Haitians voted for a new president this past Sunday. A run-off looms, but whoever wins will face overwhelming challenges. What’s worse, the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola, is threatening to expel hundreds of thousands of ethnic Haitians. They ultimately could spill over America’s borders.Haiti was liberated in 1804 but never developed into a stable, prosperous democracy. Haiti’s economic problems are severe. The nation’s per capita GDP ran $846 last year, making the former the poorest nation in the region.
Even an honest and competent president will have a difficult time transforming Haiti. According to the Economic Freedom of the World Report, the openness of Haiti’s economy–a key determinant of growth–has remained largely static since 2000.
As I noted on Forbes online: “While Haiti at best ran in place, other countries moved forward. In 2012, Haiti ranked 92 of 152 nations, barely above the bottom third. By punishing entrepreneurship and investment, the government is allowing its people to fall further behind.”Reforming the economy will be difficult in the best of circumstances. Unfortunately, for the past year, the Dominican Republic has been threatening to expel nearly 300,000 ethnic Haitians who have lived in the DR, many for their entire lives. Source: Cato @ Liberty