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Trust and Hometown Associations in Haitian Post‐Earthquake Reconstruction

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International Migration

Published online on


The 7.0 magnitude earthquake on January 12, 2010 in Haiti reawakened in the diaspora a strong sense of purpose to focus efforts beyond family remittances towards regional and national development. Yet Haitian hometown associations (HHTAs) in the US struggled to establish a strong, organizational structure to respond systematically and effectively to the country's increased post‐earthquake needs. Based on historical analysis, participatory observations, interviews, and comparisons with other diaspora groups’ models for homeland development, we explore how trust within the transnational Haitian nation has been impacted in the post‐earthquake era by cultural conditionings of the past which constrain the scalability, durability, and viability of HHTAs’ developmental potential to systematically intervene in a coordinated manner regionally and nationally. We examine the ways in which trust – and resistances to it – operates as a mediating lens remobilized by the earthquake for the interpretation of the Haitian past, present, and future.