• " "
Under the Radar

Is Haiti Really a “High-Risk” Country?

A police officer with the UN’s mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, looks out over the coast during a special operation targeting drug dealers in Aquin and Grosses Cayes Island. Les Cayes, Haiti. UN Photo/Marco

A police officer with the UN’s mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, looks out over the coast during a special operation targeting drug dealers in Aquin and Grosses Cayes Island.
Les Cayes, Haiti. UN Photo/Marco

By Max A. Joseph Jr.

As far as anyone can remember, conquests and domination have always played a prominent role in international relations regardless of conventions meant to eradicate the practice. Hence, the occupation of Haiti under Chapter VII of the U.N Charter,which authorizes the collective use of force against threats to global peace,must be seen in that context — the U.N. Charter is far from being a mission of mercy as the U.N would have the gullible public believed. As expected, deliberate falsehoods, such as “Haiti is unsafe and unstable,” form the mainstay of the narrative, while money-consuming entities, including religious, humanitarian organizations, and for profits industries (insurance and security agencies) are swarming like flies around a carcass.

Ordinarily, citizens and corporations of affluent countries doing business in Third World countries carry health and other types of insurance that protect them from medical bills and loss of wages and revenues that may arise as a result of unfortunate or unforeseen events. Additionally, a kidnap and ransom insurance policy, paid for by the corporations, has become mandatory for these expatriates working in countries experiencing civil wars or social upheavals. Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Mexico, Nigeria, Syria, Yemen and, surprisingly, Haiti are among the luminaries on this unenviable category of so-called “high-risk areas.” In the shadowy world of making money out of real or concocted tragedies, the employees of these multinational corporations and NGOs are, oftentimes, not aware of the policy because of fearful insurance companies concerned about deals with local criminals attempting to defraud them.

Fittingly most Haitians have never heard of K&R Insurance, an underwriter which insures multinational corporations and individuals doing business in “high-risk areas” in the world. Like a Russian doll, K&R is affiliated with another company which is itself associated with Lloyd of London, the inner sanctum or the industry. However, for reasons that only make sense to these insurance companies, Haiti is listed among the top-tiers of “high-risk” countries despite the fact that it enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in the western hemisphere. Based on this irrefutable fact, the listing is unwarranted and, by extension, an insult to the nation as a whole.

This mandatory kidnap and ransom policy can have catastrophic consequences for Haiti, a small and impoverished country in desperate need of foreign investments and expertise. It holds the potential of scaring away socially conscious and honest investors and increasing the cost of doing business in Haiti. Most importantly, it paves the way for vultures to zoom in and blackmail the Haitian government into making unwise financial concessions that the country can ill-afford. It appears that the Martelly-Lamothe government, with its “Haiti is open for business” nonsense, has already fallen into the trap without the benefit of an alternative strategy. Where else in this world do recession-prone service industries, like hotels and restaurants catering mostly to tourists, get a minimum of 15-year tax break with no-strings attached?

Is this strange classification of Haiti a “high risk area” an opportunistic scheme by conniving insurance companies or a move designed in the dark rooms of the IMF and World Bank to validate the narrative of the occupation, which holds the country a “failed state” in needs of the benevolence of the international community? Because the current geopolitical order is exceedingly regulated, coincidence must be excluded as a probable cause for the listings. Even the legions of NGOs that have practically taken over the duties of the Haitian state, are nothing more than supranational agencies fully accredited and mostly funded by the UN. This helps explain why Dr. Paul Farmers, a co-founder of Partners in Health, in an interview with CNN in 2012, listed all probable causes of the cholera epidemic in Haiti, except that it was introduced in the country by the Minustah-attached Nepalese contingent.

It is a known fact that insurance policies are based on actual data that ascertain the prevalence of inherent risks. Hence the kidnap and ransom policy implies that foreigners are disproportionately kidnapped and ransomed in Haiti in contrast with other countries in the region that have not made the cut on the infamous “high risk areas” register. Had these insurance companies consulted with the multitude of tourists, mercenaries, spies and adventurers that visited Haiti, they would certainly be let in on this open secret: the country is one of the safest destinations for foreigners. Perhaps, the policy is based not on compiled data, as is customarily the case, but on the perennial travel warnings issued by the U.S State Department to US citizens and the U.N apparatus.

Unchallenged narratives somewhat endured and have been known to outlast many civilizations. For example: The notion that Rome was founded by orphaned twin brothers (Romulus and Remus) that were nurtured by a she-wolf is standard in classical literature teachings. Moreover it is still being taught by intelligent people, without a disclaimer, and accepted unreservedly by many. Likewise, the legends surrounding Haiti and its people, most of which downright malicious, are fast becoming part of popular culture and might be hard to disprove in the long run. By not speaking out, today’s generation will be held in contempt by future generations of Haitians for being complicit in this overt attempt at marginalizing this little piece of land which still holds a place of honor in the hearts of freedom lovers.

Dec. 10, 2014

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *