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Summary: Haiti was forced to pay France for its freedom. When they couldn't afford the ransom, France (and other countries, including the United States) helpfully offered high-interest loans. By 1900, 80% of Haiti's annual budget went to paying off its "reparation" debt. They didn't make the last payment until 1947. Just 10 years later, dictator François Duvalier took over the country and promptly bankrupted it, taking out more high-interest loans to pay for his corrupt lifestyle. The Duvalier family, with the blind-eye financial assistance of Western countries, killed 10s of thousands of Haitians, until the Haitian people overthrew them in 1986. Today, Haiti is still paying off the debt of an oppressive dictator no one would help them get rid of for 30 years.
The rest of the world refuses to forgive this debt.
So, in a way, maybe Robertson is right. Haiti is caught in a deal with the devil, and the devil is us.
Does it not make sense to the average Haitian that if you can barely feed yourself why would you ever think that you could feed your offspring? Or is poverty an excuse for not realizing this?
The problem is heartbreakingly simple: Millions of women either cannot access health care, or cannot afford it.
Haitian health officials made significant strides last year with a program to waive entrance fees - the equivalent of 25 to 64 cents a day - for pregnant mothers at public hospitals. But the women must pay for almost everything else, from doctors' gloves and syringes to medicine, food and transportation, said Jacqueline Ramon, a maternity ward nurse at Port-au-Prince's General Hospital.
With its rich delta soil and a year-round growing season, Haiti's famous agricultural region seems capable of feeding the entire Caribbean.
But Haiti is a net importer of food, spending about $400 million last year on purchases from abroad. The World Food Programme runs child nutrition and "food for work" operations. And fields in the nation's breadbasket, Artibonite Department, have been periodically swamped by flash floods and mud washed by tropical downpours off barren hillsides.