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Apocalypso: Haiti's Chosen Poverty

| 11 Comments | 2 TrackBacks

Back on Sept. 22, 2004, I wrote a post about "Valuing Eco-Services". Celeste promptly turned around on the 29th and applied its concepts to the disastrous 2004 floods in Haiti.

Now the Miami Herald chimes in with Haiti: A ravaged land more bleak by Susannah A. Nesmith. When it comes to Haiti's deforestation and the economic/ environmental devastation it has wrought, there's a lot of blame to go around: NGOs, government, even Haitians themselves. Haiti's poverty isn't a conspiracy from abroad, it's the product of choices. If those choices don't start changing, neither will Haiti's fate.

Belmont Club, discussing similar issues in the Philippines, called it "Death By Insanity" - and the term is apropos. Dysfunctional cultures, corrupt governments, and (worst of all) a lack of understanding of economics or the importance of property rights add up to a toll of doom across the 3rd world. Haiti is just one example, albeit a very illustrative one. So let's take a closer look:

International NGOs - Gypsies in the Palace

Over to the Herald article:

"The reasons behind the failure of so many reforestation projects seem as numerous as Haiti's bald and barren hillsides.

Projects have been stymied by Haiti's crippling poverty, widespread corruption and recurrent periods of instability. Foreign development organizations brought their own problems to the table -- short-term goals that changed with the political winds in Washington or at the United Nations in New York and ill-conceived projects that tried to impose reforestation on wary peasants."

Well, yes, but that's not all. A strong undercurrent of Western guilt may be a fashionable pose in many discussions of 3rd World poverty, but Haiti illustrates a different truth: in many cases, 3rd world counries are poor because of the choices their own people and governments make. Choices about property, about governance, about culture.

Unless and until that lesson is understood and acted upon, attempts to address the issue of 3rd World poverty aren't going to accomplish much for their intended beneficiaries. Unless, of course, the "intended beneficiaries" are the governments, international bureaucrats, and "Toyota Taliban" NGOs who find ample pickings in the current international system.

Success Stories - You Can Shake the Hand of the Mango Man...

Fortunately, there are some Haitian success stories:

"Finnigan's group, the Organization for the Rehabilitation of the Environment, began in 1985 with a simple strategy -- to turn native mango trees into moneymakers by grafting them with the Madame Francique strain, prized by U.S. importers.

"Back in those days, a lot of reforestation projects were with forestry trees," Finnigan said. "But farmers want something that makes money."

That's what happens when NGOs hostile to basic economics and capitalism run development projects. Fortunately, Finnigan understood the lessons Crumb Trail worked to convey in Valuing Assets and Who Pays? One is that "...the insight that it is the value to others of an intact asset such as a forest that leads the owner to preserve it, and perhaps even improve it, is the key to understanding why "conservation is business". The other is that it is "unfair to expect a localised minority to pick up costs that ultimately benefit a dispersed majority."

In other words, make sure your conservation projects are tied to some form of real ownership and address the economic interests of the locals, or you'll fail. So, what did Finnigan do?

"He secured $6.8 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development and other organizations over the years and even branched out into grafted avocados and oranges and fast-growing bamboo -- anything that would be more valuable to the peasants than the charcoal they can make when they cut down a tree.

Finnigan estimates that the trees that his group helped plant earn $6.6 million every year, with much of that going to the hundreds of thousands of peasants who own them.

Nice return on aid.

"Mango grower Wilyo Pierre agrees. "The people around this area, they don't cut [mango] trees anymore," Pierre said. "Since people here found out about grafting, they see it's better than charcoal."

It certainly is, and Celeste's Haiti post included some interesting ideas along similar lines. Commenter Bart Hall, who has worked in Haiti as an agronomist, filled in some relevant historical background. Some of it was depressing:

"Much of the difference between the DR [JK: Dominican Republic] and Haiti is the result of different colonial masters and the attitudes they instilled. Haiti also for many years treated its forests as a common resource, whereas in the DR it was always held privately."

On the other hand, Bart also provided similar Haitian success stories from agronomists Pierre Leger (vetiver grass, lime) and Rodney Babe (vetiver grass, tilapia).

So far, just another happy success story or three, and a profound demonstration of the human importance of concepts like property rights and of justifying ecological aid in terms of local economic costs and benefits.

Remember those themes. We'll get back to them later.

Governance & Culture: Down to Rock Bottom Again

NGOs may share part of the blame for development failure, but Haitian culture and governance are far bigger contributors. Despite years and even decades of attempts to improve the situation, we're reaching a point where it's legitimate to wonder if any outside measures short of colonialism or international trusteeship will really help Haiti improve. Back to Nesmith's Miami Herald article:

"Bannister and Gerry Murray, a University of Florida anthropologist, worked on a project that gave peasants fast-growing trees that could be harvested for their wood and would grow back.

...."The problem is there's no government in Haiti," Murray said. "They can't even collect the garbage." Murray blamed much of the problem on corruption. "The only thing that the Haitian government has been hellbent on doing is getting as much money as it can in Swiss bank accounts."

And the picture gets darker still. Would even a clean government be able to fix the underlying problem of a country so heavily invested in superstition and widespread "cargo cult" style beliefs? For instance:

"The Rev. Wilner Donecia, the parish priest in the town of Gros Morne in the mountains above Gonaives, remembers one foreign aid group that paid peasants to plant trees and install erosion control walls on their own plots.

"If you pay [the peasant] to fix his own land, he's going to destroy everything once you leave so you'll come back again and pay him again," he said. In the end, the project did more harm than good, Donecia said, as other peasants denuded their land, hoping for pay to undo the damage."

There may be ways to sidestep this kind of mentality, but I can't think of many offhand. This goes beyond a culture of dependence, and right into outright self-sabotage.

As a result of these consistent failures, and ongoing chaos in Haiti's governance, reforestation programs are no longer being financed by large donors:

"The U.S. Agency for International Development is no longer financing reforestation in Haiti. The projects ended in 2001, after tainted elections led to an international aid embargo against the government of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

And the $1.3 billion aid plan cobbled together by foreign donors after Aristide was ousted last February allots only $8 million for environmental programs -- none of it for reforestation. The World Bank also is not financing any reforestation."

Even Finnigan's successful mango tree project is facing funding issues - and worse:

"A local irrigation system built by French colonists in 1759 and restored in the 1950s by the Haitian government is on the verge of collapse. The Ravine du Sud river that feeds the system is choked with boulders and silt washed down from bald mountains where peasants have yet to plant mangoes.

Last year, the boulders and silt choked off the natural flow of the river and diverted it through Camp Perrin. After several days, Finnigan and other farmers used heavy equipment to unblock the river."

A temporary fix is planned for the irrigation system, but Finnigan expects the whole system will be choked beyond repair within 5-6 years. That would leave his mangoes without water, and bankrupt the local economy.

Thus ending one of Haiti's few success stories.

Banana Republics

Why all the silt choking the irrigation system? The answer is revealing:

"One of the mountains above the river is a national park, where there is not supposed to be logging or farming. But about 2,000 families are farming there.

They're destroying the watershed for 600,000 people," Finnigan said. "It's suicidal."

Well, it's Haiti.

This is what happens when property rights are a joke, and so is enforcement. Next time some idiot tells you that property is exploitation, point to Haiti and talk about what the alternative looks like.

Belmont Club, who has seen a similar situation first hand in the Philippines, writes:

"The real answer to the denudation of the tropical forest consists of two things. Tree plantations, which can be grown on the flat and not on the original site of the natural forest and the granting of land rights to people who will farm timber. Tree plantations can be devoted to quick rotation species and their timber will economically destroy the incentive to "illegally log". Why go through all the trouble to annihilate the last dipterocarp up in the Sierra Madres when you can buy the timber by the roadside from a tree farmer? Alas, tree farming has been vehemently opposed by Friends of the Earth, the World Wildlife Foundation and Greenpeace as the "capitalist solution" and they have effectively killed it."

Lovely. What were we saying earlier about eco-imperalist NGOs who are part of the problem, rather than part of the solution? Back to Belmont Club, who describes the alternative "public" solution of graft, corruption, and exploitation:

"The way NPA illegal logging works is the concessionaire works a specified number of days for the benefit of the local thugsters as a form of 'revolutionary taxation'. The trees are felled, bucked, transported and sold in the usual way but the money goes to supporting the Commie bosses in the Netherlands. This replaced the former methods of cash payments prevalent when logging was in flower, before the forests declined. Then the concessionaire could no longer guarantee an amount certain to Jose Maria Sison and his cohorts in Europe because they could not guarantee the required amount of timber would be found. By switching to an "NPA logging days" arrangement, the Communists were forced to bear the risks of supply and price fluctuation. The same model is used to pay off the Philippine bureaucrats, army and any other group which has enough guns to swing the grift. As a result, everyone has their "logging days" until the whole calendar is filled. There is in addition a whole bunch of subindustries, such as the 'escort' of logging trucks and extortion at checkpoints, which are put up by anyone with enough firepower to make it stick. The result is an immense pressure on the forest resource which is mercilessly destroyed until the abused slopes generate floods such as have recently killed a thousand break out."

He then adds:

"It is also important to grant land rights to tree farmers. Half of the Philippines including all the uplands as defined by the criterion of slope belong, in perpetuity to the State. That's why all logging is done on concessions. No one can own forestland. This restriction was at the insistence of 'nationalists' who would insisted it would protect the 'patrimony of the nation' -- essentially by making them the Commons. If this sounds ridiculous, well it is.

Indeed. To admit otherwise would shatter illusions that many would prefer to leave undisturbed. Illusions that cost lives, by perpetuating failed approaches that cannot deliver ecological or economic sustainability. Not in the Philippines. Not in Haiti.

Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has opened a lot of eyes by discussing the link between property rights and development. Haiti, the Philippines, and many other banana republics and failing states show the flip side: the link between lack of these rights and devastation.

So, let's review. We have nearly complete failure to create and enforce an effective regime of property rights, exacerbated by:

  • International Aid agencies often coming in with "eco-imperialist" approaches that fail to take local economic needs or ecological timeframes into proper account.
  • A local culture of profound poverty, superstition, and cargo-cult dependence that is extremely difficult to undo, and essentially mandates ruin and poverty for those who follow it.
  • A government that is almost wholly corrupt and ineffective, often sabotaging the rare local successes and contributing to the local culture of dependence and despair.

This "Iron Triangle" may go a long way toward explaining why Haiti remains a hellhole even by comparison with the relatively-poor Dominican Republic. That country shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, but has a significantly better economy and environment (population 8.8M vs. 6.6M for Haiti, infant mortality of 3.32% vs. 7.43%, life expectancy of 67.6 vs. 51.7 years, per capita GDP of $6,000 vs. $1,600 for Haiti).

Handouts will not solve these problems. Neither will intermittent armed interventions aimed merely at propping up a failed state and a failure culture.

Conclusion - Changes in Latitudes, changes in Attitudes

Breaking Haiti's Iron Triangle remains a worthy goal, even as we doubt its realism. So what might work?

Bart Hall draws on personal experience in his assessment of Haiti, and offers a more optimistic view of reform:

"The weak link as I see it is lack of access to capital for female entrepreneurship. There is no clear title to property, and consequently a great deal of real wealth is tied up in "capital dormant" -- sleeping capital. Women are by far the better and more responsible entrepreneurs and it is there that the greatest leverage is probably to be found.

Vetiver grass, reforestation, fruit trees, and micro-loans for women. It won't solve everything or turn Haiti into Hong Kong in a generation, but in the circumstances it's not a bad place to start."

These approaches seem like a fine place to start, and the D-Lab project (charcoal from sugar cane waste) project that Celeste chronicled may be another step forward. The question is, will Haiti's failed government and failure culture offer a foundation for these opportunities, or devour them?

Most evidence seems to point to the latter conclusion. Even the "Oil-for-Food Swindle" U.N. has a better record than this crew. Which may explain why some people are even considering Haiti for status as a U.N. Protectorate.

That approach would fail, of course. Would a U.N. protectorate forcibly evict the Haitians living in the common forests, destroying the watershed for hundreds of thousands, and endangering hundreds more in the next floods? Or would it pretend the problem didn't exist and ask to manage future flood aid - thus ensuring an enlarged staff and facilities for the local Toyota Taliban? Would it institute and enforce a regime of property rights, thus embracing a concept that most of its members see as alien? Or would it ramp up international demands for aid entitlements to manage? Would it confront the gangs and other bad actors at the heart of the violence and insecurity? Or would it stand back and give them free reign as it has in many African nations? To ask these questions is to answer them.

If change is to come, it must come from two sources. One is the Haitians themselves. The other is from those of us in the West outside both the world's failed states and the U.N.'s unaccountable kleptocracy.

These changes won't always be comfortable, but they will be necessary if 3rd-world development really becomes a serious issue per the core vs. gap thesis at the heart of The Pentagon's New Map.

Success will require a nation-building imperative that is acknowledged by a key cadre on the Right. They can then produce development aid templates that owe more to free markets and local economies than handouts and loan-financed megaprojects, and see ecological services and stocks as an important underpinnings of economic flows. An important but related change will involve reclaiming the traditional conservative respect for the wisdom of local culture, while avoiding the classic "multiculturalism/diversity" trap and remaining clear on the items that cannot be compromised if success is to be achieved.

Only then will we see a centre-right with a distinctive and authentic voice in the development debate.

Success will also require a key liberal-left cadre that prefers results on the ground, as opposed to feel-good turnovers that amount to a new neo-colonialism, and only internationalize the kleptocracy and lack of accountability that lie at the heart of so many 3rd world failures. It requires a cadre that rejects politicism, and sees property as a necessary, emancipatory good within its government oriented framework. One that sees economics as a necessary corollary of ecology. An important but related change will involve a recognition that social changes take time, rather than looking for instant perfection or phony 'spokespeople' who will repeat their Marxist illusions back to them a la Rigoberta Menchu.

Only then will we see, at long last, a human and humane liberal-left that can hope to genuinely address the challenges of global poverty in the 21st century.

A tall order, indeed. Can we see our way forward toward a genuinely bipartisan discussion that checks abuses, offers continuous impetus for progress, and fosters a genuine debate? Can we offer an alternative path for many "gap state" basket cases that has much hope of helping them to "un-choose" poverty, if they truly wish it?

In an age where access to destructive technologies is being driven lower and lower down the food chain, can we afford not to?

"I've tried to build bridges
But they all fell down
I've taken to the air on wings of silver
But always hit the ground

Island I see you in all of my dreams
But I'm a man with no means to reach your distant shore..."
   -- Jimmy Buffett, "Island"

2 TrackBacks

Tracked: January 7, 2005 7:35 PM
Everything Is Broken from Crumb Trail
Excerpt: Joe Katzman has posted a somewhat encyclopedic assemblage of thoughts about the ecological and political problems in Haiti that have drawn commentary for some time, and knit them all together in a coherent thesis advocating focused intervention. Haiti...
Tracked: January 13, 2006 3:15 AM
Apocalypso: Haiti's Chosen Poverty from Winds of Change.NET
Excerpt: Haiti's poverty isn't a conspiracy from abroad, it's the product of choices that must change to avoid a future of deforestation, devastatation, and poverty. Their choices - and ours too.

11 Comments

What you are calling for is the colonization of Haiti and the imposition of our culture on them. "Items that cannot be compromised" are property rights, the rule of law, respect for the individual, accountable government. Ain't gonna happen. My perception is that the half the continent of Africa is in Haiti's position also. America's compassion, courage and confidence aren't great enough to fix them all or perhaps any.

Haiti's only advantage is its proximity to the US. Otherwise, we'd let it sink back to the stone, or at least bronze, age as is happening in Zimbabwe. If America's elites had any firm belief in the superiority of our culture, we'd fix it fast enough with missionaries and the Peace Corps.

But multiculturalism reigns supreme and elites here and in Europe believe we have insufficient claim of superiority over the Haitian culture to justify the steps necessary to really change the Haitians so that they could fix their own problems. It is no longer clear that even the Europeans will be able to maintain their level of development through the current century. Sad, but much of human history has been.

What a timely article, as some of us First Worlders look to donate resources in ways that will generate long-term improvements in the lives of tsunami survivors, rather than further entrenching the "Toyota Taliban" that JK has eloquently and damningly described elsewhere. (World Vision has been my choice so far.)

It is fitting that the first (er.. second, now [Ed.]) comment on this thread should mention Peruvian economist Hernan de Soto. He describes how certain underlying legal structures promote prosperity, while others guarantee that most citizens will live in poverty--and that their children will be poor as well.

de Soto founded the The Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD). Their website describes the project outline that they have helped implement in some Third World countries. Its objective is to empower poorer people by creating a legal framework to make ownership of assets formal, and economically meaningful. This essay provides background.

Maybe the day will come when Haitian society has citizens and leaders who are concerned about the plight of the poor, and pragmatic enough to dump the NGO/Left/T-Taliban dead-ends in favor of property rights for poor people. This post demonstrates why that day is still in the unseen future. Perhaps, as outsiders, the best first thing we can do is see the problem for what it is.

I think the title "Haiti's Chosen Poverty" is unfair, as it rests on a confusion of intents and results. Moreover, it lets hostile readers dismiss it as "just more 'blaming the victim'".

The disasters in Haiti and Phillipines are most certainly the consequences of choices made by the inhabitants (and others), so the poverty is caused by their choices. However, like the two victims of the Prisoner's Dilemma, the predictable result is not what they intended. They intended to do as well for themselves as possible (given the behavior of those around them) - but when everyone does that, everyone is worse off.

Richard,

There are a number of options available re: Haiti short of colonialism/trusteeship. Pressure on NGOs to synchronize their programs with local economics and ecological time frames, for example. Pressure to change Haiti's property right regime as a condition of aid. Etc.

The question is whether these options can go beyond making a local difference for a period of time, and actually begin making real progress and building some kind of stable foundation there. As noted above, I tend to doubt it.

We still ought to make those changes, and push for them. If we're going to try to help, the emphasis needs to be squarely on the "help" and not the "try".

As for trusteeship, my scepticism remains. U.N. trusteeship would simply replicate Haiti's current governance problems at an internaional level. While the USA could choose to declare Haiti a dependency/protectorate/what have you, and could conceivably do what's necessary, those measures would require very considerable political will to implement. I cannot see that will on the horizon, not least because the changes I've described above haven't yet taken root on the left or the right. Haiti is also a low-value prize in any geo-strategic sense, not as good place to be at any time but especially poor when the USA is locked in a war for survival.

As such, the most likely future scenario remains one of occasional international interventions, coupled with increased U.S. Coast Guard enforcement to turn back refugees on the open seas. Though if Haitians are going to suffer anyway, one could argue that feeding Haiti to the U.N. might be an instructive enough example to be worthwhile.

Laocoon,

if you go to Vegas and intend to get rich, and return after gambling away your rent and your entire line of credit, your poverty would be a choice. Your intentions are irrelevant, and (most important of all) your own responsibility is clear. This is not blaming the victim, this is treating you as an adult human being who makes choices that matter.

Loaning you more money without taking your gambling problem into account would be as insane as your decision to head to Vegas with the rent money in the first place. Unfortunately, far too much 3rd world aid is based on a similar insanity.

It's way past time to stop the insanity - and start confining support to the sane folks like Finnigan, Babe, Leger et. al.

Property and Poverty

a review of DeSoto's work was published here.

Property rights were essential to the rise of Egypt 3500 years ago.

The also probaly led to advances in geometry and measurement.

I discuss all that.

If I was going to transform Hati I'd start with schools.

I'd teach English and Spanish.

I'd teach DeSoto.

The first requirement for political change is to teach the people what to ask for.

We need to stop trying to impose a solution and instead teach a solution.

It wouldn't hurt to teach DeSoto to American lefties and the NGOs.

It is disheartening to have the answeer and to see such resistance to change.

OTOH I am having the same problem with my findings about addiction. We know the cause of at least 50 to 70% of the problem. PTSD. Yet so many people have so much invested in other beliefs that I think it will take 30 to 40 years for understanding to change policy.

I'm deeply sceptical of the prospects, and would be uninclined to invest resources.

The ultimate corrective in cases like this has been conquest and forced assimilation to a superior culture. Of course that is impossible and unethical.

Short of that, I'm reminded of a beautiful old book Tropical Gangsters. The short version of which is: I tried hard, we thought we were doing good at last, we got a loan, then they had another coup.

I think one of the critical factors in a negative cultural complex is religion. That's that "superstition" item and also the "cargo cult". Here one has to talk about the state of African Traditional Religions and of Voodoo. Unfortunately, it's not possible to do so.

I'm about as sympathetic to the possible success of African Traditional Religions as anyone could be - but try to get an honest discussion on this, what's gone wrong, why ATFs are associated with social failure, why they are getting their tails kicked by Christianity and Islam, and what would be needed for this branch of mankind's religious development to thrive again and contribute positively to thriving societies!?

It's not possible. You can only be branded racist, colonialist, the White enemy etcetera for trying. It's better to shut your mouth. Don't even say the first word, because it will be a waste of time, and it will hurt.

Prejudice is intense. Fantasies, including conspiracy theories to rank with the worst products of the loony left, are ubiquitous. "Racism" and "colonialism" excuse everything. And people seem to be most hostile where they are most sure they will get away with it, that is with people who are friendly and trying to be helpful.

It's a self-sabotaging mentality. The main penalty is paid by those who subscribe to it.

It also penalises friendly people so much that it's not worth your while to deal with it. It's better not to include people who think like that in your circle of concern. I think that is the bottom line.

After the event of Peak Oil and the terminal world decreases in crude oil and natural gas start to bite; how quickly does one think that the vast majority of Haitians will starve?

Dear Friends,

Haiti needs our help desperately. The Reforest Haiti conference will be held in February 2007 to tackle the double problem of reforestation and renewable energy. I would like to invite your organization to participate.

We are all needed if Haiit is to become green again.

Yours sincerely,

Carol Cross, PhD

ReforestHaiti - A Conference For Reforestation and Environmental Regeneration of Haiti

Please forgive cross posting.. Please forward to your colleagues

ReforestHaiti, an International Conference on Reforestation and Environmental Regeneration of Haiti will be held February 14, 15, 16, & 17, 2007 in Siguatepeque, Honduras. The conference is being sponsored by the Leucaena Production Society, a Division of ISAI, Inc. and CODET, S de R L., a Honduran consulting firm. The host institutions will be ESNACIFOR, Forestry College of Honduras, Siguatepeque, Honduras and SAG, La Esperanza, Honduras. The objectives of conference is the reforestation and development of community capacitation for environmental regeneration of Haiti.

Haiti has dropped from 60 percent forest cover to less than 1 percent. Haiti has become an environmental catastrophe and a human catastrophe. And the recent hurricane has only exacerbated an already hopeless situation. With the forest cover gone, floods ravage the country at each rainfall. Topsoil washes into the sea. And since the only hope of Haitians for feeding their families is the soil and small scale farming, it is a terrible humanitarian disaster. Because the political situation is so desperate as well, it is necessary to bring in support from outside. But the support must come in a fashion and from a country that does not destroy the fragile self esteem of Haiti.

The conference is being held in Honduras. Haiti is the poorest nation in Latin America. Honduras is the second poorest country in Latin America. But Honduras has strong institutions and organizations protecting its forests and has many groups and communities actively involved in community forestry. Because Honduras has similar climates and similar cultures, it seems that a conference in Honduras could bring not only an international perspective but also a Latin American perspective on the problem. Not only will the international community be invited to participate, include donors, etc. but Latin American forestry professionals, organizations and farmers will be invited.

This reforestation conference will involve itself not only with reforestation of Haiti but with the replacement of the fuelwood cutting that led to the problem in the first place. In addition to planting community forests of fast growing nitrogen fixing trees, the conference will look at grassroots energy generation through bioenergy, biomass energy and other renewable energy sources. And finally the concept of a Community Rural Energy Center will be looked at.

Who Can Profit from ReforestHaiti?

This conference is designed to offer profitable opportunities to consultants, nursery suppliers, tree planters, community groups, equipment suppliers, machinery suppliers, a tree planting supplies, community developers, speakers, trainers, workshops developers, briquetting equipment, gasification equipment, biodiesel processing equipment, ethanol process plants, tree harvesting equipment, non profit organizations, churches, government agencies, universities, schools and other groups. Some groups and individuals will want to profit monetarily by gaining contracts, making contacts, supplying equipment, machinery and or services. Other groups will see their profit in terms of human development such as empowering communities, assisting individuals and groups in development. Other will want to get involved because of their desire to replant the country and regenerate the environment. The reforestation and environmental regeneration of Haiti will provide multiple opportunities.
One-day registration is available on February 15, 2007.

The registration fee is 300 US$ (two-day meeting, and proceedings cost, welcome and farewell party etc.). Accommodations and meal fee (one person & night) is 100US$. One day Excursion US$65. Post conference 5 day excursion fee is US$ 500 (transportation, accommodation, meals and all related social activities during the five-day field excursion for each person)

Some of the topics to be covered include fast growing nitrogen fixing trees, community forestry, building community and community level organizations, generating energy through renewable means, preventing further deforestation by providing fuelwood plantations, land reclamation methods, Social Tourism or tree planting volunteering, training in community forestry, case studies of successful community forestry projects, and Honduran community forestry success stories.

More Information is found at

http://www.satglobal.com/cfpap2.htm
http://www.satglobal.com/Reforest_Haiti.htm

Dr. Ramon Dario Argueta, President
CODET, S de R L
Farmacia Galenica, Barrio El Morera, Frente Bazar Reyna
La Esperanza, Intibuca, Honduras
Telephone 011- 504-783-0054 or 011- 504 - 398 -9554

Dr. Carol Cross, International Vice President, Telephone 011-504-783-0421
Email: exportfacs@aol.com

There's been a lot of great comments about Haiti's state of affairs. And while most of the critiques are fair I would add something that's not been acknowledged and that is the role of western states in supporting terrible regimes (from Haiti, to Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, etc..) for their interests. Haiti first and foremost does not need more foreign government intrusions to substitute their own misguided conceptions of the problem for local knowledge. The US and France have supported a small elite who've squeezed every ounce of blood and sweat from the poor minority. And while I am a fan of capitalism, I believe the whole thing falls apart when some not only get more than their share but they also stand in the way of others getting any. If you go to Haiti you will observe these elites driving 60k Benz but there are no roads and in front of their businesses are piles of garbage and they don't care. I could go on about these issues but I will end w. the concepts of civism and governance. Both are probably overused in development literrature but I can promise you that they don't make the list in any of Haiti's institutions or civil sociey.

Johnny

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