Neglected Islanders Resist Plan for Haiti Tourism Revival


Artesia Suprice (C, yellow striped shirt) stands with her family outside their home which is one of dozens that will be expropriated by Haiti's government to make way for an international airport, on Ile-a-Vache island, off Haiti's south coast, March 25, 2014.
REUTERS/stringer

reuters.com - by David Adams - April 6, 2014

For decades the mostly dirt-poor residents of the small island of Ile-à-Vache off Haiti's south coast lived in anonymity, virtually ignored by the government and visited only by the most adventurous backpackers and yachters.

Then in 2012, helicopters started dropping off big shots: Haiti's president, Michel Martelly, Bill Clinton, ad agency models and photographers, tourism executives. Madonna and Sean Penn were spotted in November.

Last year came the surprise: the government claimed the 17.3-square-mile former pirate lair as "a public utility," potentially stripping the 14,000 residents of their land to develop a high-end tourist resort.

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