Government corruption overshadows great works

People can’t invest too much in shelter for themselves or their business because they may be displaced

Re: On the Ground in Haiti (Gazette series, Nov. 9 to 15)

Your series on Haiti illustrates two aspects of reality in much of Latin America. The people helping orphans, guarding and supplying – and the children – illustrate the capability of individuals everywhere.

But the warehouse operator’s experience of government corruption illustrates a major problem with societies there.

Economist Hernando de Soto chronicles barriers in Latin America and Africa, in his books such as The Third Path. He notes the importance of property rights to poor people, else much of what they produce is stolen either directly or through extortion or bribes.

People can’t invest too much in shelter for themselves or their business because they may be displaced.

The documentary Globalization is good and contrasts the situation in a settlement in Africa with life near a Nike factory in Southeast Asia. Many former employees of the factory start their own business.

We are much better off here, but still have exploiters and moochers living off productive people.

The answer in Latin America and here is in the actions of citizens, through voting and standing up for a good constitution and honest governance. The people of Honduras did that in 2009, when a controlling wannabe tried to force an illegal referendum to remove a term limit on the presidency, aided by his friend the tyrant who caused widespread misery in Venezuela.

Keith Sketchley

Saanich