With Haiti’s interim government halfway through its 18-month mandate and the Brazilian-led U.N. peacekeeping mission nearly at full strength, life remains cheap and security elusive in a society so broken it can’t cobble together even the means to accept humanitarian aid.
Fruitless efforts to impose peace and pave the way for elections after years of dictatorship and chaos have given rise to debate about whether Haitians are capable of resolving their own crises or should have their country placed under international control.
In a briefing paper prepared for American military commanders on security challenges in Latin America, Gabriel Marcella of the U.S. Army War College warned that Haiti was undergoing an implosion and suggested that an international protectorate might be the only way to contain the disaster.
“Haiti’s violence is the consequence of a predatory state, a nonexistent political culture, economic collapse and ecological destruction,” Marcella wrote in the November advisory. “Long-term measures are necessary, to the point of considering Haiti for protectorate status under a Brazilian-led regional coalition, if one can be created that is willing to support a 10-year restoration initiative.”
“People are exasperated and exhausted. If you took a poll, 65% to 70% of the population would support a protectorate,” said Claude Beauboeuf, an economist who compares Haiti with Afghanistan after the ouster of the Taliban government.