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Rick Steves: What Accounts for Haiti's Chronic Poverty?

Check out the editorial by Rick Steves, travel writer and author of Travel as a Political Act, in today's USA Today. In "Haiti: Behind Door No. 3, Difficult Questions Await," he writes that Americans need to take a deeper look at why Haiti is so poor -- and has been for generations. A big part of the problem lies with unequal trade partnerships between Haiti and more powerful countries, such as the United States. Tariffs and subsidies protect U.S. businesses, Steves writes, but hamper development in Haiti. "In Haiti, fields that once grew rice sit unplanted. And across the street, a shack sells rice grown in the USA." Steves cites Bread's lobbying efforts to bring about more fair trade policies.

Addressing the structural roots of poverty is challenging, but it is ultimately more effective, he writes. Systemic change is what will help Haiti rebuild in the long term.


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