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You’re right not saving Haiti, Mr Biden

Demonstrators outside Haiti’s Presidential Palace. Valerie Baeriswyl/AFP/Getty Images

The best thing the US can do for Haiti, says Bret Stephens in The New York Times, is “as little as possible”. Thankfully, Joe Biden’s instincts seem to be right. Washington has agreed to help find out who was responsible for last week’s assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, but that’s it. There’s undoubtedly a US link: two Haitian Americans were caught up in the plot, and a Haitian-born doctor based in Florida has been arrested in Haiti, accused of ordering the killing so that he could become president. Some members of the 28-man hit squad have claimed they were hired by a security firm based near Miami.

But if US authorities can help Haiti establish the facts about Moïse’s murder, they “cannot help the country change the facts that led up to it”. Endemic corruption, rampant lawlessness and institutional decay have long crippled the republic, making nearly every form of foreign assistance not only useless but harmful, too. American presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama have sent troops to Haiti and none of their interventions has left the Haitians better off. Nor have decades of financial aid, which has fostered dependence and embezzlement, enervated institutions, discouraged local initiative (while diaspora Haitians have thrived elsewhere), enriched the well connected and enraged everybody else. “The greatest gift the Biden administration can give the people of Haiti is to stop trying to save them.” 

Read the full article here (paywall).