July 19, 2023

Haiti: On the Verge of Starvation after a Political Implosion

Keith Mines, Director, Latin America Program, United States Institute of Peace

Haiti, for decades a crucible of political and natural disasters, is one of the most troubled countries on earth. Keith Mines from the U.S. Institute of Peace, however, discusses that it is not yet a failed state, and provides a blueprint on how to address its complex situation. Mines recounts his experiences living in Haiti and provides a historical overview of Haiti‘s governance issues, coups, and the struggle to build effective institutions. He touches upon the U.S. military and diplomatic interventions, including the restoration of President Aristide and subsequent political turmoil leading to the assassination of President Moise, and warns of the potential for a collapse similar to Somalia’s if the situation doesn’t improve. He suggests that Haiti’s history, natural disasters, political instability, and governance breakdown have trapped it in a cycle of dysfunction, and he discusses the role of international aid and the challenges of nation-building, emphasizing the need for long-term support to develop Haitian institutions. Following his lecture, he answers questions on political and security stability, and how they need to be addressed simultaneously, with a current lean towards politics as the essential first step. This talk is a blend of personal anecdotes, historical context, and policy analysis, advocating a nation-building approach to understanding and assisting Haiti.

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