To my colleague Haitian Americans

Post Reply
Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:03 pm


Although I really would like to help, I have a problem. I don't think the Haitian masses are going to benefit from this Hero Act. With what government: Gro-Jera? When I know for sure he is not working for the masses' benefit. I don't know about his salary, but his nephew is doing too well (millions/month).
If one really wants to help the people of Haiti... a lot of them are dying for voting and electing their President democratically... if one really needs to help, he can bring back the democratically elected President.

Now is not the time to solicit our help while we are against the "De Facto President" selected by another De Facto from the US.

We made clear:" We do not want this government in Haiti. We do not want the Killing and Arrestations of Aristide's supporters. And most of all: Personally, I do not want that Hero Act Presently.

First thing first, sweatshops while there is no rule of law???
wonder about that HERO ACT, now???

L'Union fait la Force.



Post by T-dodo » Wed Nov 24, 2004 7:33 am


Before we go making decision whether we can help or not, I think Michel owes us the courtesy of treating us like intelligent people. By that I mean, he should provide the details of the bill, not the spin on it. You know, the devil is always in the details.

On my part, if the Black Caucus is against the bill, that is not a good sign. In the past, they always tried to align themselves with the welfare of the majority of the Haitian people against the Jesse Helms of the Congress who clearly was acting against the interests of the Haitian people.

Michel, I am afraid by saying that it will create 15,000 jobs in Haiti is not even near enough an explanation of what it is you are asking us to support. Before one can support something, one has to understand what it is. Like Leonel, we are all ready to help our mother/biological country in whichever way we can. In that case, if there is mutual interest in your efforts we woul
d gladly participate. But, please trust us to be able to appreciate the reasons for the effort. So, provide us with all the details of the bill, then we can talk about perhaps whether we should support the Black Caucus effort or educate them on the bill in order to support. We need the following explanations:

1. Who are the Congress people sponsoring the bill?
2. Who in Haiti or the US are behind the bill?
3. Does the bill provide money and how much?
4. Does it provide non-monetary assistance?
5. What are the conditions for providing the money?
6. Is it a loan or a grant or a combination?
7. If it is a loan, what are the terms?
8. What sector of the economy that will benefit and how?
9. Are there particular individual people in Haiti who will tend to benefit from the passage of the bill?

Michel, these are to just give you an idea what normally is needed when you are asking people for help. If you want to refer to a website to read the bill, that is fine. But, you should a
t least provide 3 to 4 paragraphs summarizing the bill for us. Please summarize, but no spin.

By the way, what is Haitian Americans Today? Who are behind the organization? What is its purpose?


User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 2152
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:03 pm

Post by admin » Wed Nov 24, 2004 8:52 am

Thank you, Jean-Marie, for formulating a lot of my thoughts on the topic. For the past two months, I have received in my inbox dozens of letters suggesting that I support the HERO Act. It's like the PATRIOTIC or UNPATRIOTIC thing to do. The word SPIN is the underlying spirit of those letters from the first sentence to the last. The mechanisms by which the purported benefits of the bill will be derived are never explained. It's like: "You either intuitively understand the economics behind this bill, or leave the thinking to us. Of course, you should TRUST US, because after all, look, we have achieved notoriety in Haitian circles, by being business savvy and becoming very rich. Therefore, we know what's best for the country and for all Haitians."

Is the HERO Act the best thing since sliced bread? Could we have the pros and the cons argued rationally and dispassionately, please, before we ever proceed i
n a frantic "VOYE MONTE" for a bill, whose backers so far appear, as far as I can tell, not to include any workers union, any long-term Haitian rights advocate, any number of career economists or sociologists, but instead industrialists and high-powered investors, whose good intentions I do not intend to call into account here, but whose day-to-day concerns likely do not coincide with those entertained around the dinner table by average Haitian men and women.

As Jean-Marie said so well, guys, do not insult our intelligence. Granted, some of us may not understand finance and economics as well as you do. However, keep in mind that we do have insights that the elites in Haiti clearly and demonstrably lack as well. First we need to dialogue, be convinced of the merits, then we can participate together in "voye monte". Not the other way around.


Post by T-dodo » Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:47 pm


I certainly appreciate your prompt response to this. I am one to believe that providing work is the way out of misery for the haitian people. I am also a strong supporter of starting with the assembly factories in Haiti, since it is a quick way to provide jobs in Haiti for those who need it the most. While I support decent working conditions for Haitian workers, I was against the movement and the protests that drove Disney and Nike to China and Mexico. Because of those protests and other things those former Disney and Nike factory workers lost their jobs and probably are still unemployed. We got to have our priorities right!

Michel, is there a website that you can give us where we can read the whole bill? Also, do you know what are the reasons given by the Black Caucus for stalling the bill?



Post by T-dodo » Fri Dec 10, 2004 9:50 pm

I went and read the act. Here it is:

[quote]108th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 489

To expand certain preferential trade treatment for Haiti.


February 27, 2003

Mr. DEWINE (for himself, Mr. GRAHAM of Florida, Mr. LUGAR, Mr. DURBIN, Mr. CHAFEE, and Mr. NELSON of Florida) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance


To expand certain preferential trade treatment for Haiti.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Haiti Economic Recovery Opportunity Act of 2003'.


(a) IN GENERAL- The Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (19 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 213 the
following new section:


`(a) IN GENERAL- In addition to any other preferential treatment under this Act, in each 12-month period beginning on October 1, 2003, apparel articles described in subsection (b) that are imported directly into the customs territory of the United States from Haiti shall enter the United States free of duty, subject to the limitations described in subsections (b) and (c), if Haiti has satisfied the requirements set forth in subsection (d).

`(b) APPAREL ARTICLES DESCRIBED- Apparel articles described in this subsection are apparel articles that are wholly assembled or knit-to-shape in Haiti exclusively from any combination of fabrics, fabric components, components knit-to-shape, and yarns formed in one or more of the following countries:

`(1) The United States.

`(2) Any country that, on January 1, 2003, is party to a free trade agreement with the United States.

`(3) Any country that enters into a free trade agreement with the United States subject to the provisions of title XXI of the Trade Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-210).

`(4) Any country designated as a beneficiary country under--

`(A) section 213(b)(5)(B) of this Act;

`(B) section 506A(a)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2466a(a)(1)); or

`(C) section 204(b)(6)(B) of the Andean Trade Preference Act (19 U.S.C. 3203(b)(6)(B)).

`(5) Any country, if the fabrics or yarns are designated as not being commercially available in the United States for the purposes of the NAFTA (Annex 401), section 213(b)(2)(A)(v) of this Act, section 112(b)(5) of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or section 204(b)(3)(B)(i)(III) or (ii) of the Andean Trade Preference Act.

`(c) PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT- The preferential treatment described in subsection (a), shall be extended--

1) during the 12-month period beginning on October 1, 2003, to a quantity of apparel articles that is equal to 1.5 percent of the aggregate square meter equivalents of all apparel articles imported into the United States during the 12-month period beginning October 1, 2001; and

`(2) during the 12-month period beginning on October 1 of each succeeding year, to a quantity of apparel articles that is equal to the product of--

`(A) the percentage applicable during the previous 12-month period plus 0.5 percent (but not over 3.5 percent); and

`(B) the aggregate square meter equivalents of all apparel articles imported into the United States during the 12-month period that ends on September 30 of that year.

`(d) ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS- Haiti shall be eligible for preferential treatment under this section if the President determines and certifies to Congress that Haiti--

`(1) has established, or is making conti
nual progress toward establishing--

`(A) a market-based economy that protects private property rights, incorporates an open rules-based trading system, and minimizes government interference in the economy through measures such as price controls, subsidies, and government ownership of economic assets;

`(B) the rule of law, political pluralism, and the right to due process, a fair trial, and equal protection under the law;

`(C) the elimination of barriers to United States trade and investment, including by--

`(i) the provision of national treatment and measures to create an environment conducive to domestic and foreign investment;

`(ii) the protection of intellectual property; and

`(iii) the resolution of bilateral trade and investment disputes;

`(D) economic policies to reduce poverty, increase the availability of
health care and educational opportunities, expand physical infrastructure, promote the development of private enterprise, and encourage the formation of capital markets through microcredit or other programs;

`(E) a system to combat corruption and bribery, such as signing and implementing the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions; and

`(F) protection of internationally recognized worker rights, including the right of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, a prohibition on the use of any form of forced or compulsory labor, a minimum age for the employment of children, and acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health;

`(2) does not engage in activities that undermine United States national security or foreign policy interests; and

`(3) does not engage in gross violations of
internationally recognized human rights or provide support for acts of international terrorism and cooperates in international efforts to eliminate human rights violations and terrorist activities.'.


(1) IN GENERAL- The amendment made by subsection (a) applies with respect to goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after October 1, 2003.

(2) RETROACTIVE APPLICATION TO CERTAIN ENTRIES- Notwithstanding section 514 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1514) or any other provision of law, upon proper request filed with the Customs Service before the 90th day after the date of the enactment of this Act, any entry or withdrawal from warehouse for consumption, of any goods described in the amendment made by subsection (a)--

(A) that was made on or after October 1, 2003, and before the date of the enactment of this Act, and

(B) with respect to which there would have
been no duty if the amendment made by subsection (a) applied to such entry or withdrawal,

shall be liquidated or reliquidated as though such amendment applied to such entry or withdrawal.


On the surface, the bill authorizes the import of apparel articles from Haiti to the US free of duty. I assume they wil represent apparel articles assembled in factories in Haiti. I, for one, am a supporter of creating jobs in Haiti, that can be done fast without a long training period nor requiring highly skilled workers. The needs in haiti are great, and feeding the people to me is the first priority. Because of that, for now, I believe factory jobs are greatly needed there. However, the bill has some strings attached to it, such as: free market, democracy, friend or satellite of the US, etc. Normally, these are obstacles that, in my opinion, can be overcome. There is also a limit on the amount that can be exported from Haiti: up to 3.5% of the import of that type
of goods in the US per year, over about four years.

It does not seem that horrible. I am curious as to why the BlacK Caucus opposed it. Unfortunately, Michel, I don't know any liberal website that can educate me on this. But, in the past, the Black Causus has always been a friend of the poors in Haiti. If they oppose it, that may mean there is something wrong that I missed. I am puzzled over this.


Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Sat Dec 11, 2004 1:20 am

I'm gonna try to be very short as usual.

"Chat ki boule nan dlo cho, pè menm dlo frèt"

I have to read this thread once more. But, Haiti would need a (Democratic) Government in order to receive this preferential treatment?

Now, we all know that, this Democratic Government will be subject to the USA? How the US defines Democracy: Having Gwo Jera, Chalabi, or Kazai type democracy. I don't know about the latters, but Gwo Jera, No thanks! We need our autonomy, not the US to decide our Friends or Enemies (Cuba, for instance).

Going to JM, you are right on target: Let's hear from our Real Friend, the Black Caucus...

Remember, Textiles for the people? How about, Universal Free Health Care. Not the one that the USA has. Textile Factories triggered a lot of Respiratory diseases???

I don't want to sound too negative about it. One thing for sure: "What's in it for the US? Help from the US Republicans?

t Help is not with Compassion, Be very Afraid!

L'Union Fait la Force


Post by T-dodo » Sat Dec 11, 2004 10:23 am


I understand your concerns, and I have the same concerns too. But, if we want to fix the problems in Haiti we have to understand them, be realistic about them, before we can choose the solutions. That means we have to start fom the beginning.

The biggest problem for the majority of Haitians today is securing the basic survival needs. They need to be able to eat daily without having to worry where they are going to find another meal tomorrow. While on the short term we would have to subsidize a food program or something of that sort, in the long run it is by providing jobs so that it would be secured for them daily.

But if we scare away the sources of jobs, like we did with Disney, Nike and Kathy Lee, they will continue in the abject poverty and misery and die from hunger and also minor epidemies and natural disasters like they are doing now. You and I eat daily and must diet because we have too much food available to
us. As a child, when I was not experiencing some of these hunger problems myself, I saw others experiencing them. This is no joke. It is a crime when Haitian leaders, political and commercial, in Port-au-Prince are politicking oblivious to the plight of the majority of the Haitian people. We have to get our priorities right. You don't need to be very smart to be able to do something about this in Haiti. The needs are such that any small real effort will make a difference. When one Haitian leader will stop worrying about putting his name in Haitian books and decide to attack this problem, you will find, I predict, that it did not take much to really make a difference in Haiti.

So, Leonel, I am ready to compromise with anyone who wants to get their political way, as long as they allow me to feed my people. It is the smart thing to do. What good does it do to stop them when your people are suffering like that? In the end they will get their way, anyway, because the suffering will put us on our knees begg
ing them to put us out of our misery. Our real choice is to get the best deal we can get. But, we don't have a choice not to deal.

The point I am trying to make is that the way the situation is in Haiti, we cannot be too choosy. We will have to make some sacrifices to feed our people. Those sacrifices mean that we will have to make compromises to provide a decent life to the Haitian people. The health care insurance is important, but they will have to eat first. After all, adequate nutrition will reduce the health problems as well. The good working conditions are important. But they will have to eat first. Vanquishing that greedy and heartless Republican ideology is important, but I have to feed my people first and take them out of that abject poverty and misery. The Haitian elite will make money out of it. That's fine by me as long as they feed my people. The fight has to be won incrementally. Once you secure food for them, then you go to the next steps: health, shelter, education, better working
conditions, freedom of choices, etc. You can do a little bit of everything at the same time, but you don't have a choice between one versus the other.

The priorities of the country are clear. We don't have a choice if we are smart enough to understand that we depend on others to make a difference in our country. If that means we have to accept some of their conditions, let's work to secure the best conditions we can get. We have no other choices. We have tried to go it alone in the past, and we failed because we don't have the resources for self sustainability, and we live in a global world of interdependence. The bottom line is that we have to be competitive like The Bahamas are, like the Dominican Republic is, like Barbados is, like China is, like Mexico is, just to name a few. They are not rich but their people suffer less than ours. They are eating our lunches. They have taken jobs previously held by our people, because we got our priorities wrong. The result is that lots of our people are dyi
ng while theirs are prospering. It's time we act smarter.



HERO Faltered in Senate, according to The Washington Post

Post by T-dodo » Wed Dec 15, 2004 8:37 am

Failing Haiti
The Washington Post
Saturday, December 11, 2004

ROGER F. NORIEGA, the assistant secretary of state with responsibility for the Caribbean region, takes umbrage at suggestions that the United States has been quicker to send troops into Haiti than to alleviate its appalling poverty. "Nothing could be further from the truth," Mr. Noriega huffed last month in a letter to the St. Petersburg Times. Mr. Noriega goes on to describe the lavish infusions of U.S. aid to Haiti over the past decade -- most of it before the Bush administration took office. He does not mention the Haitian Economic Recovery Opportunity Act, known as HERO, a trade bill that could have provided tens of thousands of jobs in the country's textile sector. Perhaps that's bec
ause his administration let the bill die quietly in Congress without lifting a finger to help.

In Haiti, the hemisphere's poorest nation, there are precious few economic openings that hold the promise of relatively quick and meaningful improvements in people's lives. The struggling textile industry is one of them. HERO would have provided some duty-free access to U.S. markets for low-priced T-shirts, shorts and sweatshirts assembled in Haiti using foreign fabric. Allowing cheap fabric imported from anywhere was a heady inducement for investors not otherwise eager to do business given Haiti's poverty and political chaos; without it, apparel makers would take their business elsewhere, probably to Asia. And a small trade preference in U.S. markets would go a long way: Duty-free access to 3 percent of the U.S. market would support 100,000 jobs in Haiti, according to some estimates.

Under pressure from textile-producing Southern states and their representatives in Congress, the bill was watered do
wn in the House. But even that modest helping hand for Haiti was too much for two Southern Republicans, Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina and Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who blocked a vote in the Senate, although as past president of the American Red Cross, Mrs. Dole might have been expected to grasp a thing or two about jobs and relief for desperately needy people.

Faced with the expiration of a quota system for textile imports at the end of this year, many countries are requesting preferential access to U.S. markets. But Haiti is in a category of its own. Its destitution is staggering. The United States has sent troops there twice in the past decade, each time pledging a renewed commitment to help lift Haiti's sputtering economy. And Haiti's crises have a way of washing up on U.S. shores. Yet when presented with an opportunity to help create jobs and lift living standards in Haiti, the Bush administration took a powder.

The Washington Post
t © 2004 The Washington Post Company


Post by T-dodo » Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:48 pm

[quote]This bill is locked up in part by the Democrats of the House, specially the Black Caucus Members who some of them are playing politics with the legislation. It could be because of the Aristide issue, and/or G.W. Bush reelection.[/quote]


I posted the previous Washington Post editorial in response to what you wrote when you first published this post. Remember, I several times inquired about the beef the Black Caucus had with this bill preventing it from becoming law. Unfortunately, I could not find a source to even explain their reason for opposing the bill, other than your guess they are playing politics because of the Aristide issue.

The Washington Post seems to contradict the assertions in your original post. That is, the Republicans in the Senate, particularly Elizabeth Dole and Jeff Sessions, due to protectionism of textile jobs in the South prevented the bill from becomin
g law. Are they wrong, including their estimate of 100,000 jobs versus your 15,000? Mind you, your estimate is more conservative. Who between the two of you is right, and from an information purpose, who is that enemy of Haiti who stopped that bill?


Post Reply