Church of St. Pierre in Baradères, Haiti

St. Pierre parish, Baradères, Haiti — sister parish of St. John the Baptist Catholic Community, Silver Spring, Md. 

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January 2001 visit
The town and the economy

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The southern coastal city of Les Cayes, shown here, contrasts sharply with Baradères. You can see the evidence: a variety of motor vehicles, electrical power, paved streets: all signs of a viable—for now at least—local economy; all virtually absent in Baradères.

Les Cayes, a regional economical and agricultural center, is about 25 miles—and three hours—south of Baradères. Les Cayes is where the people of Baradères must go to obtain any but the most rudimentary of supplies.

Unlike Les Cayes, the land around Baradères "is too rocky to farm easily," said Matt Minahan. "And because there’s no capital to buy farm equipment and no money to pay farm workers, farm production is limited to what family members can do themselves. As a result, it’s extremely difficult and labor intensive to farm, and almost impossible to generate quantities large enough to sell."

"For many years, coffee was a significant export crop for Haiti, and when you have a cup, you’ll understand why: it’s very, very, very good! But the international community enforced an export embargo in the early 1990's because of human rights abuses and corruption in the previous government, resulting in the destruction of the coffee market."


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