FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
There's an old saying that goes "If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all." It's an expression that certainly seems to apply to the people of Haiti, as theirs is a long history of things going from bad to worse.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/15/art.earthquake2.jpg caption="A girl rests at a makeshift outdoor recovery ward outside the morgue and main hospital in Port-au-Prince."]
If it's not the poverty - the majority of Haitians make less than one dollar a day, and 75-percent of them are unemployed - it's political repression.
The nearly 30-year regime of the Duvalier family, beginning in the late 1950s, is seen as one of the most corrupt and repressive in modern history. Their personal militia killed tens of thousands of Haitians and tortured and raped countless others.
The Haitians also have a checkered history that includes slavery, debt, revolution, exploitation.
And when those poor people aren't trying to survive their own government and economy, Mother Nature periodically slams them with hurricanes, earthquakes, you name it... Yet for some reason the Haitians remain for the most part a peaceful, optimistic, even good-natured people.
We could all take a lesson from them. Most of the people in Haiti will survive, and the country will manage to go on in some form. The problem is the people there never seem to be able to enjoy a run of good fortune: An improving economy that elevates their standing of living, honest government that makes a legitimate effort to provide for the general welfare.
Things like education, infrastructure, shelter, medical care, etc. seem to be forever beyond the country's grasp.
Here’s my question to you: Why can't a country like Haiti catch a break?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Cheryl in Arizona writes:
Haiti can't 'catch' a break, as you say it, because in recent history (the last 600 years) they were first colonized and then enslaved. When you take away a people's language and culture and repress them, it's amazing how long it takes for the culture and people to rebound – if they ever do.
Except for the people killed and severely injured, I would say that Haiti just caught the biggest break they've had in years. This country has an opportunity to completely rebuild; hundreds of millions of dollars are going to pour into the place where $1,000 has been a fortune. If the usual collection of idiots and thieves running things has any trace of morality and intelligence, there is a phenomenal opportunity to take the lemons created by this tragedy and turn it into a big, beautiful glass of lemonade.
Why aren't we asking this question about Bangladesh? Or the Philippines? Or any other number of countries that seem constantly under attack by natural disasters? We are all in horror over what is happening in Haiti, but mostly we are in horror because it happened in our backyard.
Lack of good leadership. Haiti never had a chance. Haiti's birth as a country was through violence brought about by a slave revolt which devastated the economy. The new rulers had little education and no nation building skills. Its future was sold out to France in the form of a debt to France it couldn't afford to pay. If anything good can come of this disaster, I hope it is the emergence of a good leader to bring Haiti into the 21st century.
As one who was born there and was part of the ruling class: It is a fact that Haiti's rich do not pay taxes and that they carry two passports and have one foot in, one foot out and that they take monies out of the country routinely.
It is also a fact that the government is corrupt. With little tax revenue, little remaining fiscal assets and precious little in aid money that survives pillage by the government, it is no wonder that the majority suffers beyond comprehension.