The Functions of the State
Most Haitians viewed government functionaries as
beneficiaries of patronage and the spoils system rather
public servants. The state traditionally supported and
the established political order and extracted wealth from
population. Citizens therefore expected little or nothing
government. Rather, they saw the state as an entity that
confiscated, taxed, prohibited, or imprisoned.
The Haitian government also traditionally served as a
of jobs. Political favoritism and bribery characterized
system. One common Creole expression holds that "Jijman
kob" (court rulings are money). Political scientists
used terms such as kleptocracy, predatory state,
franchise, and autocolonization in their descriptions of
Haitian system of taxation, patronage, corruption, public
monopolies, and private monopolies protected by the state.
The state had developed a relatively elaborate
taxation, but it provided only limited public services.
Haitians relied on foreign-assistance agencies and on
nongovernmental institutions for services provided by most
governments. For example, education was the most elaborate
public-service sector, but the majority of children still
attended nongovernmental schools
, ch. 7).
state's abdication of its role as service provider created
situation in which foreign-assistance agencies served as a
of shadow government.
Government institutions in Port-au-Prince provided at
the facade of public services through the Ministry of
Health and Population; the Ministry of Agriculture,
"Resources, and Rural Development; the Ministry of
Education, Youth, and Sports; and other ministries. These
ministries had no representatives in most rural areas,
and they provided relatively few services even in
Government budgets for public services generally accounted
salaries, but they provided little or no budget support
Aside from the army, Haiti's key state institution had
traditionally been the customs house, the primary source
revenues. The state also extracted wealth through its
over certain essential services and through public and
monopoly ownership of key commodity-based enterprises
(see Economic Policy
, ch. 8). This system contributed to the
political instability because it politicized important
the country's economy.
Data as of December 1989