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for Haiti, Assembly Jobs Aren't the Whole Answer

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piporiko
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for Haiti, Assembly Jobs Aren't the Whole Answer Empty for Haiti, Assembly Jobs Aren't the Whole Answer

Message  piporiko Lun 30 Mar 2009 - 18:23

or Haiti, Assembly Jobs Aren't the Whole Answer

Friday, September 12, 2008; A14


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/11/AR2008091103224_pf.html



Former senator Mike DeWine was correct in arguing that trade can help Haiti to
its feet ["What Haiti Needs," op-ed, Sept. 9], but caution must be exercised in
viewing low-paying assembly plant jobs in urban settings as the key to
resolving Haiti's problems.


While investment in the assembly sector in the 1980s did create jobs, it also
fueled significant off-the-land migration to Haiti's burgeoning slums,
especially because corresponding investment in rural Haiti, where two-thirds of
Haitians barely survive as small farmers, was lacking. Few of those hopeful
migrants, crammed into slums built mostly on river deltas or low-lying alluvial
plains, found factory jobs. At the same time, Haiti became less able to feed
itself as cheap imported food -- principally rice that is no longer cheap --
created disincentives to farm. In desperation, many rural Haitians increasingly
turned to charcoal production as a means of survival, progressively denuding
hillsides that now channel flood waters to swollen rivers that inundate those
river deltas and alluvial plains where the poor live.


In the aftermath of massive protests in April against the high cost of living,
Haitian President René Préval identified increased agricultural production as
a top priority in his country. Once the victims of recent flooding receive the
care they urgently require, investment in rural Haiti -- for environmental
rehabilitation and increased food production -- should finally eclipse a focus
on the creation of low-wage assembly plant jobs.


ROBERT MAGUIRE


The writer directs Trinity Washington University's Haiti Program.


*****************************************************************
What Haitian Americans Ask of the New US Congress and President

".... 5. Void grossly unfair free trade deals
Stop grossly unfair free trade deals and ineffective initiatives such as - the
Caribbean Basin Initiate Investment Support ("OPIC"), or the Special Export
Zones ("SEZ") under the Hope Act which bans trade unions to protect workers'
rights, or other such sorts of agreements - pummeling, bullying and beating
Haiti into the dust of misery, debt and poverty. And, instead, support Haitian
food production and domestic manufacturing, job creation, public works
projects, sustainable development and a good working culture that values human
rights. After the storm emergency, calibrate food aid so to assist and not
further destroy Haiti's food production.

Support post storm rebuilding and reconstruction of environmentally degraded
areas (Invest in Haitian-led projects to built flood barriers and better
drainage as in La Gonave; support food sovereignty, energy and reforestation
such as planting of fruit trees for food, capital building and trade and use of
indigenous Haiti plant, such as Jatropha, for biofuel - energy. In the process
of providing crisis assistance, the U.S. must promote Haitian self-reliance
wherever possible instead of the cycle of dependency. For instance, instead of
water purification tablets, add also, whenever possible, the more long term and
permanent bio-sand filters' apparatus that will last forever and purify toxic
water on a continual, not just on a one time basis.)....

The Obama candidacy promised change and a return to the rule of law and
diplomacy as opposed to US pre-emptive strikes, war, terror and torture to
attain perceived US foreign policy interests in the world. Candidate Obama
promised human rights, workers rights, environmental protection and reciprocal
trade. To grant Haitians TPS, end the UN military occupation, assist Haiti with
poverty reduction, domestic agricultural investments, community policing,
cancel unfair debt to international financial institutions, all would support
stability, participatory democracy, stop the flow of refugees and illegal
immigration and meet the policy interests of the United States.

For further information, see the complete policy statement at: What Haitian
Americans Ask of the New US Congress and President.
http://www.margueritelaurent.com/campaigns/campaignsix/c6mission.html#HA_08


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Forwarded by Ezili's Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

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