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Posted at 11:10 p.m., Wednesday, March 27, 2002
Police arrest former army officer deported from United States for crimes committed during coup d'etat
By Michael Norton, Associated Press writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, March 26 - Police arrested a former army officer deported from the United States for rights violations he allegedly committed during the 1991-94 coup d'etat in Haiti, police said Tuesday.
Police arrested former Capt. Jackson Joannis Monday after his deportation from the United States, said police spokesman Jean-Dady Simeon.
Joannis had been held in Krome detention camp in Florida, where he fled after U.S. troops intervened in Haiti in September 1994 to restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power. Joannis, who had been the suburban Petionville police chief before heading the police anti-gang brigade, was sentenced to life after being tried in absentia Sept. 25, 1995, and found guilty of complicity in the Sept. 11, 1993 murder of Aristide supporter Antoine Izmery.
Soldiers and their henchmen killed and maimed thousands in the three years of repressive military-backed rule that began when the army ousted Aristide in September 1991.
In November 2000, 16 former soldiers and army henchmen were convicted of having participated in the April 1994 killing of as many as 15 slumdwellers in Raboteau, a shantytown in west.
Tried in their absence for their role in the raid, 38 others were found guilty. They include former coup leader Raoul Cedras and his close associate Philippe Biamby, who received asylum in Panama; former Port-au-Prince police chief Michel Francois, who is in Honduras; and terrorist militia leader Emmanuel "Toto" Constant, who lives in New York City.
Joannis faces retrial for his role in the murder of Izmery.
When people are convicted in absentia, their property is confiscated and they are liable to retrial if they return to Haiti.
Thursday, April 4
By the Associated Press
Highlights in history on this date: 1581 - England's Queen Elizabeth I knights Francis Drake, the first captain to circumnavigate the globe.
1611 - Denmark's King Christian IV declares war on Sweden.
1618 - Cardinal Richelieu is ordered into exile in Avignon for intrigues with France's Queen Mother Marie de Medici.
1660 - England's King Charles II issues Declaration of Breda, promising religious tolerance.
1687 - James II of England orders a pro-Catholic declaration read in church. Bishops refuse and the crisis culminates in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.
1792 - In the hope of enlisting their aid against the slaves, the French Louis XVI signs a decree declaring the free blacks of Haiti full citizens.
1844 - Germany occupies South-West Africa, Togoland and Cameroons.
1860 - A revolt breaks out in Sicily against the Bourbons, which prompts Giuseppe Garibaldi to prepare the Expedition of the Thousand to support them.
1919 - Soviet republic is declared in Bavaria, southern Germany.
1933 - U.S. Navy (news - web sites) dirigible Akron falls into Atlantic Ocean off New Jersey, taking 73 lives.
1942 - Japanese naval forces sink three British warships in Bay of Bengal during World War II.
1945 - End of World War II on Hungarian territory. 1949 - North Atlantic Treaty is signed in Washington by foreign ministers of United States, Britain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Canada for mutual assistance against aggression in North Atlantic.
1959 - Ivory Coast signs series of agreements with Niger, Upper Volta and Dahomey to form Sahel-Benin Union.
1964 - Archbishop Makarios abrogates 1960 treaty between Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, and heavy fighting erupts in northwest Cyprus. 1968 - Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
1969 - Doctors in Houston, Texas, hospital implant first complete artificial heart in 47-year-old man, who dies four days later.
1979 - Pakistan's former Prime Minister Zulkifar Ali Bhutto, ousted by the military in a coup 21 months earlier, is executed by hanging.
1986 - Israel formally asks for access to U.N. War Crimes Commission file on former U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim.
1988 - Iran hammers Iraq's vital oil centers with missiles and fighter-bombers. 1989 - At least five people are killed when rockets slam into residential neighborhoods of Kabul, Afghanistan (news - web sites).
1990 - The National's People's Congress, China's legislature, approves the Basic Law, the constitution that will govern Hong Kong after it reverts to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
1990 - Soviet President Mikhael Gorbachev warns republic of Estonia to rescind independence declaration.
1991 - Iran's official news agency says over 1 million Kurds are massed along the Iran-Iraq border trying to escape Iraqi troops who reportedly killed them as they fled.
1992 - More than 1,200 French troops, the first major contingent of a U.N. peacekeeping force, arrive in war-torn Croatia as Bosnia mobilizes its national guard to quell violence.
1993 - Boris Yeltsin receives a dlrs 1.6-billion U.S. aid package for Russia.
1994 - Serbs launch major attack on besieged Muslim enclave of Gorazde, Bosnia.
1995 - About 200 heavily armed Muslim extremists ransack a southern Philippine town, battling troops flown in to quell the insurgency. At least 100 people die.
1996 - Sweeping aside a "just following orders" defense, a military judge in Rome orders former Nazi SS Capt. Erich Priebke to stand trial for helping massacre 335 civilians during World War II.
1997 - Space shuttle Columbia and seven astronauts soar into orbit on a 16-day mission.
1998 - The environment ministers of the world's eight top industrialized nations announce new efforts to curb smuggling of hazardous waste, endangered species and substances that damage the earth's ozone layer.
1999 - NATO (news - web sites) warplanes and missiles attack an army headquarters, oil refineries and other targets in Yugoslavia, while Yugoslav forces head for Kosovo Albanian guerrillas making a last stand in the province's western mountains.
2000 - West African intervention troops begin formally pulling out of Sierra Leone, amid fears the withdrawal may leave a security vacuum following the country's brutal eight-year civil war.
2001 - Sudan's defense minister and 14 other military officers are killed when their plane crashes on takeoff. The loss comes during a critical point in country's civil war.
Grinling Gibbons, English sculptor (1648-1721); Nicola Antonio Zingarelli, Italian composer (1752-1837); Edith Soedergran, Finnish poet (1892-1923); Marguerite Duras, French writer (1914-1996); Maya Angelou, U.S. poet (1928--); Anthony Perkins, U.S. actor (1932-1992).
Thought for Today:
You can kill a man but you can't kill an idea Medgar Evers, murdered American civil rights activist (1926-1963).
Group: 37 journalists killed in 2001
By George Gedda, Associated Press writer
WASHINGTON, Mar 26 - The number of journalists killed last year rose to 37 from 24 the year before, partly because of the war in Afghanistan, a U.S. press group says.
Eight journalists were killed in Afghanistan in 2001, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says in its annual report, out Tuesday.
But most of the journalists killed worldwide were not covering wars or other conflicts, the group said. Instead, they were murdered in reprisal for their reporting on sensitive topics, such as official crime and corruption.
In addition, the number of journalists in prison jumped nearly 50 percent to 118 in 2001 from 81 the year before, the report said. That increase reversed four years of steady decline.
Much of the increase resulted from crackdowns in Eritrea and Nepal. In addition, China, already the world's leading jailer of journalists for the third year in a row, arrested eight more, ending the year with 35 journalists behind bars, the report said.
In all, nine journalists died in Afghanistan, including one who died of injuries suffered in 1999. Three journalists were killed in Colombia, and two each were killed in Algeria, the Philippines, Thailand, the United States and Yugoslavia.
One of the U.S. victims, William Biggart, was a freelance photographer who was killed in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The other, Robert Stevens, a photo editor at The Sun, in Boca Raton, Fla., died of inhalation anthrax during the anthrax attacks.
One journalist was killed in each of the following countries: Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, Costa Rica, Georgia, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Latvia, Mexico, the Palestinian territories, Paraguay, Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
In Zimbabwe and other countries, "national security" concerns were invoked as justification for new restrictions on the press, the report said. Some countries who cracked down cited U.S. actions after Sept. 11, such as the State Department attempt to censor a Voice of America interview with Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
Seven of the eight journalists killed in Afghanistan all working for European news outlets died during two incidents. Three journalists were killed on Nov. 11 when Taliban forces fired on a northern alliance military convoy. Eight days later, gunmen dragged four journalists out of a convoy and executed them with rifles.
For the first time in the group's 20-year history, it also included an American on its annual list of imprisoned journalists: Vanessa Leggett, a free-lance writer based in Houston, who was arrested after she refused to turn over to a grand jury her research in a murder case.
The group said in a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft that Leggett's detention "sends exactly the wrong signal to authoritarian governments who may now show even less restraint in using state power to restrict press freedom." Leggett was released on January 4.
The report also said that:
Chinese journalist Jiang Weiping was sentenced to eight years in prison for reporting on corruption, while one of the officials in his article was promoted to provincial governor.
Also in China, a prominent leftist monthly was closed after sharply criticizing the president's call for capitalists to join the Communist Party.
In a crackdown on political dissent, Eritrean authorities suspended all the country's privately owned newspapers until further notice.
In Ukraine, the Internal Affairs Ministry authorized journalists covering sensitive topics, such as corruption, to carry guns with rubber bullets.
In Iran, the government closed or suspended 20 newspapers and publications in 2001.
On the Net: Committee to Protect Journalists: http://www.cpj.org
Posted at 2:45 p.m., Tuesday, March 26, 2002
OP/Ed - USA TODAY - Mar 25
A foreign legion could answer USA's military need
By Peter Schweizer
Now that Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan (news - web sites) has been declared basically completed and a success, the next phase of the war on terrorism is set to begin. Which American troops will carry out this coming phase -- and the next one, and the one after that?
Any fighting that needs to be done clearly will be in another exotic locale. As has been the case since the end of the Cold War, most of our armed forces need to be prepared to wage warfare in foreign lands populated by people with unusual languages and radically different cultures.
This is likely to tax the American military forces heavily. In fact, the leaders of our Pacific and European commands recently said that the war on terrorism has overtaxed our military and that we do not have enough troops to carry out all of our operations.
So we need to consider alternatives -- such as starting an American foreign legion. When U.S. forces performed peacekeeping operations in the Balkans, we were very short of soldiers who spoke Serbian or Croatian.
When American soldiers went into Haiti, there were precious few who spoke Creole. Forces from the United States now based in Afghanistan are largely dependent on locals to translate and provide information on local customs.
One ally who has managed to overcome some of these problems is France. During peacekeeping duties in the Balkans, it had soldiers who spoke Serbian. In the Gulf War (news - web sites), it had Arab soldiers who knew the customs and spoke Arabic. When France operated in Africa, it had soldiers who were familiar with the area.
The reason: Since 1831, it has maintained the enigmatic and legendary French Foreign Legion. The concept behind the French Foreign Legion is simple: In exchange for five years of service in the French military, soldiers from other countries are granted French citizenship. Commanded by French military officers, the force numbers about 8,000. It recruits about 1,700 people a year and can be very selective. The chance to get French citizenship is so attractive that people from around the world clamor to get in. Over the years, they have served France faithfully.
Since its founding, more than 30,000 in the legion have died in battle. In addition to serving in the Gulf War and in the Balkans, more recently the French Foreign Legion has conducted sensitive military operations in African countries such as Chad.
Contrary to the legend that violent criminals make up the ranks of the Foreign Legion, today's recruits are required to pass an Interpol security check and detailed security screening by French authorities.
They also need to pass medical exams and psychological tests. Once in the unit, members are largely isolated from the general populace, limiting the possibility that one could somehow be a spy for one of France's enemies. They also are required to abide by a strict code of ethics. Among the points: ''Every Legionnaire is your brother-at-arms, irrespective of his nationality, race or creed.'' And, ''in combat, you will act without passion and without hate; you will respect the vanquished enemy; you will never abandon your dead or wounded and never surrender your arms.'' The recruits also receive instruction in French history and culture.
If the United States created its own foreign legion, it could prove to be a valuable resource on the battlefield. Soldiers from the far corners of the world could provide valuable language skills and information about local customs and traditions. They could also provide valuable intelligence contacts around the world.
Many French recruits have chosen to return to their home countries to retire on their pensions. (It is said that one can live well in Morocco on a sergeant's pension.) Many of these retirees maintain informal contacts with their former colleagues and are sometimes contacted for advice or information.
The French Foreign Legion has received some of the toughest assignments and is usually one of the first of the country's units to respond to hot spots around the world. The fact that it is a foreign legion means that the French government can give it particularly difficult assignments, knowing that it will be immune from some of the political pressures that usually come with assigning soldiers overseas. If the war on terrorism gets messy, this could prove to be helpful to any American president.
An American foreign legion would help an already stretched U.S. military. The war on terrorism now joins peacekeeping operations and other strategic responsibilities in placing demands on the armed forces. With military recruitment and retention rates still generally low, the Pentagon (news - web sites) has increasingly needed to turn to reserves to make up for a manpower shortage, particularly during a time of crisis. This only further reduces retention rates as the families of reservists weigh the costs of extended times apart.
An American foreign legion of perhaps 8,000 troops could help in the war against terrorism, or take over peacekeeping operations or routine duties in, say, South Korea (news - web sites), thereby freeing up other units that might be needed. And creating an American foreign legion would bring added benefits to our immigration policy. Having received extensive instruction in American history and values while serving in combat for the United States, foreign legion members could prove to be model immigrant citizens.
The war on terrorism truly is a global war. If the United States is to fight it effectively, it must consider all of the options to make sure that it is a global effort.
Peter Schweizer is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Posted at 6:12 p.m., Saturday, March 23 2002
More than 1,000 opposition partisans in Haiti rally to proclaim right of assembly
By Micheal Norton, Associated Press Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, March 23 - Shouting "Down with Aristide," nearly 1,000 supporters of Haiti's embattled opposition rallied at the ruins of their headquarters Friday to proclaim their right to political freedom.
"Our program is moral resistance," opposition leader Gerard Gourgue told his partisans, gathered under heavy police protection in the courtyard of Convergence headquarters, burned down Dec. 17 by supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
In protest of May 2000 legislative elections that were swept by Aristide's Lavalas Family party, the 15-member Convergence opposition alliance appointed Gourgue to head the opposition alliance.
Hopes for an agreement on new elections between the governing party and opposition were dashed after Dec. 17 when gunmen raided the National Palace and remained inside for seven hours before fleeing. No officials were injured, but 10 people were killed in the subsequent violence.
Aristide said the palace attack was an attempt to assassinate him. The opposition charges the attack was a pretext to clamp down on dissent.
After the palace attack, rampaging Aristide street partisans torched the midtown Convergence headquarters as well as several other opposition offices and private residences of its leaders.
Aristide partisans threatened more than a dozen journalists, and 15 fled Haiti in fear for their lives.
This year, about 15 cases of harassment of journalists by pro-Aristide activists and government officials have been reported, said Guyler Delva, secretary-general of the Haitian Association of Journalists.
"The authorities have done nothing to bring the attackers of press freedom to justice," said Delva, in an interview.
About 20 opposition partisans have been jailed and are awaiting trial on charges ranging from kidnapping to attempted murder, said opposition leader Evans Paul.
The opposition has turned down a government offer to resume talks, saying an agreement is unthinkable until a peaceful climate has been re-established, its partisans are released, and the perpetrators of the Dec. 17 attacks brought to justice.
Aristide party spokesmen defended the opposition's right to assemble but indicated the rally was subversive.
"Everyone has the right to express himself, on condition the principles that govern a democratic society are respected," said Lavalas spokesman Jonas Petit, who said "the fact someone is in a hurry to occupy a government post doesn't give him the right to oust elected officials."
Wednesday, speaking at International Airport before he flew to Monterey, Mexico for a U.N. summit on financing development, Aristide told his grass-roots supporters to remain peaceful.
"I ask all popular organizations to be vigilant this week, to keep their eyes open and see from which quarter provocation might come and not react to it," he said.
Read, too, our latest column: Why subsidizing the rampant corruption and gross incopetence of most Third World nations' totalittarian dictators by giving them more foreign aid
Former President Jimmy Carter will visit Cuba this year
By The Associated Press
ATLANTA, Mar 23 - Former President Jimmy Carter will visit Cuba this year, provided the Bush administration doesn't stand in his way, a Carter spokeswoman confirmed Saturday.
The move would make Carter the first former American president to visit the island since Fidel Castro (news - web sites) took power in 1959.
"He was issued a formal invitation by Fidel Castro, but he doesn't know yet when he's going," Kay Torrance, a spokesman for The Carter
Center in Atlanta, said Saturday. "He doesn't have an agenda planned at this time. He's just looking forward to the visit."
Carter told CNN on Friday that the Bush administration probably wouldn't prevent the trip."I expect to get their tacit approval, not their blessing," Carter said. "We can't go, obviously, without the permission of the government. My understanding is that they will give that approval."
Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo said Castro's invitation stemmed from the Carter Center's "Americas Program," an effort to bring together leaders of the Cuban-American exile community and the Castro government.
Joe Garcia, executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation, told The Miami Herald his organization welcomes the trip provided Carter tells Castro to leave power.
During a 1994 visit to Haiti, Carter negotiated an agreement to remove military ruler
Gen. Raoul Cedras from power.
"If he is going the way he went to Haiti, then we welcome his trip to Cuba if he is going to tell Fidel Castro to leave," Garcia said.
"However, if he's going to give legitimacy to a 43-year-old dictatorship, then I think it would be unfortunate."
While not divulging his agenda, Carter said his intentions are to improve relations between Cuba and the United States, not to deliver an ultimatum.
Carter said increasing trade and Americans' visits to Cuba would spread understanding of the advantages of freedom.
"That's the best way to bring about change, and not to punish the Cuban people
themselves by imposing an embargo on them, which makes Castro seem to be a hero because he
is defending his own people against the abuse of Americans," he said.
Posted at 7:18 p.m., Thursday, March 21, 2002
After fruitless efforts to negotiate with opposition, Haiti names new minister to handle job
By Ian James, Associated Press writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, March 21 - With a long-running political feud holding up hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, Haiti's government has created a new post in hopes of settling the dispute.
Marc Bazin, a former presidential candidate, said in an interview Thursday that after nearly two years of bickering over the conditions for new elections, it will take "almost a miracle" for the government and opposition to work out their differences.
Still, he says he up to the task of being Minister of Negotiation. "It's a difficult job, but I assume the risk of it because it's good for the country," Bazin said. "I see myself not as a negotiator but as a facilitator for the resumption of the conversation."
Government officials say Bazin, formerly Planning Minister, is right for the job in part because he's not a member of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas Family party. Bazin ran against Aristide and lost in the 1990 presidential elections, and he heads the small Movement to Install Democracy in Haiti party. From 1992-1993 during the military-backed government he was acting prime minister.
Members of the opposition alliance Convergence say, however, Bazin's appointment appears to be a political maneuver to give the appearance of openness to negotiation, while in fact giving little.
Bazin "will not resolve the crisis" alone, leading opposition member Mischa Gaillard said. "The man who will resolve it is Mr. Aristide."
Rosny Desroche, a former education minister who has helped mediate as part of a group of civil society leaders, said
Bazin's appointment appears to be "a mechanism whereby Lavalas hides behind a scapegoat, and someone can be blamed in case of failure." Bazin, who received a law degree in France, said he plans to relay the opposition's demands to the government and then determine what concessions the government can offer.
The political stalemate stems from disputed local and legislative elections in 2000. Aristide's party won a vast majority of seats, but the opposition said the vote was rigged. The Organization of American States ruled elections for seven Senate seats should have gone to a second round.
Foreign donors including the United States, the European Union (news - web sites) and development banks have since withheld more than dlrs 200 million in grants and loans until the two sides agree on new elections. More money has been promised if a settlement is reached.
The aid would go toward projects including improving education, health care, and the Caribbean country's crumbling roads.
The government and opposition have agreed to hold new elections, but still disagree on specifics. Repeated OAS mediation efforts have failed.
Bazin said reconciliation is the key to Haiti's progress.
"The country is getting poorer every day," he said. "The most important thing is that we get out of this mess."
Posted at 1:01 p.m., Thursday, March 21, 2002
Leaders gather for UN poverty summit
By Niko Price, Associated Press writer
MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) - World leaders held meetings on everything from free trade to regional strife as they arrived at a U.N. summit on alleviating poverty around the globe.
In anticipation of the U.N. International Conference on Financing for Development, the United States and Europe each pledged billions of dollars to poor nations last week. But the United Nations (news - web sites) says much more is needed international development aid must double to $100 billion a year to meet the international goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015.
"It's a good beginning, but nobody has suggested that's all we need," U.N. spokeswoman Susan Markham said. "The donors have agreed we need to increase aid. The fact that they're even discussing an increase in (overseas development aid) is a breakthrough."
The summit conclusions that will be signed on Friday were prepared in advance and cannot be altered, so many of the heads of state were taking advantage of the summit to hold high-level meetings. Mexican President Vicente Fox (news - web sites) alone scheduled individual talks with at least 19 other heads of state.
On Wednesday, Fox met with Colombian President Andres Pastrana, offering his support for peace in the South American country divided by civil war. He also held talks with Central American leaders, who are hoping to reach a free trade agreement with the United States.
Cuban President Fidel Castro (news - web sites) was to speak Thursday morning. President Bush (news - web sites) was scheduled to fly to Monterrey on Thursday afternoon to address the summit the following morning. Finance and foreign ministers from 171 countries arrived earlier in the week to discuss development aid to help the neediest. While all agreed more money was needed, they debated over how best to give it.
The United States wants to overhaul the system of loans to the Third World, offering instead direct assistance that poor countries don't need to pay back. European countries worry that without the debt payments coming in, there will be little money left to spend on the poor.
Realizing that the levels of aid are insufficient, donor countries are pressing poor countries to use the money they receive more efficiently.
The United States has begun to put conditions to receive aid. Bush's latest pledge which will phase in an extra $5 billion a year by 2006 will go only to countries that "walk the hard road" in combatting political and economic instability.
Asked whether the United States would provide more financial assistance to Argentina, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said Wednesday that the United States had already given and hadn't seen many results. "How much is enough?" he asked.
Many aid recipients say that conditioning aid amounts to meddling in their internal politics. Advocates for the poor say some of the neediest live in countries whose governments are corrupt or totalitarian and they shouldn't be punished for the sins of their leaders.
Protesters have staged marches outside the conference site in this modern, industrial city in northern
Mexico, but all have been small and mostly peaceful. Larger marches were expected Thursday, a national holiday commemorating the birth of 19th century President Benito Juarez. Mexico brought 3,500 police and soldiers to Monterrey to keep the peace.
The Bush administration has said that if its extra $5 billion in aid produces results, it will give more. But many criticized the United States, by far the world's richest country, for doing little to help the poorest.
Jeffrey Sachs, a Harvard economist and special adviser to the United Nations, said the United States is the "benchmark at the bottom of world donors."
"If we don't do more," he said, "it's not going to get done.
UN's Annan to wealthy nations: Aid works
By Irwin Arieff, Reuters Writer
MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters), March 21- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites) prepared to make a plea to wealthy nations on Thursday that aid works, dismissing the notion that trying to help the desperately poor was a waste of money.
Annan, who has brought some 50 world leaders to the northeastern Mexico industrial city of Monterrey for a week-long conference on development financing, is urging a doubling of foreign aid, but commitments from rich nations have fallen far short.
To meet his objective, the 22 industrial nations that make up the aid donor community would have to come up with an extra $50 billion a year. Even though the United States and European Union (news - web sites) have just promised significant increases over the next few years, their pledges would make up less than a quarter of what Annan is demanding, U.N. officials said.
Japan, the world's largest aid donor -- with current contributions of about $13 billion a year compared to some $10 billion annually from Washington and $25 billion from the 15 EU nations -- has yet to be heard from.
Tokyo argues its economy is too weak to give more now. Annan was due to speak at the start of two days of addresses by leaders of poor as well as rich countries attending the U.N. Conference on Financing for Development.
The conference ends on Friday with adoption by the United Nations (news - web sites)' 189 members of a global plan for lining up the financial resources required to halve, by 2015, the number of people living on less than a dollar a day. Some 1.2 billion people now do so.
The goal of slashing extreme poverty was set at the 2000 U.N. millennium summit.
The Monterrey plan, drafted in advance, envisions freer trade, greater foreign investment, debt relief and more efficient government as well as more foreign aid.
While the United States now gives out just 0.1 percent of its economic output in foreign aid, putting it in last place on the list of 22 donor nations, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill on Wednesday rejected the idea the United States was tight-fisted.
Washington wants to reform aid distribution by insisting it lead to measurable results, O'Neill said. If it can be shown that aid dollars result in demonstrably higher income levels for the impoverished, "there will be plenty of funds flow," he added.
The United States and the EU engaged in a lively game of one-upmanship ahead of President Bush (news - web sites)'s arrival. He was due late on Thursday and was to address the meeting on Friday. Before he arrived, EU officials boasted the new European proposal would mean an extra $7 billion a year by 2006.
The Bush administration, which had initially announced extra giving of $5 billion over three years, then said it actually would donate an additional $5 billion in the 2006 fiscal year alone.
In light of the apparent U.S.-EU bidding war, Annan said he felt "we're winning the argument that we do need additional development assistance."
Pope calls priestly pedophilia 'Grievous Evil'
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters), March 21 - Pope John Paul (news - web sites), in his first comment on a wave of Church pedophilia scandals, said on Thursday he was profoundly hurt by Roman Catholic priests involved in what he called "the most grievous form" of evil. Photos
Writing in his yearly letter to priests, the Pope said the Catholic Church wanted to show its concern for the victims of the scandals and aimed to "respond in truth and justice to each of these painful situations."
He spoke about the issue in one paragraph of the 22-page letter and did not use the word pedophilia. But Vatican (news - web sites) sources said the comments were a clear response to demands that he speak out about scandals, particularly in the United States, where the Church is accused of concealing dozens of pedophilia cases.
"As priests we are personally and profoundly afflicted by the sins of some of our brothers who have betrayed the grace of ordination in succumbing even to the most grievous forms of the mystery of evil at work in the world," he said.
He said he realized the scandals had stained the reputation of the Church, and of innocent priests, around the world.
"Grave scandal is caused, with the result that a dark shadow of suspicion is cast over all the fine priests who perform their ministry with honesty and integrity and often with heroic self-sacrifice," he said.
The Pope said priests had to overcome human weakness by committing themselves more fully to the search for holiness. CARDINAL AVOIDS QUESTIONS Instead of answering eight specific questions put by reporters about the Church and pedophilia at a Vatican news conference, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, head of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, read a two-page statement.
He said sexual abuse was the product of modern culture, where sexual liberties had influenced priests too.
The cardinal said the Church has not neglected priestly pedophilia and listed the times the Pope had condemned it. But he also refused to answer specific questions on the situation in the United States, where the Church is mired in a widening controversy over sexual abuse of children by priests.
Church sources said critics of how the Church has handled the scandal were bound to be disappointed by the indirect nature of the Pope's words.
Some had called on the Vatican to fire cardinals who have been touched by the scandal or to start its own investigation.
The scandal in the United States has taken on such proportions nationally that even President Bush (news - web sites) weighed in with a comment on Wednesday, saying he was confident the Church would "clean up its business and do the right thing."
It involves mostly Boston and New York, where there have been calls for the cardinals in those cities to resign. Castrillion Hoyos said the Pope was "supportive" of American cardinals now undergoing scrutiny of their handling of cases.
The Boston Archdiocese faces claims by as many as 200 plaintiffs who have accused defrocked priest John Geoghan and other Boston-area priests of sexually abusing them. It has already agreed to spend between $15-30 million to settle claims.
Partly in response to the scandals, a Vatican department is preparing a document on "psychological profiling" to block men who have potential sexual problems from entering the priesthood.
Woman bites off husband's genitals
KAMPALA (Reuters), March 21 - A Ugandan woman bit off her husband's penis and testicles during an argument, police said on Wednesday.
The woman, Annet Minduru, 30, was in police custody in the capital Kampala and might be charged with causing grievous bodily harm, said the officer in charge of the station, Vigilius Okuni.
The independent Monitor newspaper said Minduru had bitten off John Ndekeezi's penis and testicles Sunday night after her 45-year-old husband slapped her.
"Because I was so drunk she overpowered me and by the time my neighbor came to my rescue, she had bitten off both my testicles and the penis," Ndekeezi told the paper.
Minduru's account of events was not immediately available.
The attack came only days after a man died in central Uganda after his wife, angered by his inability to provide for her and his two children, cut off his testicles.
The cases come on the heels of a survey showing high levels of domestic violence against women in some parts of Uganda.
Last week Vice President Specioza Kazibwe told women legislators she had been forced to end her 23-year marriage because her husband had beaten her even after she was appointed to office. Her husband said he had beaten her only twice.
Posted at 5:29 a.m., Wednesday, March 20, 2002
Tyrant Aristide's Congressman fatally shot young man to death
By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor
Brutal dictator Jean-Bertrand Aristide, de facto Premier Yvon Neptune, including their bandits, have never lost their potential for killing.
Just as many Haitians who dreamed of a democratic Haiti had foreseen days after the ascendancy of Neptune to the post of prime minister Friday, an Aristide's de facto Congressman, Jean Candio, who last year nearly tortured a Roman Catholic priest and parishioners, believing that they were asking God to kill Aristide, Monday had again shown that he did not value human lives - never mind democracy or the rule of law.
Had this been otherwise, he would not have not fatally shot to death, to be precise in the head, a young man in the south of Haiti after he refused to remove a barricade so the drunk de facto Congressman who was enroute to his private residence purchased with stolen public funds from a party could proceed to drive through the section of the highway where the regrettable incident occurred. Again, another Haitian has been murdered by the notorious criminals.
In another development, dictator Aristide who in December 2000 made a mockery of democracy when he declared he won the presidency with 94 percent of the votes cast - in Haiti or Cuba at least - will be departing Haiti for Monterrey, Mexico, where hundreds of ministers and presidents will arrive in the next twenty four hours for a huge United Nations conference on financing development.
The brutal dictator's departure by private plane while millions of his fellow Haitian compatriots continue to endure dehumanizing poverty will come just one day after the United States government announced that it will soon return to Haiti more than 50 Haitian refugees - most of them fleeing his totalitarian rule - who had entered the U.S. illegally.
Posted at 5:16 a.m., Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Clinton defends new government's work, emphasizes importance of press freedom in Haiti and Venezuela
By Ismael Torres, Associated Press Writer
LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton backed his successor's work in dealing with a national crisis and emphasized the importance of a free press in a wide-ranging speech to journalists Monday.
"Democracy is more than majority rule; it is minority rights and free speech and a free press," Clinton said during a meeting of the Inter-American Press Association that brought together more than 300 editors, publishers and reporters.
Asked whether the current U.S. administration has paid little attention to Latin America, Clinton said: "I agree that it's sort of fallen off the radar screen. But I have to defend the president and our government. We have never sustained a wound like this, with the exception of Pearl Harbor, and the psychic shock was enormous."
Following the Sept. 11 attacks and the war in Afghanistan (news - web sites), Clinton said the return to other priorities would take time. "Give our country and the administration and the Congress a little time to get our priorities balanced," Clinton said. "Six months from now, you will look back and think that America will have got re-engaged."
The five-day conference at the Casa de Campo resort on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic has focused its debates on the safety of journalists and laws curtailing free speech.
The head of the association's Impunity Committee, Alberto Ibarguen, said many governments in Latin America and the Caribbean are failing to investigate and prosecute those who attack or kill journalists. "Despite best efforts, we have not obtained meaningful responses to our pleas to bring many of the guilty to justice," said Ibarguen, publisher of The Miami Herald.
Clinton criticized what he described as recent curtailment of press freedoms in Haiti and Venezuela, and he also touched on his own experiences with the media.
"I have learned through trial and error that more access to information by the press is better than less and more press freedom is better than less, and as you will have noticed, I have gotten a lot of bad press, most of which was blatantly false, and printed by people who knew it was false at the time," Clinton said.
"Nevertheless, when you have a press that is free, it was also free enough for me to get my side of the story out," he said. Clinton spoke in support of economic globalization, saying that under liberalized trade rules, "in one year, some imports from Africa increased by 1,000 percent. Jordan doubled its exports to the United States."
He said this was "a signal that there is a hope other than terror and violence for the future of the children of these countries."
Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said Clinton was paid an honorarium of dlrs 100,000, plus other expenses for himself and his entourage that would raise the cost of his visit to about dlrs 250,000.
Earlier in the day, Dominican President Hipolito Mejia spoke about his government's efforts to ensure freedom for the Caribbean country's news media. He noted that shortly after beginning his term in 2000, his government presented a measure "to eliminate the last barriers" to press freedom.
The proposed law would establish penalties for public officials who refuse to reveal public information, among other things.
Since the Inter-American Press Association last met in October, four journalists have been murdered in the region, including two from Colombia, one from Haiti and one from Mexico.
Ibarguen also noted the recent killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, saying hopefully his death could "bring more attention to the dangers journalists face all over the world."
Posted at 5:34 p.m., Monday, March 18, 2002
Haiti swears-in de facto Premier
By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor
Another famously known criminal is now in charge and his victims face more political persecution and dehumanizing poverty as they continue to fight for a democratic Haiti.
Yvon Neptune, 55, who was declared senator hours after a May 2000 nakedly crooked Haitian parliamentary election and thereafter de facto Senate President, was in a clearly disorganized ceremony inaugurated Haitian prime minister on Friday.
"My government intends to work with the opposition," Neptune, a terrorist, told parliament, which days after he was designated for the long-tarnished top job of prime minister by de facto and totalitarian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, unanimously said, as would Fidel Castro's, "you are now our prime minister."
By saying "the Haitian state can't deliver good services to the people without a political solution," a reference to the stalemate between tyrant Aristide and Haiti's democratic opposition, better known as the Convergence Democratique, over the May 2000 largely fraudulent elections, brutal dictator Aristide, who also attended the Casa Nostra-type ceremony, certainly reminded members of the troubled Caribbean nation democratic opposition that it was not long ago that Neptune said "members of the opposition was infected and that they needed to be disinfected."
Like many before him, Neptune, who failed to be specific as to what members of the Convergence Democratique was infected with, has no economic and political program, which would, hopefully, ultimately transform Haiti into an engine of economic progress for its people.
Unfortunately, not only Neptune seemed to be more interested in seeing Haiti remains an object of the American and European taxpayers' pity, but expressed great interest in working arduously so multi-lateral financial aid that was suspended months after the May 2000 largely fraudulent elections be again sent to Haiti to help subsidize radical leftist dictator Aristide and his de facto government gross incompetence, killings in broad daylight, and rampant corruption.
"A more likely future for Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, is one of continued isolation by the international community and penury as drug trafficking by many governmental officials, including Aristide, remains the norm," many ordinary Haitians said.
"Foreign donors will offer food aid to the majority of the Haitian people who will continue to endure abject poverty, but cash will also be funneled through non-governmental organizations as brutal dictator Aristide continues to claim that members of his Lavalas Family party were duly elected in the May 2000 largely fraudulent elections, which thereafter supposedly conferred him the right to further wreck Haiti, from the neighborhoods to the national palace," many democratic opposition leaders said, a view that reflected those of many Haitian intellectuals and foreign friends of Haiti.
"Like a buffalo or an elephant, brutal dictator Aristide and his subaltern, the corrupt and murderous Neptune, will become more dangerous when they feel threatened as the dirt poor nation's public accounts read more like a drug-addict's credit card statement. As a result members of the democratic opposition and others will be forced to intensify their efforts to send them and their partners in crime into permanent political retirement - perhaps also to prison, and for a very, very long time," a prominent Haitian economist who spoke to me for this news article on the condition that he is not identified.
Business - The New York Times
As Global Lenders Refocus, a Needy World Waits
By DANIEL ALTMAN The New York Times
Meddling relatives usually mean well but, as everyone knows, sometimes they just make things worse.
To many critics, both expert and casual, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund fall into the same camp.
Created 57 years ago to reduce poverty and to stabilize foreign currency markets, the institutions, based a block apart in Washington, have continually struggled to meet the expectations of their big shareholders the world's rich nations as well as those of their supposed beneficiaries in the developing world.
In Haiti, for example, the World Bank has supported 41 projects over the last 50 years with more than $1 billion in loans, and the I.M.F. has lent the country $150 million in the last two decades alone. Yet more than 80 percent of Haiti's population still lives in poverty, compared with 65 percent in 1987. And the conditions on the aid from the World Bank and the I.M.F. including removing tariffs and growing crops intended mainly for export, like coffee have allowed imports to displace food crops like sugar cane and rice. While political upheavals in Haiti undoubtedly share the blame for its destitution, critics say mismanagement and economic policies mandated by the aid packages bear some responsibility.
Tomorrow, global policy makers will convene in Monterrey, Mexico, for the United Nations Conference on Financing for Development; and when President Bush speaks there, on Friday, he is expected to repeat his calls for reform and accountability at the World Bank, which has recently been accused of squandering billions on ineffective projects. The I.M.F. will also have much to answer for. Argentina's recent economic collapse, despite policy prescriptions and billions in aid from the I.M.F., threw millions of middle-class people into poverty.
The decades-long debate over the role of the bank and the fund heated up in 1997, when Kofi Annan became secretary general of the United Nations and called for a dialogue on development financing. Since Sept. 11, as rich nations have focused on resentment in the developing world, matters have grown more urgent.
Those rich nations have sent the World Bank and the I.M.F. to face down some of the world's toughest economic problems. Yet the two institutions have often failed to turn deep political backing, world-class brainpower and billions in funds into good results.
Both now say they are improving their performance through internal reforms, even as they also grasp for new responsibilities. But the world's hunger for radical change in terms of which countries receive aid, how much is made available and how it is distributed could overtake their efforts.
The World Bank makes loans to countries, usually for specific projects, at interest rates that reflect their fiscal conditions. Its locally based staff helps to manage the projects, which in the past focused on building dams, paving roads or wiring electricity grids but now deal more with improving health and education. The I.M.F. sends teams of economists, with billions in loans, to rescue countries facing financial crises. But it, too, makes loans for development.
The bank which has lately taken to trumpeting its success in leading fast-developing countries like China and India to higher literacy and lower infant mortality rates acknowledges some failures. Its reports state that living standards simply have not improved in much of sub-Saharan Africa, where since the 1960's it has invested tens of billions of dollars, some stolen by corrupt rulers and some built into huge power and transportation projects idly awaiting the use of foreign companies.
The bank's president, James D. Wolfensohn, is vocally urging rich countries to increase foreign aid, disbursed both directly and through the bank. But his many critics, including some who question his management style, do not trust him to use more aid effectively.
"He's not a good manager," said Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development, a new policy group in Washington. "He's a visionary," she said, adding that she respected his passion for development but that his ability to lead the bank was limited.
Mr. Wolfensohn acknowledged that the bank had been ineffective in the past. But he contended that it had made significant strides. "Reform takes time in an institution with a 57- year history," he said by e-mail. "But I wouldn't underestimate how much change has already taken place at the bank. Some of our critics seem to be stuck somewhere in the bank of the 1980's."
The I.M.F., meanwhile, has been under attack for its handling of the crisis in Argentina. Despite billions in aid and advice, the country defaulted on about $141 billion in public debt, froze private bank accounts and devalued the peso, instantly destroying the purchasing power of millions of families and resulting in mass unemployment, hunger and civil unrest. Economists say the situation shows just how little the fund understands economic fundamentals of many countries.
In its defense, the fund's officials have said repeatedly that countries must take credit and blame for their own situations. They also said that advice offered earlier, when Argentina did not need the fund's money, went unheeded.
Critics are unconvinced. "It's disingenuous to say that it was the country's own making," said Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics and professor at Columbia University who sparred with the I.M.F. while serving as chief economist of the bank. "The I.M.F. is taken seriously in the advice that it gives."
The bank and the fund gained reputations for uncompromising and often unsuccessful policies in the 1980's and early 90's, when they encouraged countries to pursue development plans that were based on rigorous economic logic but failed to consider local circumstances.
Like an emergency room doctor who gives every patient an appendectomy regardless of the symptoms, the institutions treated almost every developing nation the same with a package often referred to as "structural adjustment." Usually, in return for aid, they imposed strict budgetary discipline, the ending of subsidies for food and other basics, increases in the cost of public services like health care and the elimination of trade barriers.
With so many changes coming at once, depressed economies struggled to grow as imports flooded in and traditional industries collapsed. Sometimes, poverty worsened.
"A lot of the structural-adjustment agenda was right, but was too brutally implemented," said Clare Short, Britain's secretary of state for international development. Changes were necessary in countries with high tariffs, big subsidies for manufacturers and decentralized agriculture, she said, but the bank and the fund were not mindful of economic disruptions and eroding support for their policies.
"The political price in resistance to any reform was a very serious obstacle to further progress," Ms. Short said.
In the last decade, critics of the two institutions' methods went on the offensive. "The signals came from outside the World Bank that things were not going all that well, that the structural adjustments policies were not delivering what everyone hoped," Dr. Birdsall said. The countries that put the programs into effect became more stable, she said, but economic growth and a reduction in poverty did not automatically follow. Nonetheless, the bank continues to offer a third of its aid $5.8 billion in 2001 for structural adjustment.
Though both the bank and the fund engage in development, the fund takes the lead in ushering countries through financial crises. There, too, the policies of the last two decades have come under fire. "They went into countries facing economic downturns and said, `Make them worse,' " Professor Stiglitz said.
The results were sometimes perverse. In Argentina, an I.M.F. price stabilization program pegged utility prices to the dollar, he said. As the peso fell in value, the cost of electricity soared, enriching utilities while straining ordinary families.
Professor Stiglitz said I.M.F. policies, including lower government spending and higher interest rates on central bank lending imposed on East Asian nations in 1998, had never brought a country to prosperity.
The I.M.F. has also been criticized as failing to encourage countries to make the most difficult economic decisions. Many economists say that in Argentina, the fund focused on nit- picking reforms of the government's budget and financing rules instead of the harder task of advising the country how to unhitch its currency from the American dollar.
"Everybody knew for months that the currency board had to go, and everybody knew that it would be a terribly messy affair," said Charles Wyplosz, co-director of the international macroeconomics program at the Center for Economic Policy Research, based in London.
Yet the fund made several other conditions for aid instead, as it had in East Asia. "The conditions often tend to be millions of little details, and not the big picture, so countries can pretend to fulfill part of the request," Dr. Wyplosz said. "They fulfill the menial ones and not the main ones, so there's a game going on that can go on for years."
CRITICISM of the bank and the fund peaked in 2000, when a commission organized by Congress and headed by Allan H. Meltzer, a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University, released a report calling for wholesale reform of both institutions, especially the World Bank. Lately, complaints about the bank have centered on Mr. Wolfensohn, a former investment banker who became its president in 1995 and said he expects to remain in office until his second term ends in 2005.
In the journal Foreign Affairs last fall, Jessica Einhorn, a former managing director at the bank, accused Mr. Wolfensohn of taking on too many disparate missions. The bank's mission, she wrote, has become so complex that it "strains credulity" to portray it as a manageable organization. "The bank takes on challenges that lie far beyond any institution's operational capabilities," she wrote.
Mr. Wolfensohn acknowledges pushing the bank in new directions and says it has made progress in areas like debt relief, anti-corruption programs and community-driven development. Yet on the basic goal of eliminating poverty, the numbers show mixed results: progress in big countries like China and India but little change in many poor, sometimes war-torn areas like sub-Saharan Africa, which is also ravaged by AIDS.
It is hard to distribute blame precisely or to know which solutions will work better. That has not stopped everyone from street protesters to world leaders from offering ideas. Lately, many of them have come from the United States Treasury Department. Paul H. O'Neill, the secretary, has recommended that the bank turn half its lowest-interest loans into grants, so that countries trying to grow do not incur a debt burden.
Opposition to that proposal, mostly from Europe, has been fierce. "We think it's profoundly wrong," said Ms. Short, the British cabinet member. She argued that governments would be more likely to use grants in wasteful ways, because no one would ever come looking for repayment.
Professor Stiglitz said some countries should be asked to repay loans so that the money can be recycled for other countries to use. "If a country like Chile or China is getting richer," he said, "they're going to be able to repay that debt."
Some economists support the shift to grants because, they say, private markets can now finance developing countries where the money is likely to be used wisely. J. Bradford DeLong, a professor of development economics at the University of California at Berkeley, said countries that did not attract lenders in the open markets probably should not be borrowing at all.
Nicholas H. Stern, the chief economist of the World Bank, counters that private markets would not finance the kind of long-term projects that lay the groundwork for higher standards of living. "The markets are looking at their return," he said. "What we're looking for is the return to growth and opportunity over a long period of time."
Though he noted that the rich countries that control the bank would make the final decision, Dr. Stern indicated that the two sides could be nearing a compromise on replacing some loans with grants.
Skeptics, including Professor Stiglitz, have suggested that Mr. O'Neill's true aim is to reduce the scope of American aid, a sensitive issue in a time of budget deficits. But Dr. Stern said he saw evidence that the Bush administration was "seriously devoted" to development.
Among Mr. O'Neill's other recommendations was to shift the bank's focus from reducing poverty to raising labor productivity, which he says can be more accurately assessed, to bolster the bank's accountability. In "The Elusive Quest for Growth," a book published last summer, William Easterly, an economist formerly at the bank, asserted that billions in aid had been squandered on poorly designed programs.
Critics say Mr. O'Neill's focus on productivity smacks of 1980's-style "trickle down" economics because productivity gains among the poor can end up lining the pockets of wealthy employers. They also say that rising productivity may not be any easier to measure than falling poverty is now. "I don't know how you measure the productivity of projects," Dr. Wyplosz said. "People will produce numbers that have no precision whatsoever, so we'll be massaging numbers instead of massaging reports."
REFLECTING the historically cozy relationship between the Treasury Department and the I.M.F., Mr. O'Neill has left the fund to plan its own reforms. It has begun to seek ways to help bankrupt countries without resorting to expensive bailouts, which critics like Professor Stiglitz say were meant primarily to allow wealthy investors to recover their money. As a substitute for bailouts, the fund has proposed a tribunal for restructuring the debts of insolvent countries.
Last November, Anne O. Krueger, the first deputy director of the I.M.F., suggested that the fund could sponsor a bankruptcy procedure for countries in crisis. In such a system, claims would be frozen and the fund would provide interim aid and help work out who will be repaid and how. Investors cried foul, arguing that the fund could not supply money to a country and, as a creditor itself, decide who ought to be repaid. The fund is revising its proposal.
Few people expect the meeting in Monterrey to generate new aid pledges or innovative development strategies. But the dialogue could speed the process. Neither the World Bank nor the I.M.F. is close to completing its mission. More than a billion people still live on less than $1 a day, and crises strike developing countries with alarming frequency. "This," Dr. Stern said, "is a long haul."
Posted at 12:16 a.m., Friday, March 15, 2002
Parliament confirms former Senate President Yvon Neptune as new Haitian prime minister
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Former Senate President Yvon Neptune became Haiti's new prime minister Thursday, pledging to tackle a two-year political stalemate and promising economic growth in the next year.
Both houses of Parliament approved the nomination after Neptune gave an hour-long speech explaining how his plan of action would differ from that of his predecessor, Jean-Marie Cherestal, who resigned amid mounting pressure from critics who said he wasn't doing enough for the poor.
Neptune, 55, said the Haitian people understand that the government is "confronting a situation that is more than difficult" but he would try to raise the average income above the poverty line and bring the country's growth rate to 1.5 percent next year. This year it has been zero.
His first priority, however, would be to bridge the gap between the opposition and President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's ruling Lavalas party.
"On the international level this government will continue to play its role in the most efficient manner possible to resolve the crisis that is asphyxiating the Haitian people," he said. "My first concern ... will be to favorize a climate open to dialogue"
Neptune resigned as Senate president last week after Aristide nominated him to succeed Cherestal. He takes office immediately.
For months, Aristide supporters had called for Cherestal's resignation in street demonstrations, complaining the economic situation of Haiti's 8.2 million people had deteriorated since
Cherestal became prime minister in March 2001. Cherestal, 55, said the government's failures were due to political opposition and lack of international financial support. He bowed to pressure and resigned on Jan. 15.
Lavalas Family party members have praised Neptune for his honesty and administrative competence.
The self-effacing legislator speaks with a monotonous, almost mechanical voice. But he has alienated many with his barbed, slogan-filled declarations.
Taking office, he will be faced with a two-year crisis that started in May 2000, when Aristide's party swept local and legislative elections that observers said were flawed.
"Neptune is a projection of Aristide. Their power is illegitimate, and Neptune will continue to do whatever Aristide tells him to do, in defiance of democratic law," said opposition politician Leslie Manigat.
Neptune has blamed the opposition along with the international community for the Caribbean country's poverty and social problems, and the opposition refused to participate in Neptune's government.
The international community has withheld millions of dollars in grants and loans until the government and opposition reach agreement on new elections.
Neptune, with Aristide's accord, was expected to reappoint a majority of the 16-member outgoing government.
"Mr. Neptune is cutting and intolerant," said Edouard Paultre, president of the Protestant Federation, one of a group of civil society leaders who unsuccessfully tried to mediate talks between the government and opposition last year.
Neptune's remark last year that the mediating group "should be disinfected" scandalized many who said it revealed racist sentiment toward the light-skinned business and intellectual elites.
He outraged the opposition when, after a Dec. 17 armed attack on the National Palace, Aristide street activists burned down opposition offices and the private residences of its leaders. "The people have recognized their enemies," Neptune said at the time.
On Thursday, however, he softened his stance saying that the opposition was not the enemy.
An architect by profession, Neptune lived for years in New York City and became close to Aristide following his ouster by the army in 1991. Aristide spent three years in exile and was restored to power by a U.S. invasion in 1994.
Neptune returned home and served as presidential spokesman from 1994 until 1996, when Aristide barred by a term limit from seeking a second consecutive term backed Rene Preval, his hand-picked successor, in elections.
Aristide was re-elected president in November 2000.
Neptune was elected to the Senate in the flawed May 2000 elections and represents the district that includes Port-au-Prince.
Posted at 12:49 p.m., Monday, March 11, 2002
U.S. deports Haitians to horrific jails
By Alan Elsner, National
MIAMI, March 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. government is trying its hardest to deport Gertha
Clairville to Haiti, a country she was not born in, has never lived in and where she faces
certain imprisonment and possible death.
Clairville, 21, is one of hundreds, possibly thousands, of people caught in a 1996 law aimed at U.S. residents who are not citizens. Some have been convicted of crimes as trivial as shoplifting and check kiting.
Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, non-citizens convicted of a long list of violent or non-violent offenses can be automatically deported.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service hopes to deport Clairville despite the fact that doing so will leave her three small children to grow up without their mother and knowing that she will be thrown into a Haitian prison.
"I was born in the Bahamas in 1980 and my parents, who were Haitian, came to the United States when I was one year old," said Clairville, interviewed in prison in Miami where she is awaiting a final decision on her case.
In 1998, Clairville got into a fight with another woman and threatened her with a knife. She was convicted of aggravated battery and sentenced to two years in prison. When she had served her sentence, she was put on a plane with 25 others and deported to Haiti, a country she had never seen.
"When I got there, the officials couldn't understand me and I couldn't understand them. They took me to a jail in Port au Prince. I was there for two months," she said.
She was put in a cell with nine other women. They took turns sleeping on a concrete floor with no blankets and bought their own food and water since the prison did not supply any. A prison officer threatened to rape her and only backed off when she screamed out in terror.
"It was terrible. Why did they send me to a place where I wasn't even born?" Clairville said.
After two months, Clairville's lawyers from the Florida Immigration Advocacy Center succeeded in having her returned to the United States. She won an appeal to stay in the country in immigration court but the authorities took the case to the Immigration Board of Appeals which ruled against her. Her lawyer is now trying to take the case to federal court but Clairville could be returned to Haiti at any time.
In a similar case less than two years ago, Haitian-born Claudette Etienne was convicted of selling a small amount of crack cocaine, an offense which a U.S. judge did not think merited imprisonment.
But the INS deported her to Haiti where she was thrown in prison. Four days later, after drinking contaminated water, she died.
Her body lay unclaimed in a morgue a year later. Her husband, struggling to bring up their two children, lacked the money to bring her home and give her a decent burial.
U.S. NOT RESPONSIBLE
INS spokeswoman Karen Kraushaar said U.S. responsibility for the fate of a deported person ended when the individual left U.S. soil. She said the United States had deported 125 Haitians between October 2001 and January 2002, of whom 77 had been classed as felons under the 1996 immigration law.
"Our authority ends with the deportation. We do not have the ability to dictate to a foreign government how to treat its own nationals," she said.
Asked about conditions in Haitian prisons, she said: "It would be a good idea to visit a Haitian prison before making sweeping statements. It's all hearsay."
But the U.S. State Department, in its past two human rights reports, lambasted Haiti for its prisons and for jailing people indefinitely if they are deported by other countries.
"Very poor prison conditions, arbitrary arrest and detention, and prolonged pretrial detention continue to be problems. Many criminal deportees who already served full sentences overseas are put back in jail for indefinite periods of time," the department said in its 2001 report.
Haitian authorities say that in a country with 85 percent unemployment, criminal deportees have to be locked up to prevent them resorting to a life of crime.
A BBC reporter, Andy Kershaw, visited a Haitian prison at Croix de Bouquets in January, 2002 and found windowless cells, "dark, fetid and hot as a foundry." He saw 17 U.S. deportees in a cell which measured roughly 13 feet by 13 feet (four metres by four metres).
Wendy Young of the Womens' Commission for Refugee Women and Children said she found it astounding that the United States was deporting people to Haiti, knowing what lay in store for them.
"There is a big question whether we are sending people back to torture or even to their deaths. Is this what the United States wants to be doing?" she asked.
Clairville's three children, aged 6, 5 and 4 are being brought up by their grandmother who is in frail health. Clairville says the youngest does not even know her.
"I had my baby in jail. They took her away when she was one day old," she said. She fears that if the INS succeeds in deporting her to Haiti once more, she will not survive to ever see her children again.
Posted at 2:20 p.m., Thursday, March 7, 2002
Ex-policeman in New York torture case free on bail
By ReutersNEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) - Former New York City police officer Charles Schwarz, whose conviction was overturned in the notorious case of a Haitian immigrant who was tortured by police, was freed on bail on Thursday while he awaits retrial on separate civil charges.
Immigrants to U.S. often depend on their children
By Alan Elsner, National Correspondent
BAILEY'S CROSSROADS, Va., March 7
(Reuters) - Many immigrants to the United States find the decision to come here to seek
better lives for their families can have an unexpected and tragic consequence as deep
differences with their children develop over language and culture.
In the heavily-immigrant Culmore neighborhood of northern Virginia, most children quickly pick up English in public schools while parents often work long hours in low-paying jobs and have little time or energy left over for language classes. As a result, the parents become dependent on the children.
"Many immigrants arrive here without much education. Their kids soon gain language skills and also street smarts on how to live in America, leaving the parents at a disadvantage," Rev. Ileana Rosas of the Gracia Ministry, a Methodist church group operating in Culmore.
"Not only that but they find they cannot relate to children who quickly absorb American culture," she said.
With immigrants from at least 35 different countries living there, Culmore is a microcosm of the American immigrant scene. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of foreign-born or first generation Americans reached 55 million last year, a record one in five of the total population.
Immigration is especially changing the face of many urban and suburban areas.
The population of Virginia's Fairfax County has jumped 60 percent in the past 20 years from under 600,000 to almost 1 million. In 1980, the county was 86 percent white; now it is 13 percent Asian, 11 percent Hispanic and 8 percent black.
The success of immigrant families in adjusting to their new homes will be of crucial importance for the future of the county and by extension the nation.
Language is a key to that success, but too often it appears that parents are left behind by the next generation in making that essential transition.
A survey by Fairfax County of 922 immigrants in 2000 found that nearly 40 percent of those who had already been in the United States for more than 15 years would still like to take English classes if only they had the time.
Two thirds of low income households depended on their children for translation.
Over 26 percent, including 45 percent of Spanish-speaking respondents, said that their best English-speaking parent spoke little or no English.
"I saw a case where an older sibling had to translate between his parents and a younger sibling who was born in America and either could not or would not communicate in their native language," Rev. Rosas said.
In these situations, parents may need their children to translate for them when they seek medical help. If a child gets into trouble in school, the parents may never find out.
Psychologists and sociologists say parents can lose their position of authority in a family as a result and the effects of that can be far-reaching.
"Children need caretakers who can communicate hope about their future, transmit important social and moral expectations, regularly listen to and understand them and reflect back their understanding," said Richard Weissbourd, who teaches education at Harvard University.
"Americanization erodes these critical aspects of parenting," he wrote recently in the New Republic magazine.
"First-generation children often don't respect their parents' values and they view their parents as obstacles to forming an American identity," he said.
Children exposed to American pop culture that glorifies youth and sexuality often rebel when their parents try to impose the conservative values they brought with them.
Maria Demerest, a community liaison officer at the local Bailey's Elementary School, said: "Children here have to be the voice for the family. Children find themselves in charge at an early age and parents lose their voice and their authority."
Immigrant parents are often unwilling or unable to educate their daughters about birth control. The result can be unwanted pregnancies at ages as young as 12 or 13.
For boys, looking for authority figures they no longer find within the family, the danger is gangs.
Lakisha Lipscomb, 16, said the Mara Salvatruche gang, made up mainly of Salvadorans and other Hispanic youth, was actively recruiting new members in Culmore.
"They are spray painting graffiti, picking fights all the time around the neighborhood," she said.
Immigrant parents often find themselves bemused by American customs yet hesitant to continue parenting the way they did back in their old country.
Parents who spanked their children without thinking twice about it in their home countries report feeling scared that such behavior could be seen as abusive in the United States, for example.
Father Tuck Grinnell, of St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Bailey's Crossroads, said the challenge was to build a generation with a solid sense of their cultural heritage that was truly bicultural.
"A lot of kids go off the rails because they find themselves floating in a sea of cultural diversity without a compass. They don't have a strong sense of who they are and where they fit in," he said.
Demerest said she had seen the process of Americanization with her own children.
"I feel a part of me is dying with my children. They don't listen to my music. I have to play it on Sunday morning when they are not around," she said.
Posted at 11:06 a.m., Wednesday, March 6, 2002
Young Haitian woman gets life in murder case
By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor
Ginette Constant, 25, a former resident of Charlebourg, Quebec, is no longer a free woman, and she will not be so for many years.
After standing trial for the murder of the infant Francesca Gaeten-Daigle, who she was accused of holding faced up under cold water in the bathtub of her apartment for about 45 minutes until she expired on December 20, 2000, a Quebec jury of four men and eight women found Ms. Constant guilty of involuntary homicide Monday after a trial that lasted one month.
Superior Court judge Gaston Dejardins thereafter sentenced Ms. Constant to life in prison with parole.
Ms. Constant, who had seven previous romantic relationships, suggesting that she has an incredible sexual appetite, before contracting marriage with Mr. Gaeten Daigle, the father of Francesca, will be eligible for parole after serving ten years of her life sentence.
Dressed in black, Ms. Constant was ultimately taken away in handcuffs and shackles by court officers.
Posted at 10:40 a.m., Tuesday, March 5, 2002
Immigrant lives blighted by poverty in America
By Alan Elsner, National Correspondent
BAILEY'S CROSSROADS, Va., March 5
(Reuters) - They come to America from Pakistan, El Salvador, Somalia, Iraq and dozens of
other countries but they have one thing in common -- poverty.
In Culmore, Virginia, a small housing development nestled between upscale shopping malls and car dealerships near Washington, D.C., immigrants speaking 70 different languages struggle for a piece of the American dream. For many it remains stubbornly out of reach.
"We do a lot of emergency aid for people who need help making their rent and we've set aside thousands of dollars for that alone each year. People live from paycheck to paycheck. If they get the flu and miss three days at work, they're in trouble," said Father Tuck Grinnell of St. Anthony's Catholic Church which stands just outside the neighborhood.
Immigration has transformed Virginia's Fairfax County in the past 20 years from a predominantly white area to one with substantial black, Asian and Hispanic communities. It remains one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the United States.
But a poll commissioned by the county in 2000 of 922 immigrants from more than 40 countries of origin revealed the depths of poverty in places like Culmore.
About 19 percent in the survey reported having difficulty paying the rent in the previous six months and the same number had had problems paying for medical care; 13 percent said they had experienced difficulty paying their gas, water or electric bills; 11 percent said it had been hard for them to buy necessary food.
Nearly 16 percent said their children worked to help support the family. But a third were also sending money to relatives in their home country on a regular basis.
In Culmore, families often crowd into a single room. Waqas Amin, 14, who came with his family from Pakistan four years ago, shares a small bedroom with four sisters. His parents sleep in the living room.
"The toughest thing has been learning English. I came here knowing only Urdu. But now I make good grades. In five years, I plan to be in the U.S. Air Force," he said.
Edgarto Chavez, 15, lives with his father and step-mother, three brothers and one half-sister. His mother is still in Nicaragua. Another sister, who had a baby before she turned 16, lives with her boyfriend a couple of miles (kilometres) away even though she is still a minor.
SKILLED WORKERS TAKE UNSKILLED JOBS
Even qualified, educated immigrants are often forced to take manual jobs, sometimes because they lack proper documents and are living in the United States illegally.
Susanna Goenaga, who came from Argentina last year, is a nurse, her husband a pharmacist. They arrived in the United States on three-month tourist visas and stayed, hoping to build a better life for their two young daughters. But without a work permit, their employment prospects are limited. Right now, her husband works as a carpenter without health insurance and she is unemployed and trying to learn English.
"For the better jobs, you need English," she said. But you also need papers.
The county government, as well as churches, mosques and voluntary agencies all make tremendous efforts to help meet the health and welfare needs of newcomers and keep their children in school.
But the odds can still be daunting. At the Bryant Alternative High School, where immigrant children and adults can learn English and work for a high school diploma, the drop-out rate after 3 months is almost 50 percent.
"We have students here who were highly educated in their countries but also students who have never sat behind a desk or held a pen before in their lives," said principal Jan McKee.
Richard Weissbourd, a lecturer at Harvard University Graduate School of Education, recently cited disturbing data suggesting that the longer immigrant children lived in the United States, the worse on average was their health, their attitude and their school performance.
"First-generation children today are far more likely than their counterparts of 50 years ago to be scraping for crumbs of time from a single parent who not only works but is frayed from ricocheting among two or three jobs," he wrote recently in the New Republic.
He cited one study in which 85 percent of immigrant children had been separated from at least one parent for extended periods; 49 percent had been separated from both.
Father Grinnell saw the same phenomenon. "There are mothers here who send back money to support their families in Guatemala but never see them. Families are broken apart," he said.
Rev. Ileana Rosas, who runs a Methodist ministry in Culmore, described how men come to the United States planning to bring their wives and children later but often find it hard to bear the loneliness.
"Sometimes they establish second families here. It's a human need. But sometimes they are not honest and it causes great pain when it is discovered," she said.
Morene, 18, had a baby girl a year ago and is raising her alone. "After I got pregnant, I found out my boyfriend was married with two children. Now he's back with his wife and she doesn't want him to see my baby," said Morene, who asked that her last name not be used.
Posted at 2:36 p.m., Monday, March 4, 2002
A new de facto Premier for Haiti
By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor
Anyone who has been a student of Haitian affairs will tell you that the Caribbean nation that is Haiti needs a duly elected President and competent Premier.
Over the past twelve years or so, it has been ravaged by gross incompetence, drug trafficking, state sponsored corruption, including largely fraudulent elections. Still, radical leftist and totalitarian dictator, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, does not think so.
In an attempt to fill the office of the prime minister that has been vacant for about six weeks, tyrant Aristide selected today Yvon Neptune, 55, as the new de facto Prime Minister of the poorest country of the Americas.
Neptune, a de facto Senator and President of the largely questionable Haitian Senate, will replace Jean-Marie Cherestal who resigned on Jan. 21 amid allegations of rampant corruption and gross incompetence.
Will Neptune, a radical leftist, be capable of improving the lives of millions of Haitians who continue to endure dehumanizing poverty? "Not at all," said many Haitians interviewed for this news article. "The solution of the problem is not the appointment of a new Prime Minister, and again someone who is the spokesperson for the Lavalas Family Party of Aristide. It's, rather, and in part, the largely fraudulent elections held in May 2000 that must be first addressed," they added.
In another development, days after tyrant Aristide drank wine with his bandits at the Haitian national palace, criminals in the capital Port-au-Prince largest slum of Cite Soleil killed over the past two days more than 40 men and women.
Some of the victims were violent gang members who immediately succumbed to their wounds after they were shot by rival gang members. An innumerable number of bandits and honest citizens were wounded.
Posted at 12:36 a.m., Saturday, March 2, 2002
Haiti, Jamaica major Caribbean drug transit stops
By Jim Loney
MIAMI, March 1 (Reuters) - Plagued by
corruption, Jamaica and Haiti are two of the Caribbean's major transit stops for South
American cocaine headed for lucrative markets in the United States and Europe, according
to the U.S. government's annual report on the global drug trade released on Friday.
Jamaica, the leading Caribbean stop for South American cocaine and also the region's top producer and exporter of marijuana, estimates that 70 to 100 tonnes of cocaine are shipped through the island each year, routinely brought by speedboats across the Caribbean Sea from Colombia's north coast.
In troubled Haiti, weak democratic institutions, corrupt officials, a fledgling police force and eroded infrastructure provide South American narco-traffickers a "path of minimal resistance," the report said.
The report also named the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic as "major" transit countries for U.S.- and Europe-bound drug shipments from South America.
The myriad islands of the Caribbean, their thousands of secluded coves and tens of thousands of miles of poorly patrolled coastline, have long provided easy sailing for South American traffickers. They use speedboats, small planes and secret compartments on freighters to ship goods to market.
The report said corruption "continues to undermine law enforcement and judicial efforts" against drug crime in Jamaica, a former British colony of some 2.5 million people.
It said the government in March 2001 enacted a new law against corruption but did not prosecute any senior government officials for facilitating drug production or distribution or for laundering drug money.
Several Jamaican police officers and military personnel were arrested on drug charges, the report said. In October the entire staff of a police station was transferred over charges that it under-reported cocaine seizures.
Twelve percent of U.S.-bound cocaine moves through a corridor along Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas, which has some 700 islands -- many uninhabited -- stretching from north of Haiti to just off the coast of Florida.
The Bahamas has roughly a dozen major drug organizations, some of which offer "money-back guarantees" to Jamaica cartels to transport drugs to the United States, the report said.
In Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas and frequently referred to by critics as a "narco-state," the report said there were allegations that traffickers had high-ranking help to move cocaine.
"Corruption remained a major problem and traffickers enjoyed the protection of some legislators, senior GOH (government of Haiti) officials and police," the report said.
Noting Haiti's political chaos and flagging economy, the report said "drug trafficking was one of the few lucrative businesses in Haiti and represented a source of income for many Haitians."
The report said traffickers last year shifted back to a previous pattern of sending speedboats from Colombia to Haiti's unprotected south coast.
Few marine patrols make it easy to ship cocaine into Haiti; lack of law enforcement allows small planes to fly in unimpeded and official corruption, lack of a strong judiciary and a desperate population created a "nearly risk-free environment" for traffickers, the report said.
U.S. coordination with Cuba in anti-drugs efforts increased last year and the Communist-run island is not a major producer or transit point, the report said. But President Fidel Castro's government still provides less information on trafficking and domestic consumption than the United States wants and remains a "country of concern" to U.S. authorities, it said.
Eastern Caribbean nations, the Netherlands Antilles, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago all serve as lesser shipping grounds for South American cartels, the report said.
Drug trafficking and derivative crimes like money laundering and political corruption "threaten the stability of the small, independent democratic countries of the eastern Caribbean" like Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia and Grenada.
"To varying degrees, the destructive nature of the drug trade and organized crime-related corruption have damaged civil society in all of these countries," the report said.
Also, In a failed state like Haiti, where terrorists and drug dealers rule, does democracy have a chance?
More: United State Country Report on Narcotics Trafficking - 2001
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