Courtesy Reuters

A HISTORICAL CHALLENGE

Every nation is unique; no two are identical. But Haiti is in a class by itself, not because it is the hemisphere's poorest country or because no one there before President Jean-Bertrand Aristide had ever been elected by popular vote. Poverty and a lack of electoral politics, after all, typify societies spread across a substantial portion of the earth's surface. What makes Haiti unique is that no other nation in world history has ever been created by slaves. Those slaves wrested their weapons from the hands of their masters and then threw the masters out. What Spartacus was crucified for failing to do, the Haitian people did. Haiti's uniqueness inheres in that historical experience, and some features of it still figure in its political present and allow for predictions about its future. Of course background facts do not tell us what to do about Haiti. But not

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