Why has democracy not flourished in Haiti?  There are many social requisites to democracy.  The most disregarded but yet vital aspect of establishing and securing democracy is human capital.  An educated citizenry is a fundamental prerequisite for the establishment of a stable democracy in Haiti.  A. LeRoy Bennet observed of the Third World that, “….without a broad corps of adequately trained (indigenous) political leaders and administrators and industrial managers progress in economic development will continue to be laborious and slow.”

           In the last quarter century, many Haitians have lack the necessary zeal to transform their nation due to many reasons not excluding internal political tension, strife, chaos and economic instability.   The term brain drain has been used to describe the movement of hundreds of thousands of educated and skilled Haitians who have migrated to other countries in an attempt to better their living conditions and improve their prospect at a brighter future for themselves and their children.  Due to this mitigating factor of brain flight, Haiti has not benefited from the wealth of human investment that is necessary for progress.  The flight of brain power “human capital” has been Haiti’s jugular wound.

            Although brain drain is the most significant negative contributory factor in the underdevelopment equation, there are many other barriers to the democratization process in Haiti.  The following paragraphs have simply highlighted a few of the many challenges facing Haitian democratization. 

Haiti’s embryonic democracy cannot survive or contemplate thriving without peace and security.  There is national support for curbing corruption, securing human rights initiatives and implementing socioeconomic reforms.  Despite the national will to achieve these objectives, the dilemma is finding willing qualified leaders to implement the national will.

Fragmented National Identity: 
Haiti is struggling to forge a cultural identity.  The strong roots of African influences coupled with the quasi-European elite, a fragmented Middle Eastern upper middle class (bourgeoisie) and a crippled majority of African decent middle and lower class all asphyxiate the emergence of a national identity. 
       Haiti’s effort to form an identity is further undermined by the influence of what can be considered a “Frenchtocratic system”.  This system functions as a powerful barrier to democratization.  The Frenchtocractic system is established and supported by members of the Haitian elite, middle class, and educated poor.  These individuals, “Frechtocrats” use the French language to indirectly hinder the majority Creole illiterate populace from participating in political and economic self-determination by encouraging cultural stratification based on linguistic discrimination.            
        Haiti’s modern day Frenchtocrats are analogous to the Creoles during the Haitian Revolution.  Historian David Geggus maintains that the creoles associated themselves more with the French Europeans than with the Kongo Africans.  Frenchtocrats impede democratization in many ways?  For example, The International Encyclopedia of Education, whose sources include the Haitian National Board of Education and UNESCO, have concluded that Haiti’s, “… educational curriculum bears no relation to Haitian cultural values….pupils whose mother tongue is Creole are taught the first notions of reading and arithmetic in French, a language they do not understand….[furthermore] elite-oriented teaching…is accessible only to children who practice spoken French at home, and results in contempt for the government’s efforts at teaching rural areas where the results of the system are practically nil.”  Consequently, students who have graduated from rural schools receive a “limited education” or one that is stigmatized by urban Frenchtocrats.  Once these individuals enter urban centers for further education and work they are greeted with the unaccommodating Frenchtocratic system and its linguistic discrimination.

Bureaucratic Methods: 

Transforming the inefficient state managed enterprises to private enterprise is one of Haiti’s pressing democratization restraints.  As the gradual privatization process occurs, the state’s semiskilled laborers are being integrated into a more technologically advanced private sector.  Imprudent labor policy reforms and restructuring characterize the current environment, which has further burdened the labor market.  The inefficient autocratic state tax bureaucracy is in need of moderate tax reform. Haiti has yet to achieve a desirable administrative structure or legitimate political institutions to effectively extract taxes needed for democratic development.                

Interest Groups:

Interest groups are a necessary coalition in the process of democratization.  However, key political and economic reform researchers have little encouraging news for interest group participation in theThird World political arena.  The structural process of democracy and the institutionalization of political and socio-economical progress in Haiti are dependent on the various activities of interest groups.  The democratization process inHaiti needs interest groups to bring about a greater level of politicalization to the disenfranchised rural and urban poor.         


Haiti’s democratization will not succeed without strong entrepreneurial capitalistic leadership.  For decades, genuine entrepreneurial competitiveness has been discouraged.  Although, many elite enterprises have reduced the level of unemployment, their monopolistic practices have been antithetical to democratic growth.  Promising middle class entrepreneurs have been discouraged from embracing market-oriented policies.  The absence of self-regulating vibrant economy has decreased the opportunity for respectable upward mobility, employment, infrastructure reform and other development-related changes associated with democratization.

          The aforementioned barriers have overwhelmed unqualified and ill-advised presidential administrations and Non-governmental organization since the fall of autocratic rule in 1986. Are there practicable solutions to the complex challenges in Haiti?  Many developed and developing nations around the world enjoy “brain exchange” but that is not the case for underdeveloped nations like Haiti.  Underdeveloped nations have desperately attempted to implement policies of “retention”.  These grand policies of “retention” through building educational institutions and economic development have proven to be the best long term strategy in combating brain drain.  Unfortunately, five decades of research by the International Labor Office, Department for International Development, UK has concluded in recent finding, “Migration of Highly Skilled Persons From Developing Countries: Impact and Policy Responses” that “retention” strategies are ineffective.  If “brain retention” is implausible then we are obligated to search for alternative viable solutions.

          In order to bring about sustaining reform and reverse the devastating effects of brain drain in Haiti, there must be a comprehensive approach at brain recruitment and repatriation.  Appropriate research is needed in order to identify members of the expatriate community.  In the short term, it is important to gather information and catalogue, by means of quantitative research, members of the Haitian Diaspora community who have been part of the massive brain drain phenomenon in the past five decades.  In the long term, research gathered about Haiti’s diaspora population can be used by expatriate and indigenous leaders to establish think tank institutions.  These institutions via symposium can bring together Haiti’s diaspora and indigenous scholars to tackle the pressing development problems based on their expertise.          

          In the next ten to fifteen years, a well orchestrated expatriate and national effort can lead to the establishment of a well-secured residential college campus along with think tank institutions manned by expatriate and indigenous experts is probable.  This forum is not only idyllic but also the most practical and sustainable solutions for the underdevelopment needs in Haiti. 

          The lack of trained indigenous personnel has led to incomplete, unsustainable and ill-equipped national development programs.  Nation building requires far more investment in human capital than currently suggested by international non-government agencies (NGO) and specialist.  NGO’s, although well intended, often handicap national development growth because their efforts predictably promote a “State Well-Fair System” which leads to further dependence, debt, and depression.  Haiti needs expatriate and indigenous experts teaching Haitians how to develop Haiti. 

            Notwithstanding the gloomy forecast of current third world development analysts and experts, Haiti’s future is bright.  It is bright only if it is viewed through the unconventional prism of diaspora or brain repatriation.  Who make up the Haitian diasporas? Thousands of professionals and to name a few: author Edwidge Danticate; Associate Clinical Professor Department of Anesthesiology Dr. Alex Dauphin, McMaster University, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada.  Image the possibilities.


I.                 Summary / Abstract

There are many social requisites to democracy.  The most overlooked yet vital aspect of establishing and securing democracy is human capital.  Human capital can be defined as human resources exclusively as a form of capital and useful as means of production.  An educated citizenry is a fundamental prerequisite for the establishment of a stable democracy in Haiti.  A. LeRoy Bennent observed of the Third World that, “….without a broad corps of adequately trained (indigenous) political leaders and administrators and industrial managers, progress in economic development will continue to be laborious and slow.” The flight of brain power “human capital” has introduced a paralytic cycle of dependency.  Minimizing the current damage and commencing to dream of progress and stability will require a calibrated approach.

It is necessary to break the cycle of hegemonic dependence.  “The less developed countries ……draw their expectations from more affluent nations, and are culturally dependent on them (Huntington, 1968, p.46: Lipset, 1963, pp. 15-60).”[1] Strengthening democratic institutions, promoting democratic values and implementing sustainable development are all possible in Haiti, if members of the Haitian Diaspora “brain drain” community, are mobilized and encouraged to repatriate and tangibly contribute.  Democratic institutions such as think tanks and the construction of a residential college in
Haiti are essential.  Before launching a brain mobilization and repatriation campaign, their needs to be a thorough research and cataloguing of the location, skill level, talent and profession capacity of members of the Haitian Diaspora.

II.             Introduction

A. Background

What is the problem?

First, in the past century, due to internal political and economic turmoil, many Haitians have migrated to other countries in an attempt to better their living conditions and improve their prospect of a brighter future.  Due to this mitigating factor better known as brain drain, Haiti has not benefited collectively from the wealth of human investment that is to be found within the expatriated Haitian Diaspora community.  “The failure to treat human resources explicitly as a form of capital as a produced means of production as the products of investment, has fostered the retention of the classical notion of labor as a capacity to do manual work requiring little knowledge and skill… this notion of labor was wrong in the classical period and it is patently wrong now.”[2] A consequence to the absence of Haiti’s brain has been the isolation of diaspora academics from the island’s academic community.  This has in the long term paralyzed local and foreign social scientist.

Second, there is a need for a new generation of think tank institutions that would draw together Haiti’s expatriate scholars.  “…former French colonies are more likely to be non-democratic than the British.  French rule has bad a negative effect on political democracy….The negative correlation between French background and democracy is, in fact, more substantial than the positive one between British colonial rule and democracy.”[3]

B. Review of Literature

The quality of literature with reference to the scholastic and skill level of the Haitian expatriate community in North America is virtually non-existent.  Outside of the work of Anthony V. Catanese, retired professor of economic and management at DePauw University, there has been little scholastic interest in quantifying the presence of the Haitian Diaspora community.  Professor Catanese’s book “Haitians: Migration and Diaspora” sheds light on the movement of Haitians from rural Haiti to the eastern United States by analyzing census data and interviews.  To date, there is little data to substantiate the level of education and skill embodied within the Haitian diaspora community.

C. How is this work valuable?

First, the value of this work is based on the fact that knowledge is cumulative.  We believe that this research will significantly contribute to current data and provide a basis for future work.  We intend to publish lasting literature about the Haitian expatriate community that is based on good research design and can be substantiated.

Second, this work is valuable purely because the published data will; encourage dialogue among the geographically scattered Haitian diaspora of North American, motivate networking and possibly lead to the establishment of think tank institutions.

Third, the value of this research may prove to be a catalyst in synthesizing a collective identity for the Haitian Diaspora.

Finally, Haitian diapora leaders may choose to use the intellectual energy of the expatriate community to propose a shift from the conventional development paradigms of state and foreign NGO led development initiatives to that of a bi-focal approach of using existing indigenous human capital / expatriate experts and nation-state development models.  The data collected from this research will become valuable information for long term solutions to underdevelopment in Haiti.

D. Statement of Problem

What will we attempt to solve?

We will attempt to solve the problem of insufficient data concerning the Haitian expatriate “brain drain” communities in the State of Florida.

Hypothesis:  In order to bring about sustaining reform and reverse the devastating effects of brain drain in Haiti, research is needed in order to identify members of the expatriate community.

II. Solution

A. Objectives

What will we create to solve the problem?

Short Term

Little is known about the education level of Haitian expatriates in North America.  It is important to ascertain and catalogue, by means of quantitative research, the members of the Haitian Diaspora community that have been part of the massive brain drain in the past four decades. We will create the following to solve the problem:

  • Research protocol to investigate and catalogue Haitian Diaspora or individuals of Haitian decent who are in Florida who are scholars, professionals, and skilled persons.
  • Lease an establishment to function as a base to conduct our research.  House a small resource reference library with approximately three used computers and various research resources onCaribbean issues, economic development, trade, politics, history, etc.
  • Encourage high school and university students within the Haitian Diaspora community to volunteer and aid the research assistants.

Long Term

Further research would be necessary in order to collect more data on Haitian expatriate communities throughout the North America.  With this knowledge, expatriate leaders would be in a position to establish a think tank institution similar to that of the Cato Institute.

B. Scope

What are the limits to this project?

There are several limits to this project.  First, researching the Haitian Diaspora has unique cultural challenges.  For example, outside of the church community and pockets of Haitian businesses, Haitian expatriate communities have been less organized and mobilized to the extent that other Diaspora communities have been.  As a result, data collection will take more time than it would as related to other expatriate communities.

C. Methods

What will we do to achieve our objectives?

Based on the research question, we will use a conclusive research (quantitative) protocol due to the fact that this methodology will provide a reliable and representative picture of the population.  We will rely on secondary data (existing data that will be reanalyzed) and secondary data (data specifically gathered for this study).

Since our focus is not to determine the cause of the existence of the Haitian expatriate community in Florida, we will employ a descriptive research methodology.  Descriptive research or statistical research attempts to provide data about a community by focusing on the “who, what, when, where, and how” of a situation.  As a result, we will rely on survey techniques to obtain accurate and systematic descriptive data.

What specific steps will we take to achieve our objectives?

Problem Definition

Purpose of the Research: “This study is designed to determine the quantity and quality of Haiti’s expatriate population in Florida.

Literature Review

The review of current literature has provided an explanation of the theoretical rationale of the problem being studied as well as how the findings relate to the research problem.  There has been a critical assessment as to the methodology employed in order to eliminate reliance on poor research design and unsubstantiated work.

3.     Selection of Research Design, Data Collection Techniques & Selection of SubjectsBased on the purpose of our research, the most appropriate social science outlined plan of investigation is to employ a Conclusive / Descriptive research model.  In efforts to collect valid and reliable data our data collection techniques and selection of subjects will be based on primary research (direct communications with subjects) and secondary research (review literature and data sources).


Determining the population targeted has been one of the first stepsin selecting the sample.  Our operational definition is based on the“respondents qualifications”.  For the purpose of this research the working population or sampling frame will be established from the following delimitations: adults (21-65) male and female skilled laborer, professional, and experts of Haitian decent living in Florida.

4.     Data Gathering

Primary Research

Direct Communication Techniques will include communicating directly with individuals/businesses and through documents such as questionnaires.  This study will rely on quantitative research approaches which hinge on the following characteristics: structured research instruments, results that are based on larger sample sizes which are representative of the population, high reliability due to the fact that research can be replicated, and object analysis of results.  Quantitative Research includes telephone, self-administered and in-person interviews.

  • Telephone: One of the most inexpensive, quick, and efficient ways of surveying respondents.  Some limitations include length of survey, answering machines, and call backs
  • Due to the focus on the Haitian expatriate business community there is a low potential for interviewer and respondent bias or ethical issues of misleading respondents.
  • We believe that most respondents will be interested in the research topic and/or the sponsoring organization Self-administered Survey
  • This method will be required for those individuals who are difficult to reach by phone and will be administered by mail, email, newspaper, or distributed in person.
  • We are aware of the low response rate of self-administered survey and therefore respondents will be guaranteed the following:
  1. well written cover letter
  2. confidentiality
  3. provide name and contact number of lead researcher should the respondent wish to verify the legitimacy of the survey
  4. provide a reasonable due date with postage paid envelope
  5. provide a professional and visibly appealing questionnaire
  6. advance notification, either by phone or mail, of the survey and it’s intent
  • In-Person Interview Survey.  Due to the nature of our research protocol and the advantage of feedback, this form of survey will be relied upon when approaching small business owners.
  • Typically this form of surveying provides significant interviewer error and bias but due to the nature of the research problem / question we will not encounter this difficulty.

Secondary Research

We will review literature and data sources collected from some other source other than this research in order to canvass what is already known.  We will rely on census bureaus of both the state of Florida and Georgia, previous research reports, and journals.

5.     Data Processing and Analysis

After questionnaire development, we will pretest and design a sample and conduct the necessary fieldwork (gathering of the required data). This sample will help us gage the complexity and establish the expense associated with a sample fieldwork.  Once we begin and results start to come back from the field, the information will be prepared for data entry input in order to be tabulated and analyzed.  Before the questionnaires are prepared for data-entry, they will be edited and coded. We will attempt to eliminate ambiguities as to what the respondent meant and what should be entered.

6.     Drawing ConclusionsOnce we complete data analysis and investigate statistical significance and correlations we will need to determine the main findings of our report.  Our summary conclusion will follow a two step process.  First, we will review the conclusions of all the hypotheses and from these conclusions we will second, draw overall conclusions from the research question itself.  Brief editorial comments will high light both the reasoning used in reaching our conclusions and the data that supports the statements made.  Interpretation of the results will be published along with recommendations based on the finding of this research.

D. Time Schedule

This research proposal will take three years to thoroughly complete and accomplish the objectives set forth.

III. Facilities

A. Short Term

A base inSouth Florida would be integral in the research efforts for a number of reasons.  First, South Florida’s strategic location is an ideal location for gathering information due to the fact that it serves as a satellite of other expatriate communities.  Second, South Florida is home to the largest expatriate population concentration of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generations.  Third, we would establish a functional office staffed with dedicated Diaspora university student volunteers.

B. Long Term

Organize symposiums and create a Diaspora repatriation movement that we hope will culminated to the establishment of a post-secondary educational institution that will be operated by expatriate and local experts in twenty to thirty years time.

IV. Budget

A detailed budget is available upon request.

V. Personnel / credentials

Detail about personnel is available upon request

VI. Conclusion

A.                 What is the potential value of this project?

There must be a paradigm shift in the implementation of national development programs.  The actions of international non-government agencies, although they are intended to help with development, handicap national development growth due to the fact that their efforts promote “state well-fair” that increase dependence.  The real cause of Haiti’s persistence state of underdeveloped should be rightly attributed to the effects of brain drain which causes a domino affect.
Haiti needs Haitian experts teaching Haitians how to develop Haiti.  Industrialized nations benefit greatly from the activity of think tank organizations.  Therefore, a think tank institution manned by expatriate experts is the ideal for a healthy dialogue to encourage and begin the process of future sustainable development in Haiti.

B.                 Why is this proposal feasible, necessary, and useful?

This proposal is feasible, necessary, and useful because the value of this proposal research extends far beyond the short term benefits.  Most importantly, the long term value can prospectively help bring about a shift in sustainable development paradigm.

It is important to note that, the social, political and economic climate in Haiti have not been aggravated alone by the reasons postulated by current development paradigms but rather by the lack of dedicated and trained Haitian experts.  A lack of trained indigenous personnel leads to incomplete, unsustainable, ill-equipped national development programs.  “……where the distribution of education is as low as in Uganda or Haiti, the provision of modern, participant norms for citizens remains extremely difficult”.4] Nation building requires far more investment in human capital (domestic strength) than currently suggested by development organizations and specialist.

Misguided solutions of increasing funding for programs is similar to a physician treating symptoms and not the cause of illness by administering a bandage and pain-killer to a trauma wound.  “Education, training, and targeted economic development may actually increase skilled migration in the short-to-medium term, but it is the best means of addressing developing country skill shortages over the long run.  The promotion of human rights may also play a role in this context.”[5]

C.                What are the benefits of the expected results?

The benefits of this project are best analyzed in context with current approaches to development which rarely consider Diaspora repatriation and the establishment of think tank institutions.  Think tank institution would bring together Haiti’s Diaspora scholars to tackle the pressing development problems as it relates to their expertise.  Think tanks, if willing, can energize the dialogue and coordinated repatriation campaigns over a period of a decade.  As a result of brain repatriation, the complications caused by the isolation of Diaspora academics from the island’s academic community will be reduced.

Due to the organization of an expatriate community, the dream of constructing a residential college in Haiti to tackle the issue of underdevelopment may become a realistic pragmatic solution.  “Diaspora arrangements bring together a large number of strategies that are primarily under the aegis of sending countries, but receiving countries can contribute. Expatriate organizations and mechanisms of technology transfer are important, as are means of facilitating remittances or investments.”[6] It is necessary to improve the coordination and implementation void in development programs between social scientist, academics, politicians and local community leaders.

VII. Contact

Daniel Jovin


VIII. References

[1] Seymour Martin Lipset, Kyoung-Ryung Seong and John Charles Torres, “A Comparative Analysis of the Social Requisites of Democracy”, UNESCO, 1993.

[2] Theodore W. Schultz, “Investment in Human Capital”, March 1961, The American Economic Review, Volume LI, Number one, p. 3.

[3] Seymour Martin Lipset, Kyoung-Ryung Seong and John Charles Torres, “A Comparative Analysis of the Social Requisites of Democracy”, UNESCO, 1993, p. 160.

[4] Seymour Martin Lipset, Kyoung-Ryung Seong and John Charles Torres, “A Comparative Analysis of the Social Requisites of Democracy”, UNESCO, 1993.

[5] Allen M. Findlay and B. Lindsay Lowell, “Migration of Highly Skilled Persons from Developing Countries: Impact and Policy Response”, International Labor Office, October 2001, p. 4.

[6] Allen M. Findlay and B. Lindsay Lowell, “Migration of Highly Skilled Persons from Developing Countries: Impact and Policy Response”, International Labor Office, October 2001, p.3.