PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) -Keeping Haitians hungry is important to controlling them. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs explains how one’s most basic needs, like for food, water, becomes their main priority, even ignoring needs for safety, friendship and esteem.
For example, hypothetically speaking, of course, a ban on the important of cheap food stuffs a month before elections would raise prices and put less food on the tables of Haitian families, many will live in constant hunger. In this situation, a hot plate of food, is worth a vote.
In Haiti, this is how campaigning is done and how ruling parties, such as the Haitian Tet Kale Party of President Michel Martelly, Lespwa, Inite, Verite and LAPEH, of former President Rene Preval, and to some degree, Fanmi Lavalas of Jean Bertrand Aristide, gets things done. This is how they capture the images that appear to show immense and undue adulation for administrations which have not changed their circumstances for the better.
By serving hot plates at a campaign rally, people forget, for a moment, the corruption, the injustice, their rights violated and thus their future, for a hot plate. In return, the PHTK candidates get the photo-ops needed to back up the electoral fraud they are soon to commit to take power.
Keeping Haitians hungry has been systematic. Haiti’s agriculture was decimated by former president’s Jean-Claude Duvalier and Jean Bertrand Aristide, who made deals the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, that were immensely catastrophic to the Haitian’s ability to feed himself.
Even with the agriculture aground. recent presidents, Rene Preval and Michel Martelly, engage in corrupt price-play, that has international banks and the Dominican Republic in the game to raise the cost of living and food, all for campaign financing and political, economic support.
In the end, with all the shots of seas of people attending all the campaign rallies, the results are always the same, a Martelly, rising to power behind only 17% of the electorate. A 50th legislature from a proclaimed 18% voter turnout, although observers estimated 4-5%.
Efforts at solving hunger
Former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe established a number of social assistance programs during his time at the head of the Haitian government.
Ede Pep was a program giving about a week’s worth of food for families. Restaurante Communitaire, was a network of community restaurants which sold hot plates at extreme discount prices.
These were short term solutions to Haiti’s hunger problem but were discontinued in January 2015, following the forced resignation of Lamothe and with elections on the horizon. Feeding Haitians does not play into the game of controlling them.
It deserves noting that although in January, Prime Minister de facto, Evans Paul, announced the programs ended, 500 million HTG ($10 million) was requested and distributed to the non-existent programs in July of 2015.