A cohesive plan was starting to evolve. The first class of Haitian residents was at work at Cap Haitien and Pignon, and over 100 medical students had volunteered for Project Medishare. Between the orphanages, the residency program, and Thomonde, we were poised to make a difference. There was no denying that Haitians were still dying in boats trying to get to Florida, that AIDS was still creating orphans, that the news out of Port-au-Prince was perpetually bad, and that the “powers that be” at our medical school still didn’t get it. We were making a difference. The finally completed guesthouse in Thomonde exceeded everyone’s expectations, not just in terms of comfort but also in expanding our capacity to work in the village of Thomonde and its surrounding communities. Students from other medical schools, coming to Miami for fourth-year experiences called externships from as far away as Saskatchewan, heard about our Haiti experiences and signed on.
“What about the elections?” came a voice from the back of the van.
“They’re going to happen,” I answered.
The Miami press was all wrapped up in the impending legislative and municipal elections. Was Aristide stalling, so that one combined presidential and legislative election would sweep Lavalas into power at all levels?
“None of our business,” I told the students. “Too much of Haitian politics starts and ends in Washington. What this election flap is all about is whether there will be a ‘globalization’ of the Haitian economy. Aristide was elected by promising jobs for the poor and taxes for the rich. After the coup and his expulsion, accommodation with globalization was the price he had to promise in exchange for a United Nations intervention to return him to power. The Haitian peasants couldn’t care less about the World Bank or globalization of their economy. Furthermore, the bloom was off the rose of globalization. It was not working the miracles it had promised, and its cost is being carried on the backs of the people.”