With grievances and realist restraints hand in hand, I argue that aid donors should instead attempt to bolster institutional development and legitimate governing bodies rather than continuing with surface-level efforts to support the pretense of elections that have become the norm in Haiti today. I hope to question the prevailing assumption that democracy building through policies like elections promotion is the key to transforming developing nations. But furthermore, I will also question the problematic methods through which the international community attempts to achieve this transformation. My critique of aid organizations, NGOs, and US intervention in Haiti ties into a greater commentary of the present condition of development policy and globalization, which places an emphasis on the role of neoTocquevillian civil society and neoliberal economic policies. I argue that this prevailing paradigm of development fails to consider the diverse historical path of political evolution and precludes state development and national sovereignty, which is vital to developing true democratic institutions.
This thesis is an attempt to examine the interplay of actors involved in Haiti’s elections past and present. My base argument is that aid and intervention in support of democratic elections in Haiti has been detrimental to the development of the Haitian state, political order, and economic growth. I support this claim with historical evidence from elections dating back to 1987. Through my research I found that aid measures and international involvement in Haiti often include actions that fund corrupt incumbents, policies that professedly support transparency and democracy but show favoritism to certain candidates, expenditures that favor third-party contractors, and covert action that funds military groups that have undermined democratic progress. Following the events of the 2015 Haitian elections and how they were mishandled bolstered my claim that aid directed towards elections provides no net gains to democratization and equality. However, I attempt to frame my critique of aid institutions in Haiti through a realist perspective. Foreign assistance has become a vital lifeline for many sectors of the Haitian government and economy, and as such a proposal for change in Haiti cannot exclude the role of aid.
Here you can learn more about haitian history, instances of western interventionism, elections in Haiti, and how foreign aid has influenced Haitian development. The research and information presented summarize my senior thesis findings.