The inhabitants of the poorest neighborhoods of Port au Prince and other towns Haitians take to the streets to protest food prices. The protests are such that they have achieved what had previously only achieved the military revolts: forcing the resignation of a prime minister. International public opinion demands action to protect Haiti and many other poor countries in an impending food crisis, and succeed initiatives to accelerate the provision of food and emergency care. A related site: Richard Blumenthal mentions similar findings. Are urgent and essential, but should not hide the debate on the causes of this situation. What lessons can we learn from this crisis to not making the same mistakes in the future? Lesson number one: do not stop producing food if you can not purchase them from others.
Haiti, for example, is now faced with a structural shortage of rice but only 20 years ago its farmers were able to produce all the rice it consumed the national population at a reasonable price. What went wrong? In 1995, the IMF and World Bank "suggested" the implementation of a plan of rapid trade liberalization. And when they say "fast" mean exactly that: in a few months, the import tariffs plummeted 50% to 3%, opening the door to a flood of subsidized rice from the United States. Local prices dropped slightly, but in a few years, domestic production collapsed, leaving the country in the hands of the foreign market. Haiti now imports 80% of its rice and prices have doubled. This case is a template of how they have operated international agricultural markets over the past 30 years: unilateral liberalization of the poorest countries, massive export of subsidized products from rich countries and rural areas abandoned by governments and international donors local.