Article excerpt

"It's said that we are the poorest country in the hemisphere but we are a country that has been made poor?'-A Haitian farmer

THIS FARMER STRONGLY STATED HAITI AND HER PEOPLE have had a long history of being exploited. Haiti's sugar made it France's most lucrative colony. Profits from the sale of sugar were worth more than the profits from all of France's other colonies combined. Colonial sugar mills consumed the lives of many slaves and the fuel required to maintain production began the destruction of Haiti's forests. Though these conditions also fueled the independence of the world's first black republic, exploitation has never truly left. Now deforestation is exasperated by Haiti's current level of poverty where often trees and charcoal production are two major sources of income for rural communities. It is a cruel paradox that in order to survive trees must be cut down. It has been estimated that for every tree that is planted, seven are removed. Within this dire situation are signs of hope as seen in the work of the Peasant Movement of Papaya, a farming cooperative that is nearly 50,000 strong and is committed to planting over 100,000 trees in the coming years. …