Thursday, July 18, 2013

Deforestation at its Worst

Everyone knows that the borders which appear as solid lines on maps separating one country from another do not actually exist that way on the ground.  The closest thing to it, however, may be the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. 

Both countries share one Caribbean island (Hispaniola, so named by Columbus) and both are decidedly mountainous and tropical. But if you fly across the island, you will instantly see one terrible legacy of the Duvalier dictatorships in Haiti. Whereas the Dominican side is heavily green with dense forests, the Haiti side looks as if a giant razor has shaved off all the trees, leaving only bare mountain and scrub. On the same mountain, one side will be forested, the other denuded. This nakedness runs the length of the island, delineating the border. 

The Duvaliers cut and sold 97% of Haiti’s once-wondrous forests, literally stripping the country to fill their private coffers.  Though the Duvaliers no longer rule Haiti, the naked mountains and eroded rocky farmlands stand as testament to the country they raped.

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