Foreign Policy: Haiti's Hit After The Glimmer Of Promise Yesterday The woefully poor country was hit with a massive earthquake. 3 million of the country's 9 million citizens are without basic services. What makes it all sadder is that things had, just recently, seemed to be looking up.
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Foreign Policy: Haiti's Hit After The Glimmer Of Promise

An injured woman is helped after being rescued on in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Planeloads of rescuers and relief supplies headed to Haiti Wednesday, January 13 after a powerful 7.0 earthquake that may have killed thousands. Thony Belizaire/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Thony Belizaire/AFP/Getty Images

An injured woman is helped after being rescued on in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Planeloads of rescuers and relief supplies headed to Haiti Wednesday, January 13 after a powerful 7.0 earthquake that may have killed thousands.

Thony Belizaire/AFP/Getty Images

As Mark Goldberg writes for the Daily Beast, Haiti just can't catch a break. The country, which has been through years of war and upheaval, and remains woefully poor, yesterday was hit with a massive earthquake which has caused critical damage to its major city and capital, Port-au-Prince. Casualties are expected to be massive, and as many as 3 million of the country's 9 million citizens are without basic services. What makes it all sadder is that things had, just recently, seemed to be looking up.

Around 800,000 tourists traveled to Haiti last year — a sizable number for a small nation. But 500,000 of them never ventured further than Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's heavily guarded man-made enclave on the northern shore of the island; therefore, they did little good for Haiti's economy. (Royal Caribbean apparently installs most of its own staff in Labadee, seen above, meaning fewer Haitians hired.)

Haitians as well as U.N. staff on the island were battling the country's image as a failing state, a murder and kidnapping capital. Its safety statistics are in fact in line with or lower than those in other Caribbean nations, after spiking in 2004 during the ouster of the regime of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Just last week, Comfort Inn announced it was planning on building a small hotel on the island. It would have been the only major international chain to have an outpost on Haiti. Additionally, via Tyler Cowen, Haiti was just one of two Caribbean countries expected to have GDP growth in 2010, of around 2.5 percent.