Should the US change policy in Haiti?

The PBS Newshour show has interviewed a number of Haiti experts for the Quick Takes feature in their website, asking them whether the United States needs ot change its policy towards Haiti. Among those interviewed are Emira Woods,  co-director at Foreign Policy in Focus, a think tank associated with the Institute for Policy Studies;  James Dobbins, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at RAND Corporation, and Colin Dayan of Vanderbilt University. Here is part of Colin’s coments. You can access the site through the link below and listen to all their interviews.

Colin Dayan, humanities professor at Vanderbilt University, explained that Haiti’s financial burden dates back to when it gained its independence from France in 1804 and had to pay 150 million francs in reparations to French slaveholders — an amount later reduced to 60 million francs. The debt grew under the Duvalier regimes, with much of foreign funding going to private accounts rather than social and economic programs, though Haitians were still saddled with making hundreds of millions of dollars of loan and interest payments. “It seems to me that the first thing that’s necessary now is to offer debt relief to Haiti to make it possible for Haitians to use that aid money to rebuild the country and to develop Haitian expertise,” said Dayan, whose mother and other family members are Haitian.

For the rest of her comments and the other interviews go to http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/latin_america/jan-june10/haitiqt_01-21.html

Photo Credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

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