Last Friday Prime Minister Garry Conille, in office for only four months, resigned, citing a breakdown of his working relationship with his Cabinet that reflected also an inability to work effectively with Haitian President Michel Martelly.
Nature and man seem to combine to present Haiti with problems that sentence its long-suffering population of 10 million to poverty and misery, in spite of efforts of the international community to respond to at least its externally imposed burdens. In January 2010 it suffered an earthquake that leveled important parts of its capital, Port-au-Prince, killing an estimated 220,000 people and displacing many more. The earthquake was followed by a cholera epidemic.
On the political side, Haiti carried out necessary but dodgy presidential elections in December 2010. The incumbent president, Rene Preval, had shown himself incapable of taking actions necessary to deal with the earthquake and the cholera epidemic, in spite of substantial international aid sent to address the humanitarian crisis. One of the candidates was entertainer Michel Martelly. He finished third, but his supporters made such a fuss that he was moved up into the final run-off and won.
The next drama was the choice of a prime minister. The post remained vacant for five months until Mr. Conille was finally chosen and approved by the parliament in October. Now he has quit, in the wake of political wrangling that made it impossible for him to govern.
In the meantime, of the some $4.5 billion that has been promised to Haiti to deal with the shorter-term problems left by the earthquake and the cholera epidemic, including $1.1 billion pledged by the United States, only half has been delivered. No small part of the nonperformance by donors has been due to a lack of confidence that what has passed for government in Haiti with Mr. Martelly, Mr. Conille and other politicians could be trusted to administer the money correctly.
In the meantime, pathetically poor Haitians, including a half-million still living in tents, struggle to meet their daily needs while the people who profess to be their leaders play political games.