2016-06-30
"Eyes of the Heart," by the first democratically elected ruler of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristede, was published on Easter Sunday. The date is serendipitous: the book will appear just as protestors depart Washington after demonstrating against the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and globalization.

Aristede's book is a heartbreaking reminder of why people of faith have a responsibility to care about something as abstract and arcane as the global financial system. "Eyes of the Heart" paints a picture of a Haiti ravaged not only by years of military dictatorship, but by international lending institutions which prevent the country from protecting its agricultural economy from cheap imports from the United States, and which prohibit the government from taking an active role in industrial investment. Peasants, who comprise the vast majority of Haiti's population, are swept off the land and into the cities, where they have little choice but to work in the extremely low-paid export sector, or else in service industries. If Haiti's poor are afflicted by "unimaginable human suffering," the Washington policy makers who decide their fate suffer from "a poverty of spirit which has made a religion of the market and its invisible hand." The crisis in Haiti, Aristede concludes, is not simply an economic crisis: It is "a crisis of faith."

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