Haitians Know What They Want

bill clinton
BioTek’s Regine Simon Barjon with President Bill Clinton at the Darbonne Sugar Mill near Leogane, Haiti on Aug. 6th, 2010 (courtesy Clinton TwitterPic and Regine Barjon)

Sassine even went so far as to suggest, in response to a question by Senator Cardin, that Cholera and HIV/AIDS were under control.

It should be mentioned that in his written testimony, Gary Shaye of Save the Children, addressed the cholera epidemic and the urgent need for sanitation infrastructure, the only panelist to do so.

In an incredible disconnect, the “live” responses never addressed the real, immediate and urgent needs of the Haitian population. This omission was glaring until Barjon once again stepped into the conversation.

Appearing somewhat incensed. Barjon fired back that Bernadel’s response was a way of “looking for other people to come and fix Haiti’s problems.” She added, “Illiteracy does not mean stupidity. The people of Haiti know what they want. This is an agricultural country, with two thirds of the people working in agriculture.” The people of Haiti want and need local food security so they are “not subject to global price fluctuations.”

Perhaps the best moment of the hearing came when Senator Cardin asked Barjon how women are being empowered in the Agricultural sector, digressing to a line from his press release, demanding equality in land tenure.

georgianne nienaberSearching for common ground, Barjon suggested that Cardin was correct that women in Haitian society endure the same challenges that women in the US face. At the same time Baron said “Look at me. I’m a girl, I meet with the men in the fields, I’m their boss, they see me there.”

If Cardin wanted to empower women in agriculture, Barjon suggested that he help repeal the Bumper’s Amendment, a law prevents U.S. government aid from being spent on programs that could benefit crops that might compete with American exports on the global market.

Georgianne Nienaber

Published by the LA Progressive on June 27, 2011
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About Georgianne Nienaber

Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota, New Orleans and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, The Ugandan Independent, Rwanda's New Times, India's TerraGreen, COA News, ZNET, OpEdNews, Glide Magazine, The Journal of the International Primate Protection League, Africa Front, The United Nations Publication, A Civil Society Observer, Bitch Magazine, and Zimbabwe's The Daily Mirror. Her fiction exposé of insurance fraud in the horse industry, Horse Sense, was re-released in early 2006. Gorilla Dreams: The Legacy of Dian Fossey was also released in 2006. She spent much of 2007-2009 doing research in South Africa, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Georgianne was in DRC as a MONUC-accredited journalist, and has been working in Southern Louisiana investigating hurricane reconstruction and getting to know the people there since late 2007. She is a member of the Memphis Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Georgianne is currently developing a short story collection set in Louisiana, and is continuing "to explore the magic of the Deep South."