Haiti may well be the only country in the Americas with a last name. References to the beleaguered nation are almost always followed by the phrase “the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.” On January 12, 2010, Haiti acquired another dubious distinction when it was hit by the most devastating natural disaster in the Americas, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale. More than 220,000 people lost their lives and much of its vibrant capital, Port-au-Prince, was reduced to rubble.
In Fixing Haiti, some of the world’s leading experts on that troubled nation examine the challenges it faces, the tasks undertaken by the UN, and the new role of hemispheric players like Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, as well as that of Canada, France, and the United States.
Since 2004, the ambitious United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has attempted to help the country raise itself by its bootstraps. In the aftereffects of the earthquake, this effort has acquired additional urgency. But at this point, is Haiti beyond UN help? Is it a failed state? Does it deserve a massive Marshall Plan–like program to foster recovery? What will it take to alleviate the Haitian predicament?