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|Photos: *May 29 *May 26 *May 23 *May 18 *May 10-16 *May 1 Books & Arts/Ideas: *Constitutionally, a risky business *Historians trace an unholy alliance: religion and nationalism Books & Arts/In Book Review: *Haiti: The fall of the house of Aristide Special Reports: *As AIDS ravages Caribbean, governments confront denial *As resources dwindle, search for clean water is costly daily struggle for most households Editorial/Columns: *From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants Human Rights: *Amnesty International Report 2003 (Haiti)|
|Posted at 4:39 p.m., Saturday, May 31, 2003|
|Caribbean braces for hurricane season|
|By Yanik Delvigne, Associated Press Writer|
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, May 31 - Reaching for a pungent potion of solvent, wood sealer and perfume, Olga Santiago Ocana advises how to ward off bad spirits during hurricane season and forecasters warn this year's season could be busier than ever(From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants).
Sandwiched between bundles of herbs, candles, beads and other paraphernalia of Santeria, the Afro-Caribbean religion, Santiago tells a client to sprinkle the anti-hurricane elixir around the home (Amnesty International Report 2003).
|Olga Santiago Ocana (seen reflected in a mirror in her shop) talks to a customer in her botanica shop in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Tuesday, May 13, 2003. The botanica shop sell charms, potions, candles and beads for the Afro-Caribbean religion of Santeria, and Santiago offers an anti-hurricane elixer to be sprinkled around one's home to ward off storms. (AP Photo/ Tomas van Houtryve)|
"Every time there's a hurricane, people rush to buy this," she says in her shop selling charms and potions in a region where hurricanes have shaped the local culture and psyche (Historians Trace an Unholy Alliance: Religion and Nationalism).
If forecasters are right, she may have her work cut out. With warmer sea-surface temperatures, forecasters from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict between six and nine hurricanes this Atlantic hurricane season, which begins Sunday and runs through Nov. 30.
Last year, forecasters predicted at least six hurricanes. There were four, with one hitting the U.S. coastline and two lashing the Caribbean.
"This year, the increased activity foreseen in the Atlantic basin should increase the probability 30 percent of U.S. and Caribbean landfall," said Phil Klotzbach, a forecaster at Colorado State University.
The uncertainty hurricane season brings each year has manifested itself in the Caribbean's art and music.
Even the word "hurricane" has Caribbean roots. It comes from the Taino and Arawak Indian belief that the mighty storms were the manifestation of the god Jurakan. Hurakan also was the ancient Mayan god of wind and storm.
The belief that supernatural beings were responsible for the storms continued long after the Tainos were exterminated by wars and diseases brought by European conquerors.
During the 16th century, as Catholicism spread through the Caribbean, a special church prayer was said pleading for houses to be spared "from the evil spirits and the malignant storms and winds."
The Vatican removed the prayer from the Roman Catholic liturgy when it was modernized in 1965, said Edwin Miner Sola, author of "History of the Hurricanes in Puerto Rico."
Around the same time, U.S. meteorologists started using an alphabetic list of female names for storms, later amended to include men's names.
Centuries before, hurricanes were named for the saint of the day the storm struck, so a storm that ripped through several islands would have multiple names.
Some say the storms have shaped the Caribbean psyche over generations.
In Cuba, hurricanes have helped produce "a sense of instability and unpredictability of life, a philosophy of life, a high tolerance for enduring catastrophes," said Louis A. Perez, a Cuban historian at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Cuba has been hit more times than any other island, mostly because it is the largest in the Caribbean.
The islands were battered by a series of deadly hurricanes between 1995 and 2001, but have seen relatively few since. Cuba suffered heavy damage from Isidore and Lily last year, and in 2001 endured even heavier losses from Michelle, which killed 5 on the island and 12 elsewhere in the region. One of the most deadly hurricanes was Flora in 1963, which killed more than 7,000 people mostly in Haiti and Cuba. Hurricane San Ciriaco killed more than 3,000 people in Puerto Rico in 1899.
"First comes the sudden silence and then the sky appears in absolute darkness," says Pedro Mombille Bonilla, a director of the Puerto Rico Endowment for the Humanities. "It's something we don't talk about much."
Puerto Rican writer Luis Pales Matos, in his poem "The Hurricane," compared the powerful storms to a musician drawing open a "fierce accordion of winds."
The Puerto Rican folk song "Temporal" tells a coming storm to turn away, rather like the nursery rhyme ordering the rain away.
Jimmy Buffet sings of his need for a Bloody Mary in "Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season."
A bottle of rum is more in order in the Caribbean, where many islanders hold hurricane fetes, inviting friends over and partying away the hours they're forced to spend enclosed in boarded up homes.
For centuries, hurricanes caught people off-guard. But technology has helped demystify the storms. Now, forecasters can give warnings days ahead of time, allowing people to escape danger, protect property and lay in supplies against shop closures and water and power outages
"I listen to the radio and I watch television for the weather forecast," said Johnny Correa, who lost a house in Hurricane Hugo in 1989. "I also keep water and food supplies."
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
|Posted at 1:35 p.m., Friday, May 30, 2003|
|Migrant smuggling undeterred tighter borders since 9/11 put traffickers in demand|
|By Alfonso Chardy, Miami Herald Writer|
Tighter border security following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has done little to curb the smuggling of illegal migrants, an enormous problem highlighted by the recent deaths of 19 people inside a stifling trailer in southeast Texas (From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants).
But smuggling is not confined to the U.S.-Mexican border: Last year, the U.S. attorney's office in South Florida prosecuted 74 people accused of smuggling, more than double the number from the previous year.
Accurately measuring the problem is difficult. But smuggling by smaller rings that accompany migrants over long distances, often from their hometowns to their final destinations, has increased markedly (Amnesty International Report 2003).
In that category, federal immigration officials arrested 1,091 smuggling suspects in 2001 -- the last year for which figures are available -- compared to 350 in 1992. Also in that category, they apprehended 17,984 smuggled migrants in 2001, compared to 681 in 1992.
The top U.S. anti-smuggling official says more than half the estimated 275,000 migrants who sneak into the country annually are helped by smugglers -- including some bound for South Florida from Cuba, Haiti and even from as far away as Asia.
''Fifteen years ago, you did not need smugglers to get across the border illegally, except maybe a local guide,'' said Jim Chaparro, acting executive director for interior enforcement for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ``Now it's a humongous problem.''
Part of the reason is border-tightening measures following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as a largely successful crackdown on major smuggling rings along the U.S.-Mexican border that has forced migrants to find alternative ways to get to the United States.
Increased law-enforcement efforts have not put a dent in smaller smuggling networks active nationwide, many of them focused on a particular ethnic group.
In South Florida, smugglers who have brought Cubans to the United States have been operating from Hialeah and the Florida Keys, law enforcement officials said. Those who smuggle Haitians are usually based in Haiti, where they periodically organize large boatloads of migrants bound for South Florida. And many undocumented Mexican migrants who work on South Florida farms are brought here by smugglers.
Miami International Airport also is a gateway for illegal migrants from Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia, who often travel a circuitous route to arrive here carrying fraudulent documents supplied by smugglers.
One federal official familiar with illegal migrant entry into South Florida said smugglers rely heavily on fraudulent or stolen passports from countries for which the United States does not require visas for entry. These include Britain, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Japan.
An Iraqi asylum seeker, interviewed in 2001 at the Krome detention center (he has since been released), said he paid $8,000 to a smuggling ring that got him bus passage to Turkey and plane tickets from Istanbul to Moscow to Havana and then to Lima, where he boarded a plane to Miami using a British passport.
Migrants pay thousands of dollars to be ferried across the Mexican and Canadian borders or to the South Florida coastline.
Some pay as little as $500 just to get across the border, but some pay up to $65,000 for a trip from China. That fee includes plane tickets, a fraudulent passport and stays in hotels and safe houses in South American or Caribbean cities before entering the United States, typically in Los Angeles or Miami.
''Alien smuggling is a reprehensible crime that all too often kills people,'' said U.S. Attorney Marcos Daniel Jiménez. ``Human traffickers are greedy thugs who show no regard for the lives of others. We will pursue them relentlessly and make them account for their crimes. We also will continue to work closely with all federal, state and local law enforcement to secure our borders.''
But attempts to thwart smuggling face significant obstacles, federal officials say, including a shortage of personnel and money, poor coordination among investigators and the sheer number of people desperate to enter the United States by any means.
TOP SOURCE COUNTRIES
Latin American and Caribbean nations account for nine of the 10 countries atop the list of smuggled migrants, federal officials say. The top five are Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. China also makes the top 10.
Any hope to stem the tide would require closer cooperation with nations where the bulk of smuggled migrants originate, federal officials said. For the past few years, Mexico has had a media campaign warning people of the perils of trying to cross the border, but immigration advocates say that has done little to dissuade people trying to escape grinding poverty.
The U.S. government also could make a major dent in smuggling by striking a migration accord with Mexico, Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbéz told reporters in Mexico City following the deaths of the migrants in Texas.
The accord, which has been discussed by Mexican and U.S. officials, would grant temporary work and residence permits for undocumented Mexican workers in the United States. But the negotiations were delayed by the Sept. 11 attacks and then derailed by U.S. resentment over Mexico's opposition to the invasion of Iraq.
For Lidia Urbina, a Nicaraguan with a temporary work and residency permit who now lives in Miami, the $500 she paid five years ago to be smuggled across the Rio Grande was a small fortune -- but worth every penny.
She has worked as a baby sitter and now helps fellow Nicaraguans and Hondurans apply to renew temporary work permits at Honduran Unity, a migrant rights group.
''At least here I have my work permit and can make a living,'' she said.
Reprinted from The Miami Herald of May 30, 2003.
|Posted at 1:19 a.m., Friday, May 30, 2003|
|Haitian Police burn confiscated weapons|
|By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer|
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haitian police set a ceremonial bonfire Thursday and destroyed more than 200 guns confiscated in a yearlong disarmament campaign (photos).
The guns including 215 handguns and 18 rifles were hung on pegs on a pyramid-shaped wooden structure. Officers doused it with gasoline and set it afire with a torch.
"It's a great day. It affirms the government's will to end confrontation and violence as a way to resolve conflict," acting police chief Jean-Claude Jean-Baptiste said (From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants).
The disarmament campaign is intended to satisfy opposition demands for the government to ensure security before planned legislative elections this year. So far, though, opposition leaders have said they are not satisfied with government efforts, and no date has been set for the vote.
Critics said the ceremony fell short of proving a real commitment to confiscate illegal weapons (Amnesty International Report 2003).
"The government is putting on a show for the Organization of American States. Its power base is its armed partisans, and it won't saw off the branch it's sitting on," human rights advocate Jean-Claude Bajeux said.
Critics regularly accuse the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of using street thugs to harass opponents. The government denies it and has accused the opposition of plotting violent acts.
An OAS official said on condition of anonymity that the organization's special mission in Haiti was not satisfied with information received about the arms confiscated in the campaign.
The OAS, which was invited to the ceremony, did not send representatives.
Police said they were burning about two-thirds of the weapons seized and that the rest would be kept for use by the authorities.
Haitians must hold permits to possess guns, and police pledged to continue the search illegal weapons.
The government and opposition have been at loggerheads over scheduling new elections since Aristide's governing party swept disputed legislative elections in May 2000.
To persuade opposition parties and civil society groups to participate in an electoral council, the government has pledged to implement OAS resolutions that would guarantee secure and credible elections.
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press
|Posted at 1:45 a.m., Wednesday, May 28, 2003|
|In Haiti, a totalitarian dictator Aristide's new murder plot|
|By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor|
Tuesday, on many radio stations, in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, there was only a few major stories (From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants).
But the story that retained listeners' attention the most was despot Jean-Bertrand Aristide's new murder plot, targeting, just for now, many assumed, members of the long disbanded Haitian Army.
"According to solid information that I have Aristide has a plan to murder more than 50 members of the Haitian Army," Himler Rebu, a former army colonel and author of many serious books told Port-au-Prince's radio stations (Brutal killings in Haiti's hell-sent dictator Aristide - Amnesty International Report 2003).
The evidence of the new murder plot became quite strong for listeners after Mr. Rebu provided them with an incalculable number of names of former army officers already brutally murdered by Stalin's Caribbean surrogate dictator, Aristide.
Did Mr. Rebu, who bestial Aristide has more than once tried to ferociously kill, fail to provide listeners with a full account as to what happened to the victims' bodies after they were ferociously murdered by chief bandit Aristide? Certainly not. "Many of the victims' bodies were damp on Port-au-Prince's streets when in fact they met a brutal end in provincial cities and towns," said Mr. Rebu.
Why Port-au-Prince's streets, Mr. Rebu was repeatedly asked. "Given the cynicism of Aristide's de facto regime, Aristide's incessant appetite for the blood of innocent former army members and others - now, many of them cannot even feed themselves and their families - the purpose of so was to further mislead Haitians, to lead Haitians to believe that they were murdered in Port-au-Prince by petty street criminals, that his de facto and criminal regime, his gang absolutely had nothing to do with the killings."
In other developments, in the meantime there have been many killings lately, including that of Police Inspector, Fremont Ambroise, who met a brutal end this week, after he was severely hit in the head and then lynched by mobs, in the locality of Cavalier, not far from the town of Cote de Fer, Southeast of Haiti.
The killings, however, have not stopped. While many businessmen, as well as businesswomen, were until not long ago executed after they refused to pay a ransom to kidnappers, members of dictator Aristide's Lavalas Party (Flood), to, hopefully, regain their liberty, the number of innocent Haitians murdered, including entrepreneurs, during the last very few days is incalculable.
|Posted at 10:12 p.m., Monday, May 26, 2003|
|U.S. Coast Guard sends 48 back to Haiti|
|By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer|
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, May 26 -- Penniless and exhausted from nearly a week at sea, 48 Haitian migrants were repatriated to their homeland Monday to face the same hopeless poverty they failed to escape (photos).
The migrants said they had sailed from north-coast St. Louis du Nord on May 20 in a small wooden sailboat they had stolen (From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants).
The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted them the following day south of Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas, and on Monday returned them to the Haitian coast guard station in Port-au-Prince's suburb of Carrefour.
Given the Caribbean country's deepening misery, many said they were depressed to be back.
''There's no work, and the cost of living is rising. The hardship has just become intolerable,'' said Anita Prezis, 23, who had left her two children with relatives in hopes of finding better economic opportunities on foreign shores.
''It didn't matter where we landed -- the Bahamas or the United States -- provided we got out of Haiti,'' said former schoolteacher Evanson Jeanty, 32.
Already the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation, Haiti has sunk deeper into poverty as the government and opposition wrangle over flawed legislative elections in May 2000.
The hardship has led thousands to flee, with many departing between March and May before the hurricane season begins in June.
This month more than 1,000 Haitian migrants have been intercepted near the Bahamas, and about 800 have been repatriated.
Upon their return the government normally gives them 100-150 gourdes (about $2.40--$3.60) for bus fare home, a sum that has dwindled from 250 gourdes (about $10.00) from last year.
On Monday, however, the returning migrants, many barefoot and shirtless and looking emaciated, were given nothing and left to find their own way back home. Bus fare to St. Louis du Nord, the point of last week's departure, is 300 gourdes (about $7.15). Many said they had no idea how they would make it.
''It's a serious worry of ours, that this will swell the number of indigents in the capital,'' said Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, who heads the National Migration Office.
Many of those attempting to reach U.S. shores are abandoned on one of the Bahamas' more than 700 islands or cays, as migrant smugglers seek to avoid stepped-up U.S. patrols in the region.
The Bahamian military, which also has increased its patrols at sea, apprehended 4,220 Haitians last year -- the highest number in a decade and nearly 50 percent more than in 2001.
The Bahamas repatriated more than 3,000 Haitian migrants last year at a cost of more than US$1 million.
An estimated 60,000 Haitians are living illegally among the Bahamas' 360,000 citizens, many hoping to earn enough eventually to make it to the United States.
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press
|Posted at 12:21 a.m., Wednesday, May 20, 2003|
|U.S. nation-building in Haiti founders amid turmoil|
|By Jim Loney, Reuters Writer|
PORT-AU-PRINCE, May 19 (Reuters) - Shortly after the United States invaded Haiti in 1994, the U.S. military built Route 9, a highway intended to link the capital and the Cite Soleil slum with the North of the impoverished Caribbean nation (photos).
Route 9 was the start of an ambitious U.S. plan for hundreds of miles of roads to help resurrect Haiti's moribund economy and firmly establish democracy in a nation that had known only dictatorship and merciless military rule (From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants).
Today, many Haitians are afraid to use Route 9, an unfinished highway preyed upon by armed bandits. Not long ago, Haitian police stopped traffic on the road to allow a Colombian drug plane to land and unload a ton of cocaine, police officials said (Special reports)
The decline of a road paved with good intentions typifies nation-building efforts in Haiti nine years after the United States restored exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to office -- long on ambition, short on stamina.
As the United States launches its nation-building project in Iraq, analysts say Haiti holds few lessons in success.
The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere is stumbling toward its 200th anniversary of independence next year as troubled as ever, mired in political turmoil, burdened by poverty and unable to solve its own problems.
"Haiti is the perfect example of the failed state," said Ken Boodhoo, a professor of international relations at Florida International University.
Hope was high when a popular uprising encouraged by then-Roman Catholic priest Aristide ousted the 30-year Duvalier family dictatorship in 1986. Five years later, Aristide became Haiti's first freely elected president.
Though exiled by a military junta just seven months after taking office, Aristide and democratic rule returned to Haiti on the back of the U.S. military intervention in 1994.
Aristide scored a number of successes. He dismantled the thuggish army and banished the dreaded Ton Tons Macoute secret police that backed the Duvalier rule. With the help of trainers from the United States and Canada, he established the Haitian National Police, Haiti's first civilian security force.
Declared a foreign policy success for the Clinton administration, Haiti made small but important strides, improving health care and bolstering education in a country with an illiteracy rate of more than 50 percent.
In 1996, Aristide turned over power to his protege Rene Preval, the first democratic transition between leaders.
But by the end of 1996 most of the 21,000 foreign troops had departed and by 1999 Haiti was, to a large extent, on its own, analysts said, leaving a country with no history and little understanding of democracy to figure it out on its own.
"If you're going to be an imperialist, at least have a sense of how you're going to run the thing," said Lawrence Pezzullo, a Clinton envoy in the early 1990s. "To do it on the cheap and to do it oblivious to the cultural realities is an act of fantasy."
Pezzullo and others say the United States has no stomach for long-term commitment and abandoned Haiti far too soon.
"They came in with a one-year strategy to a 10-year problem," said James Morrell, executive director of the Haiti Democracy Project, a Washington think-tank.
Haiti fell afoul of international donors after national elections in May 2000, when officials improperly calculated the results of several Senate seats to favor Aristide's party. Foreign agencies halted some $500 million in direct aid.
Aristide was returned to office in a November 2000 election boycotted by opposition parties, and Haiti has been mired in a political stalemate since.
Among outside observers and many Haitians, hopes for a successful democratic transition are waning. Life has become tougher in the teeming capital as the Haitian currency, the gourde, has lost over half its value in 18 months.
Many Port-au-Prince residents get only two or three hours of electricity a day. About two-thirds of Haiti's 8 million people are considered malnourished.
The United States says Haiti has been corrupted by Colombian traffickers, who take advantage of its weak police force and poverty to move cocaine at will.
"The United States needed to stay here for 20 years," said Richard Desorme, a Haitian who said he is unemployed and homeless. "Then maybe there is hope for Haiti."
Copyright © 2003 Reuters Limited
|Posted at 10:35 p.m, Saturday, May 17, 2003|
|As AIDS ravages Caribbean, governments confront denial|
|Posted at 5:49 p.m., Friday, May 16, 2003|
|Haitian escapes charges|
|Fugitive is viewed as Aristide enforcer|
|By Marika Lynch, Miami Herald Writer|
A Haitian judge has dropped charges against the country's most infamous fugitive, Amiot Metayer -- a self-proclaimed pro-government gang leader whose ''Cannibal Army'' is accused of preying on opposition members (From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants).
Metayer was charged with arson for setting houses afire in a gang war in the coastal town of Gonaves. Jailed a year ago, Metayer was freed in a spectacular prison break three months later after his supporters ran a bulldozer through a cell wall.
For months the government refused to rearrest him, saying that plucking Metayer from his neighborhood and supporters would only provoke a bloodbath. But two other judges on the case questioned the government's will. Both then fled the country -- including one to South Florida -- saying the government pressured them to drop the charges.
Meanwhile, Metayer enjoyed his freedom, even calling a news conference in front of the Gonaves police station.
On Thursday, government prosecutor Louizelme Joseph told Radio Metropole that a judge withdrew Metayer's arrest warrant because there were no grounds for the charges.
Joseph said he didn't know if Metayer would be sought for other crimes of which he is accused, although government spokesman Mario Dupuy said he still could be charged for escaping from jail. About 150 other inmates escaped during the jail break.
The former longshoreman is perceived as such a public threat that groups from human rights observers to a delegation of the hemisphere's top diplomats have clamored for his arrest. They argue that to allow Metayer to remain free would allow his band to terrorize those who oppose the government.
ALLIES OF GOVERNMENT
The Cannibal Army is one of several so-called grass-roots organizations in Haiti describing themselves as pro-government militants who are fighting for the poor, but whom human rights observers blame for threats, political violence and organized crime.
After a visit in March by a delegation from the Organization of American States, the government said it would arrest Metayer. Supporters said he had fled to the neighboring Dominican Republic, although other witnesses said he was spotted in Gonaves.
Metayer's freedom continues to be a sticking point with international observers who say President Jean-Bertrand Aristide hasn't done enough to make Haiti safe. The inability to arrest Metayer could further endanger the country's relationship with its neighbors and the United States.
After hearing the news Thursday, Investigating Judge Marcel Jean, who once had the Metayer case, said he was disappointed. Jean said he was pressured by a member of Aristide's staff to drop the case. When he refused, he was put on a list of people not allowed to leave the country. He finally fled this spring and is with friends in Palm Beach County.
''Someone can't kill people, burn their houses, and burn the courthouse and not be brought to justice,'' Jean said. ``I think this raises serious questions about the future of the country. This country has no future if this is how justice will be treated.''
Herald staff writer D.E. Leger contributed to this report, which was supplemented with material The Associated Press. Reprinted from The Miami Herald of May 16, 2003.
|Posted at 10:35 p.m., Wednesday, May 14, 2003|
|Antoine Adrien, a prominent Haitian Roman Catholic priest who envisioned a democratic Haiti, died May 13rd, aged 81|
|By The Associated Press|
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Antoine Adrien, a Catholic pastor whose congregation was forced into exile by Haitian dictator Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, died Tuesday after complications from a stroke. He was 81 (From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants).
Adrien was the superior of the Holy Ghost Fathers congregation in 1969, when Duvalier forced him and his congregation into exile, accusing it of plotting against his regime. Members fled the country and after three years in the Central African Republic, Adrien moved to New York City, where he was active in the democratic opposition to Duvalier and edited Sel, a review written in French Creole, the vernacular spoken by Haitians.
He returned to Haiti following the popular uprising that toppled Duvalier's son and successor, Jean-Claude Duvalier, and was an active proponent of liberation theology. He also was a fervent supporter of fellow clergyman and now-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
The army ousted Aristide in a coup in September 1991. During the three years of repressive military-backed government, Adrien remained in Haiti, in staunch defense of the elected government. U.S. troops restored Aristide to power in 1994.
Adrien directed St. Martial Catholic seminary in the capital.
|Posted at 11:10 p.m., Tuesday, May 13, 2003|
|Haiti reaches agreement with IMF|
|By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer|
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, May 13 - Haiti has agreed to cut spending and stabilize its currency in a deal with the International Monetary Fund that could pave the way for other institutions to release suspended funds, an IMF official said Tuesday (From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants).
Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation, has sunk deeper into despair since international financial organizations suspended more than $500 million in aid to the Caribbean nation.
Some institutions also blocked loans after flawed legislative elections in May 2000. Citing increasing poverty, the Organization of American States urged financial institutions to normalize relations with Haiti, but its debts to the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank already have mounted to more than $60 million.
International financial institutions do not lend to countries in arrears, said Mounir Rached, the IMF's representative in Haiti.
The agreement, reached on Monday after intense negotiations, obliges Haiti to present a plan that cuts deficit spending by nearly half, from 5.2 percent to 2.7 percent. The plan also requires Haiti to reduce inflation from 13 percent to 10 percent and to monitor spending in public sector enterprises.
"It's a great step. Last year, they weren't ready to do it," Rached said.
"This agreement with the IMF will help other donors ... resume financial assistance," he added, pointing to the IDB, the World Bank and the 15-nation European Union.
If Haiti fulfills its obligations during 12 months, it will have access to between $100 and $150 million in IMF funds for poverty reduction and growth.
The agreement sends "a strong signal to the international community" that Haiti is putting its economic house in order, said Haiti's Finance and Economy Minister Faubert Gustave.
Haiti owes about $30 million to the Inter-American Development Bank and about $30 million to the World Bank.
Once the IMF agreement is signed, expected this month, Haiti will be eligible for a $50 million IDB budget support loan if it is able to come up with the money still owed to donor nations or other sources. Haiti has about $25 million in exchange reserves.
Once its debts are paid to the IDB, Haiti will be eligible to receive four IDB loans totaling $146 million that were frozen at first because of the elections, and remained stalled because of the arrears.
Since flawed May 2000 legislative races, the government and opposition have been in a deadlock. The opposition now refuses to participate in new elections as long as President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is in power.
It was Aristide's governing party, Lavalas Family, that swept the races, winning more than 80 percent of the seats in parliament.
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press
|Posted at 9:19 p.m., Monday, May 12, 2003|
|In Haiti, a 10-year-old girl is raped; hopeless father kills his two children|
|By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor|
CAMBRIDGE, MA, May 12 - Haitians expressed shock and anger at the rape of a 10-year-old girl who was raped and impregnated by a 15-year-old boy in Haiti this week (From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants).
The boy, who I decline to identify, because he is still a minor, as is the girl, was taken taken out of the circulation by police, but was later told to go home by a judge because there was insufficient evidence that he had committed the odious act.
In another development, in 1994 when totalitarian dictator, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was returned to Haiti by the Clinton's Administration, after three years in exile, in Washington, D.C., he was promised everything - food, a simple house ... even a Jaguar automobile.
He was even told that he could commence to shop for a wife, who would later share his new wealth with him.
More, the new wife would fly to Cancun, in Mexico, on his private jet, with him.
But since then, all Alix Michel has known is dehumanizing poverty as tyrant Aristide continues to pillage Haiti's public treasury and traffic in drugs.
Hopeless that life will never change for the better for him, Michel killed his two children this week and then attempted to terminate his own life, but was prevented from doing so by Haitian police, who has since chained him to a hospital bed.
|Posted at 12:35 p.m., Sunday, May 11, 2003|
|Haiti arrests American on arms charges|
|By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer|
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Police have arrested an American man on charges of importing arms to Haiti illegally, a government spokesman said Saturday (From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants)..
James White Glenn was arrested Friday in the coastal city of Gonaives, 60 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince, in possession of army uniforms, assault weapons, munitions, and grenade launchers, spokesman Mario Dupuy said.
The U.S. Embassy said it was looking into the arrest but was not immediately able to confirm it. More details about Glenn and where he was from were not available.
Glenn "had imported the material under cover of the Protestant mission he works for," Dupuy said, although he could not name the mission or Glenn's occupation.
The material was seized, and Glenn was taken Saturday to the national prison in the capital, Port-au-Prince, Dupuy said.
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press
|Haiti Dorival wins Japan's hurdles 'Grand Prix 2003'|
|Posted at 2:19 a.m., Saturday, May 10, 2003|
|In Boston, Massachusetts, park carcasses hint of nocturnal rituals|
|By Donovan Slack, Globe Correspondent|
While walking her dogs in Franklin Park in Dorchester yesterday, Laura Lanfranchi spied a white package in the distance, nestled under the edge of a boulder near a grove of tall oak trees (From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants).
Globe staff photo/John Tlumacki
|Joseph Wyse and his dog, Wong choy, next to slaughtered chickens and a rabbit found in Franklin Park yesterday. Some say they were used in religious rites|
The dogs, Blaze and Briar, bolted for it, and as Lanfranchi approached, she saw that it was a plastic grocery bag, bursting with speckled feathers. Inside were three chickens and a white rabbit, all dead. A severed wing lay about 3 feet away next to a puddle of candle wax.
It's not the first time she's discovered such a site. Lanfranchi and other parkgoers have been discovering similar packages all over the park: chickens, rabbits, last week a German shepherd.
They've found them leaning against trees and on remote paths, often amid a sprinkling of rice or grain, herbs and coins. Many times, the animals' legs have been tied with pieces of ribbon.
Authorities say they are baffled. Some of the animals may be slain in occult rituals, they said. Or they may be left behind after late-night ceremonies by Boston's growing number of practitioners of Santeria, a Caribbean religion that dictates offering animal blood to gods for good luck and the forgiveness of sins.
''It happens in the dead of night,'' said Antonia Pollak, acting commissioner for the city Parks Department. ''It is really eerie. We will certainly take action if we catch anyone abusing animals in such an apalling fashion.''
The appearance of dead animals -- happening for years -- has alarmed neighbors and frequenters of the park, one of whom said she once discovered a bloodied goat next to a path. Satellite image: Mass GIS Globe Staff Map
''I'm tired of finding dead animals there,'' said Jennifer Woehr, who lives nearby and walks her dog in the park. ''It starts in the spring and culminates in July.''
Cruelty laws in Massachusetts forbid killing animals unless it is to spare them from suffering.
But Parks Department officials, whose rangers patrol Franklin Park during the day, say the perpetrators are difficult to catch. They say that most of the time, they have to rely on parkgoers to report dead animals to police so that the Animal Rescue League can pick up the carcasses and investigate.
The ritualistic appearance of many of the animals has led some to suspect Santeria, also known as the Lucum religion, which has been practiced in Boston for more than a decade.
Brought to the area by an ever-growing population of Caribbean immigrants, it has roots in African tribal beliefs, as well as Catholicism. Santeria priests have said the religion's gods are mortal, and therefore need food to survive.
''There are a lot of Santeros who sacrifice animals,'' said one priest, who gave his name as Lasero, adding he does not perform the ritual sacrifice with animals. ''People give complaints because they find dead animals. I use perfumes and plants,'' he said.
Parks officials, who said carcasses of small to medium-sized animals are usually found near oak trees or forks in paths, cautioned against blaming only practitioners of Santeria.
''This is not just one group,'' said Jon Seamens, spokesman for the department. ''There are signs, little altars.''
He said practitioners of Santeria normally perform rituals in their homes, and evidence of ritual killing in the park might be a sign of something else, though authorities so far have few ideas of who else it might be.
''On our end, we are encouraging people to call the park rangers,'' he said.
Dead animals in the park come as the city contemplates deep budget cuts to the Parks Department, forcing it to trim its force from 20 rangers to one.
Yesterday, Seamens used the issue of dead animals to argue that some of the cuts be restored. ''This shows why we need a full complement of rangers,'' he said. Donovan Slack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story ran on page B1 of the Boston Globe on 5/9/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company. © Copyright 2003 New York Times Company. Reprinted from The Boston Globe of May 9, 2003.
|Posted at 12:15 p.m., Friday, May 9, 2003|
|Dominicans release Haiti coup suspects|
|By Andres Cala, Associated Press Writer|
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, May 8 - A former Haitian police chief and four others suspected of plotting against Haiti's government were released Thursday, authorities said (From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants).
Guy Philippe, who once headed the police force in the northern Haitian city of Cap-Haitien, and the four others were detained Tuesday in the border town of Dajabon.
"We investigated them and, after finding nothing, we sent them away with the warning that under no pretext are they allowed to conspire," said Gen. Fernando Cruz, head of the government's investigation bureau.
Authorities arrested the five amid allegations that they were organizing a coup against Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Cruz said (As resources dwindle, search for clean water is costly daily struggle for most households).
In an view Thursday with Haiti's independent Radio Vision 2000, Philippe denied planning any subversive acts.
Philippe, a staunch opponent of Aristide, fled across the border from Haiti in October 2000 with six other top police officials.
He has been accused by Haiti's government of masterminding an armed attack on the National Palace on Dec. 17, 2001. Philippe has denied the charges.
In Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, Haiti's opposition denied allegations it was trying to destabilize the government after armed men damaged a hydroelectric plant.
On Wednesday, about 20 gunmen attacked a hydroelectric plant north of the capital, killing two guards, setting fire to the control tower and putting three turbines out of commission.
The Haitian government said the attack on the electric plant was linked to the arrests, and illustrated a pattern of subversive acts meant to destabilize the Aristide government.
The Haitian opposition has been at loggerheads with Aristide's government since May 2000, when the former priest's Lavalas Family party swept legislative races. Independent observers said the races were flawed.
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press
|Black groups seek cultural divide closure|
|By Genaro C. Arms, Associated Press Writer|
WASHINGTON, May 8 - A cultural division is emerging between American-born blacks and a fast-growing population of black immigrants, civil rights advocates said Thursday.
The black population grew 31 percent between 1980 and 2000, from 26 million to 34 million. But the population of blacks from Africa and the Caribbean grew roughly seven times as fast, according to an analysis of Census Bureau (news - web sites) data by the Lewis Mumford Center at the State University of New York at Albany.
The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation held a conference to discuss ways to bridge the gaps between the groups.
"There is a cultural ignorance we have about each other," said Clayola Brown, civil rights director for the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees. "The only way we can overcome that is to educate both immigrants and the native-born."
For example, Brown and other participants said many American blacks do not realize those born overseas must overcome the same disparities in housing, education and health care that they do in America.
The number of blacks who arrived from or claimed ancestry to the Caribbean or West Indies, such as Jamaica or Haiti, more than tripled between 1980 and 2000 to 1.5 million, the study found.
More than one-third of Afro-Caribbean population lives in the New York City area, with most of the rest settled in big cities along the East Coast.
The 537,000 blacks who came from or had ties to sub-Saharan African countries such as Nigeria or Ghana is six times the number from two decades earlier. The Washington, D.C., New York and Atlanta metropolitan areas have the largest concentrations of African-born residents.
Socioeconomic differences between black immigrants and native-born blacks has created friction in some communities, said Roderick Harrison, a demographer with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington. He studies income, education trends and other issues that affect the socioeconomic and political status of minorities.
More than 84 percent of blacks of recent African descent were born overseas, compared with 70 percent of Afro-Caribbeans, and just 2 percent of African-Americans.
The median household income for blacks from the Caribbean or Africa is about $40,000, nearly $7,000 more than for African-Americans. Those with African descent tend to have more education an average of more than 14 years in school compared with less than 13 for Afro-Caribbeans and African-Americans.
The unemployment rate of 10 percent for African-Americans in 2000 was about 3 percentage points higher than for Afro-Caribbeans and 5 percentage points higher for those of African descent.
Those differences exist mainly because immigration policies, especially for those arriving from Africa, is more selective, Harrison said. Many of those who come from Africa are political refugees who tend to be more educated. In New York and south Florida, places with large pockets of immigrants, political tensions have risen when an election pits an native-born black versus an Afro-Caribbean.
Language barriers also often act as an obstacle, said William Spriggs, executive director of the National Urban League's Institute for Opportunity and Equality.
But Spriggs pointed out that his organization and other groups have started reaching out to newer immigrant communities by hiring bilingual workers and doing voter outreach.
There have been recent signs of unity. Civil rights groups descended on Florida last October after a boat carrying 216 Haitians ran aground in Key Biscayne, and after the 2000 election, when many black voters felt they were disenfranchised by ballot controversies.
Blacks of different backgrounds protested after the highly publicized police brutality cases in New York of black immigrants Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima.
Incidents such as those, as well as struggles to overcome socioeconomic disparities, are common for all blacks, Spriggs said.
Historically, because of the slave trade, most native-born blacks share the same backgrounds as recent immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, he added.
"If affirmative action applies to someone living in Mississippi, it has to apply to someone from Brazil or Haiti," Spriggs said. "We just got off at a different point on the boat." ___ On the Net: National Conference of Black Civic Participation: http://www.bigvote.org/index1.htm Mumford Center: http://mumford1.dyndns.org/cen2000/report.html
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press
|Posted at 2:29 p.m., Wednesday, May 7, 2003|
|Alleged Haiti plotters held in Dominican Republic|
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, May 7 (Reuters) - Five Haitians alleged to have been planning a coup against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide have been arrested in neighboring Dominican Republic, authorities said on Wednesday (From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants).
Officials in the Dominican Republic, which shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti, said the five included a former Haitian police chief, Guy Philippe, and a former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Paul Arcelin.
They were detained in the northern border town of Dajabon and were being held in a Dominican military jail, an army spokesman said.
The Haitian consul in Dajabon, Jean Batiste Bien-Aime, said the arrests had thwarted a plot to start a rebellion against Aristide's government with attacks on police stations.
Arcelin, interviewed by local media in the Dajabon jail, denied he traveled to the city as part of a plot to overthrow Aristide, but was fiercely critical of the government.
It's "not us who are going to take them out of power but the people, who can't stand the social and economic situation, and the neglect anymore," he said.
Haiti, with a population of about 8 million, is the poorest country in the Americas. Aristide, who was the country's first freely elected president, is serving a second term that has been marked by periodic waves of anti-government protests.
Copyright 2003 Reuters
|Posted at 2:20 a.m., Wednesday, May 7, 2003|
|From Baghdad to Haiti, so goes the war against murderous tyrants|
|Posted at 1:19 a.m., Saturday, May 3, 2003|
|Taiwan reaffirms ties to Haiti with navy ship's historic visit|
|By Jane Regan, Special to The Miami Herald|
PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Three Taiwanese navy ships steamed past fishermen in dugout canoes and into Port-au-Prince harbor on Thursday to make their first-ever visit to one of Taiwan's oldest partners (photos).
Flying the blue and red flags of Haiti and Taiwan, two guided-missile frigates and a supply ship carried 800 sailors and midshipmen who waved and snapped photos from the gray decks boasting machine guns and rocket launchers.
Most people along the seaside boulevard turned little more than a curious eye to the ships' arrival. But inside the port authority walls, officials were out in force to welcome the Taiwanese, who have supported the Haitian government for 47 years. Taiwan is the Haitian government's largest donor.
The National Palace band learned Taiwan's anthem, school children waved Taiwanese flags and shouted greetings in Mandarin, and units of Haiti's coast guard and National Police saluted as Taiwanese officers and sailors, in dazzling white uniforms, stepped onto Haitian soil.
At a welcome ceremony, Haiti's Minister of the Interior Jocelerme Privert said the Taiwan navy's presence -- part of a three-month training cruise -- ``puts a seal on our relationship at a particularly difficult time.''
Both Taiwan and Haiti ''share a history of exclusion and ostracism by the powerful countries,'' Privert said, referring to Taiwan's exclusion from the United Nations and differences between Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government and the Organization of American States, the United States and other countries over allegedly fraudulent elections and human rights violations.
''We are both struggling to conserve our independence and autonomy in the face of attacks and selfishness,'' Privert said.
''Haiti is one of our most important partners,'' Taiwan's ambassador, Hsieh Hsin-ping, confirmed. Only last week, he noted, Taiwan gave Haiti $3 million for a government literacy program.
Although the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank and other donors are blocking assistance to the Aristide government, Taiwan plans to disburse about $40 million in grants and $15 million in loans between now and 2005.
SIGNS OF LARGESS
Signs of Taiwan's largess can be seen throughout Haiti, where police cars and garbage trucks often say ``Gift of the Republic of China.''
Taiwan has paid for roads, low-cost housing, experimental rice farms and a sports complex.
The island nation has also directly supported Aristide with funds for his foundation and the Lafanmi Selavi orphanage he founded in the 1980s.
Because of China's claim on Taiwan, the Taipei government is only recognized by 28 nations, 13 of them in the Caribbean basin.
Taiwan, which rewards its friends with what is sometimes called ''dollar diplomacy,'' has stood by every government to occupy Haiti's National Palace since 1954, including dictators François Duvalier and his son, Jean-Claude Duvalier.
Public panic about severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which originated in China and spread to neighboring Taiwan, put the visit in doubt, even though the ships had left Taiwan long before the first SARS case appeared. Opposition politicians had called the government ''irresponsible'' before the government held several news conferences to reassure the public.
At the welcoming ceremonies, Taiwanese Adm. Chu Tsong-rong delivered a certificate promising that none of his sailors posed a health threat. Reprinted from
The Miami Herald of May 3, 2003.
|Posted at 5:10 p.m., Friday, May 2, 2003|
|Senators criticize Bush on Latin America|
|By Ken Guggenheim, Associated Press Writer|
WASHINGTON, May 1 - Senate Republicans and Democrats charged the Bush administration Thursday with a failure to show leadership in Latin America at a time when the region is deep in crisis (unrelated photos).
The handling of a free-trade agreement with Chile, immigration negotiations with Mexico and policy on Cuba all came under scrutiny at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee nomination hearing for Roger Noriega for the State Department's top post in the region.
"This administration's policy in regard to Latin America has been in drift for the last two years," said Sen. Bill Nelson (news, bio, voting record), D-Fla.
President Bush's pledged during his campaign to make this the "century of the Americas," but the fighting against terrorism and the war on Iraq has diverted attention from the hemisphere.
Colombia's civil war continues, Argentina suffers from a deep recession and political crises continue in Haiti and Venezuela.
More than two years into the Bush administration, Noriega is seeking to become its first confirmed assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs. Bush's original nominee, Otto Reich, was denied a hearing in 2001 because the committee, then led by Democrats, considered him unqualified.
Reich was given a recess appointment, but Bush declined to remove him as a nominee when his term ended last year especially after the new Republican Foreign Relations chairman, Richard Lugar, suggested that someone else be nominated.
Noriega, the current ambassador to the Organization of American States, had been a committee staff member under former Sen. Jesse Helms and is likely to be confirmed.
Lugar, R-Ind., and other committee members used the hearing as a forum on the administration's Latin American policies. When Noriega said the Sept. 11 attacks had derailed hopes for an immigration agreement with Mexico, Lugar wasn't satisfied.
"Life goes on, our government has a lot of priorities," Lugar said. "We ought to be capable of doing many things at the same time."
Lugar said he was bothered that the free-trade agreement with Chile would be delayed because of its opposition to the war in Iraq. He rejected suggestions that the Bush administration couldn't submit a treaty because of an anti-Chile sentiment in Congress and said the administration had to take charge of the issue.
Asked by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., whether Chile should "pay a price" for its anti-war stand in the U.N. Security Council, Noriega said the treaty should be considered on its own merits, regardless of the Iraq vote. Dodd was the strongest opponent to Reich's nomination.
Several committee members, including Republicans, have been critical of Bush's support for the Cuba embargo, though they have become less vocal since Fidel Castro began his crackdown on dissidents last month.
Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who this week sponsored a bill to lift the Cuban travel ban, questioned Noriega about encouraging Cuban democracy through "people-to-people" exchanges. The Bush administration in March limited these exchanges by tightening restrictions on educational travel.
Noriega said he favors the exchanges, if they are more than just tourism.
"It would be something that I hope we could do more of, as a matter of fact," he said.
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press
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