If You Think Haiti Is a Shithole, Then Blame America for Helping to Make It That Way

President Donald Trump reportedly described Haiti and a slew of other nations as “shithole countries” while meeting with lawmakers about immigration policy yesterday. If you expected more from from him, then you probably expect too much.
But eight years to the day after an earthquake brought Haiti to its knees, most Americans view the country closer to the way Trump describes the place than they’d like to admit. The typical American’s understanding of Haiti doesn’t go much further than the global press’s tagline: the “poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.” And there is undeniably poverty in Haiti. The average economic output for a Haitian is $820 per year, compared with their neighbors in the Dominican Republic, who average $6,000.
I spent nearly four years working in Haiti, first as an economics journalist and then as the manager of a coffee-farming venture. As I wrote in Haitian Coffee Grows on Trees, my book

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