Although the Caribbean islands are widely considered a holiday paradise, Haiti, a state lying on the Hispaniola island in the Greater Antilles, evokes a picture in complete contrast to this. Hundreds of years of slavery and colonialism and the regime of the Duvalier family dictatorship in the last century, accompanied by mass violence, has left Haiti in a hopeless state, and the poorest nation of the Americas.
The overall situation in Haiti gets worse every year and the extreme poverty affects more and more people. The Haitian economy is paralysed – there is no infrastructure, no food supplies and the social and living conditions in Haitian slums (such as in Cite Soleil) are a human tragedy. People live together with pigs and are surrounded by rotten, stinking rubbish, living without electricity and drinking water. The people are suffering and dying of diseases which may be easily curable if there was a public health system. The situation got exponentially worse last summer when Haiti was hit by four successive hurricanes and several tropical storms. The massive deforestation of Haiti has resulted in large-scale flooding.
Haitian administration and the judicial system are (and always have been) highly corrupted – misappropriation of public funds is common. MINUSTAH (Blue Helmets installed in Haiti by the UN in 2004) substitute the police and are therefore generally not welcomed by the Haitian population. Wild and violent riots repeatedly affect the whole country.
The rage continues to grow and the tension escalates with undiminished strength.
Photography by Jan Sochor
Music by Manno Charlemagne
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