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25612: Wilson Reply: Re: 25545: Saint-Vil (pub) New Socialist Interview on Haiti - July 2005 (fwd)
From: Richard Wilson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
While teaching in Haiti I had the opportunity to talk with my students
about Mr. Aristide's power base. Many told me the same thing, "Aristide has
built his power on the backs of the poor and hopeless to whom he has made
extravagant promises. And when they find out he cannot or will not fulfill
these promises he will not be able to control them."
These students were not from the elite. They were not wealthy. A few
were university students. But they feared the future direction their country
was going under Aristide.
At the same time, when I mentioned how much foreign aid the U. S. and
other countries were pouring into Haiti they laughed and said, "So what! We
have not seen any of it. It goes into the pockets of the politicians." This
shows that the people well understand the problem that is without solution.
NGO's are a pipeline of aid into Haiti. They help many who are desperate
and cannot help themselves. As a school we could have qualified as an NGO but
we chose not to do so because of the sheer weight of the paper we would have
to fill out, both in Haiti as well as the U. S.
When I first came to Haiti to visit, in 1994, when the military was still
in power, I was walking along Delmas when a tap-tap pulled up alongside me and
the money collector asked, "Are you a missionary?" I replied "Yes." he then
said to me, "Thank you for coming. We are glad you are here. Without you we
would have less hope than we do now." I did not bring them food, clothes,
medicine, only information. But that man's statement has stayed with me for
the past eleven years.
Strategically Haiti is of little interest to the rest of the world.
Humanitarians and missionaries, each with their own agendas, see the great
needs of Haiti and respond to it. Haiti, as most small countries of her size,
will always be dependent to some degree on larger nations and their
willingness to trade with her. In order for Haiti to be a good trading
partner though, and thus begin relieving the suffering of her people, she must
establish a stable government with as little corruption as possible. Until
that happens I fear there is not much hope.
I spent five years with the Haitian people. I learned to love and respect
them. Especially the street vendors who hustle a living from the air daily.
I just put a Haitian friend on the bus to return to Haiti and his church. He
came here to the U. S. to visit churches and raise support by gifts certainly,
but also by merchandising the talents of his congregation--in music. He had a
thousand tapes and CD's made in order to sell them and raise money for his
church, school and medical clinic. He is the spirit of Haiti and I applaud
him and others like him.
Richard F. Wilson