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Commentary: Should the United States Annex Haiti?
CNBC.com | March 05, 2010 | 05:05 PM EST

The devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti threw the country into the international spotlight, and simultaneously highlighted its desperate need for help, even before the disaster. In the weeks and months after the quake, some have begun to question whether the event opens new opportunities for restructuring of Haiti's government and economy, literally from the ground up.

But what sort of role should the US or other international organizations play in Haiti? Among the spectrum of international responses—from indirect aid and development programs to a Puerto Rico-style annexation—the best answer is bound to lie somewhere in between.

Paul S. Adams, Assistant Professor of Political Science at University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, sees a big opportunity to reshape Haiti's political system after the earthquake. "This is the chance for Haiti to rewrite the rules of its government," he says, "it really wasn't working before the quake, and with most basic services provided by the UN... the Haitian government didn't exist in most ways."

The case for something as radical as annexation lies in the economic situation of the people, as well as the potential to avert this sort of disaster in the future. Haiti's pre-earthquake GDP is estimated to have been approximately $6.9 billion, with 80% of its people below the poverty line and 54 percent in "abject poverty," according to government sources.

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