On Haitian Rights and Priorities for Development

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On Haitian Rights and Priorities for Development

Post by admin » Sun Nov 05, 2006 11:48 pm

I have revisited my comments in the thread named Human rights, not politics, should be priority for Haiti . I wrote much, in a spontaneous, non-structured manner. I have extracted my comments to restate them here in a more structured format.
  • On Haiti's international debt

    One member of this forum has insistently argued that the government of Haiti should ask Venezuela to refinance Haiti's international debt. I do not believe that Haiti should formulate such a request. Above all, President Preval should not appear like begging for help. Haiti has traded her dignity enough.

    We can enter into bilateral agreements with Venezuela, but the purchase of our international debt should not be on the block, at the very least not directly. Besides, Haiti's international debt is not so extraordinary that it has become a stranglehold on her economy. There are many other factors, like tariffs on trade (or lack of) and incentives for local and foreign investments that should be given higher priority before we put our debt in the balance, hoping for someone else's mercy.

    In fact, we should be careful not to legitimize some highly questionable elements of our international debt. It should be thoroughly reviewed, and this requires guts. Do we have it?

    Why should we ask Venezuela to refinance the expenses of bloody dictators that were put in place and sustained by American foreign policy? What would that mean?

    Essentially, Venezuela would extend a loan to Haiti with the stipulation that the money be used to repay the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international creditors. The new loan would then be repaid to Venezuela under more favorable terms, I suppose. What would this accomplish, other than sticking it to the man with someone else's stick? I would rather see Haiti challenge in world courts and the court of public opinion the legality and morality of having to pay arrears and finance charges on loans not received, loans that were not disbursed for the purpose of strangling the national economy for petty political aims. I'd rather see Haiti challenge debts that were signed on her back without her consent by unelected despots at the pay of the United States of America. I would rather see Haiti challenge the grand extortion applied by the International Finance Institutions which often behave like an International Mafia in that they implement policies specifically designed to impoverish the already desperate in favor of the already opulent.

    If Venezuela were to extend a loan of that magnitude to Haiti, I would want to see it put to work immediately (and directly) in the public sector: development of roads, educational centers, hospitals, food crops (including fisheries), and a general clean up of our environment. What would be the terms of repayment of such loan to Venezuela? I can well imagine that they would be more favorable than the sick terms of our current debt repayments (and that's why I do not think that we should legitimize that debt with a wide brush stroke!) If Haiti must honor her debt, then why is the notion of a debt to Haiti so ridiculed in diplomatic circles? Why is international debt repayment a one-way street? Everything must be put on the table.

    One would argue that if Venezuela purchased Haiti's debt, that would free some resources for Haiti (the amount generated by least favorable repayment terms minus most favorable repayment terms). We would then bank on that differential in terms of planning our national development (food sources, roads, health care, environment, etc). That is perhaps what worked for Argentina, but it is always dangerous to look at a supposedly successful model elsewhere, borrow it without much examination, and then attempt to apply that model locally and find out later that it does not fit, for one reason or another. I would not urge the government of President Preval to do anything at all, except perhaps to place the matter under its radar screen. It should be considered for what it is worth. I sense, though, that there are more urgent national priorities.

    Furthermore, the field of international politics and diplomacy in general has never been Preval's forte. Switching masters of international debt may be tantamount to putting a tutu on Preval and asking him to dance ballet. Let's focus on his area of strength: give him the resources (not just financial but more importantly, human) to fight local corruption and create roads, schools, and agricultural reforms.

    What I would like to see from the government of Haiti is a clear blueprint and rationale for those roads, schools, and food development projects.
    • Roads to where and for what purposes? [/*:m]
    • Schools to teach what? (Would it be the same old concept: more brick and mortar places to teach basic arithmetic and principles of a western-centric but Haiti-phobic miseducation OR a most decidedly haiticentric and haitianophile re-education?) [/*:m]
    • Agricultural solutions leading somewhere other than the historic class struggle and the destabilization of governments in Haiti since 1804? [/*:m]
    • A plan of national development that addresses Haiti's basic needs, but does not neglect to address its entrenched counter-development foes, namely ignorance, corruption and insatiable greed.[/*:m]
    That is what Haitians have a right and the duty to ask of the government they have themselves elected over all others that were preferred by foreign governments and private investment clubs. The government should not stay silent nor pretend that it really has the expertise to know what is better for the people of Haiti, without involving them in a clear national dialog, hearing their voices and learning what it is they want. The people of Haiti too should learn not to treat their government automatically like a pariah of bad faith, but rather demand that it serves them through constructive forms of dialog (not the humiliating rants on radio that ultimately serve no purpose whatsoever).

    What the world owes Haiti in reparations dwarfs our international debt, which is largely illegitimate in the first place. We need to deal with that inequality. We need to formulate it in more precise terms. We need to educate ourselves to the ways of the world and reach for a decent equilibrium. We need partners, not masters. We need to believe that we are not the pariahs of the western world as they have led us to believe.

  • On France's restitution of extorted funds

    Let's not forget France's obligations to return the loot extorted from Haiti. Credit must be given to Aristide for having made an issue of it in the first place, though in my opinion he should have framed the message better. Perhaps as a result of Aristide's audacity, France insured that he paid the ultimate price, but that should never have been a reason for his demise.

    The campaign for restitution was unfortunately conducted in a very populist way, without a peer-reviewed analysis of its historical and financial basis and the dissemination of the results to the general public via the press, television, radio, and internet media, in at least four languages. Recalling the exhortations of President Aristide, I believe that he poorly handled the matter. By rushing to popularize it, it trivialized it. No one I know, not even the fiercest advocates of reparations, has ever explained the numbers to me on the basis of economic theory and the mathematics of finance.

    A commission of first-class economists and legal experts, Haitian and other, with obvious competence and a record of great integrity should look into the matter, so it does not continue to be trivialized.

    This does not alleviate France's sins nor does it invalidate Haiti's claim. However, we need to proceed on a rational basis, not simply by shouting political slogans.

    In fact, France could well owe us much more than has been stated so far. And France is not alone.

  • On Haiti and her international friends

    Haiti has been fucked over, repeatedly, by the Western powers of Europe and also by the United States of America, through outright thievery or through all sorts of shady deals which have benefited a few pockets in Haiti and enhanced first-class economies. In the end, only the corruption of the local whores is delivered in Technicolor (or today via High Definition Media Input) for the world's consumption. This way, Haitians themselves end up believing that they are the most corrupt people on Earth, while corruption is practiced even more openly across our borders, in the more highly respected Dominican Republic, and billions of dollars (some even say trillions) disappear without a trace from Iraq's economy.

    In the same vein, European rulers have raped Africa over and over, and over again, depriving her from her gold, silver, diamonds and other precious stones, to the point that the discovery of vast oil reserves in Africa portend a specter of death through genocides and civil wars financed from abroad, rather than optimism for the possibilities that could be afforded by new found wealth. The vultures that are circling just above, namely Big Oil and other giant multinationals, manage to block the sunlight, that is, the hope that Africa will one day be able to suffice to itself. So now, increasingly Africa is turning to China, the rushing global economic superpower of the twenty-first century. Will China treat Africa more like a partner than the restavek that has been so thoroughly abused by the West?

    Black African countries and Haiti conjure up images of despotic rulers and corrupt leaders, and those images have been marketed so insidiously that we end up believing that somehow we are less human and we deserve to pay the price of our savagery. Dessalines, they have told me, was burning in hell for his "koupe tèt, boule kay" (cut off the heads, burn the houses) strategy of overcoming slavery, whereas his alleged admonition of "plimen poul la, men pa kite-l rele" (pluck the chicken, but don't let it squawk) was presented more like a nugget of wisdom, a general principle of managing a country's treasury (Michelle Bennett let the chicken squawk, because she believed it did not matter, so Baby Doc was sent packing with crates of money, courtesy of the U.S. government, but mostly it is Michelle's greed that is remembered, not the Duvalier dynasty's). Still others have emerged to fill in the insatiable imagination of the purveyors of darkness.

    Generally we can contemplate only one half of the moon and speculate about the other half, where vultures are bred and nurtured by invisible hands. We should strive to understand the economics of underdevelopment which fuel the wealth of developed countries of the chosen peoples. In as much as the chosen peoples strive to understand the neglected peoples on earth, so too the neglected peoples should understand the chosen peoples on earth. With full understanding may emerge either revolutions or at least a decent equilibrium?

    We should never ignore Our Story. Those who ignore History are bound to repeat it, it is said. The story of our economic exploitation is too painful to be repeated. We should begin by demanding to be treated like a respected partner. We exist, therefore we have leverage. We have leverage, which is why we still exist. The hell with "beggars cannot be choosers". Let's break down the walls of international diplomacy, but not in getting new masters. Let's broker our own terms of development. Let's discover exactly what our leverage is, because it's there. Let us not believe that our salvation lies in the charity of others. In international politics, let us just assume that charity does not exist.

    We need leverage. Not charity. But leverage is found and exercised only by those who believe it exists, seen or unseen, in the first place.

  • On revolutions and our revolution

    That is where we keep coming back to, in our thirst for significance and replenishment. The Cuban revolution was designed to benefit the Cubans most of all, but is currently benefiting Haiti also. The Bolivarian revolution is designed to benefit the Venezuelans and other Latino countries most of all, but could in the end benefit Haiti also. Long live Chavez, because he represents an alternative for Latin America (or for the Americas) that seems attractive, compared to the crushing alternative of the U.S. and International Finance Institutions. However, for all of his bravado, Chavez is in great danger. But whether or not the Bolivarian revolution succeeds and even expands beyond the limits previously attained by the Cuban revolution, Haitians still have to grapple their own demons.

    Before the Cuban revolution, before the Bolivarian revolution, and concurrently with the French and American revolutions, there was the Haitian revolution which seems to have benefited all others before its own people. It is high time that we reconnect with the central purpose of the Haitian revolution which was to create (and develop) a new nation led by Haitians for Haitians. Yes, the Haitian revolution has been a beacon of freedom, liberty, and human rights for students of History all across the globe but how long can we, could we, sustain that shining light if we do not focus on providing first for ourselves?

    It is in a way similar to the notion of the U.S. being a nation of immigrants. Historically true. But how long will they be able to sustain that notion, when they turn decisively anti-immigrant and try to outdo themselves in a display of nationalism that is a disguised front for greed and racism? The U.S. militarily conquered vast areas of land that formerly belonged to Mexicans, and now U.S. citizens feel entitled to say with a straight face: "This is our land (which God mysteriously and unequivocally bequeathed to us) and it is entirely immoral of you to try and break our laws (because we, on the other hand, are a nation of law-abiding citizens who have historically and presently respected the property rights of other peoples)." How long can the U.S. present itself with pride as a nation of "¿supposedly legal?" immigrants without becoming the subject of international ridicule?

    In this way, Haitians too had better pick up where the dreams of Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines left them. It's not enough to glorify our ancestors. The only way to truly honor them is to do for ourselves.

    I will conclude by offering again the words I wrote on January 1, 2004:

    "Countless freedom fighters and nationalist leaders have acknowledged that they were inspired by the Haitian Revolution, from the liberation wars of Latin America, to civil rights advocacy in the United States, and the anti-colonialist and anti-apartheid struggles on the African continent. So in many lands, the Haitian Revolution became synonymous with freedom of the oppressed. Indeed many of those struggles were successful in their execution, as many new nations emerged, following the examples of Haiti and one should add, the United States. That the United States was a white nation that prospered and that Haiti was a black nation on the road to total impoverishment is also a fact that has not been lost on the world. The aftermath of the Revolution can be murky to the indiscriminating eye. What's the big deal, might one say. Hence the struggle continues to have the Haitian Revolution come true for every single Haitian. It is associated today to the struggle for economic rights and political freedom, literacy and health, education and democracy. Any ordinary citizen or government leader, who would exalt the virtues of the Haitian Revolution and not dedicate himself or herself to the concretization of its revolutionary ideals in today's Haiti and for the Haitian poor, is simply mouthing words without a good appreciation of their meaning. For the Haitian Revolution to be completely successful, it has to live in every Haitian heart. It has to guide all Haitians in positive actions for a better future.

    I think that there are greater forces aligned today against the political freedom and economic rights of the Haitian people than there were even at the time of Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Those forces yesterday were naked in their exercise of strength and oppressive ideology. True, at that time, they were also married to a program of Christianization of slaves imported from Africa. But, all in all, it was easy for a slave to tell his friends from his enemies. Today, all internal and external enemies of the Haitian people like to present themselves as its great friends. They act in the name of Haitians, but not for their benefit. They create economic initiatives to rob the people further of their last possessions, while pontificating about the fiscal benefits of one set of economic policies as opposed to another. They sow discord and hate to keep the people divided. They promise everything to those who do not have, while in practice they only deliver more to those who have already. They champion democracy in words, while they marginalize the masses and deprive them of their right to vote and participate in decisions that will greatly affect their future...

    Today's political leaders should simply read their history and understand that their time is necessarily limited. Limited in securing material benefits for themselves or limited in extending the gains of Haiti's revolution to the disenfranchised masses. No one is immortal. However, their name and reputation will outlive them and they will be judged by their survivors and by the people for whom they have chosen to serve or not to serve. Far from the passions of the moment, History will record their deeds and judge them quite apart from empty speeches and promises.

    Long live the Haitian Revolution. The people of Haiti have just begun to fight for their place in the sun."

  • On Drug Trafficking and Haiti's role

    Haitians have to combat internal corruption, not because others snicker about it in total or near total obliviousness of their own corrupting practices, but simply because it is for our own good. In combating that internal corruption, we must bear in mind the sources of that corruption and deal with them accordingly.

    Everyone knows that the drug trade has, in a large way, sustained the cash flow in Haiti for the last 30 years or so. Haiti has even reached a fair amount of publicity in that regard, being the (nth?) trans-shipment port for drugs originating from places in South America) to places in North America. The government of Haiti has been ridiculed for tolerating drug traffickers, and obligingly so. But where the hell are the drugs cultivated? Where the hell are they being consumed? In the balance sheet, who the hell are making and paying for the billions of dollars of the drug trade? Why is Haiti left holding the bag, as though we were the ones to go and pick up the damn drugs and deliver them directly to unsuspecting church-going dwellers in the U.S.?

    Why is Haiti so infamous for drug trafficking? Damn if I know! Why do they not take significant measures to stop the drug traffic in the first place? Why is the consumption of drugs so recreational in American culture? Why do they demonize Haitians for a product that satisfies their addictions, a product that Haiti does not grow, a product that Haiti hardly consumes (for most who are intelligent enough to stay away from it), a product that has appeal only for the huge sums of money they are willing to spend for it? And who or what people does not love money? Who will ever ignore the source of easy money when other resources are scarce, due to politically motivated economic embargoes and other means of international isolation? Why is Haiti the poster child for the white powder that the U.S. consumes to oblivion?

    Point in fact: the drug has to flow from here to there. Haiti will not increase the flow of drugs nor will it decrease it. When it is not delivered through Haiti, it is being delivered through another point. Once again, instead of demonizing Haitians, and instead of making open war against Colombian peasants, why do they not focus on reducing the demand for drugs, whether by way of legalizing them or else? Is the problem that there is just so much money involved in the illicit drug trade that the U.S. cannot come to grips with bleeding off such a rich flow of economic activity? Why the phony wars?

    Doctor, heal thyself! The doctor in this instance is the Drug Enforcement Administration acting as an extension of the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Haiti and other countries in Central and South America. I am not requesting mercy for drug dealers, as they are in fact purveyors of death and they are largely responsible for the erosion of safeguards in our culture, which explains at least in part the proliferation of kidnappings and other vile acts which have become so common to urban life in Haiti. On one hand, the Haitian government (including the Justice Ministry) must be given the latitude and the means to seriously crack down on the drug traffickers. Zero tolerance. On the other hand, one has to recognize that the drug traffic problem in Haiti exists primarily to satisfy the U.S. incredible appetite for cocaine and other stuff.

    So, when we say "Doctor, heal thyself", we mean that the U.S. should stop parading a few heads in Haiti and elsewhere as the bad guys, as though they were the ones truly responsible for drug consumption and all the crack heads in the U.S.A. Their priority should be to find ways to drastically reduce the demand for illicit drugs from U.S. citizens in the first place. If they are serious about doing that, they should not scapegoat their failures on impoverished ghettos of the U.S. and Haiti.

    Most important questions to answer: Who is consuming the illicit drugs? What are the classes and magnitudes of consumption? Who is making the most profit from the drug trade? Who are profiting and to what extent? Start there. Treat the problem. It is enormous, but supporting a war against the peasants in Colombia and demonizing political leaderships anywhere south of the U.S. border does not solve the problem and may in fact exacerbate it.

    That is just one instance of the demonization of Haitians, among others.

  • On coups against the government of Haiti

    In the entire history of the United States, there has never been one coup d'etat, not a single one, zero, zilch. But how many coups have the U.S. promoted or got directly involved in, militarily and financially?

    In a democracy, there should be avenues, such as a referendum or an impeachment process, to dispose of a government gone mad. But a coup d'etat (there have been more than 40 in Haiti's History) is totally unacceptable.

    The U.S. has NEVER tolerated the idea of a coup against its government. NEVER! Why do they get so actively involved in coups against other governments?

    They know why... but WE should be intelligent enough to know why, too…. and swear to never let it happen again… unless we want to be designated "the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere" forever more.

    We need to get across a point to those who create the conditions of our impoverishment only to blame us when we go and search for a better life elsewhere!!! Stop messing with us already, so that we have a chance to stay home! Haitians must have an alternative to crossing the borders and slave away in the Dominican Republic. Haitians must have an alternative to crossing the shark infested waters that separate them from the Bahamas and the unwelcome-to-Haitian Florida beaches. Haitians cannot be expected to stay put otherwise. Like every group of people that has migrated to the United States since the Pilgrims, they do so for the same reasons. Repression, poverty and migration go hand in hand.[/*:m]

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Post by admin » Wed Nov 08, 2006 12:04 am

[quote]Also by you and me having good jobs in a rich country 'earning' a decent income by national standards[/quote]
That's what you assume. but I would not characterize it as a safe assumption. Speak for yourself...

[quote]The only hope for change to the better is wiping the windows from the inside, removing the reflective layer.[/quote]
What do you need to wipe the windows from the inside? More press? More radios? More high definition TV channels? More theses? More books? More information super-highways? In Haiti, we have a proverb that says that you can take a donkey to the river, but you cannot force it to drink. Why do you take it for granted that the ignorance of people in first-world economies is unintentional? It's almost like saying "if only people in the U.S. knew that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11... how different the last four years would have been!"

You are more than welcome to clean the windows from the inside, but your biggest contribution may be to call off the sharpshooters that keep knocking down the window-washers from the outside. They consistently get knocked down, you know, unless you have not noticed...

[quote]With charity at first, that -although it offends the dignity of the receivers-[/quote]
It's not a question of offending the dignity of the receivers. It's just that this model has not worked in that it fuels the sense of entitlement of the givers while soothing their conscience. Charity works from one man to another man and sometimes from one small group of supportive individuals to another, but when it must be conveyed through national or international politics, it becomes extremely distorted. Charity is always personal. International relations are not about charity. What passes as charity is often the setup for a new form of exploitation and the re-affirmation of a co-dependence policy. International charity breeds corruption and disempowerment. Reparations and restitution on the other hand are questions of justice that always appear to offend the dignity of the givers.

[quote] With charity at first, that... at least makes visible how many 'outsiders' there are and that their way of life is the rule rather than the exception. Only on the basis of that knowledge the 'haves' can become aware that their lifestyle is not tenable.[/quote]
Charity may appease guilt, but it does not necessarily open one's eyes. There are many charitable people who give but look the other way around, just not to be taken out too far from their comfort zone. Awareness is key, as you say, but though it sources from knowledge, it does not necessarily spring from it. Historically, most people become aware that their lifestyle is not tenable when it is... no longer tenable.

And then, you have the fool that plays the fiddle while Rome is burning. Nero in his day, our "Neros" in our day. We all know who they are. But some of us encourage them to keep playing the fiddle, in an attempt to maintain the illusion...

Let's work to achieve greater awareness. Rationality has its place, but emotion is key to our survival. Unfortunately, we have been very numb...That numbness has been set in. It has been cultivated. Will we wake up in time?

A better world is possible, only because it is in our common interest. We do not need charity. We need your tools. You need our resilience, our capacity, our unwillingness to disappear. If we work together, not at odds with each other, not separately from each other, by the grace of God we can make it happen.

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Post by admin » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:53 pm

You've shifted from [quote]'earning' a decent income by national standards[/quote] to [quote]earn quite a bit more than a world average income[/quote] from one post to the next one. That's definitely not the same in my book.

And then you say: [quote]the assumption that you earn quite a bit more than a world average income as "Haitian Program director at the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network" plus "executive director of the Haitian-American Initiative Toward Integration" seemed safe enough[/quote]
Well, I don't want to personalize the issue, nor am I certain of the appropriateness of discussing salaries at the "New Jersey Immigration Policy Network" on a public forum. But let me tell you that as "executive director of the Haitian-American Initiative Toward Integration," I draw no salary. Zero. Zilch. And I put a lot of time in it. Will I ever draw a salary from it? Perhaps, one day... perhaps, never.

[quote]Both would be decently paying jobs in the Netherlands given the responsibility involved and level of education required.[/quote]
Well, I will take your statement to my board of Directors, but I feel sure already that they are going to tell me that I do not live in the Netherlands.

In any case, why do you keep making assumptions? While I worked as a computer analyst, I had a Jamaican manager who used to tell me every time I made an unneeded assumption: [quote]Don't assume, because when you "ass+u+me" you make an "ass" of "you" and "me" [/quote] I am not saying that his nugget of wisdom necessarily applies to you, but it's worth thinking about in any case.

Good luck with "dematerializing wealth" in the Netherlands. I'll include you in my prayers. But, specifically, what is your plan of action?

In terms of developing wealth production 'there' to the extent that such assistance is appreciated, what forms will that assistance take? In which way will the appreciation of such assistance be measured? I am sorry to ask so many questions (I don't want to make too many assumptions).

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Post by admin » Sat Nov 11, 2006 8:36 pm

Dear Wim,

Your assumption was an unsafe one but you cannot bring yourself to admit even the possibility that you may have been wrong. Since our personal incomes are never the focus of our discussions, I am going to leave it at that. It's up to you to seek the light or to continue with the certainty that you know for sure that of which you only think you know about.

I am not terribly interested in the question of the Netherlands' bilateral aid to the government of Haiti. Whatever their rationalization is to assist or not to assist is their own business. Thankfully, Haiti now has a democratically elected president and a ministerial cabinet to address those lofty issues which often involve sophisticated smokescreens and rationalizations for total inaction (if not worse) in the face of humanitarian needs. If one actually paid attention to the speeches from G7/G8 countries with respect to Africa, one would have thought that Africa would have been rescued already from the same powers that exploited it and continue to exploit it to the core.

On a forum like this, the best we can really do is explore people-to-people transfers of knowledge, technologies, solutions, adaptations, or potentials thereof. What are the needs of Haiti, irrespective of governments? In which ways could the people of the Netherlands (or whatever other subset of humanity) be of assistance to us (or vice versa) ? Have we confronted similar problems and what was your people's approach to solving them? Can Haiti benefit from your people's good will and cooperation without your government's political interference other than what can be reasonably construed as the protection of its citizens? In which way could you possibly welcome Haitian people's assistance or contributions to your own society? [Obviously, as I asked those questions, I am not targeting the Netherlands in particular. It is the sketch of a general approach.] What is it, for instance, that the Americans can offer Haiti besides corruption, fundamentalist Christianity, and a market for drugs? Well, let's think about this. There is a tremendous amount of engineering expertise in the U.S. that builds roads, tunnels, communications systems, and the like. Why can't the U.S. have used its extraordinary amount of influence in Haiti to transfer some of its excess technology resources to the service of humankind rather than foolishly waste its time (and Haitians' time as well) in trying to subvert Haitian people's political will to self-determination? In the same vein, what is it that your people could offer us?

Haitian people's contribution to so-called developed countries has never been tallied, unfortunately. For this reason, most people tend to assume that it is non-existent. However, I am sure that great Haitian minds have successfully contributed to the development of their societies and even their socio-political movements (Karl Marx, Fidel Castro and others could attest to that). The hospitals and nursing homes of all first-world economies, from the United States to Switzerland, have greatly benefited from immigrant labor (everyone kows that) but what they rarely acknowledge is the input of Haitian doctors, medical and other technology researchers over the years. Wipe out the Haitian in their past, if they could, and who knows how many among them would even be alive today.

But today the Haitian is more readily assimilated to AIDS carriers in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere, as though we invented AIDS, as though we bear all responsibility for the cross-border commercialization of prostitution on the island.

We could tell you today of Haiti's great needs, such its environmental degradation, the urgent need to stopping the rush to desertification and bringing back some arable soil to make us dream again of the times when could be sufficient to ourselves in terms of our nutritional needs. We could tell you of the creole pig and the moral obligation to give back to Haitian peasants what has been forcibly taken away from them. We could tell you of the need for waste management and sanitation engineering. We could tell you of resources needed to stop the spread of contagious diseases. We could tell you of roads, bridges, transportation and communication systems waiting to be built or rebuilt. We could tell you of Haiti's needs for energy consumption and capacity for production. We could tell you of the need to replenish our territorial waters with fish stock and other marine life. And we could go on. Perhaps, if you are willing to entertain this dialogue, you could tell us of your great capacity for assistance and you will not have to worry about our capacity for appreciation. We have given a lot to the world during our history. We could stand to receive something back too. But it has to be genuine.

We are tired of smokescreens.

We have critical needs.

They must be met.

We like the people to people model of human exchange.

What are your tools? What are your technologies? HOW can we apply them? How can we benefit each other?

All the rest, ...


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Post by admin » Sun Nov 19, 2006 11:45 am

Dear Wim,

Sorry for the long silence. I was away for one (long) week of training. Thank you for the links, every little bit helps. I do hope however that all that I was writing about is not so easily encapsulated by a couple of web links. If it were, then I did not do such a good job and perhaps others will do it better.

All the same, I do thank you and I will conclude by reminding everyone that what we seek is not charity but JUSTICE.


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