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Land, Power, and Haiti



If you are looking for a throwback to 20th century Latin American leftism, you might be interested in this interview with Haitian leftist Ricot Jean-Pierre on land and power in Haiti. Jean-Pierre combines a 21st century criticism of international economics that exploit nations like Haiti–American agribusiness and mining is hardly going to bring Haitians out of poverty–with a 20th century view of what the solution is–land reform. To some extent I don’t disagree–certainly land policy that centralizes arable land in the hands of big investors combined with a lack of industrial jobs in the cities means ever-deepening poverty. On the other hand, there’s not much evidence that land reform that nationalized land from big landowners and distributed it to the poor has ever actually worked, especially not in the ecological sense Jean-Pierre sees as important here.

But if you are a Haitian activist, there really isn’t a fate worse than the current reality, so why not fight for anything that might be better.

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