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Fault LinesViews across Haiti's Divide$
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Beverly Bell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452123

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452123.001.0001

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Pearl of the Antilles

Pearl of the Antilles

The Political Economy of Peril

Chapter:
(p.27) 3 Pearl of the Antilles
Source:
Fault Lines
Author(s):

Beverly Bell

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801452123.003.0004

This chapter discusses the political economy of the Haitian earthquake. It argues that the politics and economics of the disaster can be traced to structural violence: the policies and systems that reflect colonialism, imperialism, racism, and patriarchy and that have dire consequences for poor Haitians. More specifically, it links the devastation to two International Monetary Fund (IMF) standby agreements in the 1980s and 1990s that compelled the Haitian government to lower import tariffs for foodstuffs in exchange for loans. This paved the way for a flood of U.S. commodities with low prices with which Haitian peasants could not compete. The chapter also considers the implications of government disregard of the rural poor with regards to the disaster and suggests that Haitians have been collateral damage in the global political economy.

Keywords:   political economy, Haiti, earthquake, politics, economics, structural violence, International Monetary Fund, import tariffs, rural poor, peasants

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