Saving Haiti
July 19, 2014 6:04 PM   Subscribe

"The current list of the "25 most interesting people in the Caribbean," published by the magazine Carib Journal, lists names such as Usain Bolt and Rihanna, but it also includes two Haitians: Mario Joseph and Stéphanie Villedrouin." "Human rights attorney Mario Joseph and Tourism Minister Stéphanie Villedrouin are both trying to improve Haiti, but they are following radically different paths. The one wants justice, the other wants tourism."
posted by travelwithcats (1 comment total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Villedrouin embodies the way she would like to see Haiti: dynamic, modern and elegant. She grew up in Venezuela, where her father served as the Haitian ambassador under the Duvalier regime.
Could a human being actually have written those two sentences next to each other and not have to spend the next week drunk to deal with the guilt and shame?

oh god, the last section. I think the author did actually spend a week drunk after writing this piece...
On the tour of Haiti, Villedrouin's PR advisers visit a former sugar plantation on the Côte des Arcadins that is now a hotel. With them are two French travel writers, guests of the ministry who have been invited to write a promotional article.

A museum in the garden commemorates a bloody colonial history. Haiti is the only country in the world where slaves were able to depose their tormentors and establish their own country. The PR agents learn how brutally the country was victimized, exploited and occupied by foreign powers. To this day, Haiti has never had a chance to become a healthy country.

To lighten the mood, the hotel owner takes the group out to a reef in a speedboat, and they splash around in the water and drink chilled fruit punch. And then, just once during their tour, the two Haitis collide, that of the minister and that of the attorney.

A fisherman in a dilapidated little boat paddles up to the group. He looks like the old man in Hemingway novel: toothless and with leathery skin, calloused hands and cracked fingernails. He says nothing. He merely gazes in astonishment at the scene and waits. The group on the speedboat looks down at the fisherman, equally astonished. The foreigners ask the old man to hand them a fish, and then they take pictures and hand it back to him. It's the perfect photo, they say.
but why go to Haiti when you can get all the viagra and underage prostitutes you could want in the Dominican Republic, and they're probably lighter skinned too...
posted by at 7:29 PM on July 19, 2014

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