Cruise Ships Docking In Haiti. What’s Your Take?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I’ve spent a few childhood vacations sailing around the Caribbean islands in those gleaming-white, floating tourist kennels, visiting predetermined ports for minimal amounts of time. I rather enjoyed those trips, at that  time of my life, but now that I’ve outgrown hats with cartoon character ears attached to them, I prefer my traveling through different means; means that inject me more into the culture, and provide an authentic, local, and beneficial experience for all involved.

Caribbean cruise ships have always stood drastically detached from the impoverished countries they visit. Because of the recent decisions of a popular cruise line (to protect the integrity of the cruise line, I will refer to it as Coyal Raribbean) to dock at the Haitian port of Labadee, this microcosm of inequity has reared its vicious head yet again.

First mentioned in The Guardian, and causing ripples all over the internet, I can’t help but feel the same kind of frustration as expressed by quotes such as this, found on Sphere, “I just can’t see myself sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue and enjoying a cocktail while there are tens of thousands of dead people being piled up on the streets.”

The rebuttal: Coyal Raribbean’s vice-president states, “Labadee is critical to Haiti’s recovery; hundreds of people rely on Labadee for their livelihood. In our conversations with the UN special envoy of the government of Haiti, Haiti will benefit from the revenues that are generated from each call.”

How do you feel, and why? Could you eat a burger knowing about the starving people on the other side of Labadee’s 12 foot wall? Do you see cruise ships as an integral part of the recovery project (carrying food aid and donating proceeds)? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.

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