The Doorstep: Haiti on the Precipice of Change, with Emmanuela Douyon & Jean Eddy Saint Paul

Sep 15, 2021

Politicé's Emmanuala Douyon and Brooklyn College's Jean Eddy Saint Paul join "Doorstep" co-hosts Nick Gvosdev and Tatiana Serafin to discuss lessons learned from Haiti's interconnected history with the U.S. and how these ideas could help the country out of its current political crisis. As the region's first Black republic and with a growing population of U.S. citizens living there, what does Haiti's future look like? How can the U.S. more effectively engage its near neighbors in the Caribbean? 

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: Welcome, everyone, to this edition of The Doorstep podcast. I am your co-host, Nick Gvosdev, senior fellow at Carnegie Council.

TATIANA SERAFIN: And I am Tatiana Serafin, also a senior fellow at Carnegie Council, excited today in a bit to speak with two guests on Haiti, on America's relationship with Haiti, and I think very importantly on what, Nick, you say, not just to look at our neighbors as one-hit wonders or one-hit episodes of an earthquake, disaster, or hurricane, but to really look at our relationships and U.S. engagement with a very close neighbor, economically and politically tied to Haiti.

We have Jean Eddy Saint Paul, a professor of sociology at Brooklyn College, and Emmanuela Douyon joining us, the founder of the think tank Policité, two different generations speaking to us from almost two views of Haiti, but one very much tied with the idea that the United States and Haiti have a really long relationship that we need to look to when we look at what is the future of Haiti.

Would you agree with that, Nick?

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: I think so. I think that's very important, even given that Haiti is back in the news with yet another change of government and upheaval, and, of course, this is occurring against a backdrop of so many new stories competing for our attention, including questions about upheaval and stability even within the United States itself with the new Bob Woodward book coming out about the final days of the Trump administration and the first days of the Biden team coming in, but I think that definitely creates some of the context for what we are going to be looking at today.

TATIANA SERAFIN: Absolutely. Just to remind our audience—and you may have seen the news—that this summer the president of Haiti was assassinated, and we are trying to get to the bottom of that. Who was involved, Colombia, somebody in the United States? The Haitian prosecutor actually charged the current prime minister of Haiti with the killing and asked him not to leave the country and was subsequently in the last few hours fired. So now that is also another reason. This just broke, and we are timely again on our podcast.

Also timely, we have a lot of stuff going on. Next week, Nick, oh, my goodness. We have Climate Week, we have the United Nations General Assembly starting, we have the Quad meetings, all next week. Which are you most looking forward to?

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: I think the climate meetings are going to be quite interesting because this is really where the rubber hits the road with so many doorstep issues. Climate in abstract is a very compelling topic for people. People are living at the impacts of climate change given the wildfires, floods, and storms that we have had, but at the same time people don't want to necessarily see major changes to their standards of living or how they are living, lifestyle choices, and so these meetings coming forward, can political leaders and the experts that they are turning to for advice with really contradictory impulses, which are: Do something that will help mitigate the impacts of the climate changes that are occurring but not add something that is going to cause me to lose political support in the short term. So I am going to be very interested to see what happens at these meetings, what level of specificity plays in, and going back to our podcast earlier this year with Carolyn Kissane to see whether or not we see the real birth of climate statecraft.

TATIANA SERAFIN: I think that's a really important question. I am interested to see if the youth come out again. We had great youth engagement in 2019 in those climate protests. That fizzled—a lot fizzled—in 2020 because of the pandemic, so I am watching to see do we see more movement.

To your point on the political will of the people or how politicians are listening or not listening to the electorate, we have elections going on all around the world. For goodness sake, nobody is talking about the fact that Angela Merkel's reign is over in Germany also at the end of next week. What is happening there? There are elections happening in our neighbor Canada. There are elections happening in Russia that probably mean nothing because all of the political parties are banned, but there is a lot of electioning going on around the world. Anything in particular that you're worried about, concerned about, or looking at?

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: I think your point about election changes is quite important, and what's happening in Germany, which is that this is a key point of transition to have a leader like Merkel, who really has dominated not just Germany but Europe over the last 15 years, led Europe through some important crises from the financial crisis, the migration crisis, and so on, is now going to be giving up power, and who she will be giving up power to is very interesting because again, coming back to this question of climate and politics, several months ago we were all anticipating that a likely successor to Merkel would be the Green Party, that the Greens would finally reach this point, but now it appears that they are losing some degree of steam.

What we are going to see in Canada is I think this shift: Are we moving into new politics in the 2020s, where the old divisions and the old ideological labels matter a lot less? Canada, of course, is a country which, as it looks forward, on the one hand may want to trailblaze in some of these areas like climate, but on the other hand is a country that is essentially a beneficiary of the changes in climate that are happening as the ice melts both on land and at sea. Again, this idea of are we going to see major systemic change that is global in nature, are we going to see voters wanting to pull back from that and saying that they want to concentrate on what happens in their own country and are less interested?

Of course, this is taking place against the backdrop of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and questions about what does this mean for the U.S. commitment in other parts of the world. So we are entering into some degree a period of uncertainty.

You mentioned the Quad and the pivot to Asia. Is the United States going to move in that direction? It will be interesting to see whether or not any of Paul Saunders' comments with us two weeks ago about the direction of U.S. policy towards Asia manifest themselves, and also what the other countries of the Quad are going to be bringing to the table. Some of our previous podcasts I think are still very important for setting the context as we move forward.

TATIANA SERAFIN: In today's podcast Emmanuela Douyon actually does say what you said too, that in Haiti as well there is this ending of the old and nobody knows what the new is going to bring. We are looking forward to speaking with them in a few moments. I am also looking forward to the SpaceX launch tonight, speaking of new.

Share your thoughts with us. What are you looking for next week, listeners, in all the meetings that are taking place? What is your vision of the new? We would love to hear from you. Find us on Twitter @DoorstepPodcast.

I am really looking forward to our conversation today. Thank you for joining us. I think that Haiti is a topic, a country, and a neighbor that we need to be speaking about more. We are taping a day after some really important breaking news. I am hoping that you can help us contextualize what happened. What is going on in Haiti today, and why is it important for the U.S. audience to pay attention?

JEAN EDDY SAINT PAUL: Thank you so much, Tatiana and Nick. It is a very great pleasure to share this space with Emmanuela Douyon.

I think it is very important for the U.S. audience to know about Haiti in a non-threatening way because since the early foundation of Haiti as the first Black republic in the Western Hemisphere, because the Haitian Revolution was in the whole history of Western modernity the only successful anti-racist, anti-slavery revolution, but because at the time the Haitian Revolution happened also we were dealing with Western capitalism, and capitalism cannot survive without slavery and without racism. Since 1804 the image of Haiti also has been always bad in the mainstream media and mainstream press. I think it is very important now that we have those kinds of broadcast platforms for a more counter-narrative on Haiti.

What is going on now in Haiti is a very complex situation because what we can call a multidimensional crisis has some very important deep historical roots. In terms of historical roots, I will take, for instance, the international community and more specifically France and the United States have a clear moral responsibility in undermining many Haitian institutions. The involvement of such powerful nations into Haitian politics also is a factor that we should actually take into consideration to understand the current situation in Haiti.

In terms of concretely what is happening in Haiti, it can be explained by some internal factors and external factors. So, Tatiana and Nick, I am a sociologist, and in sociology usually we do briefings, we diagnose the core situation. If we try to diagnose Haiti, we can see in that diagnosis that first there are some international factors. What is happening now in Haiti is the consequence of some factors, and those factors are both internal to Haiti and external to Haiti.

In terms of internal factors, for instance, we cannot not mention the political culture of the Haitian elites because any country cannot develop without its political elites, its economic elites, its religious elites, and its intellectual elites. But in Haiti we have had since the early foundation of Haiti, and more specifically after 1806, that is, after the assassination of Emperor Jean-Jacques Dessalines or Emperor Jacques I, we have observed a process of disintegration, a process of fragmentation, of the project to build a nation-state in Haiti. This is one factor.

Another historical factor has to deal also with the state because a state is never the will of internal elites because instead—as I wrote in one of the pieces that I published in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, I explain that there still is the combination of internal social forces and external social forces, and since 1804 there have been always some external forces that have managed to challenge the legitimacy of Haiti, of the Haitian government, and even the institutions of what Thomas Hobbes would call a "leviathan."

In Haiti we have a problem with this still because historically the Haitian state has operated as a state against the project of the nation, and we have to clarify when we are talking about "nation." You cannot have a nation. First is a project of complete reality with materialization requires individual cities and to build it in the project. So, as I said, since the assassination of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, we have had, this problem of complete reality among us in our nation.

A second problem that can explain sociologically to understand what is going on in Haiti is that a nation is first and foremost always on their friendship, always on their solidarity. I think that nowadays there is a problem of erosion of that kind, always on their friendship or always on their solidarity.

Thirdly a nation is an ideological and political project, usually imagined and designed by the elites who conceive the nation as a project for an "us" versus a "them." Since 1804 the project-building process of a nation in Haiti has faced many important challenges.

Lastly, we cannot not mention the role of the international community because Haiti was born in 1804. In 1804 also was the context of globalization, and Haiti set the example, anti-racist, and anti-slavery but in a global context in which slavery and racism were actually the norm. So Haiti is like a country that actually de-pathologized the normality of a world that was built upon slavery.

I think those factors are very important to understand in order to have a keen comprehension of what is going on in Haiti. I will stop here, and then I can tee up what I think can be some very important data to you about U.S. involvement and international community involvement in Haiti throughout the 19th century that can explain the current multidimensional crisis that is going on in Haiti.

TATIANA SERAFIN: I think it's really important what you say and remind us here in the United States, especially where we have so much movement here, the Black Lives Matter movement exploding over the last couple of years and still so important, and that Haiti really was the first Black republic and the fact that we don't talk about it enough here and that it can influence and shape some of our thinking here and inspire people here is to me an example of where America closes off to the Caribbean and news from the Caribbean and Latin America. These are our closest neighbors, and sometimes we don't talk about what is going on with our closest neighbors, which is why I am so excited to have you here today and to remind us of who and what Haiti is to the United States and can be as an example historically and also today.

Emmanuela, what do you think of the news coming out from Haiti yesterday and the reminder of Haiti's history and what we can learn from it today? What do we need to know? What can we tell our audience today?

EMMANUELA DOUYON: Thank you, Tatiana. It is my pleasure to be with you today.

I think we can learn a lot from the recent events in Haiti. One thing that is really important is that Haitian historian—he died a couple of years ago, maybe last year—Michel Hector published a paper, and it is really interesting. He talked about political crisis in Haiti. I read it, and one thing that struck me is that history is repeating itself in Haiti.

Taking a look at what is happening in Haiti this week or for the past few weeks, you will realize that we have been there before. Maybe there are some small changes, new actors, and of course some new events, but the core of them is still here. We as Haitians are supposed to break the cycle, and people from other countries, like in the United States, the United States plays a huge role in Haiti. They intervene in many aspects, whether it is in Haitian politics in a way that we don't always like, but it is important that both Haitians and international actors play close attention to what is going on so as to not repeat the same mistakes from the past because we are in a crisis.

The new thing here is that the assassination of a president has not happened in more than a hundred years, I think, so this is the new let's say element in the same old political crisis, and the same old political crisis is about elections. We had elections scheduled. They didn't happen. We are supposed to have elections soon, and we know that whenever we have elections it is the beginning of a new crisis because they are never fair. There is an increasingly low rate of participation. Less than 30 percent of the population goes to vote, and we will have elected officials without legitimacy and without popular vote. Someone like the former president was elected with less than, I don't remember exactly how many votes he had, I don't want to say one number, but it was historically low. [Editor's note: According to the Miami Herald, the 2016 election in Haiti had a participation rate of 21 percent.]

When you have people like this who gain power, it's easy for other political forces to destabilize the country because they are not really representative. It is also a show of disinterest for political activities, and now what we need to do when we are witnessing, when we are observing what is going on in Haiti is to say: "We've been there before. We have had power struggles before. This is what we have done, and this is what happened, and now what can we do differently?" I think it is really a moment when we have to apply the lessons learned because we sure did learn some lessons from the past, and we need to also act to make sure that it doesn't get worse.

I am an activist too, and I am younger than Professor Saint Paul for sure, but for the past three years I have witnessed a lot, and I don't think I have ever been as worried as I am now when it comes to the future of Haiti. If we really pay close attention to what has happened in the last few days, we will see that is really shocking. Sure, history is repeating itself, but it is getting worse, and therefore it is urgent that Haitians on one side and Haiti's friends and partners act quickly to avoid chaos because many people think: Okay, the situation is already chaotic, but I think worse can happen. This is also why it is important that we pay attention and we learn from what's happening.

TATIANA SERAFIN: I think when Haiti gets in the news it is because of, and especially over the summer, not only the assassination but the earthquake and then the hurricanes, and we are still in hurricane season, and we are still seeing tropical storms come through, and people have this narrow view of Haiti as a place where only earthquakes and hurricanes happen, and that's not true. There is a rich history that we talked about, there is a rich culture, and there is a huge diaspora. I am based in New York, you are in Boston. There is a huge diaspora here in the United States that I think shows the connection between the United States and Haiti.

Both of you mentioned the U.S.'s role in Haiti. Perhaps both of you can also respond to: What do you think is—and I think you said it, Jean—the moral obligation of the United States. We talk a lot here at the Carnegie Council about what is ethical and what is the U.S.'s role in the world, and how can we engage. What do you two think about that?

JEAN EDDY SAINT PAUL: That is a very great question, Tatiana. Thank you.

First and foremost, our moral responsible is to inform our audience that without Haiti, the United States could not be the United States as we know it right now. I will repeat that again, that without Haiti, the United States could not at first become a continental power, and I will explain why, and without the United States becoming a continental power in the beginning of the 19th century, it would be impossible for the United States to implement at the end of the 19th century the Monroe Doctrine, and without the Monroe Doctrine the United States could hardly become an empire.

So let me break that down. As many of you know, officially the United States got its independence in 1776, but guess what? In that independence, 1,500 young soldiers from Saint-Domingue, colonial France, but 1,500 young soldiers in the north—among them Monte Cristo, who will become the king of Haiti—went to Savannah in Georgia. Their name was Les Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint Domingue. They took part in the Savannah battle, the Savannah struggle. It was one of the most important battles that led to the United States getting its independence from England. That is one important fact in terms of closeness and contribution of Haitian soldiers to U.S. independence.

But Haiti in November 1803 defeated the most important army at that time, the French Army called L'armée Expéditionnaire, the expeditionary army under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte. And Napoleon Bonaparte, before he was challenged in Saint-Domingue, Haiti, by African enslaved soldiers, so he had in mind the idea to conquer the world and to build an empire in America.

For instance, la Louisiana francese or French Louisiana was a possession of France. Thirty-two days after the French army was defeated in Saint-Domingue by African Haitian people, Thomas Jefferson closed a deal with Napoleon Bonaparte. And who was the guy who served as the mediator for that? It was James Monroe. James Monroe was the one who actually closed the deal of la Louisiana francese. And the Louisiana Purchase is very important for what we are talking about because with the acquisition of Louisiana francese, French Louisiana, the territorial size of the United States will be doubled. So now the United States will become a continental power, and in 1823 James Monroe will launch the Monroe Doctrine, America for Americans, as I discuss in my one piece published in Encyclopedia Britannica in the conversation.

Because of the Monroe Doctrine, the United States at the end of the 19th century will invade many countries—Cuba, through the Plata media the Dominican Republic, Panama, Haiti, and many other places—so the United States will become an empire. This is one fact about the contribution of Haiti to the United States, but in terms of response, what did the U.S. do? Between 1889 and 1891 the U.S. government sent to Haiti a guy whose name was Bancroft Gherardi to lease Môle Saint-Nicolas in order to have a military base in Haiti.

There was a guy, one very important intellectual, his name was Joseph Anténor Firmin. Anténor Firmin was the minister of foreign affairs under the government of Florvil Hyppolite, and Joseph Anténor Firmin opposed the lease of Môle Saint-Nicolas, and the United States will punish Anténor Firmin. Between 1902 and 1915 every attempt Joseph Anténor Firmin to become president and Anténor Firmin was one of the most important intellectuals at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century because in 1885 Anténor Firmin was the first Black scholar to publish a book in which he will defend the thesis that there is no such thing that race is a biological truth, that race is socially constructed, and that there is no such thing as superiority of race and inferiority of race.

This is just to tell you the kind of intellectual that Anténor Firmin was, but because he didn't want to lease Môle Saint-Nicolas to the United States for the military base, he would be punished by the United States, and the United States since then will pick people of a character who will manage to never allow intellectual people of decent character, people with ethics of responsibility, to hold the highest political position.

So, in 1915, in the implementation of the Monroe Doctrine, the United States invaded Haiti after the assassination of President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam. The United States military occupied Haiti for 19 years, between 1915 and 1934. They changed the Haitian constitution because before that occupation no foreigner could own land in Haiti, and when we are talking about ownership of the country, sovereignty, land ownership is a very important thing. Since that occupation, we have observed the process of undermining of Haitian sovereignty.

Haiti had money in its federal bank, the National Bank of Haiti, so the United States during that occupation took the reserve gold from Haiti, and that money was transferred to the United States to the National City Bank. So they money of Haiti also had to develop and to help the U.S. after the economic crisis.

But not only that. So in her intervention, my colleague Emmanuela Douyon said that if we look at Haitian history, generally we never have fair elections, but we also have to nuance that because in 1946 we experienced in Haitian society because I am older than—I suddenly realized in 1946 obviously I was not there, but in 1946 in Haiti, we did not have a kind of revolution but a very important social movement, a reform movement, and a guy whose name was Dumarsais Estimé, came into power. From 1946 to 1950 Haiti was a very stable oasis for the Caribbean.

But guess what? The army that the United States created during the first occupation will be responsible for overturning the government. A guy named Paul Magloire, who was trained by the U.S. Army during that occupation, gave a coup against Dumarsais Estimé and chilled the political character of Haiti.

Two more important facts. Between 1957 and 1986, in 1957 the world was in the middle of the Cold War between the West and Russia. On January 1, 1959 we experienced the Cuban Revolution, but on October 22, 1957, a medical doctor whose name was François—AKA "Papa Doc"—Duvalier came into power with the support of the army, an army supported by the United States. Between 1959 and 1971 Papa Doc created one of the most brutal dictatorships in Haiti, and many intellectuals and important intellectual elites were forced to leave Haiti. The United States provided economic support, material support, and financial support to the regime of Duvalier. Those are things that our audience should be mindful of.

Then, we experienced political transition. That started on February 7, 1986. On December 16, 1990, for the first time in the whole history of Haitian politics, because it was a time we were talking about democratization, strengthening of civil society, and quality of the democracy, a guy whose name was Jean-Bertrand Aristide came into power. He was democratically elected. But because he refused to implement newer liberal policies, seven months later he was overthrown, and he was conditioned to implement newer liberal policies from the International Monetary Fund.

Finally, in 2004, that guy again won the election, but that time in 2003 he claimed to friends to pay back the equivalent of $21 billion that Haiti in 1825 was coerced to pay. It was at that time $150 million francs that the Haitian government of Jean-Pierre Boyer was forced with the cooperation of the United States to pay France for the recognition of Haitian independence. So in 2003, Jean-Bertrand Aristide said: "There is no way. France, you should pay us reparation and restitution." A diplomatic agreement between the United States and France overturned Aristide again.

So this is kind of a mystery you do not really hear in mainstream media. I am very grateful that we have the kind of alternative, the kind of commitment of the podcast from the Carnegie Council to spread out those facts, and those facts in many of my publications I well documented them. They are in many books and in scholarly research, but that information usually doesn't reach the mainstream media.

Tatiana and Nick, thank you.

TATIANA SERAFIN: To that end, bringing history to life is really important. It is my fair question: What do the youth of Haiti think of this history? Is it important to them?

What we often find—Nick and I talk about this all the time—is that the youth, Gen Z, don't know about the Cold War, doesn't really think about anything. I saw a funny meme saying that Gen Z is all about socialism, but they can't get enough of watching the Met Gala, which was just here this week in New York. The dichotomy.

What do Haitian youth think? I know about a third of the population is quite young. What does history mean to them, and where are they taking the country? I know in 2019 there were lots of protests. All around the world there were these protest movements that were pro-democracy, pro-movement, getting new voices in, talking about climate change, etc. What happened to those voices? Did the pandemic silence them? Did the current political turmoil silence them? What does the Gen Z of Haiti think about history and what is going on today?

EMMANUELA DOUYON: I will reply to this, but before I would like to mention, the question that you asked before about the relationship between the United States and Haiti. I think like you mentioned there is a large part of the Haitian diaspora that lives in the United States. There are many Americans in Haiti too. I don't know how we are going to address this in the future. There are so many kids born in the United States who have American citizenship and who are in Haiti. I think in ten years we will have so many Americans in Haiti that it will be the topic of another discussion. I don't know how we will adjust to this.

Therefore, I think that we are not only neighbors, but there are so many Haitians living in the United States and so many Americans living in Haiti that I think there is a need for a stronger and better relationship between Haiti and the United States about fair cooperation, ethical relations, and I am afraid some people think that we will need to cut off the United States. No, I think we are condemned to deal with each other. We will always have some kind of relationship. We might as well make sure that it is a good one.

I think there are other countries in the world that are in a situation maybe not as difficult or complicated as Haiti but a bit similar. I live in Taiwan, and I know how the relationship between Taiwan and the United States was beneficial to Taiwan and how it is a longstanding relationship, and I think we need to move more in this sense. We need more ambition in Haiti, and the cooperation between Haiti and the United States does not have to be like small U.S. Agency for International Development grants for some small projects. It can be more ambitious than this. We can talk about real investment.

I know it is difficult on the ground, but also the United States has made some really poor decisions when it comes to supporting Haiti in the past. Dr. Saint Paul mentioned about the Duvalier dictatorship. The United States was supporting Duvalier. More recently there was a movement against former president Jovenel Moïse, yet he had the support of the United States, and I think now they must be assessing their policies toward Haiti and the consequences.

So I think there needs to be more accountability. It is easy to say, "We have done everything we could for Haiti, but the Haitian people couldn't benefit from it." It's easy to say, but why did you keep giving money to the same people? Was there any assessment of what the United States is doing in Haiti, the partners of the United States on the ground? Are they the real people who can be a change? Are they qualified? Are they held accountable? There are so many aspects in this question. It is easy to say, "Okay, Haiti is difficult, we support, we do what we can," but I think there is room to do more with a clearer vision, more ambition, and I definitely think that we have a long way to go, and more and more is possible if we take the time to evaluate what was done and have an ambitious plan moving forward.

As for the young generation, I am part of this generation, and we kind of launched the largest accountability movement the country has witnessed in many years, the PetroCaribe challenge. We have done it since 2018, and now people are asking, "Where are they, what are they doing, and what is happening?"

I think most young Haitians are aware of Haiti's history. This is something that has worked in Haiti. We know the history. Whether the facts are biased sometimes and whether it's mixed with fairy tales—not fairy tales, but you see what I mean—whether it is like this sometimes is not always 100 percent factual, but the people know the history. It works. It is one of the things that works. We know the history. The young people know it.

But in fact there is no room for us. For the past three years we have been asking for systemic changes and accountability, and things keep getting worse. Most of us are still young. We are not necessarily the ones who are going to occupy all of those offices. We are not necessarily the ones to be president, prime minister, or minister. Not necessarily.

Some of us are artists. Some people I know in this movement are artists and filmmakers. Some of them just want to make films. But we are in a situation where we are asking: "Who is legitimate? Who is honest, qualified, competent, and who wants to be president of this country, who can run for offices, who is not corrupt who can be a minister for health." Who? This is the big question: Who is not corrupt in Haiti now, and wants to change this country? Who cares about this country?

Instead, what we are witnessing is that people are using gangs to make their point, people are using gangs to gain power. We, the young people in Haiti, who are not 40 years old, where do we find money to fight against people who have PetroCaribe money, state money, guns, guns, and allies in the international community. This is really sad, and I think that it is—I quoted this recently—Gramsci stated, like the old world is dying, the new world needs to emerge, and only the worst people are acting now in Haiti.

There are some exceptions. I know there are a lot of good people who are doing their best now, but the majority of actors now who are fighting for power do not have Haiti's best interests at stake, but how do you face them? We do not have guns. They are killing young activists. They killed my friend and fellow activist two months ago. We are really concerned about our safety in Haiti, and we do not have the means. We only have our patriotism, our knowledge, and our goodwill. It is sad to say, but it is not enough.

So you have a whole new generation who want systemic change, but it cannot move forward because now it is dangerous. Now only the people who have gang support and money can make the rules and can make their voices heard, and we are stuck here. This is where the young people in Haiti are now.

TATIANA SERAFIN: That's so interesting.

Nick, do you have anything as we close out our discussion today?

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: No, I think that our guests have really laid out why this is important but also why the question of Haiti needs to be understood in this much broader context rather than I think the very episodic way it appears in the U.S. media with a disaster here or a change of government there, as opposed to seeing how it has been so interconnected with the United States over the last two centuries. So I think our guests have really helped give us a greater sense of context for a country which is a close neighbor of the United States and to which we have these interconnections including the presence of the Haitian diaspora within the United States, so I think this does help to provide that background.

TATIANA SERAFIN: I am looking forward to hearing more, and I have to do a little bit more research on the idea of how many Americans are in Haiti, and what does that mean to the idea of a nation-state that you have been speaking about as well and going forward. Hopefully, we will be able to have you back and discuss that separate, very interesting, and huge topic.

Thank you so much for both of your time today.



JEAN EDDY SAINT PAUL: Thank you so much for having us.

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