Lekce z rozděleného ostrova

Asi jedenáct set kilometrů od floridského pobřeží leží jedno z nejzuboženějších míst na Zemi – ostrov Hispaniola, první zastávka Kryštofa Kolumba v Novém světě. Z Floridy sem let trvá pouhou hodinu a půl; čekali bychom, že ostrov bude tropickým rájem a oblíbeným místem pro americké offshore podnikání. Realita je nicméně mnohem krutější.

Na Hispaniole leží dva státy. Na západě ostrova je to Haiti, nejchudší země obou Amerik. Na východě se rozkládající Dominikánská republika je úspěšnější, průměrný příjem je zde šestkrát vyšší než v Haiti. I ta však prožila mnoho politických i ekonomických hrůz, než v devadesátých letech přišel zlom. Návrat Jean-Bertranda Aristida do haitského prezidentského úřadu by mohl ukončil dlouhý cyklus haitské chudoby a násilí, pokud ovšem Haiti i USA pochopí lekci v podobě krušných dějin Hispanioly.

Chudoba Hispanioly má své kořeny v koloniálních dobách. Evropané karibské ostrovy kolonizovali, aby na nich pěstovali cukrovou třtinu. Pracovali zde a umírali otroci, které kolonizátoři nemilosrdně a v milionech dováželi z Afriky. Třtinovým plantážím postupně ustupovaly místní tropické pralesy. Důsledky kolonizace - odlesňováním, erozí půdy a kolapsem zemědělské produktivity – byla Hispaniola postižena nejhůře na haitské straně.

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