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Photos: *One again, agony in Haiti *A fatal fire in Haiti *Not bad at all ... plutocrat dictator Aristide's human development *Navigated a hopeful better future ... *A parade of despots and assassins ... *Drug kingpin's ultra-luxury mansion ... Books & Arts/In Ideas: *Do aid studies govern policies or reflect them? Books & Arts/In Book Review: *The devil's disciples *The Louisiana purchase: How the West was bought  Books & Arts/In Film Review: *Haiti's film debut brings real magic  Books & Arts/In Arts Review: *Ecletic art gallery is a mind-boggler Special Reports: *Study finds 2.6% increase in U.S. prison population *Amazon Indians honor an intrepid spirit *Haitians are held in U.S. despite grant of asylum* Why famine persists  Editorials/Columns: *Dealing with too much a tin-pot totalitarian dictator Aristide Human Rights: *Amnesty International Report 2003

Posted At 3:09 p.m., Tuesday, July 29, 2003
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A totalitarian dictatorship in Haiti

Washington, Jul. 28 -- Journalists, politicians, trade union organizers, and others have been murdered in recent years in Haiti for criticizing the political process in that Caribbean nation, says a human rights officer for the Organization of American States (OAS).

In a July 23 statement, Eduardo Bertoni, the OAS "Special Rapporteur" for freedom of expression, said the assassinations of journalists Jean Leopold Dominique and Brignol Lindor and the "constant possibility of reprisals because of what is investigated, printed, or disseminated leads to self-censorship on the part of many media outlets and social communicators."

Bertoni condemned the "lack of compliance" on the part of Haiti's government with its obligation to "expose, try, and sanction those responsible" for the assassinations and acts of harassment against journalists. The Haitian government's failure to take action, said Bertoni, "contributes to the intimidation and, therefore, to the self-censorship of social commentators."

The official said that the apparent "impunity" of those who carry out attacks against journalists and the media also "contributes to create an environment of intimidation and harassment" that discourages "the full exercise of the freedom of expression in Haiti."

Bertoni's office released a new document called "Report on the State of Freedom of Expression in Haiti," which combines the information gathered by Bertoni during his recent visits to Haiti with other information he received during and after those trips.

The government of Haiti must take all "necessary measures" to protect the media and others, Bertoni said. He added that the government must undertake a "serious, impartial and effective investigation of the acts of violence" against journalists, "and try and punish those responsible for violations of freedom of expression."

For its part, the United States says a decade of poor governance and economic mismanagement has brought Haiti to a near standstill.

In recent congressional testimony, Adolfo Franco, assistant administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), said the United States seeks to help Haitian civil society resist the "growing authoritarianism" of the Haitian government by supporting activities to strengthen the country's political parties and the independent media.

Franco said that the country's direction "now depends on whether the government can establish a climate for free and fair elections" in 2003 and secure the participation of Haiti's opposition parties, many of which boycotted the election of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in November 2000.

The United States, said Franco in his April 2 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also keeps in contact with the Haitian human rights community and incorporates these groups whenever possible into USAID activities in Haiti.

Franco said that in addition to USAID's work with Haitian civil society, the agency's programs in Haiti are designed to meet essential humanitarian needs and generate employment "in a difficult economic environment."

In another matter pertaining to Western Hemisphere relations, the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) held a July 21-22 meeting in Washington to discuss the upcoming Special Summit of the Americas to be hosted by the government of Mexico.

The OAS said in a July 23 statement that the goal of the Special Summit is to address the current economic, social, and political challenges facing the region. The OAS said the Special Summit's agenda will center on three issues -- economic growth with equity, social development, and democratic governance.

The SIRG, which monitors implementation of the Summit of the Americas process and prepares reports for the hemisphere's foreign ministers, was created following the first Summit of the Americas in Miami in 1994 and holds about four regular meetings each year.

Posted at 1:35 a.m., Sunday, July 27, 2003
Haiti Voodoo pilgrimage draws thousands
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer

PLAINE DU NORD, Haiti, Jul. 26 - Carrying candles and a heavy spiritual debt, Josephine Derulien walked for 17 hours to reach this small farming town, swollen by thousands of people during an annual four-day pilgrimage.

The pilgrimage, one of the most important in the Voodoo religion, began Wednesday with rituals to Ogou, the god of war, and ended Saturday with rites to the goddess of love, Erzuli. This year's crowd of more than 10,000 was half the turnout of last year.

"I swore I would make this pilgrimage," said Derulien, 30, wearing a blue dress with a red kerchief, the traditional colors of Ogou. "I had a problem and it was solved. Now I'm here to pay my debt."

Although millions still practice Voodoo — now a state-sanctioned religion in Haiti — some are turning their backs on the religion brought from Africa, testing other faiths as their Caribbean nation grapples with growing instability and poverty.


Amazon Indians honor an intrepid spirit / Study finds 2.6% increase in U.S. prison population

Do aid studies govern policies or reflect them?

Dealing with too much a tin-pot totalitarian dictator Aristide

The Louisiana purchase: How the West was bought / Haiti's film debut brings real magic

Ecletic art gallery is a mind-boggler

An estimated 70 percent of Haiti's 8.8 million people practice Voodoo to some extent, including many who claim to be Catholic or another religion.

But a growing number, estimated at 30 percent, identify themselves as Protestant, said Andre Corten, a Canadian sociologist. This smaller group adamantly oppose Voodoo, which is spelled Vodou in the French and Creole spoken in Haiti.'

Voodoo requires sometimes pricey offerings to a pantheon of gods. In a country where most people survive on less than $1 a day and where the government hasn't managed to improve conditions, the draw of a cheaper religion is powerful.

Thousands of missionaries — many American — can be seen everyday in Haiti proselytizing and trying to draw people away from Voodoo. Many flock to evangelical Christian churches instead of Voodoo temples.

"The economic stagnation has cast a shadow over Voodoo," said musician and Voodoo priest Ronald "Aboudja" Derenencourt, 48.

One young girl selling bananas along the pilgrimage route, about 6 miles south Cap-Haitien on the north coast, pleaded with pilgrims to reject Voodoo.

"Voodoo is no good," said Rose Jean, 12, whose family of six are evangelical Christians. "They don't recognize Jesus."

The Catholic Church in the 1940's waged a campaign to eradicate Voodoo. Although unsuccessful, the religion was driven underground for years and disparaged by foreigners as a hodge-podge of beliefs.

In April, however, the Haitian government officially sanctioned it, allowing priests for the first time to legally perform marriages.

Many Voodoo practitioners have been wary of the step, fearful it was taken to woo them to the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, whose popularity is waning with hard times.

"Here we pray to everybody. Some pray to St. James, others to Ogou," said Jean Joseph, 45, a farmer who made the pilgrimage but prayed at the town's Catholic church. "You serve God or the Devil as you like."

Not far from the church where Joseph and other others prayed, men and women stripped down to their shorts, and plunged into a shallow mud basin. They emerged in a trance and said they were transformed.

"When I come out of the basin, I tremble. I feel the might of Ogou, who empowers me all year long," said Voodoo priest Harvey Dorvil, 31.

Around the basin, Voodoo priests, priestesses, and witchdoctors congregate, on the lookout for patients, whose ills they claim they can cure with spells and herbal remedies.

Merchants sold everything from radios and clothing to straw hats and religious items like candles, perfumes, amulets, and images of the saints.

Most seek help for money or love troubles. Derulien, like many, wouldn't say what she had asked Ogou for.

"Voodoo is our family faith," said Roseline Pierre, a 25-year-old student nurse from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who was born in Haiti. "Its spirituality is powerful. You just have to dig deep enough."

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

Posted at 9:04 p.m., Friday, July 25, 2003
Haiti gang kills four gov't officials
By The Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jul. 25 - Gunmen ambushed a delegation from the Interior Ministry on a central highway Friday, killing four and seriously wounding one, a radio station reported.

The delegation had gone to the town of Belladere, near the Haitian border with the Dominican Republic, for the swearing-in of a new mayor. As the delegates left the town after the ceremony, the gunmen attacked their vehicle, Radio Vision 2000 reported.

Police and government officials were not immediately available for comment.

About 25 people, including seven police officers, have been killed in attacks and clashes with gunmen in the Central Plateau District this year.

The government alleges the attackers are "the armed wing of the opposition," while the opposition denies using violence in its struggle against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Aristide's party swept May 2000 legislative elections that opposition says were rigged.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

Haiti will receive $146 million
By Marika Lynch, Miami Herald Writer

For the first time since the United States and international donors blocked some financial aid to Haiti three years ago, the Caribbean nation is finally set to receive $146 million in loans for water, health, road and education projects.

Haiti also will have access to $317 million more in loans from the Inter-American Development Bank, said Gerard Johnson, the bank's director. The plans will be finalized today in a ceremony in Port-au-Prince.

''This is very important for the population at large, and for the poor,'' Faubert Gustave, Haiti's finance minister, said in a telephone interview from the Haitian capital.

The Inter-American Development Bank loans will help rebuild 300 miles of roads in southeast Haiti and make more potable water accessible in a country where only a fifth of the homes have running water, the bank said. Loans also will be used to expand basic education in rural Haiti and to help reform the healthcare system.

The money was held up after Haiti's flawed legislative elections in May 2000 -- the seed of the country's now 3-year-old political crisis. The opposition movement and the Organization of American States disputed the way Haiti counted the votes for seven seats in the Senate.


The senators eventually resigned, but the country still has not been able to call elections to overcome the political deadlock. In September, international leaders decided that withholding money from Haiti's government was only hurting the country's fledgling institutions, and voted to unfreeze the aid. Getting the money carried conditions. Haiti still owed the Inter-American Development Bank $30 million in back payments. The country also had to make other reforms.

In the spring, Haiti reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on economic reforms that included cutting its deficit spending by half and reducing inflation. Haiti also sought help in paying its loan arrears, asking other Caribbean nations for loans.

At one point, a group of private Haitian banks appeared poised to lend the government the money. But the deal collapsed, and Haiti was forced to use nearly all of its dwindling reserves to pay off the arrears. This week, the Inter-American Development Bank granted another loan to Haiti.

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has often blamed the lack of international donations for Haiti's problems, and his government has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbyists in Washington in part to gain access to more aid.

While the $146 million in loans will be a boost for the country of eight million, however, it will be dispersed over three to five years, some of it to international contractors, and won't solve the country's economic problems.


''This is not a panacea. This is not a magic bullet for Haiti's problems,'' Johnson of the Inter-American bank said, adding that funds would go straight to contractors and be monitored by the bank. The money will help Haitian's government agencies that have weakened without the money to keep them going, he said.

The Inter-American Development Bank's loans are just one part of Haiti's aid puzzle. For example, the European Union and the United States give millions to private, nonprofit agencies for health and other projects, but give only a fraction directly to the government.

The United States, which will give $70 million this fiscal year to private groups, has worried about the way the Haitian government accounts for its donations, while the European Union has stressed it will not give money directly to the nation until Haiti cleans up its human rights record.

The World Bank also has been wary about lending to Haiti because of its track record with spending -- which former country director Orsalia Kalantzopoulos said in an interview this spring was one of the worst of any of the bank's recipients.

Reprinted from The Miami Herald of July 25, 2003.

Posted at 3:45 a.m., Friday, July 25, 2003
Haitians are held in U.S. despite grant of asylum
Posted at 9:19 p.m., Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Bestial Aristide savagely tortures democracy advocates, women detainees' ribs are broken
Courtesy of a wehaitians.com visitor

The judicial authorities have decided to transfer opposition militant Judy C. Roy to the Fort National women's prison. Roy was arrested eight days ago, and held at the Delmas 33 police station.

According to human rights advocates who visited her yesterday, Roy was severely tortured after her arrest. The human rights advocates said that they are very worried about the welfare of three of Roy's colleagues who were arrested with her and who are still at the Delmas 33 police station.

Boston: A new schedule and great expectations - David Cange and Radio Haiti Diaspo Inter, 1330 AM, 7:00-9:00p.m., effective Monday, July 28, 2003, tel. 617-868-1330.

Funds donated for the poor reportedly swindled

Dealing with too much a tin-pot totalitarian dictator Aristide

The human rights advocates denounce the illegal aspect of the decisions made in Roy's case. Eliphete Saint-Pierre, of the Human Rights Defence Platform, said the following :

[Saint-Pierre - in Creole] A delegation from the National Coalition for Haitian Rights [NCHR] went to the Fort National prison today [21 July] to visit Mrs Roy. The delegation was able to see her this time. We noticed that she had been tortured while in detention at the Delmas 33 police station.

They beat her and trampled her.

She said she is very worried about the welfare of three other people who were with her when she was arrested. They were severely tortured at that time and had broken ribs.

Some of them were vomiting blood after the beating.

We want to issue an alert for the authorities to ensure that the victims receive medical care. We notice a lot of human rights violations i the case of these people. We are working on the case to see how their rights can be guaranteed, especially their right to obtain medical care.

It should be pointed out that the Lavalas authorities have still not said anything about Roy's arrest. The government has not said why she was arrested. Roy was the leader of a pro-opposition movement. In February, the Lavalas regime accused her of being behind the attack on the hydroelectric plant in Peligre but she categorically rejected those accusations.

Posted at 2:59 p.m., Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Tragedy has once again revisited Haiti, 15 electrocuted at Basketball game
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jul. 22 - A high tension wire snapped and fell, electrocuting 15 people who were gathered to watch the final match of a basketball game, a mayor said Tuesday.

Dozens were gathered late Monday night to watch the game in Petit-Goave, about 70 kilometers (44 miles) west of the capital, when a short caused the wire to crackle and fall.

The line fell on 14 men and an 11-year-old girl, said mayor Reginald Francois, in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. All 15 died, and two others were slightly injured and hospitalized for burns.

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Dealing with too much a tin-pot totalitarian dictator Aristide

Like most towns in poverty-stricken Haiti, the coastal town of Petit Goave has been plagued with unreliable electric power for years.

In April, however, an independent power producer began to provide around-the-clock electricity, and streets and public places were illuminated for the first time in months.

It was because of the recent improvements that the basketball tournament could be held at night.

"It's a tragedy," Francois said, pointing out that the cash-strapped state-run electricity company has not been able to modernize the dilapidated network of wires, transformers, and telephone poles. The electricity network in Petit-Goave dates from 1948 and needs to be renovated, he said.

High-level government officials were expected to visit Petit-Goave Tuesday.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

Hundreds saying goobye to Salsa queen
By Tara Burghart, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - Hundreds of flag-waving fans, singing and dancing in the streets of Manhattan, gathered Tuesday morning for a final farewell to "Queen of Salsa" Celia Cruz.

Mourners took the day off from work and began arriving nine hours before Cruz's body was to travel in a horse-drawn carriage from 81st Street to St. Patrick's Cathedral. Police barricades lined the mile-long route.

"We're talking about a greatly loved figure who will forever be an example," said Arturo Charriez, 38, of Brooklyn. "Celia has been a gift from God to the Latin community. The woman was radiance itself."

Although Cruz was Cuban, fans waved the flags of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti — each claiming the singer as their own. Many spoke of her music as the soundtrack to their lives.

"I came here to pay tribute to a great queen," said Jacqueline Phillpotts, a Haitian native now living in Queens. "I postponed everything to be here."

After the funeral Mass, Cruz will be buried in a private ceremony at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

On Monday, thousands of patient mourners waited for hours to view Cruz's body at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home, forcing police to shut down a stretch of streets to accommodate the crowd.

As they wound through police barricades, many of the mourners chanted "Celia, Celia" and sang snippets of her songs.

Some wept. Others clutched flowers and carried photos of Cruz, who died July 16 at the age of 78 of a brain tumor in her Fort Lee, N.J., home.

Mildred Soto traveled from Passaic, N.J., with three friends for the viewing. They got in line at 5:30 a.m. and waited for six hours before entering the funeral home, and Soto emerged with tears in her eyes.

Soto, who admired Cruz's flamboyant stage shows and flashy costumes, said the singer looked "so beautiful" in her casket. Cruz's husband, trumpeter Pedro Knight, thanked the mourners for their support, Soto said.

"She had a very special place in our lives. Since I was born I've been hearing her music," said Soto, who was wearing a T-shirt with Cruz's photo on it. "She was an amazing woman, a gorgeous human being and a wonderful wife. She will always be inside our hearts."

The hours of the public viewing were extended so people wouldn't be turned away.

Cruz's body was flown over the weekend to Miami, where she was immensely popular, especially among the large Cuban population there. It was returned to New York on Sunday.

Cruz came to the United States in 1960, a year after the Cuban revolution. She recorded more than 70 albums, earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was honored with a National Endowment of the Arts medal by President Clinton (news - web sites) in 1994.

She won best salsa album for "La Negra Tiene Tumbao" at last year's Latin Grammy Awards, and won the same award at this year's Grammys. Her other best-known recordings include "Yerberito Moderno" and "Que le Den Candela." ___

Associated Press Writer Sheila Flynn contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

Posted at 3:46 p.m., Monday, July 21, 2003
Idi Amin in coma
By CBS News

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia, July 21, Human rights groups say as many as 500,000 people were killed during Amin's rule. Bodies were dumped into the Nile River after it became impossible to dig graves fast enough.

(CBS/AP) Former Ugandan President Idi Amin, exiled in Saudi Arabia after an eight-year rule marked by breathtaking brutality, was in a coma and in deteriorating condition Monday, a hospital official said.

The hospital official told The Associated Press late Sunday that Amin's condition had stabilized. But Monday morning, the official said, "his condition has deteriorated again." He would not elaborate.

The devil's disciples

A fatal fire in Haiti (photos)

Dealing with too much a tin-pot totalitarian dictator Aristide

Sunday, three of Amin's sons were at his bedside in the intensive care unit of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah, where Amin and relatives have lived for years. Amin, believed to be 80, was on a respirator. He was admitted to the hospital Friday suffering from high blood pressure, medical staff said.

Amin has been in a coma since his admission.

In Uganda, the independent Sunday Monitor quoted Nalongo Madina Amin — "Amin's favorite wife" — as saying she had approached Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni some time ago and asked that her husband be allowed to return to the east African nation to die but was told that the man who ruled Uganda from 1971 to 1979 would have to "answer for his sins."

In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where Museveni was attending a meeting on Burundi, his press assistant, Oonapito Ekonioloit, said Amin was in Saudi Arabia on his own accord and that his relatives "are free to bring him back to Uganda."

"Everyone knows he has a past. If he has any (legal) case to answer, it will be dealt with according to the law," Ekonioloit said. "He's a free citizen. It's a private matter between Amin and his family whether they want to bring him back alive or dead."

Amin, who served in the British colonial King's African Rifles and saw action in World War II in Burma, was a well-regarded officer at the time of Uganda's independence from Britain in 1962. He rose to chief of staff of Uganda's army and air force in 1966.

He clashed with Ugandan leader Milton Obote and ousted him on Jan. 25, 1971, when Obote was attending an African summit.

Amin was hailed a hero and the 250-pound leader was nicknamed Dada, or "Big Daddy." He even was chosen as the head of the Organization of African Unity in 1975 despite some members' objections.

Ugandans initially welcomed Amin, but his popularity plummeted after the East African nation descended into economic chaos and he declared himself president-for-life.

Amin grew increasingly authoritarian, violent and subject to mood swings. It is estimated that more than 200,000 Ugandans were tortured and murdered during his regime, which ended April 11, 1979, when he was ousted by a combined force of Ugandan exiles — including Museveni — and the Tanzanian army.

Human rights groups say as many as 500,000 people were killed during Amin's rule. Bodies were dumped into the Nile River after it became impossible to dig graves fast enough.

At one point, so many bodies were fed to crocodiles that the remains occasionally clogged intake ducts at Uganda's main hydroelectric plant at Jinja.

After his ouster, Amin, a Muslim and member of the small Kakwa tribe from northwestern Uganda, went into exile first in Libya, then Iraq before finally settling in Saudi Arabia on the condition that he stay out of politics.

According to Human Rights Watch, Amin is one of several brutal rulers sheltering outside his native country. Others include: Former Ethiopian leader Mengistu Haile Miriam in Zimbabwe, Haiti's Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier who is in France, former Chad president Hissene Habre in Senegal, and one-time Haitian death squad commander Emmanuel Constant in the United States.

©MMIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Posted at 10:17 p.m., Thursday, July 17, 2003
A fatal fire in Haiti, the poor are now even poorer
By The Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jul. 17 - A fire devoured two blocks of warehouses in Haiti's capital early Thursday, gutting brick buildings and destroying street vendors' merchandise.

At least 100 merchants lost goods from food to lumber in the blaze that ripped through the open-air market. No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire was not known. Officials said it broke out about 2 a.m., and within hours, firefighters had the blaze under control. The gutted warehouses were still smoldering in the morning. "I've lost everything," said Julio Joseph, 32, a father of five.


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Why famine persists

Dealing with too much a tin-pot totalitarian dictator Aristide

He had stored some 370 sheets of plywood in one of the warehouses. Each sheet cost 900 gourdes (about US$22). Others lost food like rice and beans stored in the warehouses and spread out for sale in the mornings.

"The poor will become even poorer," said Yolene Surena, a government emergency worker. Surena said the government would help assist the victims but details of the amount of assistance were not announced.

The Caribbean country is among the world's poorest and this year ranked 150th out of 175 countries on the U.N. Human Development list.

Most Haitians live on less than US$1 a day, and income is 40 percent lower than in Nicaragua, the second-poorest country in the hemisphere.

Most Haitian merchants don't have insurance, and to buy their goods, many are forced to take out loans.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press                  

Haitian drug trafficker-voodoo priest nabs at N.Y. JFK airport, faces life in prison
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK, Jul. 16 -- The star witness at a federal drug trial testified Tuesday that he tried to cast a voodoo spell on an alleged trafficker to stop him from lying to authorities.

Louis Zephir, 62, a self-described voodoo priest from Haiti, was arrested earlier this year after allegedly conspiring with Lorz Nemorin to smuggle large amounts of cocaine worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Taking the witness stand at Nemorin's trial in federal court in Brooklyn, Zephir testified that while behind bars he worried that the defendant was trying to convince authorities he was wasn't involved in the scheme. He recalled telephoning a voodoo priestess from jail for help.

"I practice voodoo," Zephir told jurors through a Creole interpreter. "So I asked her to pray to the voodoo spirit for me to shut the mouth of Lorz Nemorin, so he would stop the lying."

Prosecutors allege that Nemorin bought the cocaine in Haiti, then recruited Zephir to carry it in his luggage on commercial flights and deliver it to a Brooklyn address.

Federal agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport arrested Zephir in February after discovering 16 pounds of cocaine -- hidden inside papier-mache sculptures -- packed in two of his suitcases. He told investigators he smuggled drugs for Nemorin at least two other times and was paid $6,000 per trip.

After Zephir led authorities to Nemorin, he pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge and agreed to testify against him.

In opening statements, defense attorney Peter Kirchheimer said Nemorin "had no idea what was in those suitcases."

Kirchheimer told the jury that his HIV-positive client knew Zephir from Haiti, where he hired him for his healing powers.

Voodoo "is not what this case is about," prosecutor Ann Brickley said in her opening statement. "This case is about cocaine smuggling."

If convicted, Nemorin could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press

In Haiti, opposition leader and former mayoral candidate arrested

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jul. 17 (AP) - An opposition leader and former mayoral candidate has been arrested two months after a cache of weapons was allegedly found at her house, police said Thursday.

Judith Roy is being held at a suburban jail outside the capital, Port-au-Prince. Police said no charges have been filed against her. Under Haitian law, people can be detained for months without being charged.

Roy, who ran for mayor in elections three years ago but lost to a candidate from President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party, was arrested on Monday, said police spokeswoman Daphne Orlando.

Orlando could not say why Roy had been arrested but on May 7 police searched her home. The search came a day after an armed attack on a hydroelectric plant that left two security guards dead.

Police said they found assault weapons and plans to attack the National Palace and Aristide's residence at Roy's house. Roy said police planted the weapons and said her party is committed to non-violence.

At that time of the search, government spokesman Mario Dupuy accused Roy of being with an ``armed wing of the opposition,' that has allegedly been trying to destabilize the government.

Haiti has been in a political stalemate since flawed May 2000 local and legislative elections swept by Aristide's Lavalas Family party and that opposition parties charge were rigged.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press

Posted at 3:15 p.m., Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Haiti set to receive $50 mln IADB aid package
By Reuters

WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) - The Inter-American Development Bank is in the final stages of approving a new $50 million loan for impoverished Haiti, signaling an end to a two-year freeze on multilateral agency loans, a top U.S. Treasury official said on Tuesday.

Haiti is the hemisphere's poorest nation and political and economic instability is viewed by U.S. officials as a source of illegal immigration and drug trafficking.

Haiti made a $32 million payment to the IADB last week, clearing its arrears with that regional bank and marking a "crucial step forward," said John Taylor, Treasury's Under Secretary for International Affairs.

"The IDB (IADB) can now move forward with a number of projects already in train, and can reengage with Haiti to discuss future lending," Taylor said in a prepared statement before a Senate hearing on Haiti.

"We also expect the IDB to begin disbursing in subsequent weeks on $146 million in previously approved project loans," Taylor said. The loans were earmarked for basic social services like road maintenance and education.

Even though Taylor recognized before the panel that Haiti still had a "long, long way to go" before putting its economy back on its feet, he said that "progress has been made recently."

Haiti struck a deal in May with the International Monetary Fund, setting the stage for aid from the IADB and the World Bank. Taylor said the United States would avoid committing "mistakes of the past" and ensure that the aid is properly used.

"The Government of Haiti has taken important actions to strengthen public finances and create conditions for greater macroeconomic stability," he said.

A new draft budget for 2002-2003 would cut the fiscal deficit by half.

Posted at 12:29 a.m., Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Progress of reform too slow in Haiti: U.S. officials
By Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON, Jul. 15 (AFP) - US officials said nations of the Americas were losing patience with the slow pace of political and security reform in Haiti, while acknowledging some economic progress had been made.

"The government of Haiti has not complied with many of its most important commitments under Resolution 822, particularly those that would contribute to a climate of security," said Mark Grossman, under secretary of state for political affairs, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"Hemispheric patience is running out," he said.

Under the Organization of American States resolution, Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide committed himself to improving security in his poverty-ridden island state.

Dealing with too much a tin-pot totalitarian dictator Aristide

Haitians seek saint and spirit, Pilgrimage blends Vodou Catholic rites

Aristide also committed to naming an independent electoral council to effect reforms by the end of the year and organize legislative elections aimed at replacing those chosen in a May 2000 vote widely considered corrupt.

John Taylor, deputy treasury secretary for international affairs, told the Senate committee Haiti's finances have improved, however.

"The government of Haiti has taken important actions to strenghthen public finances and create conditions for greater macroeconomic stability," he said.

"With arrears to the (Inter-American Development Bank) cleared, the IDB can now move forward with a number of projects already in train, and re-engage with Haiti to discuss future lending."

Haiti's troubles have consequences for the United States, said committee chairman Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican.

"Corruption, drug trafficking and illegal migration are areas of deep concern for our two countries," he said. "Mass migration has the potential to create instability in the region and undermine efforts to improve border control."

Copyright © 2003 Agence France Press

OAS condems weekend violence in Haiti, some argue unrest shows country not ready for elections
By The Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jul. 15 (AP) - The Organization of American States condemned a violent disturbance that injured dozens over the weekend while some Haitians on Monday argued the violence shows the country isn't ready for elections.

The violence broke out Saturday when backers of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide hurled rocks at members of civil society groups, disrupting a meeting in the seaside shantytown of Cite Soleil, witnesses said.

``It is the right of all Haitians to demonstrate peacefully,' OAS special mission head David Lee said Monday, deploring the violence.

The OAS urged the government in resolutions last year to create a peaceful environment ahead of legislative elections that Aristide has pledged this year.

But Port-au-Prince Chamber of Commerce president Maurice Lafortune said the unrest raises questions.

``No one has the right to stand up and speak out with ideas different from theirs (the government's). How can there be elections ?' he said.

The government and opposition have been locked in a dispute over new balloting since flawed legislative elections in May 2000 that opposition parties said were rigged.

The 184 civil society groups that were to attend Saturday's meeting planned to discuss a project to restore law and order to the violence-prone country, which is among the world's poorest.

Some 300 people - representing business, labor and human rights groups among others - were driving in a caravan from Port-au-Prince's airport to the meeting when hurled stones began pelting their cars.

Witnesses said more than 1,000 Aristide partisans took to the streets of Cite Soleil, some chanting ``Aristide or death !' Organizers said fewer than 50 people had thrown rocks.

Protesters blocked the motorcade, preventing some cars from reaching the meeting site, the Catholic St. Theresa of Avila center. About 100 people who made it postponed the meeting and left under a hail of rocks.

More than 30 members of civil society groups suffered minor injuries, and cars' windows were shattered, witnesses said.

Six Haitian journalists were injured, including one hit in the head with a rock and another who had two ribs broken. Three police officers were hospitalized, including one shot and two hit by rocks.

Two OAS vehicles were stoned, and at least two OAS representatives suffered minor bruises, Lee said. Police were notified in advance but did nothing to prevent the violence, said Andy Apaid Jr., a spokesman for civil society groups who blamed Aristide and police ``passivity.'

Premier Yvon Neptune suggested the attackers were political ``opponents' trying to destabilize the government. Opposition leaders denied it, and no one was arrested.

The meeting was to be the last in a series of talks across the country under the slogan ``Caravan of Hope.'

Cite Soleil, a pro-Aristide stronghold, has some 500,000 residents who live crammed atop a landfill and is one of the Caribbean country's poorest areas. Discours Prononce Par M. DAVID LEE, Chef De La Mission Speciale De l'OEA Mission Spéciale de L'OEA visant à renforcer la démocratie en Haiti.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Pres                          

Haitian suspect in Scott murder in custody
Wednesday July 9, 2003

A Haitian barber wanted for allegedly gunning down a Cambridge man turned himself in to Florida police last week, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's office.

Markendy Jean, 25, of Malden, was reportedly arrested by North Miami Police without incident on Wednesday, July 2, and a day later was arraigned in Dade County on a fugitive from justice charge. Jean is charged with murdering Robert Scott, 26, outside a KFC-Taco Bell restaurant on Mass. Ave. near Porter Square.

A warrant has been out for Jean's arrest since June 13. He allegedly fled to Florida shortly after the June 8 slaying. He waved rendition Monday, so the DA has until July 18 to bring him back to Massachusetts.

"At this point, we just need to make travel arrangements to go down and get him," said DA spokeswoman Emily LaGrassa.

Assuming the pickup goes smoothly, Jean will be arraigned in Cambridge District Court.

Jean's arrest is the result of an investigation by authorities from the DA's office, Cambridge and State Police, in cooperation with the Metro-Dade and North Miami Police Department.

The prosecutor assigned to the case is Assistant District Attorney Michael Fabbri. -Ryan Kearney

© Copyright by the Herald Interactive Advertising Systems. Reprinted from The Cambridge Chronicle of July 9, 2003.

Posted at 9:45 p.m., Saturday, July 12, 2003 
Violence erupts among partisans in Haiti
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Violence flared in a seaside shantytown on Saturday when hundreds of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's partisans pelted civic leaders and journalists with rocks. Dozens were injured.


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Hundreds of leaders from the civil society groups were scheduled to hold a meeting in Cite Soleil, a teeming seaside slum that has been a stronghold of Aristide and his governing Lavalas Family party.

When the groups arrived, Aristide partisans stoned the leaders and attacked their meeting center. Several shots were fired but it was unclear whether they came from Aristide supporters or others in the crowd. Many of the leaders fled before the meeting occurred.

Six Haitian journalists were injured, including one who was hit in the head with a rock and another who had two ribs broken. Three police officers were hurt, including one who was shot. Dozens of other people in the crowd sustained minor injuries.

"What happened today is a catastrophe," said Andy Apaid Jr., the groups' spokesman. "The blame is squarely on the shoulders of Aristide."

The 184 civil society groups — which include business, human rights, peasant, labor and student associations — want Aristide's government to disarm criminal gangs, arrest perpetrators of political violence and take more steps to guarantee security and press freedom.

The government on Saturday defended the civil groups' right to assembly but criticized the choice of venue.

"To hold a meeting in Cite Soleil today was either a provocation or a mistaken evaluation of Aristide's popularity there," said Communication Minister Lilas Desquiron.

The groups have been visiting cities in the country's nine administrative districts. Cite Soleil, where nearly 500,000 people live crammed into a 15-square kilometer (6-square mile) patch of land, was the last in the series of motorcades called the "Caravan of Hope."

Aristide, a former priest who rose to power by promising a better life to the poor, still draws support from places like Cite Soleil. But saddled with political, economic and social woes, that support has waned.

Legislative elections in May 2000 swept by Aristide's party created a political stalemate with the opposition, who claimed the results were flawed. Since then, Aristide's government has been under increasing pressure at home and abroad with the Organization of American States in September setting several resolutions for establishing security, including disarming partisans and reforming police.

In January, the civic groups accused Aristide's government of lacking the political will to create "the necessary conditions for citizens to exercise their political, social and economic rights."

The opposition wants Aristide to resign. Aristide has refused to leave office until his term ends in 2006.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

Posted at 1:01 a.m., Friday, July 11, 2003
De facto Haitian government officials and others targeted by the U.S. government
Haitians too serve in the U.S. army
By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor

In the United States military parlance it is called Heat Condition 5. The term refers to weather so hot that soldiers deployed in tropical nations are highly advised to drink at least a litter of water an hour not to succumb to the extremely intolerable weather condition.

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Significantly, however, often not all of the soldiers who drink a substantial amount of water, which can easily become a habit, even when in non tropical temperature, are Americans by birth, or 'de souche,' as the French would say.

A large number of them are naturalized citizens while thousands of others are not, reported www.migrationpolicy.org,

1,410 men and women now in U.S.military uniform are Haitians and of Haitian origin. While 434 of them are naturalized Haitian-Americans, the remainder, 976, are not.                

2 kids saved from blaze left at home while parents were working
By Hugh Son, Daily News Staff writer

2 kids saved from blaze Left at home while parents were working By HUGH SON DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Paramedic John Manning takes one of the children, 2-year-old Christopher Monfort, to a waiting ambulance.

Christopher and his 11-year-old sister, Samantha.

Firefighters rescued two home-alone kids from a Brooklyn house yesterday after a blaze erupted in the bedroom of the second-floor apartment, authorities said.

kids 1.jpg (6550 bytes)
kids 2.jpg (5037 bytes)
In photo, left, above, paramedic John Manning takes one of the children, 2-year-old Christopher Monfort, to a waiting ambulance. Cristopher and his 11-year0old sister, Samantha. 

Rescuers climbed a ladder, broke through the window and battled billowing smoke to pluck 2-year-old Christopher Monfort from the house, witnesses said. It was unclear how his sister Samantha, 11, was saved.

The children share the apartment with their parents and an older sister. It is part of a three-story Victorian house on Brooklyn Ave. in Midwood, across the street from the 63rd Precinct stationhouse.

The children were treated for smoke inhalation at Kings County Hospital, firefighters said, and placed in protective custody with the Administration for Children's Services. The cause of the blaze was under investigation.

The fire was reported at 10:40 a.m., while both parents, Jean and Marie Monfort, were at work, cops said.

Police planned to question the mother. "The dad left the house first, so the mother was in charge of the kids," a police spokesman said.

Unwelcome sight Jean Monfort, 45, a chef at Crown nursing home in Sheepshead Bay, said that when he left his children for work yesterday, his wife, a housecleaner, was with them.

"We usually take them to the baby-sitter, but not today," said the dazed father, who immigrated to Brooklyn from Haiti in 1986.

The oldest of the three Monfort children, 15-year-old Ludnie, got home from a summer class at 1:30 p.m. to discover her house gutted.

Tears streaming down her face, Ludnie collected charred family photographs that had blown out to the backyard.

A neighbor said he often saw an older woman with the children.

"The father's always working, but I think he makes sure there's always an adult there," said Rex Zamor, 25, who lives across the street.

Originally published on July 10, 2003

Posted at 4:40 p.m., Thursday, July 10, 2003
Haiti pays $32 million in arrears to Inter-American Bank
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jul. 10 - Haiti has paid $32 million in arrears to the Inter-American Development Bank, nearly wiping out its foreign reserves in its effort to resume frozen international loans.

The Haitian Central Bank notified the IDB it had made the payment from its dollar reserves, an official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday from bank headquarters in Washington.

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The Central Bank had about $35 million in reserves before the payment.

In Port-au-Prince, Communications Minister Lilas Desquiron confirmed Tuesday's payment. "This won't solve all our problems but it will give us some air to breath," she told The Associated Press.

Already the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation, Haiti has sunk deeper into misery since international financial organizations suspended more than $500 million in loans and aid after flawed legislative elections swept by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party in May 2000.

Citing the growing poverty, the Organization of American States in September urged those institutions to normalize relations.

But Haiti's debt to the IDB gradually mounted to $32 million, and international financial institutions do not lend to countries in arrears.

The arrears had to be paid to start up the complicated process toward resumption of aid.

Last month, several Haitian banks negotiated with the government to bail their country out with a bridge loan, but they apparently did not receive the guarantees they expected.

At the same time, Haiti and the International Monetary Fund signed an agreement obliging Haiti to cut deficit spending from 5.2 to 2.7 percent, reduce inflation from 13 to 10 percent and monitor spending in public sector enterprises.

Payment of the arrears and the agreement are necessary steps toward receiving a $50 million IDB budget support loan, ratified by Haiti's Parliament last month. The IDB board of directors must approve the terms of the loan, a decision expected by the end of July, the IDB official said.

The first $32 million of the budget loan would reimburse the Central Bank.

The disbursement of four IDB loans totaling $146 million — frozen because of the elections, then stalled because of the arrears — could then begin.

More than $300 million in additional IDB loans would also become available.

If Haiti keeps its promises to the IMF during 12 months, the Caribbean nation will have access to between $100 million and $150 million in IMF funds for poverty reduction and growth.

Other aid, however, remains tied up by Haiti's unresolved political conflict.

The World Bank has pulled out of Haiti and will not resume its loan program until Haiti complies with the IMF plan, pays arrears of more than $30 million and reaches a political settlement.

The European Union terminated its $15.9 million budget support grant in 2001 and will not provide another until Haiti complies with the IMF plan and shows progress in resolving the political crisis.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press      

Haitian held on charges of aiding Colombian drug cartels
By Catherine Wilson, Associated Press Writer

MIAMI, Jul. 10 - A reputed Haitian drug lord was ordered held without bail Wednesday on charges that he coordinated the movement of 33 tons of Colombian drug shipments through Haiti on their way to the United States.

Beaudoin ''Jacques'' Ketant was indicted six years ago but lived the good life in a hilltop Haitian mansion until a brawl at his son's elite school pushed the Haitian government to expel him last month.

Ketant, 40, is accused of paying off former Port-au-Prince Police Chief Joseph Michel Francois as well as airport employees in Miami, New York and Port-au-Prince to ignore cocaine and heroin couriers.

Codefendants who went on trial in 1998 received prison sentences ranging from six years to life. The airport security chief in Port-au-Prince and a Miami immigration inspector were among those convicted.

Defense attorney Joel DeFabio agreed with a government request that Ketant be held without bond on the condition that he could raise the issue again later. About a dozen relatives attended the hearing.

''I am confident that by the end of the case, the interests of justice will prevail,'' DeFabio said. At an earlier hearing,

Ketant pleaded not guilty to charges of drug conspiracy and distribution, money-laundering conspiracy and racketeering, carrying a possible 20-year prison sentence. Prosecutors also want him to forfeit at least $15 million in drug profits.

Ketant allegedly arranged for drug couriers to transport cocaine for the Cali, Medellín and Barranquilla cartels from Colombia, Panama and Curacao through Haiti to the United States from 1987 to 1996.

Francois was never tried. He was seen as the power behind Haiti's ousted military rulers and was granted political asylum in Honduras. He faces a life sentence in Haiti for the 1993 killing of a supporter of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

In Haiti, Ketant flaunted his wealth at his gated mansion and was regularly seen driving his black Humvee and Mercedes-Benz all-terrain vehicles. His public appearances continued after he was featured in 2001 on a segment of the TV show America's Most Wanted. He helped build a carnival grandstand in front of the presidential palace last year.

But Ketant's family fell into disfavor in recent months, and Haitian police killed his brother during a drug raid. The brawl at the Jesuit-run Union School and threats to the principal triggered his expulsion.                                              

Aristide is invited to NAACP forum
By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald Writer

The NAACP, which will kick off its national convention in Miami Beach on Friday, has invited Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to participate in a Caribbean Summit planned for Wednesday. Aristide was invited by the civil rights organization to be among a select group of people who will discuss issues such as immigration, trade and aid to Caribbean governments.

NAACP spokeswoman Fambridge Payne said that while the organization is still awaiting confirmation from Aristide, he did indicate his willingness to attend the summit.

He said he would send a government representative if he were unable to attend, Payne said.

A spokesman for the president in Haiti said in a telephone interview that it was ''highly likely'' Aristide would participate.

This would be Aristide's first visit to South Florida since 2000, and his first official visit since beginning his second term in office.

If Aristide comes, his visit is sure to spark passionate debate among Haitian Americans, whose opinions are divided on his performance.

But that debate shouldn't deter the visit, community activists say.

''This is an indication of our concern about the whole U.S. involvement in the Caribbean and our foreign-policy issue,'' said Bradford Brown, the NAACP Miami-Dade County branch president.

``We know there are strong feelings on both sides in our community in regard to his performance in office. Nevertheless, he was elected and when it's time, he will face the electorate again.''

State Rep. Phillip Brutus, D-North Miami, said the invitation is a chance for dialogue.

''There are some folks who may feel that he shouldn't have been invited because of the problems surrounding elections and the impasse the country is in,'' Brutus said.

``At the same time, other people feel he should be invited for the same problems.''

Posted at 3:29 a.m., Tuesday, July 9, 2003
In Haiti, American becomes one of the latest victims of drug lord Aristide's kangaroo justice
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jul. 7 - An American Protestant missionary was expelled from Haiti Monday following a conviction for illegally importing arms.

James Glenn White, 47, was arrested May 9 while waiting for a shipment from the United States. Police said they found an AR-15 assault rifle, a pistol and a machine to make bullets in a refrigerator that White was to pick up that day.

White — who ran Sharing the Vision, an independent mission in north-coast Cap-Haitien — pleaded innocent Thursday in court, saying he had told police before the shipment arrived it would contain weapons belonging to a friend who was planning to join his mission.

He said police told him he should apply for a permit after the shipment arrived. But a judge found White guilty Thursday, ordering him to pay a fine of $1,000 and leave the Caribbean country.

White had faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison. White and his wife, Theresa, left Monday afternoon for Miami and plan to spend several weeks in Florida before deciding what to do next.

White, originally from New Castle, Ind., had lived in Haiti for seven years. He said Monday that he didn't know why his friend sent him the weapons, which came in a shipment of the man's personal belongings.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

Posted at 4:42 p.m., Monaday, July 7, 2003
U.S. sends more than 450 boat people back to Haiti
By Agence France-Presse

MIAMI, Jul. 7 (AFP) - More than 450 would-be Haitian immigrants were returned to their homeland after being intercepted at sea by US authorities, the Coast Guard said.

A boat carrying 146 people was found off the Bahamas Wednesday and another, with 319 onboard, was found the next day, a spokesman said.

Both boats were found near Great Inagua island in the southwestern Bahamas, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Haitian coast.

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By US policy, all Haitian refugees intercepted at sea or on US shores are repatriated, unlike Cubans who, if they reach land, are allowed to stay.

Some 1,100 Haitians have been intercepted authorities since the start of the year including the latest two boats, compared with 1,300 in all of 2002, according to Coast Guard figures.

Copyright © 2003 Agence France Presse

Posted at 1:15 a.m., Saturday, July 5, 2003
Haiti orders U.S. missionary's expulsion
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jul. 5 - A Haitian judge ordered the immediate expulsion of an American missionary after convicting him of illegally importing weapons, but the missionary's wife said Friday that prison authorities refused to release him.

James Glenn White, a Protestant missionary who runs an independent "Sharing the Vision" mission in north-coast Cap-Haitien, was arrested May 9 while awaiting a shipment from a friend in the United States, court documents said. Police said they found two weapons and an apparatus to make bullets the shipment (photos).

White pleaded innocent in court on Thursday, saying he had told police before the shipment arrived that it would contain weapons, including an AR-15 assault rifle, belonging to the friend who was planning to join White's mission in Haiti

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He said he was told he should apply for a permit after the shipment arrived, according to his lawyer Guerdy Lissade.

Judge Bernard Saint-Vil found White guilty and ordered that he pay a fine of $1,000 and leave the island nation immediately. White had faced a maximum five-year sentence, Lissade said.

White's wife, Theresa, and U.S. Embassy officials attempted Friday to secure White's release from the prison, where he has been since his arrest two months ago.

But authorities at the national penitentiary refused to release him, saying they lacked a signature from Haiti's director of prisons, Theresa White said.

"An injustice is being done," she said. U.S. officials would not comment on the case.

Posted at 8:45 p.m., Thursday, July 3, 2003
Haiti, an extremely dangerous nation that must be avoided
By Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON, Jul. 3 (AFP) - The United States advised US athletes and spectators planning to attend the 2003 Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic next month to take extra security precautions, noting the country's proximity to troubled Haiti and domestic crime concerns.

"As (the Dominican Republic is) a country that shares two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, American citizens should continue to maintain a low profile," said a report prepared by State Department analysts.

"Street crowds should be avoided," it said. "Protests and demonstrations can occur periodically and should be avoided at all times."

Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, has been beset by years of political turmoil that has contributed to the flow of refugees fleeing the country by sea to the United States as well as overland to neighboring Dominican Republic.

The report, provided to AFP by the State Department, details a litany of crimes that US citizens might expect to face if they travelled to Santo Domingo for the August 1-17 games.

It advised Americans to be on the lookout in particular for petty theft and credit card fraud and advised them to only use taxi services affiliated with major hotels or those whose vehicles can be tracked.

The report, which was distributed to the US business community, also noted that the Dominican Republic is a major hub in the western hemisphere for the trafficking of human being and is plagued with corruption.

"Recently, DR has been recognized as a leader in the trafficking of humans for sexual exploitation and labor," it said, paraphrasing from a recent State Department report that gave the country failing grades on the matter and opened the way for punitive US sanctions.

"DR is also plagued with public corruption and this could (contribute) to the lack of arrests for human trafficking, drug crimes and criminal acts of violence," it said.

The report also noted that the Dominican Republic is susceptible to hurricanes and that the Pan American Games fall in the middle of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Posted at 2:37 a.m., Tuesday, July 1, 2003
Former Baby Doc Duvalier foreign affairs minister Jean-Robert Estime taken away in tight handcuffs by police allegedly for grand thievery
By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor

Cambridge, MA, Jul. 1 - As it has long been the case of Haiti's de facto government of chief bandit Jean-Bertrand Aristide, one former senior official, at least, of Baby Doc Duvalier's government is sure indignantly making the news these days.

Jean-Robert Estime, the son of a late Haitian president and former cabinet foreign affairs minister in the last Baby Doc Duvalier's government (1986) was arrested Thursday by Madagascan police, allegedly for grand thievery, reported l'Express, a Madagascan daily (the daily, in French).

Many defenders of the former senior Haitian official have, with certitudes, called the charges, that he has defrauded the biggest American funded anti-poverty Landscape Development Interventions Project in Madagascar of thousands of dollars, 'bogus'.

Contacted via electronic mail Tuesday, a senior Madagascan police official who promptly replied to wehaitians.com's inquiry on the condition that he not be named in this story said "Mr. Estime was in fact taken into protective custody Thursday."

The American embassy in Madagascar, which via United States Agency for International Development or USAID employed Mr. Estime, who has yet renounced his Haitian nationality for another one, as the executive director of the anti-poverty project, and which well defined purpose is to help build the nation's railroads and develop eco-tourism, has yet to offer an opinion regarding Mr. Estime's arrest.

It is not clear whether many people who are close to Mr. Estime, including his Madagascan girlfriend of five years, who are said to be accomplices, will also be arrested and charged with grand thievery.  

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