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Opinion
Tyler Cowen

Is Haiti Governable Right Now?

Foreign money has overwhelmed any domestic incentives to play by the rules.

Looking for evidence outside of the presidential residence in Port-au-Prince.

Looking for evidence outside of the presidential residence in Port-au-Prince.

Photographer: VALERIE BAERISWYL/AFP

The political chaos that has followed the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise reflects a broader truth: Some nation-states are simply not viable in their current form. Growing incentives for corruption, coupled with unstable internal politics, can tear apart many governments.

Haiti’s troubles are severe. A parliamentary election slated for October 2019 was not held. In the absence of a sitting parliament, political legitimacy is hard to come by and disputes about leadership succession are not easily resolved. The head of the country’s Supreme Court recently died of Covid-19. A takeover by a strongman dictator, even assuming that was an acceptable alternative, is not imminent.