Haiti Needs These Jobs by Stanley Lucas

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Haiti Doesn't Need These Jobs: Stanley Lucas' response to Robert Maguire
October 1, 2008

As a champion of Haiti -- and a Haitian -- I find Robert Maguire's letter to the Washington Post washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/... somewhat of a waste of space and bordering on offensive.

First, it seems to imply that Haiti should not progress beyond an agrarian society.

Factory jobs are not the answer, but they are an important part of the answer and a step up the development ladder from agriculture.

To argue against factory jobs seems to be arguing for keeping Haiti primitive.

The complex problems that face Haiti require a multifaceted solution.

Surely the author understands that -- so what's the point of this letter?

Second -- and more troubling -- the author points out that President Rene Preval responded to the massive April riots against food prices by announcing agricultural investment as the key priority.

The President's announcement is cited to support his argument against focusing on factory job creation.

If this supports the argument, it is some rather flimsy evidence.

The rising food prices are mainly attributed to monopolies in the food import business and price gouging.

Many of Preval's close associates maintain food monopolies.

Perhaps Preval should have focused more on cleaning up the exploitation of the food import system.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere -- a fact that is noted in every Haiti-related news item. It was just devastated by four hurricanes.

But Bob Maguire, considered one of the top Haiti scholars, chooses to write about something that is largely irrelevant.

It's a fringe issue.

So little column space goes to covering Haiti - why does he waste it on this baseless and rather insignificant observation?

Joseph Jasmin, January 29 2010, 2:30 PM

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