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#4581: The Restavecs problem: My two cents (fwd)


The problem of Restavecs in Haiti is more complex than we can envision, 
looking at it from a north american perspective. Haiti is a country where it 
is traddition still maintained, particularly in rural areas to have as many 
children as you can, with the hope that some of them will survive, 
considering the high infant mortality. As a result, many mostly rural 
families end up with more children than their meager means allow them to 
raise. In addition, the rural masses always kept way out off the national 
circle and too far to the eating table (hence the Lavalas motto of "bringing 
everybody to the table). Their children are deprived of education that is 
provided to city children,  even if they learn a trade, most of the time it 
won't be of use unless they move and settle to neighboring towns.The land 
that they own if any, is barely enough or is not sufficiently productive to 
guarantee a future for these children. The restavec solution was 
traditionally like a pact borne out of necessity between the better off 
families of the cities and the poor ones of the country, sort of a people 
solution to a national problem. The children would move to live with a family 
in the city and, in exchange for house chores would be provided with what 
their families could not provide them. Greed, lack of humanism and often 
cruelty, coupled with a heavy heritage of exploitve colonialism changed what 
could have been a system of people cooperation for the good of the children 
to one where abuses are too common. I don't doubt either that in some cases 
that are not being heralded, it does work. Let us not rush to judgement and 
throw the baby out with the bathwater. Again, it is very appropriate to shine 
a light on the subject, but let's not pretend that with our standards we know 
better and can impose ready made lawbook solutions. Legislation is certainly 
in order, but this calls first for a national debate with all sectors