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7626: president for a day (fwd)
In reply to the post challenging us for ideas of what we might do if we were
president of Haiti, I thought I'd be courageous and add my two cent's worth:
If I were president for a day (assuming I had executive power which has been
pointed out on another post).
I would do a major shake-down of government finances and post the numbers
openly in the national press (in Creole). And ever after, every dollar of
foreign aid would have to be accounted for and posted openly in the press at
least each 6 months.
I'd order a study of the sustainability of the various humanitarian aid
efforts to Haiti and weed out the types of aid that do more harm than good
(importing rice that crashes the market for rice farmers in the Artibonite,
for example); and I would block them.
I'd setup a short term but thorough and pertinent course on Haiti and make
it available at Haitian Embassy's and their websites around the world. I'd
make it a requirement for any non-Haitian (no exceptions) to present a
course completion certificate before being allowed to enter the country.
This course would include a study of basic economics in Haiti including the
short and long term effects of various types foreign aid and charities, the
historical importance of Vodou in Haitian culture, short history of
colonialism, slave trade, and revolution in Haiti, basic ideas about
ethnocentrism and the value of cultural variance, and at least enough Creole
to be able to ask for directions on the street and show some respect for the
citizens of your host country. There would be no grandfather clause to this
requirement and so it would also be offered in Haiti for all mission
workers, US State Department employees, NGO workers, voluteers; ANY
non-Haitian citizen visiting or residing in Haiti, from college students to
the US president.
And I'd finance Jean Ramon's center for the advancement of the arts in
Haiti. No strings attached.
Just a couple of ideas...