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Commentary: Brazil, like Haiti, is a country not a nation!
Published on February 11, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Jean H Charles

I wrote a story some six years ago upon visiting Brazil that one should not go to a country just because a plane can take you there.

After reading today in the Guardian the story of the state of disrepair of the Olympic venues built at great cost by the Brazilian taxpayer I cannot but renew my warning that Brazil must, like my homeland Haiti, take steps to become a nation if it wishes to enter into the league of permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Jean H Charles LLB, MSW, JD, is a regular contributor to the opinion section of Caribbean News Now.  He can be reached at
My visit to Brazil was during the period of Carnival in Rio de Janiero that receives so much publicity all over the world, I was like a good Muslim who must pay a visit to the Mecca of debauchery once in your lifetime. I ventured all the way up to Salvador de Bahia, where unfortunately there was a gang epidemic that caused the business of death to be flourishing. It was there that I made my determination to return to Brazil only when it gave clear signals that it has become a nation.

In spite of the award of the Olympic and the World Cup, Brazil is still a faux nation with all the signals reflected in the state of disrepair of the Olympic infrastructure.

There is today the business of the giant construction company Odebrecht that has caused turmoil all over the Caribbean, in particular the Dominican Republic, with corruption, bribery and kickbacks that has tarnished the reputation of many politicians including the Dominican Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez.

There was the prison revolt where mayhem from the prisoners and the guardians caused revulsion to the clear conscience in terms of atrocity committed upon fellow human beings. There was Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first woman president, successor to Lula, taken out of power for corruption and misdeeds related to manipulating the federal budget.

Thank God, the MINUSTAH-led Brazilian contingent has announced it is leaving Haiti after more than ten years of attempted stabilization. The visible signs of stabilization in Haiti are nowhere to be seen. In fact, things have gone downhill. Cholera brought into Haiti by the Nepali United Nations contingent has killed 9,300 Haitian people, while infecting 800,000 more. Desperation is so acute amongst the educated as well as the non-educated ones in Haiti that some 6,000 young educated Haitians did not hesitate to make the long trek from Brazil to Colombia and then to Mexico, trying to enter California to fulfill their hope for the future.

The Dominican Republic sent back 65,000 Haitians in 2016; it plans to send back 200,000 in 2017. The Clinton government policy destroyed the growing rice industry in the country to the point that now 84% of the rice consumed in Haiti is either from Arkansas or Vietnam. In addition, the new rice diet in the morning, midday and at night is affecting the health of the population, doubling the number of those affected with diabetes and heart disease.

The rate of growth has gone from 2.9% in 2012 with a slight improvement in 2013 – 4.2% after the earthquake to 1.4% in 2016 with a projection of -0.6% projected by the World Bank. The PetroCaribe lifeline, which was $20 million in 2013, is now $5 million in 2016, adding to hurricane Matthew losses of $1.8 billion, Haiti stabilization is not around the corner.

My preaching in the desert like John the Baptist has been the same: become a nation to access to felicity by creating the sentiment of appurtenance amongst all the citizens; provide excellent infrastructure and decent institutions everywhere; taking the hands of those who are left behind and finding and accomplishing the divine mission of that nation. These are the principles that Brazil and its sister nation Haiti must undertake. They share the same passion of soccer and carnival. They practice the extreme joie de vivre; they even have their side devotion to voodoo and Candomblé.


Haiti has a new government; does it understand that nation building must become one of its priorities? Nation building means the country must cease to be inhospitable to 90% of its population, while the remaining 10% enjoys all the benefits of legitimate sons and daughters of the ancestors.

Brazil must take the same steps, the make believe policies towards the citizens of the favelas must cease and desist so the great country with resources so vast that it dwarfs the United States in possibilities will be utilized for the benefit of all its citizens.

Haiti, after some 60 years of descent into hell, must decide it cannot afford to start the cycle of another 30 years of pariah state that will lead into 90 years of non-nation.

With Carnival approaching soon, I will look for the signals from Haiti and from Brazil there is hope on the horizon that on Ash Wednesday there is contrition and the governments of both nations have taken the necessary steps to build a nation out of their country.
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