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Eyes of the Heart: Seeking A Path For the Poor in the Age of Globalization First Edition Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1567511871
ISBN-10: 1567511872
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Aristide, the former priest-turned-president of one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere, calls these nine brief chapters a letter written for "my brothers and sisters in Haiti who cannot write"Aan attempt to explain to readers that the world's richest countries are "accumulating wealth with breathtaking speed and never looking back," while the poor nations are "sinking deeper into economic misery." He views every topic he addressesAglobalization, colonialism, education, women's statusAthrough the stark lens of the poorest Haitians. Although his hope-filled vision can offer them nothing more than "poverty with dignity," he believes it may at least prevent starvation. Aristide's writing is simple and direct; he capably juggles heartrending anecdotes, unnerving statistics, unflinching commentary and the occasional Bible quote. The result reads at times like a hard-hitting sermon and at times like a campaign speech, resonating with the conviction of one who knows firsthand the desperation about which he writes. Passion overcomes stridency as Aristide insists that "women, children and the poor must be the subjects, not the objects, of history. They must sit at the decision-making tables and fill the halls of power." This courageous critique of the global economy and how it is leaving the poor behind is important and accessible, sure to touch all but the hardest of hearts. Photos. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Aristide's 1994 restoration as Haiti's president (he had been ousted by a 1991 military coup) was hailed as a victory for third-world democracy. The former Catholic priest subsequently incensed first-world interests, however, by resisting their economic advice. Earlier free-market schemes only impoverished and even starved Haiti's huge peasantry, and Aristide pegged future cooperation with economic globalization to guarantees for free public education, national health care, and secure nonservice employment. Reviled as a Marxist, Aristide proves merely a Christian in this inspiring little book: he cares more for the poor than for free-traders' profits. No longer president, he has little hope that his policies will be realized soon; instead, he encourages self-supporting development for Haiti's poor, based upon religious faith and a much more egalitarian democracy that would include even children's and especially women's participation. His goal is the re-establishment of "decent poverty," which was, not so coincidentally, exactly what social critic Paul Goodman saw being rubbed out in the U.S. after World War II. Ray Olson
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Common Courage Press; First Edition edition (July 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567511872
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567511871
  • Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Throughout the 20th century, communism and democratic capitalism provided the primary models for economic development. Between the two, dictatorships often flourished, plundering countries for the benefit of the few. At the end of the 20th century, the gap between the wealthiest and poorest countries seems to have grown.
Aristide is the former elected president of Haiti, who was ousted by a coup d'etat in 1991. He and the Haitian democracy were restored with UN help in 1994. Now a private citizen, he shares his views in this book as to how to improve the circumstances for the people of Haiti in a democratic context.
I do not know enough about Haiti to know about the accuracy of his statements about the history of this country. His basic point is that free markets have tended to impoverish the agricultural sector, the historical strength of Haiti. This occurred through reducing tariffs on rice, so that subsidized U.S. rice drove out local Haitian farmers. Prices rose again after the farmers had lost their farms. Then a disease among local swine led to these animals being slaughtered. The replacement swine from Iowa were ill-suited to Haiti, and this source of food and income was lost as well.
Aristide points out that the Haitians are very good about sharing and caring for each other, even when they have very little. The country has an 85 percent illiteracy rate, 80 percent of the people drink substandard water, there is not enough water for farm irrigation, and 70 percent are unemployed. Crowding in poor areas is so extreme that people sleep in shifts.
Aristide believes in democracy, but feels that it must also have literacy, clean water, and food to sustain it.
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Format: Hardcover
In 1789, the year the US Constitution was developed, the littleFrench colony of Haiti in the Caribbean produced more wealth than all13 states that made up the newly independent United States of America.
Haiti was France's most valuable colony, accounting for one-third of all French commerce. Even though it only had one-eighth of the population of the United States -- 90 percent of whom were slaves -- Haiti produced 60 percent of the world's coffee, vast quantities of sugar and other tropical produce. (Jamaica was just as valuable for Britain, which helps explain why neither country cared much about whether the 13 colonies became independent or not.) These were the "cash cows" of the 1700's. In 1791, the Haitians launched the only successful slave revolt in history. Napoleon, when he added up the cost of defeat in Haiti, quickly sold Louisiana to the US. He knew better than to ever again involve France in a war in the Americas.
Today, the average Haitian earns about $250 a year. About 70 percent of Haitians are unemployed, about 85 percent are illiterate, and one million live in the United States and other rich countries where the earnings they send home keep their families from outright starvation.
What happened? Quite simply, greed. Generals, politicians and businessmen plundered Haiti, in some cases reimposing virtual slavery. President Teddy Roosevelt got the United States involved, and after a century of American cash plus the US Marines, Haiti is still the poorest country in Latin America.
In this brief book (at only 80 pages, it's what used to be called a pamphlet), Jean-Bertrand Aristide outlines a solution.
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Format: Hardcover
I never gave Aristide much credit, but after reading this book I'm beginning to think that there might be hope for Haiti after all. This is a compelling and well written book that goes at the core of Haiti's problem. In the era of globalization, a nation with a past such as Haiti should think twice before jumping the bandwagon of the free market economy and look for a third way. While the capitalist system generates wealth, it also broadens the economic and social gaps among class constellations. Yet, at the same time, we have Cuba as a model of social justice and equity, if judged by the criteria of universal acces to education and health care. I think that Haiti should aim at striking a balance between those opposing ideologies and Aristide made it clear in Eyes of the Heart that there is a third way. Rather he follows through with this idea during his second term as president it is yet to be seen. Overall it is an insightfull book.
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Format: Hardcover
Aristide is the Gandhi of Haiti. He led his people in a nonviolent spirit, to overthrow one of the cruelest dictatorships of our century. He was Haiti's first elected President, then overthrown in a violent coup, then restored. This passionate, searching, loving book shows the suffering of Haiti's poor, the causes of the suffering, and the incredible brave, sharing spirit of the people of Haiti. Every responsible citizen should read this book - it tells what our imposed neoliberal policies do to the poor, and what can be done about it. An added goody - profits go to the Aristide Foundation for Democracy.
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