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The Big One Devastates Haiti

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-- Haiti's wealth distribution ranked most unequal in a region that's the most unequal in the world;

-- 1% of Haitians control half the wealth and take full advantage to extract more;

-- 80% of Haitians endure extreme poverty; many don't have enough to eat;

-- 80% are unemployed or only have part-time or sporadic work;

-- sweatshop wages were 11 - 12 cents an hour and no benefits until parliament (in May 2009) passed a new minimum wage law providing for 200 gourdes or $5 dollars a day; Preval signed it only after getting it reduced to 125 gourdes or $3 a day; even so, employers may pay as little as they wish and get away with it as who'll challenge them;

-- the result is that three-fourths of Haitians live on less than $2 a day and over half on less than $1;

-- life expectancy is 52 years;

-- infant mortality is double the regional average at 76 per 1,000 births;

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-- Haiti has the highest HIV/AIDs incidence outside of sub-Sararan Africa;

-- the World Bank ranks Haiti lowest in the hemisphere on sanitation, nutrition and available health services with only 25 doctors and 11 nurses per 100,000 population, and most rural areas are on their own;

-- well over half the population is food insecure and most Haitian children are undersized from malnutrition;

-- less than half have access to safe drinking water;

-- nearly 40% of Haitian children don't attend school;

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-- fewer than 20% of Haitians aged 15 or over are literate;

-- an elite 5% of the population owns 75% of the arable land,

-- 5% control the economy, media, universities, professions, and Hatian politics; and

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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