Limonade III: Healing the Haitian Diaspora

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Haitian American musician Wyclef Jean with Haiti’s flagĀ 

During the Caribbean Studies Association 2016 conference I met a number of brilliant young Haitian-Americans, including a 20-something Cornell PhD candidate whose project focuses on Black feminist political theory in contemporary novels by Caribbean authors. Her mother emigrated from Haiti before she was born and left the country permanently in the early aughts. I had to admit to her my ignorance of the precise details of Haitian history that motivated her mom to leave Haiti.

4 thoughts on “Limonade III: Healing the Haitian Diaspora

  1. The country of Haiti is a beautiful place with incredibly beautiful people, culture and arts. The imagery depicted in this post about the 2004 coup is true, I was in Port-Au-Prince the week Aristide left the country and watched the streets go from markets to barricades and guns. As a white American I don’t pretend to know everything about the country of Haiti but something that came up a lot in conversations with young Haitian friends there was whether they would come back if they ever left and went to the U.S. Many said they would not return but others seemed dedicated to make it to the U.S. so they could come back and make a difference in their country. After spending a lot of time back in Haiti after the earthquake and during the cholera epidemic one thing I understood is that the change needed cannot come from “missionaries” and foreign aid or the UN… it needs to come from the people themselves first.

  2. Haiti: the most populous country in the Caribbean Community and the poorest in the American region.
    The optimistic message derived from the post is important. It is essential for a country like Haiti to have allies abroad. The corruption, the poor infrastructure and the lack of health care are major problems. Let’s hope that the young American-Haitians will be active enough to make a change for this country.

  3. In November of 2014, I took a trip to Haiti after an 18 year hiatus. One of the most surprising moments of my trip, was witnessing the diversity of the people on the flight. Generally, I would be use to a flight full of Haitians heading home or to visit family. However, this time I noticed almost half of the people on the flight were white. They were not members of missionary groups, but instead couples and families that were simply headed on vacation.

    I’m not sure how to feel about this. Part of me is happy because I feel like this is a good sign for US-Haiti relations and people are finally acknowledging the beauty of Haiti. On the other hand (after several conversations with family and friends), I can’t help but wonder if this is a form of exploitation. Apparently, a lot of rich, white people are buying property and building vacation homes in Haiti at extremely low prices. The affordability has a lot to do with both the poor economy and negative stereotypes of the country. Therefore, the idea that people are profiting off of Haiti’s suffering economy and building beach front properties for chump change is troubling.

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