Skip to main content

The Profit of Tragedy




There are those who sympathize with a tragedy, and unfortunately, there are those who see an opportunity for profit. In the wake of recent turmoil that plagues the Caribbean nation of Haiti, the latter group tightens its grip on the hapless island of Hispaniola. Since the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, Haiti has seen a flock of NGO’s and international interests, each one greater than the other, including the likes of former President Bill Clinton to Hollywood stars (e.g. Sean Penn). One thing remains in the rubble: the interests of the people of Haiti. The world wants to show empathy to Haitians under the guise of lending a hand, while the other hand retracts what it had just handed over to Haiti.


The world donated 9.9 billion dollars to Haiti relief efforts and the local government merely saw $1.5 million of that fund. (These funds were mostly split between NGO’s; the “middle-man” that absorbs most of the funding.) A pricey trend seems to be developing in the Caribbean and that is the cost of flights to the islands. If you were to compare vacation travel among any three particular islands in the Caribbean, the cost to travel there would be far less than the cost of travel to Haiti. Truth be told when we attempted to pose the question of why to one of the popular airlines to many of the caribbean nations, their answer referred to “demand” and “the market”. This surprised me. There has yet to be a flight to Haiti from any of the departure states that was not filled; and if you missed a flight you’ll have to wait months to get on another, unless you’re willing to pay the extra charges. So there’s your demand; what about the “market”? The adjoining island of Dominican Republic, when compared to Haiti in respect to the cost of flights, has lower rates than Haiti. So how is it that an island that has seen so much tragedy and that the world is united in helping suffers the burden of high travel costs, far greater than any other caribbean island?


When the current government of Haiti, Martelly - Lamorthe, was campaigning to the diaspora, they pitched that Haiti needs the help of the diaspora to rebuild itself. They emphasized that Haiti needs the diaspora to get involved. To quote Mr. Clinton at the World Economic Forum regarding the Haitian diaspora’s involvement in Haiti, “It is my opinion that is by far the best chance that Haiti has had in the 35 years”. That chance was to implement the assistance of the diaspora in the rebuilding of Haiti. That hasn’t happened, in the midst of constant political turmoil and changes in government, the diaspora are still at the door awaiting the invitation. President Michel Martelly stated in his inaugural speech, “Haiti is open for business.” I believe he might have misspoke. Haiti is open to businesses but not for business. When the president called on the diaspora to return home and help rebuild its neighborhoods and help Haiti become the pearl of the Antilles again. We, for the most part, felt the nostalgia that was present in the early 90’s when Mr. Jean Bertrand Aristide (elected by the people, for the people) also sang the same song.


It’s safe to conclude that there are profits being made at the expense of those in tragedy. Whether it’s the airline companies like Americans Airline whose ticket prices are the highest in the region, or local NGOs, who, after three years, are still holding campgrounds and still have people living in disarray. One thing is certain, the abilities, potential, and expectations of the diaspora are not included or considered in the thought processes of the government.


Yvens Riviere

Popular posts from this blog

Reflections of a Selfie

Every year as this time nears, I reflect on how my time was spent & the life of those living moments. I'm not sure might be reflection number forty-something or not, nevertheless, it begs the question. A selfie taken without a mirror does it reflect? I was watching a video blog on YouTube that a friend suggested and one thing that stood out the most was the old quandary. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody's there to see it does it make a sound? Based on the philosopher George Berkeley's observation, also a concept approached in the holographic universe theory, as well as quantum field theory, essentially stating when something is observed there is a perceptive acknowledgment, but when it is not observed, what we first perceived to be fact are simply the opposite. Ex. because no one saw the tree, therefore, it made no sound. This leads to my other inquisitive quote "nothing unreal exists" so we go through the adaptation of reality vs abstraction? I reme…

Risky games

On one of the toughest weekends in my recorded history, I couldn't figure out heads from tails of my days. It started out of on migraine and ended in migraines. It felt so horrible I couldn't recall the last time I had such heavy doses of relapse.

Certain things in life will always bring a smile. One of my favorite movies, a song from memory, or even a simple saying will do that. On my death bed, and no I'm not being dramatic I literally wondered if I died here in my single man's apartment no one would find me for weeks; by that time all the love and likes and sweet comments on pictures are gone and who was Yvens anyways just a faded memory.
But I digress… I was watching a series on Amazon about interviews by the New Yorker magazine and a funny cartoon from the magazine just blew my mind. It also stirred an interesting predicament. The cartoonist Liana Finck has a piece called “Larry No!” And it depicts a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. Now, I know what you're saying there…

The Left Handed trust

Left-handedness is less common than right-handedness. Left-handed people are more skillful with their left hands when performing tasks. Studies suggest that approximately 10% of the world population is left-handed. Mixed-handedness is the change of hand preference between tasks.
Handedness -  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handedness

Some people may be aware of this and some may not, having grown up in a catholic Caribbean island, there are some things that you are subject to, that later in life you must ask… what were they thinking?
When I was a young boy I used to write with my left hand, and naturally my parents back then in keeping with antique catholic belief felt that it was mischievous for a child to be a lefty so my teachers armed with a 12" ruler would enforce such tradition by sternly tapping on my left knuckles to force me using my right hand. Fast forward to present day I am now a right-handed adult that writes like a doctor (chicken scratch).
There’s a Seinfeld bit about how much…