I encourage everyone to read Claire Tremblay’s article, Haiti, After The Earthquake, The Disaster in this issue. The Haitian earthquake of 2010 was such an epic natural disaster it was beyond any forecasts, predictions and perhaps anyone’s conceptual capacity such that the magnitude of the destruction literally stopped the entire world in it tracks. There was essentially no government, no infrastructure, no food, no medical supplies, no housing; just death, destruction and misery. But the world cares. We know this because collectively over 8 billion dollars was donated for disaster relief from countries worldwide.
The United Nations (U.N.) was the lead agency tasked with using these sums to effectively restart Haiti from scratch. And what, with this disaster in front of them, did they do? Assign a U.N. person to act as a defacto interim leader to begin the rebuild process? Give that person over arching powers to bring in machinery, food and supplies to establish order amidst the chaos? Convince U.N. members to put troops on the ground creating the security required to facilitate reconstruction thus enabling the Haitian people themselves to begin rebuilding without fear of looters and violent psychopathic parasites preying on misery? No, of course not. Instead, the brain trust running the show (including many Canadians working with the U.N.) decided that the Haitian people needed an election more than anything. So the Canadian government, as it is wont to do, signed on with the U.N. and initiated the most ill-conceived, least useful and perhaps the dumbest election ever held.
In the meantime, the people suffered, the roads remained crowded with collapsed buildings and the “rebuild” meandered along aimlessly like 2 year olds tasked with rebuilding the World Trade Centre. To add insult to injury, when cholera broke out and claimed another 2000 lives, the U.N. put out pleas for more money to stop the cholera in Haiti even though they are sitting on over 7 billion dollars in donations. It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode, “You know how to collect the money but you just don’t know how to spend it. And that’s really the most important thing.” The ineptitude of the bureaucrats is almost comical but for the enormous tragedy unfolding in Haiti at this very moment. The lessons of history are with us to help solve the Haiti crisis. Haiti needs order and the people need food, shelter and hope. Not elections. The U.N. should have named an interim government to oversee reparations. They should have had a mandate to bring in heavy equipment to clear out the rubble and spent billions of dollars hiring Haitian people to assist in this process. They should have streamed billions more into building new sewage and road infrastructure and homes. Billions should have been spent for food and food recovery on the island nations. A Marshall Plan for Haiti would have been the most effective way of transitioning to local governance after the people were back on their feet and on the road toward becoming a stable, habitable country and a secure hemispheric partner.
The U.N. could have done this and the Haitian people would have applauded. Instead, we got the lack lustre anti-leadership of Canada, the United States and the U.N. who decided to put the recovery and saving lives stuff on the back burner while playing the politically correct game of, “Let’s Have an Election”. That sucking sound was a vacuum of leadership so profound even Baby Doc thought he could return to Haiti with impunity! Harry Truman saved all of Europe from a complete collapse from starvation and destruction with the Marshall Plan in the period immediately after WWII. There was an oversight quasi-military government that ran the show. Today, Europe has the greatest democratic institutions on the planet. Where are the great leaders and thinkers who can deliver a Marshall Plan for Haiti? The response to Haiti by the United Nations and our own government is both a moral failure and the shame of our generation. It is beyond sad. People are dying. I weep for Haiti.