Winning Haiti’s Protection Competition: Organized Crime and Peace Operations Past, Present and Future

This article draws lessons from the experiences of international involvement in Haiti from 1990 to the present day. It argues that if the model of liberal, responsible government championed by the international community is to provide a resolution to the ongoing violence and instability in Haiti, then Haitian society will first have to be wooed away from coercive ‘protection’ by local and transnational organized crime. However, it argues that peace operations as they are currently conceived and deployed are ill-equipped for this task, given their limited territorial ambit and traditional focus on military response rather than political economy. However, the article concludes that experiences in Haiti may also offer lessons about how peace operations could win ‘protection competitions’ by serving as the leading edge of a unified international strategy for the transformation of local political economies.

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