I just wanna know how come Haiti is getting more help faster than New Orleans did?
Today on the BBC, they were reporting that food, water, tents and medical supplies flown in from all over the world were accumulating at the airports in Haiti. It's not just because the government there is in such disarray that it cannot manage or co-ordinate the relief effort. It's also because the airports in Haiti lack the necessary equipment that is used in other airports to load and unload large commercial aircraft quickly. Even though it would seem that suspension of normal import/export rules and procedures would be the appropriate thing to do right now, the BBC was reporting that bureaucratic red tape was preventing the international aid that was coming into the country from being distributed to the people and medical professionals in need of it. I expect there are other reasons as well; once you load a truck up with stuff, it still can't go to where the help is needed because the city streets are full of rubble. It'll be up to the relief agencies and NGO's to figure out how to get their help into the country where it's needed on their own.
t r u t h o u t | How Helpful Will Relief Efforts Be in Haiti?
But, we should be honest with ourselves here. One of the reasons Haiti is such a poor country is because it is also a very corrupt country. Corruption of the government and the police and legal system both scares off international investment and creates instability in the country. No one wants to invest their money in a country where they can't be sure that their investment will be safe. And, without seed money to start up businesses and develop resources, the result is high unemployment and chronic poverty. It's that poverty that contributed to many of the elements that got Haiti into the position it was before the earthquake; substandard building construction, poor and unreliable infrastructure, and the AIDS virus being widespread throughout the population.
Haitians may pull together during this crisis, but as soon as they start to feel that the worst is behind them, then government and police corruption will continue as before and the country will remain an unstable place to do business, and the unemployment and poverty will persist. And that's going to result in the same devastation they're having now the next time an earthquake hits.
We have a humane and moral obligation to help our fellow man in his hour of need, but we should keep in mind that until there is real responsibility and transparency in the government and legal system in Haiti, then we're putting a bandaid on the problem. True help would come in the form of stricter oversight of the government by the population and quick and effective punishment of government and police officials who are caught taking bribes.
Ditto for most of the countries in Africa. Africa has vast undeveloped natural resources, but doing business in Africa is risky. No one wants to build a hotel or gold mine there because so many of the countries are unstable because of the public discontent over corruption.
The day after the US released Uganda from it's foreign debt obligations to the US, the Ugandan dictator at the time, Idi Amin, bought a corporate jet for personal use with Ugandan money. This was back in the 1970's. The leader of the Ivory Coast, soon after converting to catholicism tripled his country's national debt by building the largest Catholic Church in the world, even though only a small percentage of the population was Catholic. The church was supposed to cater to the needs of the poor of the Ivory Coast, but it pretty much sits empty during scheduled masses, and with no parishoners, it has no money to cater to the needs of the poor. That's precisely the kind of spending that creates unrest in the population and instability in the government.
So, let's feed and shelter the Haitians and Africans, but the long term success of their countries lies in the hands of the Haitians and Africans. They have to elect principled people as their leaders to clean up their government and police forces.