Haiti State Against Nation Summary

Words: 801
Pages: 4

Darien Wellman
Latin American History
Dr. Nadel
November 7, 2014
Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. Haiti: State Against Nation. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1990. In the book Haiti: State Against Nation, author Michel-Rolph Trouillot discussed the history of Haiti’s long standing issues between both the government and the peasantry. The author made it very clear in the beginning that “this book is as much about Haiti as it is about the governments of Francois and Jean-Claude Duvalier, whose combined regimes (1957-1986) represent the longest dictatorial sequence in the history of that country” (Trouillot 15). Many scholars who study the history of problems in Haiti most likely think of the Duvaliers who used repression in order to transform Haiti
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Years after the Haitian Revolution, the Haitian government relied on indirect taxes to support the economy. The problem with this is that the government was in favor of the wealthy light-skinned elite by making the poor populations pay higher taxes. According to John Eaton’s Political Economy, “If the state takes an equal amount of money from each citizen and all citizens do not have equal incomes, then the state takes a greater disproportionate share of the income of the impoverished masses”(Trouillot 62). This was one of the key decisions by the government that would lead to future …show more content…
The author points to the fact that Francois Duvalier’s problem with his government was not only the repressive measures taken, but the fact that that it was both incompetent and inefficient. The killings that occurred under his regime as well as allowing those who sided with him to have administrative positions led to many fleeing from the country to find economic opportunity elsewhere. Also, there was no system of hierarchy which is needed in any sort of government. With the case of his son Jean-Claude, the author made two main points concerning his failures. When he tried to start assembly production it “never reached a level where it could spur an economic recovery…given labor conditions, the absence of unions, and the excessive demands of employers…few Haitians held their jobs” (Trouillot 209). The other reason is that his idea of Duvalierist polarization “was faulty because it bypassed the problems of rural Haiti” (Touillot 214). Still Jean-Claude tried to make the peasants pay higher taxes in order to fix his mess. This only added more fuel to the fire and more peasants soon began to protest against Jean-Claude. He would eventually have to leave Haiti due to both international pressures and from the peasant protesters. The author closes the book saying that “the long overdue reconciliation of state and nation requires the