The rich in Haiti live well. Extremely well.
When you google “why is America”, the search engine will try to help you complete the question, suggesting rich? fat? in debt? violent? stupid? great? or maybe so great? I can confirm that America is all of those things.
In contrast, googling “why is haiti” will get you these suggestions: so poor, in poverty, less developed, a failed state, deforested, and corrupt.
In searching for answers about Haiti’s poor, I think we end up letting off the hook the few rich who are making out like bandits, often times exploiting the
poor in Haiti to their own advantage. Let’s have a look at the rich in Haiti, where they live, what they do, and how they do it.
Rich in Haiti: Petitionville Elite
Petionville is a suburb of Port au Prince and consists of houses layed out on rolling hills.
When tourists go to Haiti and opt for the “scenic route”, Petionville is where they’ll likely end up living. Tourism accounts for a good chunk of Haiti’s economy, thou tourism is down since the earthquake.
Literally look down on the poor. In the outskirts of Petionville, a lack of suitable government structure has lead to tent towns being formed with people looking to land any job they can while caring for their family.
Most of the wealthy elite in Haiti are families that originally came from other countries and invested early on. Families from France, Lebanon, Syria, and Germany saw a lax and ineffectual government as fertile ground for business with cheap labor and little competition.
The infamous one percenters are prevalent in Haiti as well as every other country. One percent of Haitians are in control of 50 percent of the economy. Pictured above is Gregory Brandt, a soap and oil magnate, he is also the president of the French-Haitian Chamber of Commerce.
The children of the Rich in Haiti tend to be educated off-island – often in Paris, France or in the United States. The kids are only a short flight away from Miami shopping sprees and access to large American bank accounts.