republic, current president Luis Abinader, who has been pressured by the U.S. to distance himself from China since taking power in August of 2020, has not pursued the proposal.
Given that such projects are always reviewed and approved by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (the old Five-Year Plan agency), it can be assumed that the government considers the plan important. The sum of $30 to $70 billion investment in Haiti mentioned by the Metallurgical Corporation of China is on a par with the planned investment for the strategic China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a whole, which is $62 billion. This indicates that the Chinese are serious about making Haiti into “a major development hub in the next 10 years,” in the Caribbean, which invariably involves Central America.
This plan would then be integrated into a series of Maritime Silk Road and Land Economic Belt proposals. It will be linked to the existing enlarged Panama Canal; a proposed Grand Inter-Oceanic Canal in Nicaragua; the building of a high-speed rail line through the Darien Gap; the building of a Bi-Oceanic Railroad (one of whose routes would start at Brazil’s port of Santos on the Atlantic Ocean, traverse Bolivia to Peru’s Callao District on the Pacific Ocean; and other projects that link to the World Land Bridge. China has developed designs, and offered financing, for several of these projects.
A new deep-water port in Fort Liberté on Haiti’s northern coast, along with similar projects in Ponce, Puerto Rico and Mariel, Cuba will form crucial transshipment points for further cargo transit to the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, as part of the Maritime Silk Road. (See Figure 7.)
The Schiller Institute Program
Listed below are eight fundamental areas of infrastructure, industry, and agriculture, which are at the core of the Haitian economy. For each area we present what capabilities and what problems exist, along with recommended development plan solutions.
I. Power and Electricity
Mankind’s existence is based on increasing the level of energy-flux-density. The introduction of electricity created a new higher level of energy-flux density, a new technological leap. An economy that has a plentiful supply of electricity can adopt a physical-economic platform that employs five-axis machine tools, high-speed electrified rail, superconductivity, laser and coherent energy beams, inter-spatial communications, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and CT scans. Currently, Haiti has no reliable source of energy generation, and what it does have, largely based on charcoal, is primitive, represents a serious health threat, and is dangerous. This is characteristic of the 16th-Century, feudal existence imposed on Haiti by the City of London and Wall Street.
About 25 years ago, electricity-deprived Haiti was forced to further shift into charcoal as its major source of energy. The December 23, 2020 USAID “Strategic Framework” report states that in rural Haiti most households have no energy access, and therefore use firewood, which comes from cutting down forests. Charcoal is used by almost 90% of the households in Port-au-Prince and other major cities. Only 30% of Haiti is still covered by forests. Contrast that to Frederick Douglass’s January 2, 1893 description of a verdant Haiti, in which he says that “its tropical heat and insular moisture keep its vegetation fresh, green and vigorous all the year round. At an altitude of eight thousand feet, its mountains are still covered with woods of great variety and of great value.”
If Haiti is not helped to break out of this prison, all the aid assistance in the world will mean nothing; it will never advance and develop, its people will never grow. Bringing the country up to Spain’s annual electricity consumption per person, for example, will require increasing its installed electricity generating capacity by over 75 times, from its current level of 350 megawatts of installed capacity, to around 27 gigawatts—leaving aside for the moment other relevant factors.
This can be done in two stages. Haiti can achieve half that installed electricity generating capacity, 13.5 gigawatts, over the next ten years. It will consist of a mixture of nuclear (including floating plants), clean coal, and natural gas. The plants will vary in size from 100 megawatts to 1,000 megawatts. In addition, the hydro-electricity generating capacity, including the Péligre Dam’s 54 MW, and that of new dams, can be vastly extended, by three times. This increased electrification will break the logjam to power homes and hospitals, water purification, business and industry, agriculture, and transportation, dramatically changing the daily lives of all Haitians.
II. A Universal Health Care System
Haiti urgently needs a modern healthcare system, just as Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche has proposed for the entire world. In her keynote address to a May 8, 2021 Schiller Institute conference, Zepp-LaRouche warned that, given the COVID-19 pandemic:
The only way to stop that and future pandemics, is to create a world health system, which means a modern health system in every single country. Because if you don’t stop the pandemic in even the poorest country on the planet, it will come back; there will be new variants, new strains, which eventually could make obsolete the vaccines which already have been distributed. So, we are in a race against time.
Zepp-LaRouche proposed that every single country should have the means to do—
what was done in Wuhan [China] when the pandemic broke out. Build hospitals! This can be done with the Army Corps of Engineers, with aid organizations. In one week, one can build a hospital for 1,000 people. Then, these modern hospitals need well-educated doctors, nurses. You need lots of clean water; two billion people in the world have no access to clean water. You need lots of electricity; this cannot be done without infrastructure. So, the building of a modern health system in every country can and must be the beginning of overcoming the underdevelopment of the developing countries for good.
On August 18, four days after the earthquake, Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan-American Health Organization, reported that 24 healthcare facilities were damaged or destroyed in the three departments hardest hit by the earthquake, and called on the international community to respond immediately to meet Haiti’s “immense needs” for, among other things, healthcare personnel, supplies, equipment, and patient transportation, in order to restore health services in the affected areas. She also pointed to the urgent need for COVID-19 vaccines. To date, less than 1% of Haiti’s 11.25 million inhabitants have been vaccinated, and only 500,000 doses of the vaccine have arrived through the COVAX facility, which provides vaccine to developing nations. While the official number of COVID-19 cases is low, this is almost certainly an undercount. The Schiller Institute calls for 14 million vaccine doses to be made available to Haiti to quickly raise its vaccination rate to 60%.
Haiti’s intensive care unit system has almost no ability to handle COVID-19 cases or other emergencies. According to a study, “Critical Care Capacity in Haiti: A Nation-wide Cross-sectional Survey,” published in the June 23, 2019 journal Plos One, Haiti has only 124 intensive care unit beds nationally, and an additional 53 beds designated for critically ill patients, most of which were in emergency departments. The dearth of medical personnel and hospital beds is appalling. Haiti has 0.25 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants, one tenth the U.S. level of 2.3 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants. It has 0.11 nurses per 1,000 inhabitants, one-hundredth the U.S. level of 11.7 nurses per 1,000 inhabitants—which itself is inadequate. There are 7,982 hospital beds in the whole country, or 0.71 beds per 1,000 people.
The standard to be provided in Haiti is in the range of 4 hospital beds per 1,000 residents in every community, which was the guideline set by the 1946 U.S. Hill-Burton Act (the “Hospital Survey and Construction Act”), whose principle was that health authorities determine how many beds per 1,000 people are needed region to region, based on modern medical standards and type of transportation available. Having modern medical facilities and adequate staffing—along with modern sanitation and adequate nutrition—will begin to help address Haiti’s rates of infant and maternal mortality, the highest in the Western Hemisphere.
This means that Haiti needs to build—assisted especially by the United States and China—185 new modern hospitals, housing 47,000 new hospital beds, over the next eight years. Hiring of construction workers and medical and technical personnel to build and run the hospital, will add employment for 100,000 people, at rising skill levels. Hospital construction will be decentralized, so that one 500-700 bed hospital is built in each of the nine other departments aside from the Ouest (West) department where Port-au-Prince is located, and half the nation’s existing hospitals are clustered. Haiti must also receive at least 50 MRI, 50 CT scan, and 200 x-ray machines for diagnostic purposes and thorough examination. Medical schools must be engaged to increase the number of doctors in Haiti from the current 2,800 to 20,000, and the number of nurses from the current 1,200 to 100,000. The Haitian diaspora in the U.S. and elsewhere, who have relatively higher skill levels than the domestic population, must be encouraged to return and help in this area—as in others. (See Section VII. Industry and Labor Force, below.)
III. Hunger and Agriculture
The UN’s World Food Program classifies 4.4 million Haitians, 42% of the population, as “food insecure,” and in urgent need of food assistance. In a trip to Haiti on September 16, WFP director David Beasley reported that over four million people in the country “are literally marching toward starvation, and out of that one million are knocking on famine’s door.” Pointing to the assistance needed throughout the earthquake-stricken area, he tweeted from the village of Manich, “4 out of 5 people in this village need access to food, shelter and healthcare NOW. I’m talking about the most basic needs. These families were lucky enough to make it out alive. Now they need our help.” The earthquake exacerbated the severe food insecurity crisis that has afflicted Haiti for years—wiping out crops and livestock, leveling markets and contaminating waterways that had been used as a source of drinking water.
Rice is the most important staple of the Haitian diet. In 1985, Haiti’s local rice production was at 163,296 metric tons, with an additional 7,337 metric tons imported from the U.S., for a total of 170,663 metric tons. Domestic production accounted for 96% of consumption, and thus Haiti was self-sufficient in rice consumption—albeit at a miserably low level. But in the decades of the 1980s, 1990s, and into the new millennium, the situation changed dramatically, thanks to political and economic manipulation orchestrated by the U.S. government and the International Monetary Fund’s murderous “structural adjustment programs” (SAP). In 1984, President Ronald Reagan pushed through the free-trade Caribbean Basin Initiative, by which Haiti was “integrated into the global market,” and told to redirect 30% of its domestic food production towards export crops. Two years later, the then-ruling military junta under Gen. Henri Namphy accepted $24.6 million in IMF loans, on the condition that he agree to slash rice tariffs from 150% to 50%, the lowest in the Caribbean.
All of Haiti’s ports were opened to international commercial activity and what little price supports still remained for farmers were eliminated. Subsequent years saw repeated imposition of IMF austerity, a U.S. economic embargo and invasion, and an extraordinary further 1994 reduction in the tariff on rice imports from 35% to 3%—making Haiti, insanely, the “most open economy” in the entire Caribbean.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service forecast for July 2020 through June 2021, estimated that Haiti’s domestic rice production would be 75,000 metric tons, and imports 495,000 metric tons (90% of it from the U.S., bringing its rice self-sufficiency down to a nightmarish 13%! Since 1985, Haiti’s domestic rice production has fallen 55%. Farm income crashed; many farmers were forced off the land, often ending up in the so-called “informal economy”—including the deadly drug trade. The effects of this British imperial “free trade’ spread, such that today, about 40 to 50% or more of Haiti’s diet comes from imports, including wheat and poultry.
For Haiti to produce enough food for its own population, and eventually for export as well, it must have access to modern agricultural methods, including for use in the five mountain ranges that run through and cover 70% of its territory on which some food is produced, although inefficiently. (See Figure 8.)
Producers must be able to address such problems as soil erosion, caused in part by the widespread use of charcoal, which leads to deforestation and topsoil loss during rainfall. Farmers lack capital equipment like tractors and other farm machinery, and have little access to financial capital. There is almost no irrigation; out of Haiti’s 6,180 square miles (16,000 sq km) of agricultural land, only 375 square miles (970 sq km), or 6%, are equipped for irrigation. Crop yields and productivity in agriculture are extremely low.
And yet the country’s agro-climatic potential is great, because it can grow both tropical and temperate crops and trees. There is good rainfall, and two growing-seasons. With good fertilizer, seeds, farm equipment, timely water applications, and so on, yields can be raised dramatically for the crops that can be produced: rice, corn, sorghum, sugar cane, and a wide range of fruits and vegetables (such as mangoes), plus specialties including coffee, sisal, and aromatic plants. Reforestation also has to proceed, re-establishing the full range of types, from pines to fruit trees, viable for the right altitudes.
The conditions for freshwater fish can be enhanced in rivers and lakes. Given that Haiti is surrounded by ocean on three sides, the potential for developing a fishing industry needs to be fully explored, both for domestic production and export. There are 270 different fish species in the Gulf of Gonaives, but deep poverty in rural areas of Haiti prevents fishermen from acquiring the larger boats or vessels required for making large catches. This will also provide an excellent source of animal protein, so sorely lacking in the Haitian diet today.
While international foreign aid programs have contributed several billions of dollars to Haiti, and some of it for good short-term purposes, it has not changed the Haitian economy’s fundamentals at all. Less than half a billion dollars to purchase 3,000 100-horsepower, four-wheel drive large size tractors; a fleet of 100 commercial fishing boats; pumps, sprinklers, etc. for central pivot or drip irrigation systems; fertilizers and seeds; and hydroponics and aquaculture, will produce a much more powerful and lasting development thrust.
IV. Railroads and Roads
Earlier in this report, we took note of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation plan to construct a Dominican Republic-Haiti International Railroad, connecting Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The CCECC is a very competent and experienced company. If it proposed and championed a Haitian-Dominican rail line, and committed to financing it under appropriate circumstances, then it almost certainly surveyed and designed in broad terms (and perhaps in fine detail) a blueprint of the Haitian portion of the line.
The Schiller Institute does not currently have the CCECC design for the Haitian portion of the rail line, but one rail system that would greatly benefit the economy would connect portions, or all of the port cities that ring Haiti’s 1,100-mile (1,770 km) seacoast. The full line would start in the port city of Fort Liberté and proceed westward to the port city of Cap-Haitien, to Port-de Paix, then southward to Anse Rouge, Gonaives, and to Port-au-Prince, and then westward to Jeremie, Port-Salut, Les Cayes, and Laborieux. (See Figure 9.)
In addition to the lines shown in the map, two rail lines could be constructed from Port-au-Prince: one a direct line running due north to Fort Liberté, and the other a direct line southwest to Jacmel, both should be either electrified high-speed rail or magnetic levitation lines. This will accelerate the movement of goods and people to the corners of the country. Moreover, the Southwest Municipal Engineering Design and Research Institute of China (SMEDRIC) plan to upgrade and widen 62 miles (100 km) of motor vehicle roads in the Port-au-Prince area, is a good start to extend that to 1,000 miles (1,620 km) of prime roads weaving throughout Haiti, to begin to connect the country.
V. Airports and Seaports
Haiti today has only three international seaports. The Port International de Port-au-Prince, which handles a large portion of the traffic, is aged and has limited capacity. In 2011, in an attempt to help Haiti recover from the 2010 earthquake, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) commissioned a feasibility study to see whether one or two ports in the northern part of the country—the limited port of Cap-Haitien and the port at Fort Liberté, which today handles only small amounts of traffic—can be deepened and outfitted with modern full gantry cranes, etc. to increase their capacities. USAID placed the construction improvement cost for the two ports at between $185 to $250 million, of which the U.S. government would commit $70 million, with the rest to come from the private sector. Since the port at Cap-Haitien has limited land on which a port can be expanded, the focus was on building up the port at Fort Liberté.
USAID’s proposed expansion of the Fort Liberté port and what it implied for Haiti’s development set off alarm bells among international Malthusians, who leapt into action shortly after the initial 2011 report was issued to absurdly warn that the project threatened the existence of coral reefs across the Caribbean.
An October 1, 2012 article in Reef Relief intoned that “Lizard, rare coral reefs complicate multimillion-dollar Haiti seaport project,” going on to cite a “bleak study” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, whose “research found coral reefs across the Caribbean are on the verge of collapse.” Recall that the IUCN was founded by eugenicist and Malthusian Julian Huxley, whose avowed purpose was to thin “inferior people” from the ranks of mankind.
Then the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), staffed by people who often specialize in cutting infrastructure, issued a June 2013 report, “Haiti Reconstruction,” which was critical of the USAID work in Haiti. Two reports by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation proposed a baseline of “no action,” effectively killing the Fort Liberté port expansion project. In 2018, USAID proposed relatively minor alterations to the Cap-Haitien port.
No wonder the Fort Liberté project offended the depopulation fanatics. The Bay of Fort Liberté has a depth of 72 feet , far deeper than the 53 feet of the Port of Los Angeles, America’s largest trade volume port which can accommodate the largest container ships in the world.
The Schiller Institute proposes that the project to expand and upgrade the Fort Liberté port be taken off the shelves and updated, as a critical component of the plan to revitalize Haiti. One useful starting point is to assess the documents prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which were brought in to evaluate the project in 2011-12.
Members of the U.S.-based Haitian diaspora have also contributed to the discussion on this project. In a recent conversation with the Schiller Institute, a U.S.-based Haitian engineer reported that, were the Fort Liberté port built large enough, it could handle container ships containing upwards of 16,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) containers, which currently cannot be handled at two of Florida’s leading ports, Port Jacksonville and Port Everglades (maximum 9,000 TEUs). This source suggested that large international container ships could first travel to and be broken down at a port at Fort Liberté with its larger capacity, after which the cargo in TEU containers would then be shipped on vessels containing a smaller number of TEU containers to Port Jacksonville and Port Everglades.
The port expansion will not only greatly strengthen Haiti’s role as a hub for the region, but will also serve as a magnet to attract and provide jobs and training for the labor force needed to run the port.
Inside Haiti, the lack of airports (and usable roads) greatly hinders domestic transportation, seen most dramatically in recent efforts by aid organizations to transport emergency assistance to those parts of the country hardest hit by the August 14 earthquake. The country has only 14 airports, only five or six of which have paved runways and scheduled flights. Many of the “runways” are effectively little more than dirt roads. Radar systems are aged, if they exist at all. The Port-de-Paix airport, the nation’s third largest in terms of passenger traffic, has lacked radar for most of the 21st Century, for example. The state of Florida, with twice Haiti’s population, has 520 airports.
The country’s paltry airport network must be upgraded, which will also require installation of a modern, well-functioning radar system. By 2027, Haiti should have 25 airports that can handle scheduled flights, half of which with runways that are paved, and are long enough, to accommodate Boeing 787 passenger jets, and Boeing C17 Globemaster III U.S. military transports to be able to provide emergency relief.
VI. Sanitation and Water Purification
In the capital of Port-au-Prince, with a population of three million people in its metropolitan area, there is not one single sewage treatment plant. Nor are there sewers connecting wastewater from sinks and the like. Many residents use outhouses; people dump trash and raw sewage into canals that run right through the city, which breed disease, and overflow when it rains. The open-air sewage treatment plant at Morne a Cabrit, 40 miles from Port-au-Prince, is the only treatment plant operating for the entire country! Waste, including human waste, and trash flow through some of the country’s rivers and streams and overwhelm the country. Water-borne illnesses—especially typhoid, cholera, and chronic diarrhea—account for a significant percentage of deaths. At the same time, residents of apartment complexes must often chlorinate the building’s water system themselves in order to take safe showers.
As for drinking water, “42.3% of Haiti’s total population struggles with access to clean water” right now, according to the Borgen Project which monitors developing nations’ access to basic services. Other estimates put this figure as high as 50%. The Borgen Project also reports that three-quarters of Haitian households lack access to running water. Hundreds of Haitian villages get their water from hand pumps which often don’t even work, or wells. Villages lacking either wells or hand pumps rely on either the government or NGOs to deliver water in trucks loaded with 200 five-gallon pails of water to provide a total of 1,000 gallons of clean water—when possible. In the cities, many people drink bottled water. The lack of a reliable source of clean water hinders the daily operations of food processing plants, bakeries, and other businesses.
The SMEDRIC and MCC proposal described above calls for building a new sewage treatment plant that can treat 180,000 cubic meters of sewage per day in Port-au-Prince. It will utilize a process flow of pre-treatment, primary treatment, and secondary biological treatment. Treatment plants with this capacity will be built in all the country’s 10 departments by 2026, which will bring the combined waste treatment capacity to 1.8 million cubic meters per day. This is a good starting point but may prove insufficient. Washington, D.C.’s Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment processes at least four times Haiti’s projected waste treatment capacity, for a population that is less than a third of Haiti’s.
The SMEDRIC and MCC proposal also calls for building a water purification plant capable of purifying 225,000 cubic meters per day for safe and pure potable water in Port-au-Prince. Fifteen such plants, with the same capacity will be built throughout the country, with at least one in each department, by 2026. To get a plentiful supply of clean water quickly, nuclear desalination plants and the advanced use of lasers to purify water will be considered.
VII. Industry and Labor Force
The Haitian economy today most resembles one dominated by the British East India Company of the 18th Century. The informal economy, the very low-wage garment and textile industry, and the charcoal-producing industry are the defining characteristic of an economy which degrades and brutalizes its workforce. The World Bank’s May 2015 publication Haiti: Towards a New Narrative reports that 47% of the Haitian economy is informal—underground—whose “workers” sell everything from handicrafts, street food, and chewing gum, to illegal imports, stolen goods, and drugs. Overall, 65% of Haiti’s workforce is either unemployed, or underemployed in the informal economy. Agriculture comprises 40% of the economy and formal employment—largely industry and services—only 13%.
The garment industry—textiles and apparel—drives the primitive economy, employing 57,000 workers. The textile worker who produces for export earns 420 gourdes, the local currency, or about $5.00 per day. Textile exports, most of which go to the United States, account for 90% of all of Haiti’s export earnings. This is not a new phenomenon. The IMF austerity programs imposed on the country beginning in the mid-1980s helped transform Haiti into one giant sweatshop, in which in-bond assembly plants—the infamous maquiladoras known in Mexico, Central America and in many developing countries—became the country’s largest employer. By 1985, Haiti was ninth in the world in the assembly of goods for U.S. consumption, attaining the dubious distinction of being the world’s largest producer of baseballs, and among the top three in the assembly of such products as stuffed toys, dolls, and apparel.
The USAID 2020-2022 Strategic Framework report for Haiti states that charcoal production employs more than 150,000 people nationwide. Outside of agriculture, this is the largest source of informal employment in Haiti today, part and parcel of the charcoal economy which has imprisoned Haiti in a feudal economy of primitivism and genocide.
Most of Haiti’s industry is light industry, as there are almost no medium- to heavy-capital goods. The workforce has a very low educational level and is unskilled.
Five machine-tool parks will be developed across the country, each comprised of five to ten machine tool companies with 5 to 30 workers each. Each company will be run by a skilled machine tool operator, who could be recruited from either the U.S., China, France, Germany, Switzerland, or Italy. Employee training will include four or five years of combined classroom education and on-the-job training.
Plans were announced in 2015 to build the $300 million Siman Lakay cement plant in Gonaives, capable of producing a good part of Haiti’s required 4.5 million tons of cement per year and generate about 2,200 skilled jobs. The project was to have been financed by foreign and Haitian investors, but for reasons that are unclear it was never built. It will be built now as part of the development program. Haiti’s neighbor, the Dominican Republic, with its cement industry and as part of a regional development plan, can participate in these plans, as it has 16 cement production plants and already exports more than half of its annual output to Haiti. Two mini steel mills, each with a 150-ton capacity will also be built at a combined cost of $250 million with a few more to be built later, along with some fabricating plants. These plants will enable Haiti to begin to meet some of its most basic industrial needs.
One factor that will be crucial in spurring Haiti’s development is its large diaspora. One estimate places the number of Haitian immigrants living in the United States at 760,000, though another one that includes Haitian-Americans, places the number at 1.3 million people. There are also more than one million Haitians living collectively in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Canada, and France. Several of these have a strong emotional commitment to seeing Haiti develop. A significant stratum of the diaspora is professionals, including engineers, doctors, nurses, architects, tradesmen, and some financial professionals.
A development program of the type that the Schiller Institute is proposing will serve as the magnet to attract many of these professionals back to their country, either permanently or for shorter stints, where they will work with Chinese, American, and Haitian project managers, or contribute their professional skills in other ways. They will add a valuable margin of talent to bring success to these projects.
The feudal economic system imposed on Haiti for most of its history has prevented it from creating the educated workforce it needs for future development. The Schools for Education organization in Haiti reports on its website that “the enrollment rate for primary school in Haiti is 57%, and fewer than 30% of students reach the 6th grade. Secondary schools enroll 20% of eligible age children…. Haiti ranks 177th out of 186 in the world for national spending on education.” The literacy rate is reported to be 61.7%, but if fewer than 30% of students reach the sixth grade, then the real literacy rate is likely below that. [Box: The History
Currently 80-90% of students are educated at international private schools, primarily run by Canada, France, or the United States, and church-run schools and NGOs. Haiti has a total of 15,200 primary schools, but only about 1,800 of them are public. This is a far cry from what Haiti’s 1804-1805 Constitution mandated when it stated that “education shall be free. Primary education shall be compulsory…. State education shall be free at every level.” According to a 2015 World Bank report, Haitian parents spend on average $130 every year to send their child to [private] school. In a country where half the population earns less than $3 per day, most parents can’t afford the expense of a private school, yet many struggle to scrape together the money to pay for it.
Brain drain is another big problem for Haiti. The World Bank has documented that 84% of university graduates leave the country soon after graduating. The country has many talented engineers, but there are few of them relative to what is needed.
Haiti’s school system must be overhauled, with a greater emphasis placed on the role of public schools. Two thousand new modernized public-school buildings will be built, and 1,000 existing buildings upgraded with modern water systems and bathrooms, ventilation systems, lunchrooms, etc. They will also be earthquake- and hurricane-proofed, using successful designs used in other earthquake-prone nations. A reasonable goal is to complete half this program within five years. In addition to this, the current low monthly wage of the average elementary school teacher, $445 or 47,300 gourdes, should be regularized and doubled.
Optimally, the school curriculum should be based on Wilhelm von Humboldt’s classical school curriculum, with a heavy emphasis on science and classics.
The Schiller Institute proposes that, as the number of science degrees is increased, two universities should be built, dedicated to engineering, with an initial class of 250 students each, and with the student body increasing over the years. Programs for Haitian machine tool trainees are to be instituted, of around four or five years of combined classroom education and on-the-job training.
Immediately after the January 12, 2010 Haitian earthquake, Lyndon LaRouche proposed the creation of a 1930s-style Civilian Conservation Corps project to employ Haitian and American youth. Today, the Schiller Institute’s Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites proposes to immediately establish such a project of 5,000 youth from each country to be trained and work as apprentices on reconstruction projects or in COVID-19 tracing and vaccination operations and hospital service.
Haiti’s future, like the world’s, lies with its youth. The Schiller Institute has here presented the broad plan of what is needed, around which to mobilize to make that future a reality.