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Posted at 4:01 a.m., Wednesday, October 29, 2002
The Haitian tragedy, in Florida, on this day of October 29, 2002 (more than 30 photos)
Posted at 2:10 p.m., Monday, October 28, 2002
Venezuela's Chavez, Colombia's war, are leading threats to press freedoms across America, IAPA says
By Drew Benson, Associated Press Writer
LIMA, Peru, Oct. 27 - Hostile rhetoric aimed at the media by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and civil war in Colombia top threats to press freedoms in the Americas, editors and journalists said Sunday. (In the sights of the sniper 23 fearful days in October, Pascal Charlot, 72, a retired carpenter who had immigrated from Haiti, was shot dead near a bus stop in Northeast Washington)
Members of the Inter American Press Association, IAPA, said at the group's 58th annual assembly that eight journalists were killed in the Americas since the group last met in March: four in Colombia, two in Brazil and one each in Bolivia and Venezuela.
Representatives gave country-by-country reports on freedom of the press during Sunday's meeting.(Defining evil and the dangers of atavism)
In Venezuela, Chavez "seeks to sow hatred and violence to destroy that which he cannot control," said IAPA regional vice president Andres Mata. Mata, an editor with El Universal newspaper in Caracas, said the Venezuelan leader uses heated public declarations to incite his hardcore supporters to attack what he often refers to as the "garbage" media.
There have been 59 attacks, mostly by Chavez supporters, against journalists and media property since a reporter was killed during an April demonstration, Mata said.
In Colombia, four journalists were killed, 11 kidnapped and 48 received threats mainly from guerrilla and paramilitary groups, said Enrique Santos from El Tiempo newspaper. Journalists in much of Colombia "work in a climate of intimidation" and 10 have fled the country in fear of their lives, he said.
In Brazil, a newspaper owner was shot six times and killed and a television reporter was tortured, dismembered and burned after disappearing while investigating drug traffickers, said Mario Gusmao from the Novo Hamburgo Jornal NH.
In what Gusmao described as the worst act of censorship since military rule ended almost two decades ago, police acting on a court order in October raided a newsroom in Brazilia to stop the publication of an article about a regional governor. Journalists in Cuba, Haiti and in the Chiapas region of Mexico also face government-sponsored aggression against reporters, said Rafael Molina, president of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information.
Molina, who works at the Dominican newspaper Ahora, said his committee is monitoring laws or proposed legislation aimed at curtailing press freedoms in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela.
His group is also keeping an eye on the United States "where it is clear there are measures being taken aimed at providing disinformation and subordinating the press in order to promote government initiatives," he said.
The IAPA assembly will continue through Tuesday, when it will release its final resolutions and reports on freedom of the press. Peru's President Alejandro Toledo is scheduled to speak on Monday.
Copyright © 2002 The Associated Press
U.S. gets low grade for Press Freedom
By OneWorld.net, Oct. 28, 2002
The United States ranks number 17 for press freedom, below most Western European countries and Costa Rica, according to a new global index drawn up by journalists, researchers, and legal scholars and released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) last week.
Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières) International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) Committee to Protect Journalists OneWorld on Media
The survey, which covers 139 countries, found that Nordic countries were the best performers. Based on responses to some 50 questions, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and the Netherlands all tied for the top spot. They were followed by Canada, Ireland, Germany Portugal, Sweden, and Denmark to round out the top 10.
At the other end of the list, Communist states and a number of Arab countries were found to be among the worst offenders, with North Korea ranked at the bottom, preceded by China, Burma, Turkmenistan, Bhutan, Cuba, Laos, Eritrea, Vietnam, and Iraq in that order.
In these countries, according to the report, the only media voice is that approved by the government. In such countries, those who may aspire to act as independent journalists are harassed, imprisoned, or forced into exile, according to the report, which added these are also countries where the foreign media is either banned or closely monitored.
Altogether, Arab and Asian countries generally did substantially worse in honoring press freedoms than those in Europe, the Americas, and Africa, according to the survey, the first index that focuses entirely on the status of the independent press.
The Paris-based international press watchdog--also known by its French name Reporters Sans Frontières--said the U.S. received its relatively low ranking in part due to arrests of reporters for failing to reveal their sources or, since the September 11 terrorist attacks, for crossing security lines at some official buildings.
In the past year, the administration of President George W. Bush has also pressed media outlets not to run unedited videos or transcripts of al-Qaeda leaders, while military commanders in Afghanistan have restricted the movements of reporters there and, in at least one case, threatened a newspaper correspondent, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Aside from the top 10, France, Australia, Belgium, Slovenia, and Costa Rica were all ranked ahead of the U.S., while Hong Kong, Greece, Ecuador, and Benin, which tied with Britain and Uruguay, held the 18-21 spots.
Costa Rica topped the list among all developing countries, as well as all Latin American countries. Its high ranking was due not only to its long-standing democratic traditions, but also the fact that last year it repealed a law common to much of Latin America that prescribes prison sentences for anyone convicted of "insulting" public officials.
After Ecuador, other Latin American countries ranked by the survey included Uruguay (21), Chile (24), Paraguay (32), El Salvador (news - web sites) (33), Peru (36), Argentina (42), Bolivia (48), Panama (49), Brazil (54), Mexico (75), Guatemala (83), Haiti (106), Colombia (114), and Cuba (134). English-speaking countries in the Caribbean were not covered.
The worst performer in Western Europe was Italy at 40, after Peru, Bulgaria, and South Korea. RSF said that news diversity is under "serious threat" in Italy, in major part due to pressures exerted by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is also the head of one of Europe's biggest privately-owned media empires. Other European countries with problems included the Czech Republic (41), Romania (45), Turkey (99) Ukraine (112), Russia (121), and Belarus (124).
Benin topped the list in Africa, followed by South Africa (26), Namibia (31), Mauritius (36), Mali (43), Cape Verde (46), Senegal (47) Nigeria (49), Uganda (52), and Niger (53). At the opposite end, Eritrea--which outlawed the independent press after September 11, 2001--ranked 132, preceded by Zimbabwe (122), Equatorial Guinea (117), Mauritania (115), and Democratic Republic of the Congo (113).
The highest ranking, besides Hong Kong, in Asia went to Japan (26), followed by Taiwan (35), South Korea (39), Sri Lanka (51), Indonesia (57) and Thailand (65). Besides the seven Asian countries ranked among the worst 10, Nepal (127), Pakistan (119), Bangladesh (118), Kazakhstan (116) Brunei (111), Malaysia (110), Afghanistan (104), and the Philippines (89) were the worst performing in Asia, according to the survey, which placed India at 80.
The Middle East and North Africa did little better with the top ranking going to Lebanon at 56, followed by Bahrain (67), Kuwait (78), the Palestinian National Authority (82), Morocco (89), Israel (92), Algeria (95), Jordan (99), Egypt (101), Yemen (103), Iran (122), Saudi Arabia (125), Syria (126), and Libya (129), just ahead of Iraq in the 130 position.
Israel's relatively low ranking, according to RSF, was due primarily to the army's operations in the occupied territories since March.
Copyright © 2002 OneWorld.net
Brief profiles of Sniper victims
By The Associated Press, Oct. 24, 2002
The 10 people killed in the Washington-area sniper shootings:
_ James Martin, 55, of Silver Spring, Md. Killed Oct. 2. A Vietnam veteran and program analyst for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. His father died when he was 8, and he worked his way through college. Martin had an 11-year-old son and was a Boy Scout leader, school volunteer and church trustee.
_ James L. "Sonny" Buchanan, 39, of Abingdon, Va. Killed Oct. 3. A landscaper, he served on the regional board of the Boys and Girls of Greater Washington and volunteered with a Crime Solvers hot line. He had moved from Maryland to Virginia, where he and his father owned a Christmas tree farm, but still honored a contract to mow the lawn outside Fitzgerald Auto Mall in White Flint, Md. He was mowing the lawn when he was killed.
_ Prem Kumar Walekar, 54, of Olney, Md. Killed Oct. 3. He was a cab driver who immigrated at age 18 from India, where he was getting ready to spend his retirement. Relatives said he worked hard, sent money to his father in India and helped bring his siblings to America. The remembered him as a quiet man with a good sense of humor.
_ Sarah Ramos, 34, of Silver Spring, Md. Killed Oct. 3. Friends described Ramos, a native of El Salvador who worked as a baby sitter, as a hardworking immigrant who dreamed of building a prosperous life. Ramos was remembered as a cheerful, fun-loving wife and a doting mother of a 7-year-old son. She belonged to several church groups.
_ Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25, of Silver Spring, Md. Killed Oct. 3. Originally of Mountain Home, Idaho, she decided in junior high school that she wanted to become a nanny. After high school, she went to a nanny school in Oregon. Her father, Marion Lewis, said she was "special to everybody she met and she brought friendship and love."
_ Pascal Charlot, 72, of Washington, D.C. Killed Oct. 3. A carpenter who immigrated from Haiti years ago, he fixed things for his neighbors
a doorjamb for one, a box around a radiator for another. He lived with his wife in a rowhouse decorated with potted flowers on the porch, and tomatoes and bell peppers in a small garden.
_ Dean H. Meyers, 53, of Gaithersburg, Md. Killed Oct. 9. A Vietnam veteran, Meyers was a project manager in the Manassas, Va., office of Dewberry & Davis, a civil engineering firm. Friends and co-workers said he was hardworking and thoughtful
someone who would help carry heavy packages and feed stray cats.
_ Kenneth H. Bridges, 53, of Philadelphia. Killed Oct. 11. A businessman and father of six, he had co-founded an organization to promote black self-sufficiency. Neighbors remembered his friendliness and penchant for playing basketball with his children.
_ Linda Franklin, 47, of Arlington, Va. Killed Oct. 14. She worked in the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center studying terror threats. A co-worker described her as a loving wife and mother who watched out for everyone in her family.
_ Conrad Johnson, 35, of Oxon Hill, Md. Killed Oct. 22. Johnson, a married father of two sons, was a bus driver who had worked for Montgomery County for nearly 10 years. A neighbor described Johnson as a fervent football fan, weightlifter and "real family man." He loved his boys. He was always taking care of them, doing things for them. Every time you see him it was always, 'I've got to take my sons to this place or something.'"
Copyright © 2002 The Associated Press
Haitian officials tell Dominican Republic of 'plots' by Haitian exiles
By Andres Cala, Associated Press Writer
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, Oct. 24 - Haitian officials said Thursday that exiles from their country now living in the Dominican Republic were plotting to overthrow Haiti's President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, officials said.
During an impromptu visit Thursday, Haiti's Foreign Minister Joseph Philippe Antonio and Inspector General Harvel Victor Jean Baptiste expressed concern "over the activities of some exiles here," according to Dominican Foreign Minister Hugo Tolentino Dipp.
The Haitian officials "didn't address anything precise or any specific activity," Tolentino said. Nevertheless, he said Dominican authorities would investigate.
The Haitian officials declined to comment after Thursday's meeting. Haiti's government also refused comment in Port-au-Prince.
Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, as well as centuries-old grudges over issues such as migration and border security.
Earlier this year, Haitian authorities alleged that former Haitian police official Guy Philippe was plotting against Aristide's government from exile in the Dominican Republic.
Philippe has been under Dominican military house arrest since December, when he fled Haiti after being accused of organizing an attack on the Haitian National Palace.
Aristide says the Dec. 17 attack by an armed commando was a coup attempt, while the opposition says it was staged as a pretext to clamp down on dissent. Following the attack, rampaging Aristide partisans burned down opposition headquarters and threatened at least a dozen journalists.
During a January visit by Aristide to this Spanish-speaking country, Dominican President Hipolito Mejia promised to transfer Philippe to a third country. But Dominican authorities said the countries they approached had rejected harboring Philippe.
Haiti and the Dominican Republic have no extradition treaty, an issue that has helped muddy relations. The Dominican Republic also continues to keep 11 former Haitian soldiers accused in their country of a July 2001 attack on a Haitian police academy.
Tolentino did not comment on their status. Aristide told Dominican journalists in Haiti last month that there were exiles plotting against him from foreign countries, which he did not name. Mejia said he spoke with Aristide that day and was investigating the complaint. (ac-fg/kd)
Copyright © 2002 The Associated Press
Haitian accused of human rights violations to be deported
By The Associated Press
MIAMI, Oct. 23 - An immigration judge ordered a Haitian man linked to a massacre in Haiti to be deported, officials said Wednesday.
Luc Asmath was arrested and charged with immigration violations in September 2001. A judge denied him all forms of relief on Oct. 18 and ordered him removed from the country, the Immigration and Naturalization Service said Wednesday.
Asmath was tried and convicted in absentia in a Haitian court for his involvement in a massacre in Raboteau, a seaside shantytown of Gonaives City; officials said soldiers and their paramilitary thugs burst into dozens of homes, beating and arresting people, including the elderly and children.
The Raboteau slayings were part of a series of attacks undertaken to break support for former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a charismatic slum priest who became the Caribbean country's first democratically elected leader in 1991.
Soldiers and paramilitary killed at least 3,000 people and maimed thousands more before U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1994 sent 20,000 troops to end the bloodshed and halt an exodus of boat people to Florida.
"This latest case illustrates that INS in Florida will remain focused on identifying and removing these people from the United States," INS district director John Bulger said in a statement.
Copyright © 2002 The Associated Press.
Posted 12:59 a.m., Saturday, October 26, 2002
The multi-million dollar Haitian drug connection, police tight handcuffs on 19 and also chain them, but missed radical leftist Aristide, at Long Island; high de facto Haitian government officials implicated
By Robert E. Kessler, Newsday Staff Writer
A Long Island drug ring that included a luxury car dealer from Great Neck, the co-owner of a Garden City gym and the owner of a Westbury cell phone business has been broken up, officials said yesterday.
The 19 ring members arrested yesterday formed a complete network on Long Island that distributed five kilograms of cocaine per week for two years and included smugglers, distributors and a money launderer, according to U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf.
The ring also included people who provided cell phones and the identity information of real people so the cell phones the ring used could be registered to legitimate individuals, Mauskopf said. The identifications were allegedly obtained by a Freeport village employee who used a village computer to access them.
The case stemmed from investigations by several state and federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Nassau County Police Department, which were eventually combined, officials said.
The leader of the ring was identified as Marcel Séjour, 29, of Uniondale, who officials said boasted on wiretapped conversations that he was working with unidentified government and military officials in Haiti. The officials ripped off Haitian drug (defining evil) dealers and then helped smuggle the drugs from Haiti to Long Island, Séjour claimed. No Haitian officials were named in the indictment yesterday, but officials said the investigation was continuing.
Séjour, a Haitian native who allegedly made at least $6.5 million selling cocaine on Long Island in the past two years, used his mother, Enouse Pierre, who was also arrested, to help launder some of those proceeds, officials said.
Enouse Pierre, 53, of Uniondale, and other members purchased a number of Mercedes from Shahram Zarnighian, who owns a half-interest in the Royal Palace of Great Neck, a car dealership at 105 Northern Blvd., officials said.
In addition to charging Zarnighian with money laundering, federal prosecutors moved to seize his part in the dealership and his home at 8 Hickory Dr., Old Brookville. The phone at the dealership was not answered yesterday.
Also arrested yesterday were Gene Seymour, 35, of Elmont, co-owner of the Powerhouse Gym at 635 South St., Garden City; Jeune Benoit, 30, owner of Benoit Communications, 1007 Prospect Ave., Westbury; and Erwin Francois, 27, of Freeport, a payroll administrator for Freeport village. Officials said Seymour's gym served as a distribution center for the ring, and Benoit supplied cell phones.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Driscoll said 16 of the suspects were arraigned late yesterday in federal District Courts in Central Islip and Brooklyn and held without bail on various charges that could lead to up to life in prison upon conviction. Their lawyers could not be reached. Copyright 2002 The Daily News
In Haiti, a war of dictators and notorious killers: A totalitarian dictator and notorious killer refuses to release another totalitarian dictator and notorious killer kidnapped
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - The government refused to release former military dictator Prosper Avril on Thursday despite court orders ruling his 17-month detention was illegal.
The provincial appeals court that ordered the Avril's release Tuesday does not have jurisdiction in the capital where he is being held, said acting Government Prosecutor Riquet Brutus.
"The lawyers of ex-Gen. Prosper Avril have knocked at the wrong door," Brutus told reporters.
The three-member court in west-coast Gonaives said Tuesday that Avril's imprisonment and detention were arbitrary and illegal, and ordered the 65-year-old ex-dictator be released immediately.
It was the third time since Avril's arrest last year that an appeals court ordered he be freed. Avril who ruled for 18 months in 1988-90 is currently being held on charges of complicity in the 1990 killings of about a dozen people by soldiers in the west-coast village of Piate.
Avril was first charged, however, with plotting against national security and arrested on May 26, 2001, while signing copies of his book, the "Black Book of Insecurity," in which he blamed street crime and political killings on the failings of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government an accusation the government denies.
On April 12, an appeals court ordered Avril's release on the grounds that the arrest warrant was drawn up in 1996 and had expired. The court also agreed with an earlier court ruling saying the ex-lieutenant general's arrest was arbitrary and illegal.
Released four days later, Avril was rearrested as he was leaving the national penitentiary, this time on charges of complicity in the Piate killings.
The killings took place on March 13, 1990, three days after a popular uprising ousted Avril. But prosecutors said they believed he had ordered the killings. Avril says he is innocent.
Avril's lawyers denounced the government's refusal Thursday to execute the court's release order as politically motivated.
"The Aristide government is acting in bad faith. It refuses to allow the judicial process to function freely," lawyer Reynold Georges said.
"The government knows full well the Gonaives decision is valid for the whole country," he said.
Human rights activists blame the former dictator for rights violations, but have denounced the government for holding him in spite of court rulings.
Georges said complaints would be filed with the Organization of American States, requesting the hemispheric organization to intervene "in the name of justice."
In the 1980s, Avril was chief of presidential security under dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier until Duvalier was ousted in February 1986.
Avril took power in September 1988, at the head of a group of soldiers who ousted then-dictator Lt. Gen. Henry Namphy.
Avril pledged to hold elections, but went back on his promise, beginning a clampdown of opposition politicians. In January 1990, he declared a state of siege. A popular uprising forced Avril into exile in March, and he fled to the United States. It is not clear when he returned to Haiti.
|Massachusetts governatorial candidate Shannon O'Brien's|
|Haitian Creole radio show turns into total chaos|
|By Jacques Dady Jean, Caribbean Connection Magazine Writer|
|Oct. 24, 2002|
In a desperate attempt to manage Mitt Romney's growing popularity in the Haitian- American community, Shannon O'Brien's campaign launched a radio show in Haitian Creole on 1550 AM, from Newton , aimed at discrediting Mitt's character. The show, hosted by community activist Jean Claude Sanon and attorney Ernst Guerrier, turned out to be humiliating for Shannon O'Brien yesterday when the team tried to deny Shannon O'Brien's position on same sex marriage.
"Shannon O'Brien's position about same sex marriage is a flip-flop, she doesn't mean what she said," declared Jean Claude Sanon during the show after he was confronted by a caller who is believed to be a Christian conservative, as many Haitians are. Sanon later reiterated that Haitian Americans don't have to believe in everything Shannon says in the mainstream media, she sometimes speaks to please certain groups. "Same sex marriage will not happen if Shannon becomes Governor. O'Brien is a flip-flop politician," to repeat Mr. Sanon, one of the spokespersons for the campaign.
The caller replied: "But Mitt Romney said clearly that marriage is an agreement between a man and a woman, why does O'Brien have to flip-flop on this issue?"
"In a political battle, you have to flip-flop sometimes," added Sanon.
Is this the kind of political approach we want to promote in our community? Even though the listeners may want to consider Jean Claude Sanon as naive, a paid propagandist who does not really know the issues; nevertheless, he was assisted by Ernst Guerrier, a successful career attorney who certainly knows about campaign strategy. Many Haitian democrats said that they have become confused about the purpose of the show or simply about O'Brien's positions. The community is left with the impression that the O'Brien campaign is definitely unpredictable and for that reason the voters cannot trust O'Brien.
By openly promoting O'Brien's flip-flopping political system over the air, the O'Brien campaign is deliberately denying the basic ethical rules. O'Brien cannot change her position from one community to another, from the liberal to the conservative. If she says she would sign any legislation to legalize same sex marriage, she cannot change that position when addressing the Haitian community.
Heavily armed dog opens fire on Minnesota man
By the Associated Press
BROOKLYN PARK, Minn., Oct. 25 - Pheasant season took an ugly turn for Michael Murray when he was shot by Sonny, his year-old English setter pup.
The puppy knew something was very wrong when Murray dropped to the ground with blood spurting from his ankle. "Sonny just laid by my side," Murray said. "He knew something was bad."
Murray, 42, was hunting in western South Dakota on the first day of the season last Saturday. He said he was lining up a photo of the seven birds his hunting party shot in the first hour.
A loaded 12-gauge shotgun lay on the ground near the frisky dog.
"He stepped on the gun and it went off," Murray said. "At first I didn't know what happened. I got that blinding flash of pain and I sat down. Blood was pumping out of my ankle."
His brother-in-law, Chuck Knutson of Woodbury, quickly tied a tourniquet above Murray's right boot. The third member of the hunting party was Murray's father, also Michael, of New Richmond, Wis.
"My dad's 75," Murray said, "He was white as a ghost."
The three men climbed into their truck and drove to a relative's house. A half-hour later, an ambulance took Murray to a nearby hospital.
After 15 stitches and a night in the hospital, Murray is on course for a complete recovery.
"It was the most bizarre thing that has ever happened to me," he said. Murray admits there is a certain amount of notoriety that goes along with getting shot by your dog.
"That's the hard part, talking to people, because you feel like such a fool," he said.
Posted at 12:22 a.m., Thursday, October 24, 2002
Haitian doctor and Barry University associate professor shot to death
BY JASMINE KRIPALANI firstname.lastname@example.org
DESROSIERS Family and friends say Marie-France Desrosiers -- an associate professor of psychology at Barry University -- had one core belief. She believed everyone was good.
''Maybe she finished what she had to do and that's why God took her,'' said her mother, Renée Desrosiers of Long Island, New York. ``She wanted to accomplish something. She was so loving, so good. She believed everyone was good.''
On Wednesday, Mike Holliman, the man who asked her to marry him, shot her to death in the Hollywood home the couple bought together, family and police said. Marie-France Desrosiers was 38.
Hours later Holliman, 46, drove to rural Palm Beach County and killed himself.
Holliman and Desrosiers dated for three years. After he proposed, the couple bought a house together in the 2700 block of Van Buren Street in Hollywood in May 2001.
Marie-France's sister Marie-Carol Desrosiers said she became aware of the couple's arguments in recent months. Police told family members that the gun he used to kill her was stolen Sept. 29. That was 20 days after she had moved out of the Hollywood home.
''Over the last year, she wasn't sure if they would go through with the marriage. With the stress of getting the house there was more conflict,'' said Marie-Carol, 40, director of the tuberculosis control program at the Miami-Dade County Health Department.
Marie-France broke up with Holliman in September and moved in with Marie-Carol in Hollywood. Marie-France had stopped off at her old house, where she was found dead, last Wednesday to pick up clothes when she thought Holliman was away at work.
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Jan. 29, 1964, Marie-France Desrosiers graduated from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She earned her doctorate degree in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina.
Both sisters were active members of the Universal Truth Center church in Carol City.
In addition to her mother and sister, Desrosiers is survived by her brother Michael Desrosiers and her stepfather Andre Fequiere, both of Long Island.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Barry University, Cor Jesu Chapel, 11300 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores. Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday with services at 7 p.m. at Fred Hunter's Funeral Home, 6301 Taft St. in Hollywood. A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Universal Truth Center church, 21310 NW 37th Ave. in Carol City.
Instead of flowers, donations may be made to the Dr. Marie-France Desrosiers Fund at Barry University in care of Sister Sarah Cavanaugh, Scholarship Department. Copyright 2002 The Miami Herald
|Posted at 5:29 p.m., Wednesday, October 23, 2002|
|Posted at 9:40 p.m., Monday, October 21, 2002|
|Haiti's bestial dictator Aristide calls the U.S. 'a terrorist nation'|
|By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor|
Cambridge, MA, Oct. 21 - Officially, Oct..17 was an anti-United States' day, according to bestial dictator Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in Haiti.
For more than three hours, as the paid crowds gathered by the hundreds in the town of Marchand-Dessalines, it looked like a violent tyrant Aristide's orchestrated rally against the U.S., rather than the 196th commemoration of Haiti's first emperor and one of its independence heroes' brutal death, Jean-Jacques Dessalines.
The very unpleasant words that totalitarian dictator Aristide had for the U.S. to many sounded like the prelude of a series of new terrorist attacks in the world's sole superpower - not from Osama bin Laden, but Aristide who repeatedly demanded, and angrily so, that the U.S., "the great Satan, the immoral country" he called it, carefully revisits its multitude of criminal acts before it can tell Haiti how to be a democratic nation.
"The U.S. is a violent nation, and it is a well known fact. During the watts riot, in Chicago, and I mean in1967, police officers killed an innumerable number of unarmed black citizens," tyrant Aristide told many in the crowd standing passively and looked too hungry to warmly applaud him.
Brutal dictator Aristide urged Haitians not to consider the richest and most powerful nation, the U.S., in the world as a role model if they are to achieve democracy in their beloved Haiti.
"I don't have to tell you about it, you already know it, and the U.S. has for a very, very longtime been spilling the blood of citizens the world over for its own benefits," he said.
"On March 29, 1992, police officers in Los Angeles tortured Rodney King, a black motorist, after he was allegedly stopped for a traffic violation."
Added radical leftist Aristide who looked like he was on the drug lithium for mental depression. "More recently, in New York City, police officers tortured and sodomized our fellow compatriot Abner Louima."
So, homicidal Aristide, who takes great pleasure in burning alive even his assumed political opponents, went on to also accuse the U.S. government of being the murderer of Martin Luther King.
"Yes, you know," he said, "the U.S. is that same terrorist country, that same terrorist government that killed Martin Luther King, add thousands of blacks thereafter protesting his brutal end."
The speech, or the same usual verbiage, laced with other threats toward the U.S., of radical leftist Aristide, who is well known for keeping buckets of his innocent victims' blood in his palaces, came days after the U.S. Ambassador, Brian Dean Curran, stationed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, appeared on Radio Quisqueya, in Port-au-Prince, and severely criticized in fluent Haitian Creole his dictatorial acts.
"Now, it is evident, even without hesitation, for the Bush Administration to to tell the drug dealer de facto president your time is up," said many Haitians who deplored the former little red priest of the shantytowns' irresponsible words. "Ironically," they added, "Aristide, who today is calling the U.S. a terrorist nation was in 1995 returned to power after three years in exile by more than 20,000 U.S. troops, and this at a cost of more than $2 billion dollars."
"I am sad, this little crazy, this former dirt-poor guy continues to destroy our lives," said a very old Haitian lady who declined to identify herself for fear of Aristide ordering her relatives backed in Haiti burned alive.
|President Aristide has not fulfilled his promises Assistant Secretary of State|
|Otto Reich says|
|October 17, 2002|
Unfortunately, there are examples of democracies in crisis in our region as well. In Venezuela and Haiti, the failure of leaders to maintain the confidence of their people has led to violence and instability.
The solution in both cases lies in strengthening democratic institutions.
On Haiti, The United States gave its full support to the unanimous OAS resolution that calls on the government to hold elections in 2003, clears the way for Haiti to recommence work with international financial institutions, and provides some desperately needed assistance to relief organizations.
The United States wants to help the Haitian people, but we have serious issues with the Aristide administration. President Aristide has not fulfilled the promises he made to two consecutive Presidents of the United States.
The government needs to move forward quickly on these issue so that an electoral council can be formed next month and preparations for elections can begin.
The United States will support the electoral process so long as it remains transparent and fair. We expect all democratic parties in Haiti to earn the support of the Haitian people.
Posted at 12:38 p.m., Sunday, October 20, 2002
What went wrong with the U.S. economy? ... Suburban poor: Hard times hitting soccer moms where they live
By Kay Lazar, Boston Herald Writer, Sunday, October 20, 2002
Soccer moms who used to donate to the Beverly Bootstraps Food Pantry now are walking through the doors and asking for help. In Lexington, laid off mid-level managers are showing up at the Interfaith Food Pantry.
And the Tuesday night crowd at the Abington pantry run by the St. Vincent de Paul Society includes a growing number of working parents who have back yards - and high anxieties about their abilities to hang on to them.
Hunger and hard times, long considered inner-city problems, have slowly but surely taken up residence amid the picket fences and cul-de-sacs of Eastern Massachusetts.
``The truth about suburban hunger is that a lot of people are making trade-offs and are probably very quiet about it,'' said Catherine D'Amato, president of the Greater Boston Food Bank, a nonprofit clearinghouse for 750 food pantries and feeding programs in Massachusetts.
Between 1997 and 2001 - before the economy nose-dived - the Food Bank tracked a 29 percent jump in the number of residents in Eastern Massachusetts who were forced to choose between eating and paying their rent or mortgage.
The nonprofit says things have only gotten worse.
``The largest growth in emergency feeding,'' D'Amato said, ``is in the suburbs.''
Such suburban struggles mirror a nationwide phenomenon recently reported by the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution, which analyzed data from the 2000 Census and found a narrowing of the ``poverty gap'' between cities and suburbs.
While urban poverty rates are still more than twice those in suburbia, the institution found that urban poverty declined slightly during the 1990s while suburban poverty edged up.
``These aren't your parents' suburbs anymore,'' said Alan Berube, a co-author of the study. Berube said one big factor fueling the poverty shift from cities to suburbs is the rapid growth during the 1990s of office parks and shopping malls.
A lower-paid workforce - janitors, food-service staff and retail clerks - followed those opportunities and the American dream of better living. But experts say the boom times never really made it down to those on suburbia's lower rungs because their wages did not keep up with their bills - especially the soaring costs of housing.
And when the economy hit the skids last year, the slim cushion between hope and hunger evaporated. Even more surprising to those who work poverty's front lines are the number of people needing help who were once considered comfortably middle class.
``A lot of people coming now are people who have never used food pantries before, who have never used any support systems because they haven't had to.
They have been laid off and are having trouble making the mortgage,'' said Maureen Schnellmann, senior director of food assistance programs for the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay.
For years, the Red Cross concentrated its food-pantry programs in urban areas. But when suburbanites starting showing up in growing numbers at the agency's Waltham headquarters asking for help, the Red Cross responded and opened a pantry in Waltham in April 2001.
It has grown from serving 50 people a month to 200. ``For anyone who has been in this awhile, it's staggering how much the increases are,'' Schnellmann said.
``Many who used to donate are now concerned about making ends meet themselves.''
In Abington, a divorced 44-year-old mother of two who works as an administrative assistant in the health industry said she was embarrassed to ask for help, especially because she had owned her own home for 20 years in neighboring Whitman.
``It was difficult to even make the phone call, but my children needed cereal and milk,'' said JoAnn, who asked that her last name not be used. Dressed in sling-back pumps, navy pantsuit and raincoat, she swung by the St. Vincent de Paul Society's Abington pantry last Tuesday after work and patiently waited her turn.
``I don't want anyone to know how bad off I really am,'' said JoAnn, who has not confided her tight financial situation to even her closest friends.
JoAnn scraped together enough money for an apartment for herself and her children in Abington after her divorce three years ago, but then was laid off last fall and only recently was able to find work.
Now, as she crosses her fingers that her 12-year-old car with 160,000 miles on it keeps running, the food pantry has become her lifeline.
``The generosity and what they contribute is amazing,'' she said. In Abington's pantry, residents routinely are allowed three crates full of food - everything from steak, chicken, cheese blintzes and frozen items to name-brand toiletries, cleaning supplies, juice and two bags of fresh vegetables.
``Our clients are people who are having to pay high rents. A few own their homes, and we have a lot of senior citizens,'' said Red Greenleaf, who has helped run the pantry for 15 years.
Greenleaf said that Abington's pantry has counted an increase in residents seeking aid in the past six months. But he said the pantry hasn't had to limit food because, so far, it has been blessed by steady donations.
Abington's good fortune stands out. Other suburban pantries, pinched by the hard times, have had to limit residents to one or two bags of groceries.
At the Red Cross pantry in Waltham, Schnellmann, who normally is an optimist, is worried they won't have enough food for Thanksgiving dinners.
`The demand is increasing every day and that's frightening,'' she said. ``It's frightening to see the number of people coming through our doors.''
© Copyright by the Boston Herald and Herald Interactive Advertising Systems, Inc.
Posted at 5:10 p.m., Friday, October 18, 2002
Flag nearly kills Haiti's brutal dictator Aristide after mentioning the name of country's independence hero during speech which contents reflect the same old lies and demagoguery
The 196th anniversary of the assassination of Jean-Jacques Dessalines was commemorated yesterday in Marchand-Dessalines. The government chose the hometown of Dessalines to pay homage to the emperor. On this occasion, the president of the Republic invited the population to follow Dessalines' examples. While the president was urging the citizens to show patriotism, something else happened, as Romney Cajuste explains:
[Beginning Recording] [Cajuste] Several hundred Lavalas members gathered around the statue of Dessalines in the public square. Aristide, who was making his first visit to Marchand-Dessalines since he began his second term in office, said that he was happy. He wanted the people to applaud him, and he soon used his usual formula:
[Aristide] //If I could borrow your hands, I would clap for you. If you lend me your hands, I will clap for you. [applause]. Thank you, because you are helping me say thank you to you.//
[Cajuste] Satisfied, the president tackled his speech, which was about the death of Dessalines. Within a few minutes, Aristide spoke about the life of Dessalines, his birth at Grande-Riviere du Nord in 1758, his difficult youth, his career in the indigenous army, and his heroic acts, such as the = independence conquest till his death. When he tried to explain about the tragic scene in Pont-Rouge, the president's voice grew weak. Aristide then tried to explain the reason why.
[Aristide] //(Garois), one of the attackers, fired a gunshot that hit Dessalines. That is the reason why I have somehow lost my voice.//
[Cajuste] But he soon regained his rhythm and vigor because, as far as Aristide is concerned, Dessalines is not dead.
[Aristide] //He is alive in us. What have we come to say today, 17 October 2002, two years before 17 October 2004 [Haiti's bicentennial]? We have come to say that Dessalines was dead alive [as heard], and he is alive and well in all of us here today. So, let us praise him.//
[Cajuste] And it was by affirming his determination to take over from = Dessalines that Aristide made a gesture that was maybe too much. He took the national flag that was standing by the pulpit. He held it in his hand.
[Aristide] //Let us stand firm. Let us be courageous. Let us walk hand in = hand. And this flag that Father Dessalines gave us///... [sound of the = flag falling off the stage]
[Cajuste] The flag then fell off on the presidential pulpit. Aristide picked it up, but he did not want to put it back into its place. The flag covered his face. Then Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert jumped up and came to help the president hold the flag. After that, a security agent put the flag back into place. All of this happened by accident, but Aristide took advantage of it.
[Aristide] //As you can see, it cannot fall down. It cannot fall down. We are there. Did you not see solidarity in action to hold the flag? Did you not see that? Is it not the same kind of solidarity that we must show? Let us say bravo for that.// [applause] [end recording]
[Description of Source: Port-au-Prince Radio Metropole in French -- Centrist commercial radio station]
Posted at 2:17 p.m., Friday, October 18, 2002
Hopefully, no more cheap sex, booze, drug and AIDS; city of Boston tows unwanted bus from lot
By Douglas Belkin, 10/18/2002
Deserted in an empty lot between commuter rail tracks and a vacant garage, the silver bus had been known among neighborhood youths as a place frequented by prostitutes.
''The boys who hung out here said you could buy sex for $3 in there,'' said Jacques Jean, a 40-year-old Haitian immigrant who bought a two-family dwelling next to the lot on Regis Road five years ago. ''It was always full of drugs and prostitutes.''
Jean began lobbying the city to clean up the 3-foot piles of garbage dumped in the weed-strewn lot when he moved to the neighborhood. Around election time last year city workers cleared out some of the trash, but it piled up again in a matter of months, Jean said.
Last Friday, with complaints increasing from neighbors, police asked the Inspectional Services Department to secure the lot and get rid of the bus. Five truckloads of broken sofas, empty beer bottles, and filthy mattresses later, a path was cleared for the tow truck.
City officials plan to increase their efforts to get the property owner - whoever he or she is - to take responsibility for the site. Their leverage includes a $25,000 fine they can levy because a large barrel of illegally disposed oil was found in front of the garage, they said.
So far, determining who owns the property has been a challenge, said ISD commissioner Kevin Joyce. The city has been trying to collect back taxes or take possession of the property for years, he said, but the way the law is written, there are various ways for the owner to hold on to the deed.
This story ran on page B3 of the Boston Globe on 10/18/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.
Posted at 10:59 p.m., Thursday, October 17, 2002
Haitians take out millions of dollars from banks amid conversion rumors
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Sept. 17 -- Haitians hastily withdrew millions of U.S. dollars from banks this week following rumors that the government planned to convert account balances into Haitian gourdes at lower-than-market rate, officials said Wednesday.
The rumors that started last week have continued to circulate despite the government's repeated assurance they are false.
Economists estimated depositors had taken out about $20 million (600 million gourdes) by Wednesday, when the withdrawals appeared to slow down.
Nevertheless, economists doubted the U.S. dollars would return, which caused concern over possible inflation.
''The flight of capital is a reality, and the dollars are unlikely to return to Haiti when the panic subsides'' because many have lost faith in the government, Haitian economist Claude Beauboeuf said.
Already, the Haitian gourde has lost about 28 percent of its value in the past year. On Wednesday, the exchange rate was 32 gourdes to the dollar, compared to 25 gourdes a year ago.
Government officials have denied the rumors it plans to convert some $460 million currently in dollar accounts to gourdes, saying such a move would have dire consequences for investment.
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide denounced the rumor Tuesday as an attempt ''to destabilize the already-sick economy'' and scare off potential investors.
''The economic war is linked to a psychological war'' that aims at tarnishing Haiti's image, he said.
One of the Western Hemisphere's poorest countries, Haiti has been in a political crisis since May 2000 elections, which observers said were flawed.
The government and opposition remain in a stalemate.
The international community has blocked hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid until the government establishes a peaceful environment for new elections.
Central bank officials could not say Wednesday exactly how much hard currency had been taken out from Haiti's 12 commercial banks.
''Several million'' had been withdrawn by Tuesday from Haiti's largest bank, Sogebank, Jean-Marie Boisson, the bank's chief economist, said on independent Radio Metropole.
|Address by Ambassador, permanent representative of the United States,|
|H.E Roger Noriega on the report of the Ministry of Justice and Public|
|Security of Haiti concerning events of December 17, 2001|
|Washington, DC, October 9, 2002|
|Permanent Council meeting|
· We note the GOH issued on September 12 a preliminary report on actions taken with respect to the violence of December 17, 2001 and subsequent days.
· While we understand that this is an interim report, it contains only generalities or descriptions of actions taken in the past. It can not be considered as fulfilling the requirements of Resolution 822.
· This view was echoed by the head of the OAS Special Mission, who described the report as incomplete at an October 3 press conference in Port-au-Prince.
· We hope and expect that the GOH will issue a detailed final report in the very near future. We would welcome clarification from Ambassador Valcin as to when he believes the Ministry of Justice will publish the full report.
· We would expect that the final report:
-- will offer specific information regarding efforts to apprehend suspects in the December 17 violence who remain at large;
-- will describe progress in bringing to trial the ten persons indicted September 18 in the Brignol Lindor case;
-- will show some progress in bringing to justice those responsible for the killing of Jean Dominique;
-- will offer an accurate accounting of reparations paid to date for victims of the December 17 violence and state clearly the criteria being applied for payments.
· A more comprehensive and thorough report, describing concrete measures taken in compliance with the relevant OAS resolutions, is absolutely essential to the Organization's mandate to strengthen democracy in Haiti.
|Posted at 5:49 p.m., Wednesday, October 16, 2002|
|Boston's high profile Haitian community and political activist Kebreau,|
|again in handcuffs|
|By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor|
Cambridge, MA., Sept. 16 - Just a few weeks after Frantz Kebreau, a high profile Haitian community and political activist who supported Massachusetts democratic governatorial candidate, Shannon P. O'Brien, walked out away from the Massachusetts Essex County jail, in the small town of Middleton, north of Boston, a conditional free man, after he was taken out of the circulation by Lynn Police, north of Boston, on Sept.8, shortly after his oldest daughter, 17, accused him of raping (a felony) her, and for many years so, he was re-arrested this week after another daughter also called police, allegedly telling law enforcement officers that friends of the defendant have been pressuring them to recant their stories of rape, involving their father, who has long been separated from his wife, and was living with the plaintiffs at the time of his first arrest.
All the latest arrest of Mr. Kebreau suggests, he has violated the conditions, which are not limited to he must not either directly or indirectly contact the alleged victims, attached to him again being a free man after he posted bond, $50,040 cash, with money raised by friends and supporters who arduously worked the phone nights and days.
After booking Mr. Kebreau, the police filed a report with the prosecutor, who, in turn, may decide whether to charge him with the new offense - violating the strict terms of his conditional release from jail - he is accused of having committed.
"I hope it is not so because a complaint can be prepared, identifying the suspect, Mr. Kebreau, and detailing the charges against him," a Boston's Haitian-American attorney who spoke to me on the condition that his name did not accompany this story said.
"Deterrence theory holds that the threat or imposition of punishment, for example the arrest and jailing of Mr. Kebreau," a 300-pound or so dark skin man, "for a second time, will deter crime, such as discouraging the defendant's friends from pressuring his daughters to say aloud to the court of law 'No, our father did not rape us, we made a mistake of extreme severity,'" eloquently explained another Boston's Haitian-American Attorney, but first pleaded with me for anonymity, giving the impression that he was rather in a classroom teaching a law course than talking to me, the reporter.
Whether or not Mr. Kebreau's friends will change their alleged pattern of inappropriate behavior, according to the law, in an effort to prevent the high profile community and political activist from involuntarily submitting himself to the rigors of state prison, only if he is convicted of committing the crime of raping his own young daughters, and for a very, very longtime, is something others, with a legal background, too, I talked to for this story had a great many difficulties pronouncing themselves on and opted not to offer a professional opinion.
"But one thing is certain," they said, "this time Mr. Kebreau will remain under secured lock and key until trial, when prosecutor(s) will have to demonstrate that his alleged actions, raping his own daughters, violated an existing criminal statue; prove beyond reasonable doubt that he did in fact commit the actions charged against him; and, prove that he had the legal capacity to form such criminal intents."
Knowing Mr. Kebreau, a person who has rendered a multitude of services to the needy or destitute Boston's Haitian community, and for decades, I am saddened. Many cases of rape in the hard working immigrant community had previously been reported to police only to later find there is insufficient or no ground for prosecution. I hope this applies to Mr. Kebreau so he can regain his exceptional community service instead of rotting in a penitentiary cell, where he faces an uncertain future, combined with the stigma of conviction - hopefully, not that of the late Cambridge resident, Haitian Abel Remy, who years ago was killed, and brutally so, in prison, just a few years after he was deemed to be "the law ultimate threat" and began serving a long sentence for rape.
Posted at 5:49 p.m., Sunday, October 13, 2002
|Boston's Mattapan-campaign worker makes a troubling revelation about|
|Massachusetts governatorial candidate Shannon P. O'Brien|
|By Jacques Dady Jean|
Finally the O'Brien supporters have agreed with what I have been saying about their candidate all along the campaign trail. "O'Brien doesn't have people like us on her agenda, we had to fight O'Brien's campaign manager just to hire minorities in the campaign and we will have to fight to earn anything from her administration," declared Jean Claude Sanon, one of O'Brien's spokespersons during a political show aired on Radio Concorde, a low power radio station broadcasted on 1580 AM in Dorchester.
This is a very serious allegation when considering that Mr. Sanon is an insider and an authorized voice in the O'Brien campaign. Sanon seems to be one of the Democrats who joined the Shannon O'Brien campaign by conformity to traditionalism or by loyalty to the Democratic Party, certainly not because he is confident that O'Brien is a leader that can take command of the executive office of the Commonwealth.
The Black community's grass roots organizations don't support Shannon O'Brien, the appearance of endorsement showed by the legislative Black Caucus is superficial. State Senator Dianne Wilkerson; the dean of the Legislative Black Caucus and one of the most prominent Black leaders was reluctant to back Shannon O'Brien. Her support to O'Brien came under pressure of the Democratic Party leadership, the Bay State Banner calls it "a belated endorsement."
Jean Claude Sanon is not a politician; he spoke from his heart and repeated loud what all the Black leaders are whispering. "O'Brien is not a serious alternative". Sanon is a well-respected Haitian activist, and a man who is facing the daily social and economic issues confronted by his fellow Haitians, he wishes to have a governor that will represent the aspirations of the minority communities. Sanon is best known for being an entrepreneur in the Haitian community, a human rights advocate and a member of the Haitian American Public Health Initiative, HAPHI. Although lately, Sanon has become the most zealous democrat who has been hitting the airwaves at any opportunity to ask his Haitian fellows to vote for Shannon O'Brien, in this very occasion, he has tried to keep his integrity compatible to the level of confidence that his community has placed on him.
When asked about O'Brien's agenda for the Black community, Sanon shouted: "After the election, we have to remain mobilized because Shannon does not have an agenda for minorities."
Sanon's statement is the second controversy that has directly affected members of the Haitian Community since this campaign began. The 60,000 Haitian voters are beginning to rethink about voting for O'Brien in November. During her victory party, O'Brien walked through the stage hugging and kissing the big wigs, she unconsciously avoided even to shake hands with two Black men that were on the stage, one of the Black men was Ersnt Guerrier, a young Haitian lawyer who put his time and money to make that victory happen, while the big wigs were hiding in their luxurious hotel room waiting with a readymade speech that would fit any winner.
Shannon is a South Shore girl from a snobbish white-collar family; the furthest she knows in Boston is Beacon Hill. How would you expect her to be comfortable with Blacks? Much like every other democratic politician, O'Brien is aware that Blacks are tokens in the pocket of the Democratic Party so she takes them for granted.
O'Brien will do or say anything to win this election, she has always been against the bilingual education program, more recently, she has changed her position to please the Haitian and Hispanic voters. O'Brien has a secret bilingual education reform plan that she has not unveiled to her voters, when she pulls it from her sleeve, it maybe a carbon copy of Mitt Romney's plan. The only difference between O'Brien and Mitt Romney, she is a comedian, a typical politician and Romney is a sincere and forthcoming citizen, he says what he believes in, no matter the consequence.
Dr. Yves A. Isidor, of Cambridge, the chairman of "We Haitians, United We Stand For Democracy" and the editor of wehaitians.com, a Cambridge based political pressure group, compared the attitude of O'Brien during the WB56 debate as unethical and degrading. As the treasurer of the Commonwealth and a former legislator, O'Brien did not know the percentage of compensation an unemployed worker receives from DOE.
Rev. Forbes, a democrat from Quincy said, O'Brien's gesture and her demeanor during the debate would fit better to an uneducated flea market fish reseller.
This country is going through a very critical period where strong leadership is a foremost necessary asset for the Commonwealth. Should we tolerate O'Brien in the name of loyalty to the Democratic Party or put the state in the hands of a proven achiever, a great American legend, Mitt Romney.
The strength of America resides in our diversity and our willingness to treasure our values, to honor the competence of our extraordinary citizens for their outstanding achievement no matter the color of their skin, their creed or their religion. We don't have a soldier in this battle, as classic Americans, let's put our pride on the best and on those who can make a difference.
Jacques Dady Jean is a computer engineer, an entrepreneur and a community activist. Fore more, visit mattapanonline.org.
Posted at 12:31 a.m., Saturday, October 12, 2002
Democracy is threatened in Haiti, U.S. ambassador says
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Oct. 11 - Democracy in Haiti is threatened, and the government will not be invited to a world conference of democratic nations next month, said the U.S. ambassador to this Caribbean nation on Friday.
"When you have the press threatened, bad elections, and impunity instead of the rule of law, democracy is threatened," Ambassador Brian Dean Curran told The Associated Press. "That is why Haiti was not invited as a full participant" to the Community of Democracy meeting of foreign ministers in Seoul, Korea in November, he said.
The meeting's subcommittee for the Western Hemisphere was composed of the United States, Mexico, and Chile. Cuba was not invited, Haiti was invited as an observer, and all other countries in the hemisphere were invited as participants. The government reacted swiftly to Curran's charge.
"We respect the opposition and free speech. We are working at the reinforcement of democracy," said government spokesman Jacques Maurice.
Haiti was unaware of the Seoul conference, Maurice said.
"But if we are not invited, it is because there is an international plot afoot to tarnish the image of our country," he said.
The international community, including the United States and European countries, blocked aid to the government after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party swept more than 80 percent of legislative and local seats in 2000 elections. The opposition charged the elections were rigged.
The OAS determined that winners were wrongly declared in seven Senate races that should have gone to a second round, and said aid would be frozen until the government and opposition agreed on new elections.
OAS officials tried more than 20 times to broker an agreement, but failed. Haiti's chronically depressed economy, meanwhile, further declined while poverty proliferated. In September, the OAS passed a resolution urging international financial institutions to restore aid.
A December attack on the National Palace spurred Aristide supporters to burn down opposition headquarters and threaten journalists.
This year, some 30 journalists have been attacked or harassed, allegedly by Aristide partisans, and more than a dozen journalists have fled the country.
In May, the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders put Aristide on its blacklist of press predators. The group criticized Haiti for stalling the investigation into the 2000 shooting death of Jean Dominique, the country's most prominent journalist. He was killed in the courtyard of the radio station he owned.
Copyright © 2002 The Associated Press.
Posted at 2:31 p.m., Wednesday, October 9, 2002 Haitian forced to flee Haiti after bestial dictator Aristide brutally killed her father and brother, stabbed another brother within an inch of his life
October 1, 2002
Marie Jocelyn Ocean Haitian Asylee and Former INS Detainee
Good afternoon. My name is Marie Jocelyn Ocean and I am from Haiti. On behalf of all of the asylum seekers still in detention, I would like to thank you for honoring me with the opportunity to speak to you today about our experience and the treatment we have received here in the United States.
I was forced to flee Haiti because I was being persecuted by members of Lavalas, a gang that supported the government. My family was politically active and we all spoke out against Lavalas. Because he spoke out, my father was killed. My brother was very active in politics, and he was also killed. My other brother was stabbed by Lavalas and he almost died. They even hurt our children. My brother's son was beaten. The found my daughter who was nine years old then, and they kicked her in the mouth. When my life was in danger because they were threatening me and came after me, I had no other choice but to flee because there was no one to protect me in Haiti. So I got on that boat with all the other people to flee Haiti and find freedom somewhere else. We did not know where we would land, only that we had to flee Haiti to save our lives. The US Coast Guard and INS picked us up at sea on December 3, 2001.
I came to the United States for peace, freedom and protection. And because I am speaking to you here today, you know that I have found freedom here, and for that I am grateful. On May 31, 2002, the Immigration Judge granted me asylum here in the United States because of the persecution I suffered in Haiti. I am the lucky one though. I am the only Haitian woman from TGK that I know of who has been granted asylum so far, although I know that many of the other women I was detained with also suffered terribly in Haiti. Yet they continue to suffer because they are still detained.
Like me, all the other Haitian women came here seeking freedom from oppression. We did not leave our homes because of hunger or lack of food, we left because of the political violence in Haiti. So when we first arrived we thought the Americans would treat us with dignity and that they would protect us after what we had suffered. We knew there to be laws in this country to protect victims of abuse and torture.
So I was shocked by how they treated us. Instead of finding freedom, we were thrown in jail. We were treated worse than nothing, we were treated as criminals. There was almost no one to help us when we were in detention. Even though the laws were too complicated for us to understand alone, our detention made it very difficult for us to get access to lawyers and we had to go to court very quickly.
Being detained made it so much harder for us to even have a chance in court. At first I was taken to a local hotel in Miami with many of the other women. There were four women, including me, and a little seven year old girl in my room, who I was not related to. We were locked in that room together all day. We were not allowed out of our rooms, and we had nothing to do, there were no activities and we had no exercise. No one could come to see us there and we felt terribly isolated and alone, also because we could not communicate with most of the guards because they did not speak Creole. I was at the hotel for more than two months and in all that time I was only able to breathe fresh air on four days- three times when I went to court and once when I was taken to Krome for visitation. Sometimes I felt as if I was suffocating and my heart would begin to race because we were locked in that small space together for so long. It was impossible to know what was happening or what we should do because there was no one to explain anything to us because the lawyers can't come to the hotel. So I went to court alone without understanding what I was supposed to do or anything that was happening, which was terrifying. One day the officer yelled, "Ocean, court!" and I left thinking I had a hearing. But they did not take me to court. They took me to jail, to TGK. They took my picture and they strip-searched me. I was so afraid I was about to be deported. I was completely humiliated, and it seemed so unnecessary to treat us like that. But they do this to all the women, not just me.
I never understood what was happening until I got an attorney. At night when I would try to sleep at the jail they would flash lights in our eyes and bang on our doors, and it would startle me terribly. Sometimes it made me remember bad things that happened in Haiti. Many of the officers yelled at us a lot and we didn't understand why. They scared me a lot. Whenever I tried to tell my lawyer about my experience in Haiti, it was difficult to concentrate because we were in a place that was only adding to our misery.
It was at the jail though that I met staff from FIAC and they were able to help me and represent me in court. If I didn't have a lawyer I would never have been able to tell the judge my story because the laws are very difficult to understand here. We were supposed to fill out our asylum applications in English, but none of us speak English and many of us cannot read or write. There were very few organizations like FIAC that understood the laws and could help us when we were in detention. Many of the other women were not as lucky as me though and did not find anyone to help them. If it had not been for FIAC, no one would have helped us at all. Most of the women had to go to court and speak to the judge by themselves. I am very lucky because FIAC represented me and I won my case in court and now I am free. But my heart cries for the women that are still there and who did not have a lawyer to help them speak to the judge.
Now some of the Haitian women have been deported and forced to return to the place of our nightmares. The problems we fled in Haiti have only gotten worse since we left. There has been even more violence recently in the streets, and there was even a prison close to the neighborhood where we come from, Raboteau, that was broken into and the prisoners freed. There is no rule of law in Haiti, only chaos. How can they return people to a place like that, people who did not have lawyers in court and who did not have a chance to tell the judge what happened to them?
My heart breaks for the Haitians from my boat who are still in detention, it has been almost ten months for them now. They came here because they were afraid for their lives. The women I was in the jail with have been transferred to a different place now, but they still have not been released. I cannot understand this because everyone else from every other country was quickly released while the Haitians have stayed in detention. This has made it even more difficult for us, to watch so many other women from other countries come in and quickly get released. I didn't think the United States would treat people differently just because of the place they were born, I thought everyone was equal here. But we were not treated like everyone else, even though we are all human and we all have the same blood. It became clear to us that the only reason we were in jail indefinitely is because we are Haitian. But I still cannot understand why the Haitians are kept in detention and all the others are released.
I pray that my words today will somehow help the Haitians that are still imprisoned. Thank you for listening to me today.
Haitian native to be executed
By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor
Your dream of seeing Haitian native Borgella Philistin, 28, just in case you know him, in jail or working the streets of Philadelphia, slightly more than a month from now, will most likely never be realized.
Philistin, who has long been on death row after he was convicted of killing a police officer in Philadelphia will finally be executed by the State of Pennsylvania, on Nov. 12th.
U.S. Appeals Court OKs secret deportation hearings
By David Morgan, Reuters Writer
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 9, (Reuters) - A divided U.S. appeals court Tuesday upheld the federal government's right to hold secret deportation hearings in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, saying media access to the proceedings could endanger national security.
In a 2-1 vote, a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the May 29 order of a U.S. district judge in Newark, New Jersey, who said government secrecy rules in immigration cases violated the First Amendment right to a free press.
"We hold that the press and public possess no First Amendment right of access," Chief Judge Edward Becker wrote in a 48-page majority opinion.
Three weeks after his panel heard arguments in the case, Becker said "the primary national policy must be self-preservation" in light of the U.S. war on terrorism and warned that opening deportation hearings could give terrorists dangerous insights into federal investigations.
"Most obviously, terrorist organizations could alter future attack plans, or devise new, easier ways to enter the country," he said.
"They might also obstruct or disrupt pending proceedings by destroying evidence, threatening potential witnesses or targeting the hearings themselves," added Becker, who was joined in the ruling by Judge Morton Greenberg.
Judge Anthony Scirica dissented, saying he agreed with the lower court that a decision on whether to close any deportation hearing could be left to the presiding immigration judge.
The ruling, which marked the Justice Department's first appellate-level victory on the constitutionality of its secrecy rules, formally applies to immigration proceedings in the Third Circuit's jurisdictional region, which includes New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
But legal experts said it could have important national implications in light of a conflicting ruling by a judicial panel from the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ordered the Justice Department in August to hold an open hearing for the co-founder of an Islamic charity accused of funneling money to terrorist organizations.
"The fact that we have this conflict certainly makes it much more likely this will be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court," said Temple University law professor Jan Ting, who served as assistant commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1990 to 1993.
More than 750 people have been detained on immigration violations as part of the Sept. 11 investigation, according to the Justice Department. Many of the cases have been in New Jersey, which has a large Middle Eastern immigrant community.
Tuesday's ruling was a blow to the New Jersey Law Journal and the North Jersey Media Group, media outlets that first challenged government secrecy rules last March. The American Civil Liberties Union has argued the case.
"We believe the decision is wrong, and that it is at odds with the bedrock principle that a constitutional democracy should not conduct secret hearings to deprive individuals of their liberty," said Lee Gelernt, attorney for the New York-based ACLU Foundation Immigrants' Rights Project.
Gelernt said plaintiffs would consider all options, including a possible hearing before the full Third Circuit court, which is comprised of 19 appellate judges.
Up to now, the Third Circuit court has ruled civil proceedings to be subject to a 1980 U.S. Supreme Court opinion recognizing an unbroken history of open criminal trials in Anglo-American law dating to before the Norman Conquest.
Tuesday's ruling acknowledged a similarity between deportation hearings and civil trials. But the majority opinion said there is no historical right for access to administrative hearings before immigration judges who belong to the executive branch of government.
The opinion pointed to the current practice of closing Social Security hearings as well as proceedings involving abused alien children as precedents for secret government hearings that do not involve criminal or civil courts.
Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited.
Posted at 7:01 p.m., Friday, October 4, 2002
Politically unstable Reynold Georges expelled for sympathizing with the devil
By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor
Cambridge, MA, Oct. 4 - In the trash-filled capital city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, you can be expelled from the Convergence Démocratique, an opposition alliance of democratic political parties, for sympathizing with brutal dictator Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and especially after receiving about narco-U.S.$400,000 from him in the form of monetary compensation for burning your political party, for example.
This is exactly the case of Reynold Georges, who until just a few weeks ago, only had words of extreme severity for tyrant Aristide, a man who cannot enumerate the number of Haitians he has burnt alive, add those who have perished in high seas while attempting to reach the coasts of Florida, in search of political liberty, economic liberty, which, too, largely reflects his gross incompetence and the pillage of the public treasury he has long orchestrated.
Georges, who first was chastised for "granting interviews to both, publicly- and privately-owned television and radio stations, including newspapers, trashinshing the democratic alliance and its members" shortly after he was paid U.S.$400,00 or so by the former dirt poor priest of the shantytowns Aristide, according to a Sept. 30th press release issued by the Convergence Démocratique, was thereafter expelled, suggesting that his often questioned association with the powerful democratic group is now consigned to the archives of history.
"You are no longer authorized to speak, effective today, on behalf of the Convergence Démocratique," said the Sept. 30th. press release, in which those who affixed their signatures at the very end of it ordered him to physically and morally distance himself from the Convergence Démocratique's headquarters, in Port-au-Prince.
Georges, we learned, has yet to, if he will ever do so, to response to the Convergence Démocratique's Sept. 30th press release, in which he was also accused, subsequent to a letter hand delivered to him days before, of violating Articles 7 and 20, which govern the conduct of internal political affairs of the alliance of democratic parties.
The assumptions of many who say Georges has betrayed the democratic cause are "Now, Georges has money, in fact plenty of narco-dollars, may be next he will go on vacation in the Bahamas while Haitians continue to be burned alive by brutal dictator Aristide."(Press Release, in French)
Haiti reports four deaths, hundreds of houses damaged by Lili
By The Associated Press
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI, Oct. 4 - Tropical Storm Lili killed four people and damaged hundreds of homes in Haiti, the government reported belatedly Friday, saying much of the destruction occurred in inaccessible areas.
Two victims died in mudslides and the other two drowned when Lili outer rainbands dumped torrential rain on Haiti's south coast last Friday, the National Civil Defense Bureau reported.
The storm destroyed 240 homes and damaged 1,160, said bureau spokeswoman Alta Jean-Baptiste.
Livestock and fields in three southern districts also suffered considerable damage, she said.
The Haitian government had not previously reported any fatalities or major damage and said it took a week for officials to reach remote areas of the Caribbean country, one of the poorest in the world, and return with the details.
Haiti's report raises the storm's death toll in the Caribbean to 12.
Lili crossed western Cuba as a hurricane Tuesday, killing one man and tearing down more than 6,000 homes. On Friday, Cuban media reported it also destroyed 10,000 of western Cuba's 14,500 tobacco curing houses. The hurricane "has been a catastrophe for most of the tobacco industry," the Communist Party daily Granma said.
As a tropical storm, Lili triggered floods and mudslides that killed seven people in Jamaica and St. Vincent, damaged hundreds of homes in Barbados and Jamaica and wiped out half of St. Lucia's banana crop.
A weakened Tropical Storm Lili spun out of Louisiana early Friday. Lili had been a Category 4 hurricane on Thursday packing terrifying 145-mph (233-kph) winds before it inexplicably weakened and hit the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Copyright © 2002 The Associated Press.
|Who's responsible for unfair policy on Haitian refugees?|
These are edited excerpts from remarks that Florida Sen. Bob Graham submitted to the Senate immigration subcommittee that on Tuesday held a hearing on Haitians in INS detention.
The lengthy detention of Haitians who have come to the United States since last autumn has caused each detainee to spend an exorbitant amount of time in uncertainty. This is not only misguided and egregious; it's inhumane. If we must have a national policy of detaining any specific group of people, we have to do a much better job of providing information to those individuals and to the people who advocate for and care about them.
This lengthy detention has deepened the feeling in South Florida that different nationalities receive different treatment. We can't allow this sentiment to continue. All who come to the United States fleeing persecution deserve at least a level playing field to make their cases.
With fairness and equal treatment in mind, my experience in working on behalf of the detainees in Krome and TGK jail has been disturbing, to say the least.
The first task was to try to determine who established this nation-specific detention policy. Was it the Immigration and Naturalization Service? The White House? The State Department? The National Security Council? The Justice Department? At each agency, my staff or I could find someone willing to discuss the situation but unable to say how the policy was developed and who has final authority for revising it.
I contacted Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson and I invited INS Commissioner Jim Ziglar to meet some of the detainees held at TGK; he is to be commended for making that trip.
The story of Jesiclaire Clairmont, who came with her family aboard a boat, is the reality of our policy on Haiti. Stuck in detention since December, Clairmont's only crime was fleeing her town in Haiti, where violence has become a daily part of life. Two of her children are also in custody. The other two are free, living in Little Haiti with their father, waiting for their mother and siblings to join them.
These human faces and stories have strengthened my resolve to find out who is the final decisionmaker on this policy. Although it seems that the call rests with the INS, my sense is that this agency was receiving encouragement to hold fast to the detention policy from other federal agencies.
What could generate such a nation-specific detention policy? One factor may be a desire not to create incentives for potential immigrants or refugees to travel here -- heading off a possible mass migration emergency.
I asked the U.S. Embassy in Haiti about the current climate in that country. There are always indicators of a potential mass migration event: a surge of boat-building activity and gatherings at the shoreline or ports.
Has this actually occurred in Haiti? The embassy's response: While there do not appear to be indicators of a mass-migration emergency at the moment, the potential for a future crisis always exists. Given the first part of this statement, I urge that our current detention policy be re-examined.
If an imminent threat of mass migration doesn't exist, our nation should have much more flexibility in its detention policy. Of course, if the situation changes, we can amend our policy accordingly. The various interpretations that our office has heard about the climate in Haiti highlight that we need an open exchange of ideas and information on this issue.
Because the decision-making process has been shrouded in secrecy, with no person or agency seemingly accountable, the feelings of unfairness, discrimination and disparate treatment have deepened in South Florida.
My wish list for resolution of these concerns is:
Find accurate information about the development and enforcement of this nation-specific detention policy. Once we understand why the policy was established, review it frequently to determine if it's still needed.
Give advocates working on behalf of these detainees more information and access to those they are trying to help. More advocates are needed to ensure that all who arrive here have a fair opportunity to understand our law and make their cases.
Use mandatory detention only when no other alternative is available. In those instances, resolve the detainee's situation expeditiously.
Haitian women spent far too many weeks and months in a maximum-security prison. This is unacceptable and unfair. We must do something to change this policy.
Posted at 1:25 a.m., Thursday, October 3, 2002
Jailing of Haitians migrants angers lawmakers at hearings
By Tim Johnson, Miami Herald Writer email@example.com
WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 - Lawmakers voiced dismay and even anger Tuesday as experts told how U.S. immigration officials treat Haitian migrants caught on the high seas off Florida as virtual criminals, throwing them into cramped lock-ups, dividing families and hindering access to lawyers.
In two hearings on Capitol Hill, activists for Haitian migrants said U.S. officials offer such harsh treatment to Haitian asylum seekers that it appears to be discrimination.
An array of Democratic and Republican legislators, who rarely see eye-to-eye, listened at separate hearings of a Senate subcommittee on immigration and a House human rights panel and demanded an explanation of federal policy on Haitians' asylum requests.
''Haitians have been singled out for more restrictive treatment. Such a policy appears to violate U.S. law,'' said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
''I really hope we can stop this mistreatment of one group,'' added Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
Both hearings were sparked by a once-secret policy of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which began in December, that has left scores of Haitians languishing in jail cells in Florida and Pennsylvania. The policy orders that all Haitian asylum seekers arriving to Florida by boat remain under detention while their requests for political asylum are weighed. Other nationalities are not singled out this way.
In some cases, Haitians share jail cells with criminals for months after demonstrating to the INS a ''credible fear'' of persecution in their country, activists and lawyers said.
A senior State Department official, Thomas Shannon, defended the Bush administration strategy as critical to protecting Florida from a tidal wave of Haitian migration.
''Given the threat illegal migration poses to our national security, we support sending a strong message to the Haitian people that they do not enjoy automatic entry into the United States,'' Shannon, the deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs, told the House subcommittee.
Haiti, a nation of eight million people that is the poorest in this hemisphere, is mired in political deadlock over flawed congressional elections in 2000. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his opposition have resisted international efforts to resolve the deadlock, and Haitian rural areas are facing turmoil. Haiti has barely 3,000 police officers, and armed gangs loyal to local political bosses are terrorizing some provincial towns and cities.
`THIS IS INHUMANE'
Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., said that indefinitely detaining Haitian asylum seekers had left a number of them spending ``an exorbitant amount of time in uncertain limbo.''
''This is not just misguided. This is not just egregious. This is inhumane,'' Graham, who was not present at the hearing, said in a written statement.
Graham said he has sought answers about who ordered the policy that singles out Haitians -- but has gotten the run-around from federal agencies.
Because the policy ''has been shrouded in secrecy, with no person or agency seemingly accountable, the feelings of unfairness, of discrimination, of disparate treatment have deepened,'' Graham said.
Speaking shyly in Creole, Marie Jocelyn Ocean told both hearings through an interpreter about what happened to her after she arrived illegally by boat to Miami last December and was detained by the INS.
''We were strip-searched and we were treated as if we were criminals,'' she said. ``We were constantly humiliated. We were constantly dragged before judges without being able to express ourselves in English.''
Listening to Ocean, then recounting other recent stories of Haitian immigrants detained at length in ''horrible conditions,'' Rep. Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y., turned to Shannon and said: ``I think that's appalling. . . . This is a devil of a way to treat refugees who leave their country out of credible fear.''
Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., described conditions at Krome Detention Center in Miami-Dade County as ''a nightmare'' and rebuked the INS for dividing Haitian families. ''The separation of mothers from their children is disgraceful,'' he said.
Lawyers seeking to help the Haitians ''have faced obstacle after obstacle to get meaningful access to our clients,'' said Cheryl Little, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center. ``The cards are stacked against the Haitians. There's no question about it.''
Copyright 2002 The Miami Herald
Posted at 10:42 p.m., Tuesday, October 1, 2002
|S. Florida Haitian activist honored for work, awarded $100,000|
|By Madeline Baro Diaz, Sun Sentinel Writer|
MIAMI, Sept. 1 · The Ford Foundation is giving Haitian activist Marleine Bastien a national leadership award and $100,000 to help her efforts on behalf of Haitian immigrants.
Bastien, 43, executive director of Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami (Haitian Women of Miami), said she was shocked when she heard she won a Leadership for a Changing World award.
"I was screaming at the top of my lungs," said Bastien, whose organization offers services to South Florida's Haitian community. "It was a very competitive, challenging and involved process."
Bastien will be the only South Floridian receiving an award tonight at the Ford Foundation in New York.
The Ford Foundation, a nonprofit grant-making organization, received about 1,400 nominations for the awards and chose 36 people representing 20 organizations dealing with issues including affordable housing, AIDS, immigration and the environment. The selection process included a site visit and interviews in the communities. The Ford Foundation launched the Leadership for a Changing World program in September 2000 in partnership with the Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C., and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.
The goal is to recognize leaders that might not be known outside their communities or fields, said Marian Krauskopf, program director for the Ford Foundation.
"She's a wonderful example of the kind of leadership we think exists, the kind of leadership that can be found in community after community across the United States," she said of Bastien. "The foundation wanted to support the excellent work of people like Marleine."
Bastien and the other winners will also be part of ongoing research on leadership led by the Wagner School. The winners will be talking to the researchers about how they go about their work, and researchers also hope to study the leaders within their communities over a period of a few months.
The $100,000 given to each of the organizations over the next two years will be a boost to Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, which has an annual budget of $400,000. The money will pay for a few part-time positions and aid in the organization's quest to find bigger office space.
The Ford Foundation is also giving Bastien another $30,000 that she plans to use for training and development for herself and her staff.
Bastien said the honor will help in fund-raising efforts and allow her agency to network on a national scale.
The award comes as Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami is battling tougher restrictions on immigrants arising from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the continued detention of Haitian refugees, Bastien said.
"This award comes at the right time, during an anti-immigrant climate," she said. "We need to reach out to people."
Haitian media on the defense after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide accuses reporters of being a destabilizing force
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Sept. 1 - Radio talk show callers and announcers bristled on Monday over President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's criticism of the media, which he accused of being a destablizing force in the country.
Saying the media was painting a negative image of Haiti, Aristide also blamed reporters for trying to discredit his leadership "
A vast smear campaign is under way," Aristide told supporters Friday. "When you listen to news of Haiti abroad, you would think it's dog-eat-dog, that there are no decent people."
Radio stations broadcast Aristide's speech throughout the day Monday.
"A head of state should measure his words. It proves Aristide is the mastermind of all the disorder in the country," one anonymous caller said during a talk show on private Radio Kiskeya.
Radio Kiskeya stopped broadcasting Thursday night when its management received a tip that a group of government supporters was planning to burn down the station. It resumed newscasts Monday.
Human rights groups say Aristide's criticism of reporters has led some of his supporters to attack journalists.
This year, some 30 journalists have been attacked or harassed, allegedly by Aristide partisans, said Guyler Delva, president of the Haitian Association of Journalists.
More than a dozen journalists have fled the country.
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders has criticized Haiti for stalling the investigation into the killing of Jean Dominique, Haiti's most prominent journalist, who was shot and killed in the courtyard of the radio station he owned in 2000.
"Many say President Aristide's remarks have increased the anxiety of journalists," Radio Caraibes journalist Hevrard Saint Amand said in a report Monday. "Some say the head of state has declared war."
Reporters Without Boders against dictatorship in Haiti
Press freedom 30 September 2002
Two radio stations suspend broadcasting after threats
Reporters Without Borders today deplored an atmosphere of lawlessness in Haiti that has led two radio stations to go off the air in recent days after threats to their staff. A journalist from a third station was physically attacked.
"Unless these threats are thoroughly investigated and those responsible punished, any official statement seeking to reassure the media will be an empty gesture, especially in a country where impunity reigns for government supporters who threaten, attack and kill journalists," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
He rejected a statement by Aristide that invented attacks on the media were the biggest threat to press freedom and called his remarks "an incitement to attack journalists" at a time when people were looking to him to curb the excesses of his supporters.
The privately-owned Port-au-Prince station Radio Kiskeya stopped broadcasting on 26 September and evacuated their offices after being told that the building was to be burned down that evening. The station also received several threatening phone calls and faxes. Reuters news agency said the threats came after the station's coverage of the arrest of the head of an organisation defending the rights of thousands of people who recently lost money in a collapsed pyramid scam based on traditional cooperatives. The station resumed broadcasting the next day.
Also on 26 September, another Port-au-Prince radio station, Caraïbes FM, decided to stop broadcasting news for several hours in protest against threats it had received, apparently from pro-government organisations.
The next day, Roger Damas, of Radio Ibo, was attacked by three strangers when he arrived at the radio station. He said they threatened to burn it down.
Communications minister Mario Dupuy immediately called the threats "unacceptable" and said the government would "not tolerate them." President Aristide was meanwhile quoted by the Haitian News Agency (AHP) as condemning people who he said used "bogus" attacks on the press to "make it look as if the media is gagged" in Haiti. He reiterated his government's commitment to press freedom.
Reporters Without Borders has several times denounced the impunity enjoyed by those, mostly government supporters, who threaten, attack and kill journalists criticising the government.
-- Régis Bourgeat Despacho Américas / Americas desk Reporters sans frontières 5, rue Geoffroy-Marie 75009 Paris - France
tél. : +33 (0) 1 44 83 84 57 fax : +33 (0) 1 45 23 11 51 e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Agents to continue search for drugs on ship
By The TenO'Clock News
MIAMI, Sept. 1 -- Customs agents will be back in business today, searching a freighter where $5 million in cocaine has already been found.
Agents were alerted to drugs aboard The Marlin Express during a routine search.
The ship arrived from Haiti on Thursday. They plan to drill through deep parts of the ship to where they believe more drugs are hidden.
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