Development-induced Displacement in Haiti

Philip Howard


In recent decades the people of Haiti have
faced ecological disaster, political upheaval,
and persistent economic hardship.
These aflictions have motivated
hundreds of thousands of Haitians to
migrate to other Caribbean countries,
the United States and Canada. While
many observers know that mass migration
was the result of Haiti's problems, it
was the mass migration from rural highlands
to urban slums that created the
important preconditions for the violent
expression of collective grievances.
Since the 1950s, certain development
projects in the highlands have displaced
large numbers of Haitians by causing or
exacerbating the severe environmental
degradation that destroyed their land,
water and fuelwood resources. Specifically
discussed are the Piligre Dam and
the use of Green-Revolution technology.
The result was that squatter settlements
at the edge of Port-au-Prince and the
district capitals grew crowded, volatile
and violent.

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