Haitiis a fascinating and beautiful place due to its palm-fringed beachesthat have white sand and turquoise sea. In addition, Haiti is rich incultural heritage especially in art, music, and literature. Most ofits history literatures states Haiti as a country born out of slaverevolution and the first independent black republic. With thisthought, any tourist industry can have interest to invest in thecountry. However, Haiti is also known as a “bad country.” Mostinternational community poke and prod it as the poorest country inthe western hemisphere. Haiti is situated in the western Hispaniola.Its nearest Caribbean neighbours are Jamaica and Cuba. Historically,its most significant economical and political neighbour is USA. Mostpart of the country consists of limestone while the coastal regionconsists of rocks. This essay discusses Haiti in the late 19thcentury and 20thcentury.
Haitihuman life began more than four thousand years ago after the firstwave of migration brought people to the island. The first group toarrive were Paleo-Indian who came from Yucatan Peninsula. These werethe ancestors of the first people to colonise America. Before theyleft the island, they left some archaeological traces of the stonetool. The next group was the Ciboney who travelled from the SouthAmerica across the Caribbean chain (Rogozinski,2008).They were mariners and hunter-gatherers, and they spread throughoutthe Caribbean. Afterwards, other group of people entered Haiti withevery group wanting to colonise others.
Haitiand Dominican Republic share the Hispaniola Island. The bothcountries are closely linked like members of one family. However,they are both marked by hostility and ambivalence. In the 20thcentury, the Haiti economy deteriorated. Since its birth, Haiti wasin a tough neighbourhood. Initially, it was an ideological threat tocountries like Britain, France, and USA. During this time, theDessalines focused on his powers and pushed the plantation system tounwilling population. By the end of 19thcentury, more than half a million of Haitians which was aboutDominican population. By this time, the savage civil wars afflictedboth the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The brutal men would seizepower, borrow from foreign bankers, and plunder the nationaltreasury. The two countries feared that either European or Germanywould power over their country due to high debts. To prevent this andrestore order, President Woodrow Wilson invited US Marines theAmerican troops stayed in Haiti for nineteen years, from 1915 to1934, while in Dominican Republic for eight years, from 1916 to 1924(Knight,2012).The American administrators would schools, introduce public healthsystems, as well as reorganise national finances. In addition, theymade other physical improvement such as securing safe water suppliesand building roads and sewages systems. Further, they trained thelocal police forces that seized power after the American left. Laterin 1930, General Rafael Trujillo, a Dominican Republic took controland installed an autocratic regime that was similar to Europeanfascism. In 1962, Trujillo was assassinated which precipitated to apolitical struggle leading to civil war. In 1965, the US troops butthis time they also stayed in Haiti for one year
TheDominican Republic gained its independence in 1844, and it adoptedthe Napoleonic French Tradition. For instance, the presidentdominated judiciary and legislature. The constitution preservedpresidential control and the central government. At this time, therewere no police or local laws. All laws and the police force werenational. Therefore, no municipality or province would pay taxes. Thenatural government would fund and govern education, roads,electricity, social services, and public works. The constitution gavethe presidents all the powers to control and administer the armedforces, national administration, and all public affairs. In addition,the president controlled the national budget, and in times ofemergency, he had the right to suspend the basic rights and rule bydecree. The constitution had also given the president the powers toappoint and fire all public officials from the cabinet ministers tothe lowest ranks, heads of the central bank, and governors ofprovinces.
JoaquinBalaguer Ricardo, a historian and a poet served as a Colombia andSpain. During Balaguer’s first term in office, there was a lot ofcivil violence. For instance, Leftist Guerrilla group stole fromstores and banks and would be attacked by police officers.Paramilitary bands and anticommunist military terrorized those whotook part in revolution especially leftist political leaders andstudents groups. During this period, more than three thousand peopledied while thousand more were jailed. Afterward, the country held anelection with Joaquin Balaguer winning. However, the election wasrepeated again in 1970 and 1794, and again Balaguer won byterrorizing his opponents (Knight,2012).The political ineptitude helped him to remain in power for threeterms. During his legacy, Balaguer used the country economy as apatronage source. However, he was unable to meet the countries needslike paying for electricity and other basic needs. During thisre-election, the Bosch’s People’s Revolutionary Party (PRD), theonly opposition party, tried to boycott the election in order tosafeguard other candidates. However, PRD was weak due to its internaldissent. In 1970, Juan Bosch returned from exile. He was so bitterwith the US intervention and he contacted the North Vietnamese andChinese governments. He also overt socialist and renounced hisdemocracy faith. Bosch was unable to impose his new belief, and hesigned from PRD party in 1973 and formed another party DominicanLiberation Party (PLD). In the following years, the DominicanRepublic exported sugar, tobacco, cacao, and coffee. As a result,there was an economic growth and the nation’s economic rose by tenpercent. During his regime, Balaguer assisted the poor and ensuredthe government gave them title deed, built roads, churches, schools,irrigation schemes, among others. As a result, the poor supported himand voted him in throughout his years in office.
Accordingto Rogozinski(2008),the Haiti’s economy started to deteriorate in 1970. There was highrate of inflation and unemployment while the petroleum prices wenthigh and sugar down. At this time, the PRD members were not in goodterms and Balaguer won again as a president. He also formed his partywith other Christians Democrats and called it Social Christian ReformParty (PRSC). Immediately after Balaguer was elected as thepresident, he ordered the previous administration to be investigatedfor corruption. It is after this that the country stated positivetrends. For instance, the Dominican Republic found sources of foreignexchange. In addition, the rate of unemployment decreased. Besides,the tourism industry also grew with over one million touristsvisiting the island.
Knight,F. W. (2012). TheCaribbean, the genesis of a fragmented nationalism.New York: Oxford University Press.
Rogozinski,Jan. (2008). ABrief History of the Caribbean: From the Arawak and Carib to thePresent.Paw Prints.