Haiti's future

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Diaspora key to Haiti's future.

July 18, 2008

ISSUE: USAID includes Haitian-Americans in plan to aid Haiti.

The Haitian diaspora has long been viewed as a potential answer to Haiti's woes. Many who left the struggling nation during times of political upheaval are now well-educated and prosperous exiles who could certainly lend a helping hand.

The United States Agency for International Development wants to tap into that potential, backing it all up with $170 million, to help rebuild the impoverished country at a time when Haiti faces rising food prices and political instability.

USAID is inviting Haitian organizations in South Florida to participate.

And they should.

The money, provided by the U.S. government, has been earmarked for projects that would increase food production, expand the textile industry, leverage remittances for health insurance, housing and student loans as well as encourage Haitian-Americans to lend their expertise and dollars for economic development and investment.

These are all much-needed aims that could help the nation rebound from a long, frustrating history of political bloodshed and economic impoverishment.

But the USAID effort makes sense only if grassroots organizations are included in the process, and their voices heard.

Many organizations, for example, have called for the U.S. government to grant Haitian refugees already in the United States temporary protected status.

TPS would allow the immigrants to support their families back home with remittances until the economic crisis subsides.

But the Bush administration has refused to grant the designation.

Some Haitian-American leaders have also complained that USAID cherry picks the organizations it will work with and has spent money in Haiti that produced little results.

The federal agency would do well to listen to these concerns and do a better job of working with the community.

Haitian-American leaders must also do their part to promote the opportunities available and meet government guidelines to participate in USAID programs.

They can also help Haiti by pushing for the Haitian government to resolve a political stalemate that has existed since April when the country's Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis was forced to leave office over rising food prices.

President René Préval has already nominated three candidates for the position.

Two were rejected by parliament and the third is still being considered.

The effort to rebuild Haiti will work only if it's a true partnership between Haitian-Americans, the U.S. government and the people of Haiti.

Hopefully, all will come together for a brighter future.

BOTTOM LINE: The diaspora is vital to the country's future and must play a major role.

Will Rosenberg, July 18 2008, 2:15 AM

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Messages in this topic

Ti RORO, You posted this? I am shock! Is that a mea culpa for all the ignorant statements you have made about the... read more >
Zarien Krab Spider, 18-Jul-08 9:14 am
"The money, provided by the U.S. government, has been earmarked for projects that would increase food production... read more >
George Grunner, 18-Jul-08 10:39 am
George Grunner, were you a member of FRAHP? Or, are you a modern Tonton Macoute. Haiti will be a better country when... read more >
Robertson, 18-Jul-08 12:33 pm
Come on Robertson! Did you really read what the guy wrote. There is nothing in his post suggesting he is what you... read more >
Zarien, 20-Jul-08 2:44 am


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