This past week, my brother who does work in Haiti found himself trapped on a compound there by anti-government protests. He eventually was able to seize a lull in the violence as an opportunity to reach the airport, where JetBlue was kind enough to put him on the next flight out of the country.
He got out just in time as protester’s barricades were moved up right in front of his compound the next day. However, a church group from Flint was not so lucky. They flew into the country on Friday with apparently little awareness of what was happening on the ground there.
The group has been trapped in their hotel ever since Friday. However, American soldiers were due to escort them to the airport this morning so that they too could fly home. Whatever goodwill mission they were on will go unfulfilled.
There is little coverage of the unrest in Haiti. A major failing of American news media is to pick one or two topics - usually some idiotic Trump tweet or the like - and make that the sole focus of reporting cycles, as though nothing else is happening in the world. And as the group from Flint discovered, American embassies are of little use for vital information. The whole time my brother was in the country, he never received a single update from the embassy even though they had his contact detail and knew where he was.
Unrest in Haiti is spurred on by Aristide, a corrupt ex-President, who is in the pocket of several outside parties. Aristide and his allies pay for local gangs/militias to cut off roads, loot and burn businesses with owners allied with current President Moise, and basically try to get Aristide thrust back in power by any means possible.
I won’t say that everything Moise does is right. Probably not. He is a politician after all. Political power plays center or enrichment, not democracy. It is hard for third world countries to progress forward when opposing forces are bent on throwing the country into chaos and destroying progress for the sake of personal profit and power.
While Haiti runs on graft - as do most third world countries - such graft is often fueled by business interests from first world countries. And there can be few things as destructive as a first world corporation, whether it be Bank of America, Exxon, or Google and Facebook. First world countries need to start taking some accountability.
My advice to you is not to travel to Haiti for awhile. A lot of good changes have occurred there but until the country finds some stabilization, the casual traveler is wise to make a detour to another destination.