South of Haiti

This is not a tourism destination video. This is not about ignoring the country’s poverty, struggles in Port-au-Prince, or the general difficulties of Haitian realities. It would have been all too easy to drive through the most devastated areas of the country, film it and say, “Look how sad.” This video does something else.

While having one of the most tumultuous histories in the Caribbean, it’s also one of the most fascinating. In beating Napoleon Bonaparte and his troops, Haiti became the first and only Caribbean colony to take their independence from an imperial nation by force. Since then, there have been waves of hope slandered by corruption, dictatorships, and military coups.

We tend to learn little about those hopeful moments.

January was not just four years after the devastating earthquake, it will also be the 210 year anniversary of the end of the Haitian Revolution. In the most impoverished parts of the country, there are projects producing poignant works of art and providing opportunities to youth. When journalists go out to Haiti for the obligatory “Where are they now?” piece this year, I hope they look deeper into the soul of this nation.

We can’t only look at Haiti with eyes of pity. We have to see the country as a place of hope and tenacity, with a wealth of potential, too.

This article was originally published on Matador Network.


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