There are a lot of rumors and misconceptions surrounding Haiti, especially since the 2010 earthquake.
Right after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Pat Robertson claimed that the tragedy happened because Haitians made a pact with the devil in 1791 in order to gain freedom from French rule. Here's the entire quote:
"... something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it, they were under the heel of the French, uh, you know, Napoleon the third and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the devil, they said, we will serve you, if you get us free from the French, true story. And so the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' And they kicked the French out, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free, and ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor."
Aside from the most obvious problem with this: the assumption that curses are real, there are some serious issues with his statement. The "swore a pact to the devil" is in reference to a Voduo ceremony preformed by Dutty Boukman (a Voduo priest of sorts). The Voduo religion does not involve the worship of Satan (see also Voodoo article). Robertson is also incorrect about the rule of Napoleon III, as Napoleon wasn't crowned until 4 years after the Haitian revolution was already over.
When I originally heard this from Pat Robertson, I got the feeling he was also
suggesting that throwing off the shackles of colonialism was a bad thing. I also
wonder what kind of God curses the descendents of others who are cursed,
assuming of course God and curses are real (they
"That island of Hispaniola is one island. It is cut down the middle; on the one side is Haiti on the other is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God and out of this tragedy I'm optimistic something good may come. But right now we are helping the suffering people and the suffering is unimaginable."
There are a lot of reasons that Haiti is so poor, but a curse isn't any of the reasons (see Haiti is poor because the people are stupid). It's true the Dominican Republic is a much better place to be than Haiti, but the Dominican Republic has wide spread poverty, child prostitution; I wonder what they did to become so cursed. Luckily for them, they also have a large tourist industry as well.
It's a shame that even in 2010 there are still racist morons on the Internet who think, because the majority of Haiti's population is black, that's why they're poor. If you want to really know what Haiti is so poor and screwed up, you just have to look at their history. For many years the Haitians have held a massive debt to the French. Furthrmore between 1964 and 1986 the country was ruled by the highly corrupt and tyrannical Devalier family, which not only looted the country of its wealth, but also took out massive foreign loans, which account to around 40% of their debt today.
Countries aren't rushing to invest in Haiti, as they have nearly no natural resources and a highly uneducated populace, though they receive about $912 million in aid every year, their debt is about $1.2 billion, and their exports total about $674 million. Only about half of the people in the country are literate, and about a third have telephones. What is there to invest in and who is willing to invest?