Originally: Letter to Ways and Means Committee
As the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade holds a hearing tomorrow on the Haitian Economic Recovery Opportunity Act, I would appeal to you to weigh in to make its passage a reality.
After the most recent devastation wrought on Haiti by Hurricane Jeanne, the HERO Act becomes that much more essential to help in the long-term recovery of a nation that is at the bottom of the heap in this hemisphere in terms of poverty.
The HERO Act will make possible 100,000 to 150,000 jobs over the next two years in Haiti where unemployment is over 50% of the workforce. Thus, the passage of the Act would go a long way to alleviate the problem of would-be economic refugees who desperately try to make it to Florida in search of a better life.
Obviously, the passage of the HERO Act will also benefit the United States that won?t need to spend valuable resources in its interdiction of boat people and in the incarceration of those who manage to get through the Coast Guard net. It will also mean less foreign aid going out from the United States to Haiti.
Above all, by making it possible for Haitians to stay in their country to work, you would be fulfilling the spirit of an old proverb which states: ?Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.?
Haiti appreciates your concern and solidarity with its unfortunate masses. Thank you.
Raymond A. Joseph
Chief of Mission