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Haiti's Pain Is Left to Linger on the Doorstep of the U.S.

February 15, 2004

Re "U.S. Fears Another Haitian Exodus," Feb. 11: As a black woman, I find it curious that immigration officials plan to aggressively prevent poor Haitians from taking refuge in this country but look the other way when Latinos from Mexico and Central America illegally stream across our borders by the thousands. Perhaps the Haitians would do better by bypassing Florida and sailing west to Guatemala or southern Mexico. Once there, they could pick up a few Spanish phrases, pass themselves off as black Mexicans or Guatemalans and join the steady surge north into the U.S. Then immigrant rights groups would fight to keep them here.

Beverly Antel

Torrance

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A "shuck and jive" not mentioned by Jeff Danziger (editorial cartoon, Commentary, Feb. 11) is the continued rationalization used to mask our complicity in the making and continuing of the misery in Haiti. Whether it is the Duvaliers or President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, we have abetted their reigns. And in the rankest of hypocrisy, we arrest those attempting to flee the madness while at the same time welcoming Cubans who are not trying to leave a poor and desperate land. And our president says we are a compassionate nation?

F. Daniel Gray

Los Angeles

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It is all well and good for the U.S. to advocate that the Caribbean Community, the Organization of American States and possibly the U.N. get involved in trying to quell the violence in Haiti, but what needs to be addressed are the underlying problems of this country: crushing poverty, overwhelming unemployment, growing corruption and the highest illiteracy rate in the Western Hemisphere. No matter what government is in power, a just and lasting peace will come only when these underlying problems are solved.

As a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names, a religious community doing educational ministry in Haiti for 27 years, I have felt the pain of the Haitian people, and I know that the U.S. is part of the problem. The U.S. prevents Haiti from making agreements with other countries, curtails outside money flowing into the country and contributes to Haiti's intolerable situation.

Sister Dolores Barling

Long Beach

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