The Latin American Condition

Loren

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There has never been a more hopeful time for Latin America as a whole to increase the standard of living, economic security and opportunity for the citizens of the Western Hemisphere. At the same time, our neighbors face perilous challenges from within that threaten to macerate the economies of certain Latin American Countries as well as jeopardize the fragile democracies that are in many places just now taking hold.
So what is this multi-headed hydra that threatens The Americas?

Failed Keynesian politically expedient economic policies, or "We'll spend our way out of debt!"...Example, The Dominican Republic has approved US$4.164 Billion in new debt since August 2000 with another US$800 Million being considered (Diario Libre, 31 July) This while the Dominican GDP is slightly more than $20 Billion (Interamerican Development Bank 2000 numbers) The entire government budget for 2002 approaches US$3.5 Billion (Budget Director Luis Ernesto Perez Cuevas as quoted in El Siglo) So the Dominican Government in the past 2 years has approved more debt than the entire government's annual budget. The bloated government payroll in the past 2 years has swelled 42,000 employees, at an additional cost of approx. US$229 million a year to taxpayers. Central Bank statistics show at the end of 2000 there were 360,865 public employees in this country of less than 9 million. Compare this with only 766,400 public sector employees in Canada, a country of 31 Million (source: Statistics Canada)

Nepotism... Example: On November 1, 2000 Miami based Noticias Univision presented outgoing Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Aleman with a researched list of 31 family members appointed to government posts within the presidential administration, including Aleman?s wife. ?I don?t know those people.? Was his reply.

Corruption...Example: Rogelio Montemayor, former director of Mexican oil monopoly PEMEX (Petroleos Mexico) surrendered to the authorities in the U.S. (Where he had been hiding) to face Mexican governmental charges of funneling over $115 Million dollars from PEMEX through the oil worker?s union into his party, the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucion?l) in a desperate and unsuccessful attempt to continue their 71 years in power. Though this is perhaps the most high-profile case, it is common knowledge that this Mexican system of official corruption, or ?Dedazo? is an endemic that places a significant drag on Mexico?s growth.

Bumbling U.S. Foreign Policy...Example: The failure of U.S. Intelligence to know exactly what was going on during the Venezuelan attempted coup d'etat caused our government to essentially put their foot in their mouth by responding prematurely, thus giving Chavez the opportunity to play the imperialist bogeyman card upon his return to authority. As reported in the WSJ, U.S. Ambassador Manuel Rocha gave Bolivian leftist presidential candidate Evo Morales the boost he needed simply by denouncing him publicly. Seen as the U.S. inappropriately meddling in Bolivian Affairs, Morales gained a sympathy vote from many voters who are more offended by U.S. interventionism than by discredited leftist ideologies. In a historic sense, U.S. support of Pinochet, Somoza, Trujillo, Batista, Noriega and friends while turning a blind eye towards their evil excesses has cost quite a few Latin American lives and there are many people who still harbor resentment over this. More importantly, we have gotten ourselves into some messes over this previous policy; Panam? and Cuba come to mind. Castro for example, could have easily been avoided by a more proactive foreign policy in Cuba that supported not Batista, but Capitalism, liberty and democracy. Batista was an enemy of these and so is his successor, Fidel Castro.

Immobility of wealth and barriers to capitalism...Example: In Ohio, one can generally incorporate a business with the state and purchase a vendor?s license with the county, all in the same day, for less than a day?s wages and without the assistance of an attorney. Hernando De Soto in his book ?The Mystery of Capitalism? documents the process of opening a small sewing shop in Peru (2 sewing machines) as taking 289 days to secure the permits needed, and US$1,231 in registration costs, 31X the monthly Peruvian minimum wage. DeSoto speaks of the low percentage of Latin Americans actually holding valid legal title to the homes they own, preventing them from collateralizing this asset to secure local financing to start a small business. Why don?t they have titles? In the same text, De Soto documents the 4,112 days and the 111 steps it takes a Haitian to legalize the plot of land they wish to live on. The lack of effective property registrars not only makes it difficult for families to extract wealth from their property (through borrowing or selling) but also discourages foreign investors, afraid of potential future claims against any real property investments. These problems do far more to oppress the Latin American populace than any ?evil bogeyman corporate oligarchy? imagined up by the looney antiglobalist crowd.

Racism...There is an elephant in the room, everyone notices it, but dare not acknowledge it. Not the imperialist racism of 19th century colonial powers, and not the hateful bigotry of the Nazi?s, white supremacists or the JimCrow South. Something more akin to India?s Caste system, though along color lines. Example? Brazil, with more blacks than the USA or even most countries in Africa is overwhelmingly though unofficially segregated along racial lines, and as the USA 30 years ago, one?s best hope of success is only through athletics and entertainment. For the indigenous, the opportunities are equally rare. Skeptical? Turn on a Mexican soap opera. All of the actors except the maids will appear Scandinavian. Of course, there are many fair complexioned Mexicans, (perhaps 10% of the population) but anyone who has been to Mexico ? or California for that matter, will realize that 9 out of 10 Latin Americans have zero chance of making it onto any televised entertainment program in most Latin American markets except to play a farmer or a servant. The effect of this is to create a negative cultural self-image, with the Latin American media equating white skin with success and tanned skin with servitude. Ironically, the US wrestled with this same issue in the 1960?s and 1970?s. In this one respect the USA is actually ahead of Latin America in racial progress. Overall Latin America has not even begun to broach the issue. To make matters worse, American companies Univision and Telemundo are some of the biggest culprits in perpetrating this travesty, and even the shows produced in the USA are equally guilty, with the single ?token indio,? ?token mestizo,? or ?token negro? added to the ensemble cast for the sake of political correctness. In most Latin American countries Mercury Chlorate is sold over the counters in skin cream to women who use it to bleach their skin, poisoning themselves in the process.
In Latin America where over 90% of the population is either of mixed or ?indian? (indigenous) descent, almost all of the political and industrial leaders elected or otherwise, have come from a minority elite group of direct descendants from colonial Spain or in the case of Brazil, Portugal. The practical effect of this is that the intellectual ideas and contributions of the majority of the population are not allowed to flourish or develop. Many of the best and brightest are never given the opportunity to develop their skills or to participate in their economies beyond a subsistence or local level. Not only do the individuals who never obtain the opportunities suffer, but the countries suffer as the pool of intellectual contributors is minimized, the economies suffer as large portions of the populace are unable to create wealth (and become consumers), and the cultures suffer, as the question: ?What does it mean to be a Nicarauguan? A Panamanian? A Venezuelan? A Peruvian?? Remains difficult to answer as long as those definitions often exclude the majorities of those countries? populations.

These are some, though not all of the issues that the governments and the economies of The Americas must engage and defeat if we as a hemisphere are going to maximize our human potential and continue along our peaceful trajectory towards cooperation and positive economic integration, which will be necessary to compete in the 21st century with Europe and Asia. The defeat of this many-headed monster will not be an event but a process, but it is one worthy of engaging, for the good of democracy, capitalism and humanity.

Mr. Loren Moss
The Global Commerce Consortium
?2002 Loren Moss
 

harold

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I agree with bbr's statement. Do you have any opinions for solutions?

And as far as the US being ahead in race equality is crazy. Black people are in a hole thats been dug for 400 hundred years it will take another 400 to dig themselves out. Blacks are born into the third world US. Communities full of violence, drugs an over all poor standard of living. Yeah they get goverment assistance, but they use it for criminal purposes thus continuing the cycle. Blacks have been trained to behaive this way.Blacks have been bread for 400 years to feel disgraced and defeated and its worked.

You go to McDonald's and the only white people you see there are teenagers. All other races are htere for a career.

There is a third world US no one talks about. A world that real americans (whites) will never be forced to experience.
 

Loren

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Harold is a racist idiot

"Yeah they get goverment assistance, but they use it for criminal purposes thus continuing the cycle."

I am black and have never been a welfare recipient or a criminal. Nobody in my immediate or extended family been either. Nor was I born into privelege. I only attended public schools. My mother is a retired teacher. My father was enlisted military and now lives on an enlisted man's pension. Where is your evidence to back up your idiotic statement? TV? Where are you from? Tell me just how we black people are using this government money for criminal schemes? How many black people are on welfare in the USA compared to white people?

"Blacks have been trained to behaive this way."

I haven't been trained that way, nor were my neighbors or friends, coworkers or colleagues. What qualifies you to speak this way besides your own condescending bigotry? (oh yes, it's spelled "behave") Where is this training coming from? Please document it.

"Blacks have been bread for 400 years to feel disgraced and defeated and its worked. "

I think you mean "bred." But nevertheless your vitriolic and condescending comments show what kind of person you are. Your comment about "real Americans" meaning white peple show you to be a true small minded bigot. Perhaps you are just an idiot from some far off or podunk place and watching television has made you such an expert on America and you have no real clue what it means to be American but if in the rare chance you actually are from the USA (you seem too uneducated and English doesn't appear to be your first language due to your symantic struggle) then you should try to rise above your own ignorance and prejudice to learn something about what it means to be American. Start with Crispus Attucks, the first casualty of the Revolutionary War. Go forward to Frederick Douglass then the Buffalo Soldiers, the Tuskegee Airmen, George Washington Carver, Louis Lattimer on forward. Dare you tell me that Martin Luther King was not a "Real" American? Was Pe?a Gomez a "Real" Dominican? Really Harold, ??what cave did you crawl out of??
 
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Loren

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Now, for the people with a full set of chromosomes...

Perhaps I was remiss in not prefacing the original post with its purpose. The Wall Street Journal solicited editorial pieces today to respond to the question ?What are the issues and perils facing the Latin American economies today and going forward in the 21st century? They posed this in an attempt to establish a dialogue with readers. My piece was a response to that question. Because of my briefly discussing the current Dominican fiscal scenario, I decided to duplicate the post here. Anyone who finds it verbose or boring is certainly welcome not to read it or to ignore it. If Rob finds that it inappropriate, he is welcome to exercise his right to delete it. Anyone who wishes to disagree, debunk it, or discuss possible solutions is welcome to as well. The question originally asked was not "what are the solutions" but "what are the problems." The question was not posed here, and in hindsight I should have prefaced the piece with the original question. Forgive me, all!

One other issue, barely worth addressing is the cretin harold's not reading the post properly and believing I implied the US is ahead of Latin America in race relations. That is not what I said. I said "In this one respect the USA is actually ahead of Latin America..." The operative words are "In this ONE respect" but as English is probably not Harold's first language we will forgive him for not comprehending that this syntax means that the issue at hand is the exception, and that the U.S. lags Latin America in most other facets of racial relations. Anyone truly competent in English would grasp this. Harold, a brief English lesson: The insertion of the word "one" makes the sentence exclusive, meaning that in this case, the opposite of the statement would be true in allother respects except the one stated. If this is still difficult for you to grasp Harold, get a tutor. Maybe come and visit the USA. I will introduce you to some REAL BLACK AMERICANS!!
 
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mondongo

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Loren, I see that you have a good grasp of the problems. Since you seem to have good mental capacity, I would love to hear your top 3 practicable and effectual solutions to the cycle of corruption and poverty in Latin America. I plan on contacting my local (Boston) representative and bring up the Eximbank loan in particular. Since this is a US government sponsored loan guarantee program, maybe some bad publicity on how the loans are used will dissuade the USA et al from being unwitting accomplices. Treasury Secretary Paul O'neil recently made the Brazilians angry when he correctly characterized the politicians receving the loans as (my paraphrase) "thieves" who will just take the money and put it in Swiss bank accounts.

The international community making the loans must know full well that they are also part of the problem.
 

Pib

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[B]Loren[/B] said:
...Anyone who finds it verbose or boring is certainly welcome not to read it or to ignore it.
On the contrary, I find it most interesting and appropriate for this board. Per your invitation to "...anyone who wishes to disagree, debunk it, or discuss possible solutions", I shall do that tomorrow morning when my head is clear and I am loaded with caffeine (the only way my brain works).
 

harold

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Lauren sorry to have offended you!


My statement was not racist. I am simply speaking about blacks in the USA. You get a black person from HAiti or brazil and present them with an opportunity and the will make the most of it.

I remember working with a haitian and other blacks at a restaurant. The haitian guy will always tell me that american blacks are laisy and rude. He wasn't laisy. He worked real hard.

Compare the culture of american blacks and foreign blacks. Haitian Music is more romantic and maybe "PEACEFUL." Rap is all violent and agressive, demoralizing.

A black immagrant has a better chance to make it in the US than Black born in America.

Anyways what I said is true. You are at the very most minority when it comes to successful blacks in america. There are more whites on welfare, there are more whites period. I bet you knew I was going to say that.

See what the percentage of blacks are in prison compared to whites!
 

Billy Bob Redma

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I apalogize to you Loren!

Looks like you were right about Harold!He's not much of a music critic either.If you are ever in Chicago,becareful what neighborhood you have a car accident in!Billy Bob
 
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Tom F.

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Nice analysis

The US is not part of the solution being corporate capitalism requires you do business primarily with the elite in the developing world. Is a Fidel style revolution in order here? Look at the beating Chavez takes in the US press. The status quo will return soon to Venezuela. I really can't see the rules of the economic game changing otherwise.

Economic development in Latin America, I often think long and hard on this topic. My final conclusion seems to always return to developing education systems as your primary focus.
 

Loren

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For Harold

Wow Harold,

You learned what you know about Black Americans from what a Haitian guy who worked at a restaurant told you? Well you MUST know what you are talking about! What other subjects are you qualified to speak on?

Where are you from, Harold? Are the other people there idiots too?

You are just like the clowns that occasionally post on this board who think they are qualified to speak on Dominican culture when they learned all they know about the D.R. in a Boca Chica brothel.

"You get a black person from Haiti or brazil and present them with an opportunity and the will make the most of it. "

Where are all the rich successful Haitians at? Where are the upscale Haitian neighborhoods in Miami. I return to Miami this week. I missed these places up till now. Please identify them as I MUST visit. I only could find the Haitian ghettos on my other trips.

"Compare the culture of american blacks and foreign blacks. Haitian Music is more romantic and maybe "PEACEFUL." Rap is all violent and agressive, demoralizing."

Rap is a type of music and is not the "culture of American Blacks." Many of us create and listen to Jazz, R&B, Classical, Soul, Dance, Rock, as well as most other types of music. The biggest rap star right now is Eminem, a white artist. Since you don't know the difference between a musical genre and a culture, and since you bring up Haitian music, if it is in fact so peaceful, why is the Haiti so full of violence? Why does slavery still exist in Haiti? Go to www.restavec.org and see for yourself.

I don't even know why I am wasting time explaining this to you. You are too far behind. Your comments show you to be a bigoted idiot detached from reality, and trying to speak on things you know nothing about.
 
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Jim Hinsch

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Meeting somewhere in the middle

For the record, there are no brothels in Boca Chica.

I had prepared a very detailed response to Loren's article, which I received by E-mail. I must have spent two hours on it. But after my girlfriend read it she said to wait a day before I sent it off. After I did, I decided not to send it. While I still believe everything I wrote, it serves no purpose. Here is an excerpt though.

" If most terrorists are young men of middle eastern decent, should we ignore this and equally investigate red-headed white grandmothers? I think it is ignorant to ignore the facts. That doesn't make all middle eastern men terrorists. It just means they carry a characteristic that represents a subset to which most terrorists belong. "

The fact is that we are hung up on words. The communities, the culture, and the people that Loren talks about when he talks of "Black people" is obviously not the same as those that the other posters speak of. He knows this so no reason for games.

Without getting into the precise numbers, or give reasons why a situation is the way it is, we must agree that much of the class division in America and throughout the Americas can be characterized along racial lines, and yes, there is a significant overlap.

The fact is, people behave based on experiences, at least in part, and if their experience is that fat people are slobs, blondes are dumb, young people are immature, attractive girls are snobs, gringo tourists are rich, or programmers are nerds, than that's their experience and I think it wise to use experience to judge when that's all one has. The wise will be tolerant and prepared for the exceptions and variations as well.

Thus, the attitudes described in Loren's fine piece are shared amongst all classes. The poor know what the poor are like perhaps even better than the rich, and they know what the poor generally look like, how they dress, how they talk, how they act, and the type of ethics they are likely to carry. While some of the bias is unfounded or doesn't apply even the majority of the time, much of the bias is very well founded and you just can't tell people that their first hand experience is wrong. They won't buy it.

Loren made many of his characterizations of the situation in the Americas based on skin color. It's just a characteristic like any other, that can be used to generally describe a subset. It never means "all" and it isn't racist. What the others are saying is also true, but perhaps not the way they said it, which could easily be misconstrued and picked apart if one were to take each word literally. The points behind the simple, if not somewhat offensive or at least abrasive summaries, have not been lost. I think everybody gets the point.

This is no different than saying the Jews control the media. Obviously most Jews don't own stock in CNN. But of those that do run the show, MANY are Jewish. We can play with words all day, but we all know what the point is.

In my experience, most of the problems of Latin America stem from one thing. There are two many people with poor ethics, and it doesn't take but a slice to spoil it for everybody. I think Golo had it right. What Latin America needs is a good dose of English order. Freedom must be earned by showing that it can be enjoyed without abusing the privilege. Corruption and Racism, nepotism and thievery runs through all societies. It is the degree to which it takes place that distinguishes order from chaos.

In most of Latin America, it's just too darn easy to get away with major sin, for lack of a better word. The good get screwed, and even some of them are enticed to "sin" back. Without order, education, quality, relations, understanding, compassion for others just isn't possible.

You want growth? Crack the whip. You need a good set of rules and fair but iron enforcement. Then the good people will be free to grow their lands. History is the best of teachers. Without this, everything you throw their way is highly unproductive.

Loren is one of the more educated people I've encountered on the net, black, white, or otherwise. We are of the same thought farm. That isn't what sets him apart. It is heart and leadership. So he didn't offer solutions in that one isolated article. He will. Or he'll take your good ideas and run with them. That's what good leaders do.

I know it hurts but when a child needs discipline, he needs discipline, not toys. Toys and opportunity come after responsibility. Latin America is that child.

What I'm saying is that the whole problem boils down to that there are too many crooks in Latin America. Clean the kitchen and the soup will be good.

They good people will get their chance if that one slice of people (they show up at all levels of society) would quit scamming, thieving, lying, cheating, coasting, spinning, disguising, pretending, rigging, and fooling. And for God's sake, Latin America, lose the facade, that illusion without substance thing. Nobody is fooled by it.

Loren outlined the symptoms well. These are my insights into the cause. I say fix the cause, you cure the symptoms. It's a lot easier to feel good about that B you earned in Math when you don't have a group that got A's by cheating, a group that skipped the class altogether with a bribe, and you can take a bathroom break without having to worry that someone stole the toilet paper.

Either way, good article Loren. I hope they print it.

Jim
 
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Loren

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Response to the deeper thinkers:

Mr. Hinsch. Your comments encourage and inspire me. Thank you for taking the time to post!

Mondongo, you asked for 3 practicable solutions for Latin America. You are on track in your mention of the IMF situation. Here are some suggestions:

1. Depoliticize the soverign lending process. The issuance of debt by the IMF, Eximbank and other similar organizations is a largely political process whereby credit risk is often subordinated to other concerns during the underwriting process. Countries overextend themselves, often for short term political expediency by engorging themselves with debt. These loans are not collateralized by anything, and the funds are often spent on dubious corruption laden boondoggles. The people of the debtor nations suffer because they are saddled with the debt, and the people of the creditor nations suffer because their tax dollars which fund the IMF, etc. are lost down a fiscal black hole. Once countries get themselves in trouble, the hue & cry starts for debt forgiveness. This is the crusade taken up by British rock star Bono. Sovereign debt forgiveness creates what economists call a "moral hazard" in that forgiveness of the loans removes the spectre of consequence from the borrowing process encouraging the same countries to take on even more debt, with the hope and confidence that in the future it too will be forgiven. Replace the sovereign debt with private issues syndicated by banks and other investors, and bond flotations. The benefit of this is that with bonds purchased and sold in the free market, the true creditworthiness of each country will be reflected in the market interest rates at which they can purchase money. They will be welcome to default or forbear their debt at any time, but their credit rating will tank and they will be unable to buy money in the future at any reasonable rate. This also reduces the ability of dominant countries to meddle in the affairs of the needier countries by tying lots of strings to the loans or to play favorites conditioning the loans to the whims of G7 politicians. The investing public will be far less likely to purchase bonds from countries with cloudy finances or in the case of revenue debentures for dubious projects than the politically based groups that have been inept in preventing their monies from being spent on ridiculous programs and being paid to shady unknown companies with Swiss accounts. When countries like the US want to conduct financial foreign policy, they should employ grants rather than loans. Matching fund programs and seed money are good ideas. Where possible, the projects should be managed or audited operationally by the donor countries. Rathr than make a block grant to a hospital to buy equipment for example, grant the equipment instead. Where funds are disbursed, require audited line by line accounting. Those countries that consider this an affront to their sovereignty are welcome to reject the aid. An excellent treatise on intergovernmental credit organizations and the moral hazards they create can be found in Ian Vazquez' book "Global Fortune."
2. Fix U.S. foreign policy. This can be done by the U.S. establishing and adhering to a policy that tests every potential action taken in Latin America against the following questions: Does this action further U.S. interests? Does this action promote goodwill with the people in the subject country? Would the future revelation of this action be scandalous? What are the public and political diplomatic ramifications of this action? Does this action further the causes of democracy, liberty, free enterprise and human rights? Plug each action under consideration into a Boolean Truth Table with the preceeding criteria. Our politicians do some incredibly counterproductive things. We need to be more strategic in crafting our public image. An additional example to the one I mentioned previously (Bolivian Elections): The current administration in the U.S. is running around demanding regime change in Iraq and Palestine. Though the concept may or may not be good, trumpeting it about on the world stage will have the exact opposite effect with such talk stirring up nationalist sentiment causing the Iraqi and Palestinian people who otherwise would oppose the current regimes to stubbornly support their strongmen against what is perceived by them as Western imperialism. Another thing the U.S. needs to do is to revamp our intelligence machinery. We shouldn't use the CIA to go around assassinating people, but we should employ both covert and overt methods to obtain the intelligence necessary to have a clear picture of what is going on in the world so that we can make informed and proactive decisions. All countries that are active on the global scene should strive to have an intelligence mechanism.
3. How do you fix corruption and nepotism? Wow. It is not easy when the constitution is flipped to and fro for short term political expediency as is happening now in the Dominican Republic. It takes a long long time to move from the rule of man to the rule of law. How do you convince people that civil service is to serve the public, not to serve one's campaign supporters? There are laws in most countries outlawing corruption but where is the consensus to enforce? Transparency is lacking, some countries don't announce and hold competitions for government contracts. Educate the youth, educate the youth anyway you can. We have an opportunity in the U.S. with so many Latin American students coming to the U.S. to study. Those of us who believe in clean government need to enjoy every opportunity to evangelize the principles of democracy and transparency to these future leaders. It will take a long long time, and it will be on a one to one basis, but it's just like the saying "each one teach one." It is going to take 100 years but it can be accomplished. I challenge everyone who gives a damn about this kind of thing and who has even occasional contacts with these young leaders to dialogue with them. Dialogue, not monologue. You will lose them if you preach or patronize. All of us working as missionaries for democracy and good governance, just like religious missionaries work to spread their ideas. This is a task that will never be completed, as it is an ongoing process in ALL countries. Each one teach one.
Billy Bob, I wish to disagree with your statement "Only those who are US Citizens have the Right to contact THEIR "REP"!" On the contrary, foreigners lobby U.S. politicians every day, just as we lobby and petition the officials of other governments. Some of the local politicians where I live spend time to meet with and assist both legal immigrants and visitors (foreign students, etc.) I met recently with a senate staffer who is working to establish a presence for their office in our local community of recent immigrants. Almost none of her target market consists of citizens, as one has to be a U.S. resident for 5 (in some cases 3) years to obtain citizenship.

Tom F, I agree wholeheartedly with your conclusion in your post (Education!), but your premises are another matter. Corporate capitalism does not require that one deals exclusively with the corporate elites. I point to the case of U.S. owned Codetel in the Dominican Republic. The CDE cannot keep the lights on for 24 hours in the Dominican Republic but you have thriving competition for telephony, with reliable service available to all middle income households (not just the rich). CDE=Socialistic, Codetel=Capitalistic. Pepsi, Coke and Sprite are found in even the most humble Dominican colmados. The pasolas and motoconchos produced by the capitalist economy are not sold to the elite (they buy jeepetas del a?o). The wheat produced by American farmers sent to the Dominican Republic and the delicious rum produced by Dominican distillers and sent to the USA are examples of capitalism at work, as are the Dominican colmados, ferreterias, taxistas and peloteros.
There are only 2 possible ways for a country to realize net inflows of foreign wealth for it's citizens to enjoy: The first is foreign aid - an overdose on this is sure to erase national dignity and to diminish the country into a subservient dependent. The second is through international capitalism. Facilitating commerce between its citizens and the rest of the world, yet maintaining and enforcing whatever legal framework that country has decided for itself (meaning each country has the responsibility to enact and enforce whatever labor and environmental standards they deem appropriate). Latin America needs more capitalism, less socialism, less corruption, and more opportunity for the little guy to participate in capitalism: Remove government barriers to enterprise, move the small business people from the informal economy into the formal economy by making the formal economy a less hostile place for a small business, and reduce nationalistic barriers to trade (such as tariffs and quotas). And yes Tom F., Education for all. None of this will work without an educated population.
 

Hillbilly

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Jan 1, 2002
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Insightful, thought provoking article.

Actually enjoyed the repart?....pretty good thoughts.

All boils down to my trilogy: EDUCATION, EDUCATION & More EDUCATION.

Until then...we sort of have to scrape along..

HB
BANJO.GIF
 

harold

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Mar 23, 2002
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Everyone says education is the solution, but it can't be done. Why? In DR no one will win an election with a campaign of reducing the national debt and improving education. This will only help future generations. They don't care about the big picture they just want jobs. They don't care about the excesive borrowing as long as it provides a job today. People have no patience to invest time in DR.

First provide jobs to the masses, then invest on education.

I wish it could be done the other way around, but it can't.

So how can we create jobs in the DR ?

Personaly I think with all these wealthy baseball players you would think would have more industrial factories. Anything to increase the exporting. All these baseball players don't do enough. I mean Sammy Sosa opened up a shopping plaza in DR. Give me a break!! WHy don't these players invest better in DR.
 

Jim Hinsch

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You are right, about education. The DR is not ready yet, but they will be real soon.

The present government is doing very good things in addtion to tax and spend. I really have no evidence that a substantial chunk of the money in the coffers is being drained via corruption. That is just the atmosphere and general cnsensus so I can't call for an independent internal affiars agency. At least they are trying.

They are moving to solve the electricity problem, build infrastructure, eliminate barriers to doing business (not doing so good in this category), etc.

They are building highways like mad. They are attempting to get internationally excepted road rules enforced, including parking. Banking is getting their act together.

They are eliminating the junk businesses while legitimizing the small businesses, the ones that are properly registered and pay taxes. The trash is getting cleaned up. The police have been reorganized several times. They are slowly eliminating the anarchy in favor of order.

With infrastructure comes a lower cost of duing business and foreigner investment. That will bring jobs, which will get everything rolling. With money comes the luxury of education and from there, we sail.
 

arturo

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Mar 14, 2002
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educate me, what leads anyone to believe

that anyone in the DR with the wherewithal to do so has any interest in establishing (as distinct from improving) effective public education?

I haven't been able to discern any such evidence.
 

Pib

Goddess
Jan 1, 2002
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www.dominicancooking.com
Loren, thank you for your post. I enjoyed it a lot, I hope you do participate more actively and often in the forum. In deciding to participate in this thread one certainly is exposed to be chastised by DR1?s own godless heathens, whose ostensibly childish posts and shenanigans discourage other posters from discussing such matters. Bring on the clowns!

I am still digesting your post. It?s a lot of information for my pea-size brain. But I have to agree with you that the key is EDUCATION. In saying that, I have to point out how difficult it is. Before the last elections I made it my crusade to convince people to vote, no strings attached, no suggestions on candidates or parties, just to go vote. I preached among the people whom I thought were of more advance mentality than myself: those who, like me, didn?t want a job, a house or a botella. But lo and behold, even my best friend, whom I consider a prime example of an outstanding human been and a clear-headed, excessively-honest Dominican, failed me. I am still banging my head on the wall. But I will not give up.
 

bob saunders

Platinum
Jan 1, 2002
30,578
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dr1.com
Education is the key

Education is the key, but not just formal education, but those who are in position of influence have to lead by example. Also the people have to have the will to change and force change.
The 50,000,000 dollar question is: How do you get rid of the corruption?
Here in so called first world countries, we have just as much corruption. It is less in the open and sometimes people actually go to jail if they can't afford good lawyers.We are normally appathetic(sp) about it as long as it doesn't affect us personally...ie, Erron, Worldcom. Our goverments are not much better.
Pib. I hope your friend will turn back from a been to a being soon.
I think that part of the solution is that any international loan from goverment to goverment should have many strings attached to it to make sure it is spent on productive social and economic projects, rather that just ensuring that American, Spanish, Canadian...Products are used.
My two cents worth.
 

Criss Colon

Platinum
Jan 2, 2002
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yahoomail.com
The Dominican System of Public Education is "Perfect"!

Now lets suppose for a moment that we could wave that all powerful "Magic Wand" and have in place an educational system of the caliber of the Canadian Educational system here in the DR.What a disaster! Within 10 or 15 years you wouldn't be able to get a maid,a gardener,a "Day Laborer",or any kind of "Help" for 100 pesos per day anymore.These now well educated Dominicans would demand better wages! They would expect real Government services!They would expect "more" in all areas!Health care,utilities,infrastructure!Who would work in the "Free Zones" for "Peanuts" under terrible conditions?Lets not change a thing! The Dominican Educational System is just the way the Rich and Powerful Dominicans want it to be!!!After all it provedes a continuing stream of ignorant labor just as it was designed to do!CRISCO
 

mkohn

Bronze
Jan 1, 2002
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crisco, so what's your point... :)?

In a perfect world, there is no ignorance, racism, poverty, etc.
Getting a good education is not a trait exclusive to some Dominicans.
I think it's one thing to contribute to the economy and receive a service for a fee (like a maid, or a driver), "big but", until the undereducated (in any country) see the importance of an education and their infrastructure promotes it, well "it's a long row to hoe."
The first time I was in the DR, I heard "dame cinco chele do?a."
The last time, I heard "... cinco pesos".
I just hope it happens in my lifetime.