RICHMOND, Va. -- No president should talk like Trump did about Haiti, in a closed committee meeting, in public, anywhere. But it’s no surprise coming from him. None.
He enjoys stirring up . . . well, you know.
But beyond his apparent bigotry to the world’s poorest nations, he did offer us an opportunity to revisit the plight of this third-world nation in our own backyard.
Despite having the same opportunities and geography of nearby island destinations, Haiti has long been one of the poorest and most mdysfunctional nations in the world, and rock bottom in our hemisphere.
One of the signs of a impoverished 3rd world country” is not having sewage systems and sanitary water.
That is Haiti. It has only one sewage treatment plant in the whole country.
People dig holes in the ground for toilets or use ditches or waterways.
Cholera and other diseases are persistent problems. People have literally drowned in sewage.
It’s history has been brutal.
It was one of the richest properties of France, which owned it and its people until the historic slave revolt there.
We, among others, got involved to “help.” We occupied it from 1915 until 1934, largely for our economic gain.
Then came corrupt, ultra-violent, voodoo-using regimes like “Papa Doc Devalier,” who killed as many as 60,000 Haitians.
The nation has also been plagued by devastating earthquakes and hurricanes.
My father spent a good bit of his last years trying to develop integrated farming and sustainable energy programs in Haiti and neighboring Dominican Republic.
The need is tremendous.
We give hundreds of millions in aid. So do other nations. Historically, billions of that aid has been abused or stolen.
As we have our daily shock and awe over the President’s latest cattle-prod comments, will we spend a fraction of the time trying to figure out how to lift Haiti out of its destitute dependence and despair? Maybe rally to finish the sewage system in Port-au-Prince?
It’s easy to be angry and offended when you have a toilet to flush and clean water.
If only our ire could help the people we have leaped to defend for a few minutes this week.