Tuesday, March 12, 1996

Haiti-Economy: Getting Priorities Right

By: Alejandro Kirk - Inter Press Service

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Mar 12, 1996 (IPS) -- The big problem with being prime minister of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere is that just about everything requires urgent, top priority, must-do-now, can't-wait, top-of-the-list attention.
     And this consideration must be given to most of the population. For the poor-rich equation in Haiti is 80-20. There's nothing in between. The Caribbean nation has virtually no middle class: the 20 percent rich are of the rotten-rich variety, the 80 percent poor tend to be mostly dirt-poor.  
     No wonder Rony Smarth is in such a great hurry.
     Haiti's 55-year-old prime minister even manages to find solace in the paradoxes that forever torment this country of six million people which covers 27,750 square kilometres of Hispaniola, the sprawling island it shares with the Dominican Republic.

Terror Across the Border

By: Alejandro Kirk - Inter Press Service

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Mar 12, 1996 (IPS) -- No one, not even the prime minister, dares predict the fate of the democratic process in Haiti after U.N forces leave later this year.

Along the border with the Dominican Republic, thousands of Tontons Macoute and former soldiers from the dissolved army wait for the six month extension to the mandate of the forces to expire, in the middle of the year.

Well-heeled and ambitious, they plot and wait, plot and wait, for when the moment is right.

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