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    Payne, Anthony 1998. The new politics of 'Caribbean America'. Third World Quarterly, Vol. 19, Issue. 2, p. 205.

  • Print publication year: 1996
  • Online publication date: July 2011

6 - Haiti: The “practically insolvable problem” of establishing consensual domination


The experience of Liberia and Haiti shows that the African race are [sic] devoid of any capacity for political organization and lack genius for government. Unquestionably there is in them an inherent tendency to revert to savagery and to cast aside the shackles of civilization which are irksome to their physical nature. Of course there are many exceptions to this racial weakness, but it is true of the mass, as we know from experience in this country. It is that which makes the negro problem practically insolvable.

US Secretary of State Robert Lansing, 1918

Cité Soleil (Sun City) is a name filled with bitter sarcasm. It refers to the vast shantytown slum just north of Port-au-Prince. Poverty here reaches absolute bottom, below which can only be death: Barefoot children play on banks of muddy streams of raw sewerage or amidst toxic waste spills. A crippled man hasn't been able to get enough to eat for two days. A mother can't treat her baby's serious injury because of the cost of medical care. Despite these conditions, the most striking thing about Cité Soleil is not its desperate poverty. Rather it is the hope that is surging here with the growth of the Lavalas mass movement and the election of radical priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

US visitor reporting from Cité Soleil, March 1991
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Promoting Polyarchy
  • Online ISBN: 9780511559129
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