The Latin American Condition

AtlantaBob

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Jan 2, 2002
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Crisco, that's why you have Haitians

When dominicans get to the point they will not do menial tasks, there is always someone that will step in and do the work for near to nothing. In the States the poor folks won't even do the crappy jobs. They go on welfare and let the mexicans have the low paying jobs. Soon the mexicans will grow tired of the unskilled jobs, educate themselves and then....everything goes round and round...
Bob...dizzy in the States
 

kingofdice

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Jan 16, 2002
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I enjoyed reading your posts, Loren. I commend your structured thoughts and intelligent wording. Regarding Hipolitos latest shoot-from-the-hip comments that taxes need to be doubled in the D.R., he really needs to take an economics course. I just can't see where you can tax a poor country out of poverty. Yes, we pay more taxes in the United States and Sweden, but we are wealthier nations with higher personal incomes. Those additional 42,000 government employees that Hipolito has added since taking office, need a pink slip. The country could take that current $229 million expenditure to eliminate or reduce the ITBIS tax or pay down on the country's debt. Although Jim Hinsch stated that there is little to substantiate open displays of corruption, you can't help but to think that many of non-transparent loans are being skimmed into politicians pockets. Perhaps the reason foreign bank loans have become rampant. My remedy to straighten up the country would be as follows: Layoff minimum 40,000 government workers; Freeze foreign loans; Eliminate the 1.5% gross tax on businesses; Cut the ITBIS tax in half; lower the electricity rates to stimulate foreign investment in the country; require total transparency in loans; allow competitve bidding on tenders. Well, that may not be a cure all, but at least a start in the right direction.
 

harold

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Mar 23, 2002
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how do you iliminate all these goverment employees with out having them riot? Most people approve of the excessive goverment jobs.

I say have these goverment employees perform jobs that promote new jobs. For example, one thing that produces jobs in the US are goverment regulations. For examples in the US your lawn can't be higher than 6 inches. Citizens must pay ladscapers. That's one job. That creates a market for landscaping materials. A market for the repair of landscaping equiptment. And a job for city inspectors that inforce these regulations.

I know this example is extremely simple but as a system it creates jobs.

I know a lot would disagree with the expansion of the gov though.

Just a thought!
 

Tom F.

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Jan 1, 2002
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What is this Loren?

Tom Wonders? This is my real name and if you look at my profile my email gives my last name away. I used to post just under Tom but another Tom started posting, causing trouble and I quickly added the F. to distiguish myself.

Loren, Enjoyed reading your posts and the thread is interesting.

Whenever large amounts of money are loaned or invested in the developing world, it is done with the largest businesses and economic interests in the country. This is understandable. They have the capacity to absorb these amounts and keep risk lower. The whole development strategy of the World Bank, IMF and Eximbank, and the others is the old Reagan Trickle Down Theory. I have seen this applied on a micro-level many times. Development organizations go to the rural areas to implement projects and the farmers, who are already doing quite well, reap the benefits of the project. To work with these lower and mid-level farmers would require some of your grant or seed money and take longer to implement.

Codetel will cut your service off if you don?t pay. The CDE is a warped form of socialism, which I do not support. I guess the old police chief needs to be sent in. I can only imagine the ?deals? Burri and the others had to make as they grew Codetel in the DR. I find that capitalism works well on the micro-level

I doubt whether any of us want too much corporate capitalism. The wheat produced by US farmer is highly subsidized and it seems like a lot of the GM farm products are being dumped into the developing world. This dumping of agriculture products really does a whole lot for the local market. It seems like a lot of capitalism is missing from food production and distribution. All the taxes put on that rum smells of socialism to me. I think the government in the DR sets the price of cement and most basic food stuffs? Taxitisa, don?t they have a union and restrict others from certain routes or pick-up places. Peloteros, how did they get thrown into this mix. I recently met Jose Rijo and he seems to have a streak of socialism in him by helping out some kids in San Cristobal.

I like your ideas on foreign aid or grants. I think those women in Nigeria who threaten to go naked if the oil companies don?t do something for their communities find corporate capitalism a bit nasty.
 

kingofdice

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Jan 16, 2002
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We all know how the Reagan Trickle Down Theory worked out. Money trickled down all the way from the Rockefellers to the Vanderbilts.
 

CES

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Jan 1, 2002
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"A mill stone"

Is it possible that the spirit of the "Caudillo" still runs deep in the body politic of la Rep?blica Dominicana? Does a tirade of "personalismo", "el patr?n", and "machismo" still control those at the top of the political pecking order. How can an outsider ever hope to change "el sistema"? Can the status quo be changed from within the membership of the three major political parties?

Is a strong 'grass roots' effort that creates a new political party the only way to end the stupid cycle of political patronage that seems to place a mill stone around the neck of those voters that truly want a 21st. century democratic government? I see no hope for the Dominican Republic until universal education is a reality. The functional illiteracy of the electorate gives great political power to the PRD (presently) because the party is willing to steal a much as it takes to bring in the vote. Does the 5% of the population that controls the wealth of the nation want any real change in how the president is elected? Are the folks at the top of the social economic scale [*] determined to maintain the status quo? I don't think these individuals really want the installation of a new order that could someday challenge their financial and political grasp on the nation.

regards,

. . . CES

ps . . . also thank you Loren, for braving the "slings and arrows" and posting the 'piece' . . .

[*] Part of this class/ group: In Santiago there was/ is something called "la gente de primera y la gente de segunda". The distinction being "families of the first" and "families of the second", those families that claim a certain "birth right" because they are related to the 100 families (that controlled the Cibao in colonial times) referred to locally as the "tutumpote" (totem pole).
 
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mkohn

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Jan 1, 2002
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I think Hillbilly hit the nail on the head in a previous post.
In the DR, as in many other latin american countries, only the bloodiest of revolutions will free the people from opression.

The only catch. Latin Americans are still too gentle.

mk
 

mondongo

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Jan 1, 2002
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mkohn, I agree. The government is so cocky,brazen,and resolute in screwing the DR people....that the only option left will be a bloody revolt. But Mejia has been greasing the right palms....why do you think that the militatry a little while back got a huge pay increase...why are they getting hospitals built....this display of abhorrent arrogance by Mejia and his mafia has got me ready to puke.

Q: are there any revolutionary "underground" movements springing up yet?
 

x_man

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Jan 1, 2002
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mkohn

do you know the stories of Emilio Zapata? Eva Peron? Fiedel Castro?
Allende? etc etc
All trying to liberate their people and failing miserably.What makes you
think the next revolution will change things for the better?
Good politics is the art to do what's possible. And for me that would be
to keep the IMF and the US system out of other countries and respect their
cultures as they are .......
and hit them hard if the think they can force their views on us. X
 

Loren

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Jan 1, 2002
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Speaking of Zapata...

In "Mexico, Biography of Power" historian Enrique Krauze recounts a conversation between the famous Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata and a compatriot on the subject of communism:

-- "Emiliano, what do you think of communism?

-- Explain to me what it is.

-- For example, all the people of a village farm . . . their lands together and then they distribute the harvest equally.

-- Who makes the distribution?

-- A representative or a council elected by the community.

-- Well look, as far as I'm concerned, if any "somebody" . . . would try to dispose of the fruits of my labor in that way . . . I will fill him full of bullets."
 

Tony C

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Jan 1, 2002
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www.sfmreport.com
kingofdice said:
We all know how the Reagan Trickle Down Theory worked out. Money trickled down all the way from the Rockefellers to the Vanderbilts.

Actually it created the Greatest economic Boom in US history! Jeez! Do you guys believe everything the Democrats tell you?

Tony C.
 

Loren

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Jan 1, 2002
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adi?s por un rato...?y cuidat?!

Just briefly I wanted to get back to you guys because I need to finish packing.. off to the Bahamas! (family reunion)

Jim H, I stand corrected on the "no cat houses in Boca Chica." The last time I stayed in Costalunga I passed by what I thought was one, and all these women were inside yelling at me, but they could have just been a bunch of skanky ho's. I will defer to your expertise on BC and I will stick to San Pedro, the capital of dust, dirt, motoconchos and "mucha bulla." In response to your later posts, I cannot give examples of high level corruption other than what might get reported on DR1 and elsewhere. Low level corruption, which generally reflects what is going on above I can speak about from personal experience. I was asked for bribes by the Dominican cops on Duarte and in Alcarrizzos (sp?) and by customs officials at SDQ. The official at the San Pedro Oficial?a would not give me the "extracto de acta" that I needed without an unofficial cash payment. I had to pay busc?nes in the capital at that place way out west by the cervecer?a to get the same extracto notarized (legalizada). Surely you have heard of the passport racket some of the D.R. consuls were running in the U.S.

Jazzcom "I see you are new by the number of your posts which happens to be about half of billybobs. You also claim to be here and posting here for years. Is your other handle "Not Registered"?"

You didn't do your homework. Go and do an archives search. I have been here for years. What is the DOPEY comment about? Does that make you feel better?

Pib, you are right about the voter apathy. The level of cynicism is so high that many people don't see the point in it and don't feel like politics is a participative process.

Bob Saunders, 100% right!

AtlantaBob, what you say is already happening with the Mexicans. I have a good friend whose family is a bunch of Texas campesinos, but he didn't like living like that and so he got a scholarship and now he is a biochemist. Another friend grew up a migrant worker on the NW Ohio Tomato and Pepper Farms. His mom still lives up near Toledo in farmworker housing. He didnt like picking tomatoes and now he is a retail manager. Not going to make millions, but not picking tomatoes, either. Another guy here in town who I have met but is not really a good friend grew up in Texas in a shack and I don't know the in-between details of his story but he is a lawyer here now. These people are exceptional, but the trend you spoke of is real. The issue is this: For people to reach their potential, the opportunity needs to exist -access to education, breaking barriers to business, access to capital) and the people need access to opportunity (breaking barriers such as racism, classism, sexism and the amazing "who's your daddy" especially prevalent in small countries like D.R., Nicaragua, etc.) Equal opportunity (NOT equal outcome) needs to exist.

Kingofdice, Thanks for the compliment and you are right about the current policies being misguided and not fiscally sound. The current administration is attempting the Roosevelt / Japanese approach to economic growth which is to attempt to stimulate the economy by big public works projects. The new highways are an improvement and will save lives (when they finish them) and the tunnels in the capital are wonderful (I would like to see those here in the US) but it is fiscally irresponsible to increase the rate of spending beyond the rate of revenues - especially in a small economy. The U.S. got away with it largely because of the luck of timing. Japan is now paying the price of their excesses but luckily for them, their balance of trade is consistently in the black and their foreign exchange revenues are too strong because of exports for them to collapse...unless they continue to cling to their fiscal sins in the coming years. The Dominican economy does not have the depth of resources to grow their way out of debt, as the growth in recent years has largely been spurred by government spending and has not been organic (private-private commerce as opposed to public-private commerce)

Harold, in your August 5th post, you ask a good question, the previous administration thought they had the answer with PEME but that was a mechanism for corruption. The problem with your solution is that in the short run you may create jobs, but you are creating non-productive jobs, that is to say jobs that do not create wealth: producing a product or adding value to a product through service. Government jobs don't create wealth, they extract wealth. Government jobs must be paid for either with debt or revenues. Revenues come from taxation, which pulls money out of the hands of the public (reduction in wealth) Creating jobs funded by debt reduces the country's "net worth" again reducing wealth. The jobs created must be private sector, and coming up with excess regulation not only reduces the liberty of the people, it causes unpredictable results. In the US, do-gooders came up with CAFE standars, which are fuel efficiency standards for auto manufacturers trying to make them manufacture smaller cars like most other countries have. The American public said "small cars suck" and then everyone who previously bought big Mercurys and Pontiacs started to buy vans and trucks even if they never carried anything. Trucks get worse fuel economy than cars, so the environmentalists' plan backfired.

Tom F, you are right, aid programs need to be focused on the needy, not the cronies. There are legitimate high level initiatives, but to often the international "oil" lubricates the wheel that can squeak the loudest (big gov't. business, ngo, nonprofit, other interests, etc.) Sometimes grants are given and nobody even follows up to audit the efficacy of the disbursements. Like you talked about warped CDE socialism, When the US gov't gives out farm subsidies, that is an abomination of capitalism and is not real capitalism. You can be sure I am opposed to the excess taxes on Dominican rum! Like I said before excess taxation is wrong. Let the people keep their money and do with it what they wish (I will be a capitalist consumer and buy more Dominican Rum!) The Nigerian women's protest is hard core! They appear successful though. If the Dominican women ever plan to hold a public protest naked like the Nigerians, PLEASE let me know in advance, ok!!!??? (21 days in advance for the cheap tickets) :)

Comrade CES, I am suprised - stunned even to say, that I agree with you an unqualified 100% Is this a first? Have one of the seven seals been broken? ?The end is nigh! ;-)

Mkohn, Mondongo - Interesting proposition, but when these revolts happen, the catch is always this: Who seizes power after the revolution? Do we go from bad to worse? (Somoza-Ortega, Batista-Castro) One of the reasons I don't like Bush's plan to get Hussein is that he hasn't presented a compelling vision of what will happen if Saddam was crispified. In Afghanistan, I dare say again we are in danger of winning the war but losing the peace (not yet too late though). If the populace of the D.R. were to rise up and overthrow the corrupt but democratically elected government, what would be created to replace it?

Lastly, Tony C: ????Amen!!!!

SORRY, that wasn't so brief after all. Now, I've got algunas maletas que empacar. "?ME VOY PA'TR?S!"

?ci?o, ustedes!
 

Billy Bob Redma

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Jul 18, 2002
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MKOHN,"Latin Americans are still too gentle"

What the hell are you talking about?What is going on in Colombia?(About 47 were lilled this week alone !Gentle?)Ecuador and Peru are real tourist attractions!You also might want to read a few history books about the Revolutions of the 20th Century in those "Gentle" Latin American Countries! Billy Bob