With the recent tragedy in Haiti, the world’s initial reaction is to provide humanitarian aid – LOTS of aid. In reality, the challenges in Haiti are as much the challenges of Hispaniola. For Haiti is forever linked to the Dominican Republic by more than just an invisible border.
The following few links might be useful in providing an historical and environmental perspective of the two nations of Hispaniola. The challenges are much greater than the obvious environmental devastation caused by the recent earthquake.
From the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO): The Frontier that Unites is a view of the resource challenges of the island and the impending pressures on both countries.
A paper describing the history of the island from Columbus through present: One Island, Two Separate Nations/Environmental Management in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, by Tessie Swope provides a very educational perspective on how and why the two nations may be in their present state. Especially revealing of the environmental differences is a satellite photo of the border between the two countries.
The following article from DominicanToday: Haitian Charcoal Makers Ravage the Border… will offer an explanation of Haitian behavior that has caused the forest destruction along the border with Dominican Republic.
Important to the recovery of Haiti from this earthquake is more than simply the restoration of services to its citizens. It must include a well-developed, long-term program to change the culture that has maintained the status quo of that nation for so long. Yet, the irony to any solution is that the history of Haiti may continue to hinder any external influence simply because of …….its history!