Thursday, January 14, 2010
Haiti shares the island of Hispanola with the more prosperous Dominican Republic. The island is between Cuba and Puerto Rico. Christopher Columbus visited the island in 1492 and founded settlements.
Even during the best of times, Haiti has been a miserable place to live.
Its people suffered as slaves under French colonists, and after revolting and becoming "free," the country was known for turmoil and frequent government takeovers. The United States occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934.
In 1937 Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered the Dominican Army to kill Haitians living on the Dominican side of the border.
Later in the 20th Century, Haitians suffered again under the brutal and corrupt regimes of "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his slightly nicer son "Baby Doc."
Haiti is home to a proud people with a rich culture and important history, but the country is pathetically poor, with a very low literacy rate and one of the worst living standards in the world. Many Haitians left the country.
Haiti was the first independent nation in Latin America, the first post-colonial independent black-led nation in the world, and the only nation whose independence was gained as part of a successful slave rebellion. Haiti is the only predominantly French-speaking independent nation in the Western Hemisphers, and one of just two (with Canada) that designate French as an official language
And now, an earthquake has caused thousands of poorly made buildings to collapes, killing as-yet-uncounted tens of thousands of people.
President Obama, the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense have changed their schedules to deal with the crisis. I changed my blogging schedule to ask readers to donate some money to help, and to encourage others to donate, too.
Google has made it easy to make a donation to help the people of Haiti. Please CLICK to give, and post this information wherever you can.
(Some info above came from Wikipedia)