Syndicated News from Haiti
Tue, 10 Dec 2013 20:23:03 GMT
JetBlue begins flights to HaitiUSA TODAYJetBlue is now flying to Haiti, the latest country in the carrier's rapidly growing Caribbean network. The airline began flights to the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince last week, launching nonstop service from both New York JFK and Fort Lauderdale ...
Tue, 10 Dec 2013 12:37:27 GMT
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 00:54:34 GMT
Islander to spend year in HaitiIslands' SounderAfter three years of traveling back and forth from Haiti to Orcas, Rosedanie Cadet has decided to spend the next year on just one island. ?The skills that I have to offer are skills that many people on Orcas have, but my skills are needed in Limbe ...
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 20:04:28 GMT
Haiti quake destroyed or damaged 60 years of archivesYahoo NewsPort-au-Prince (AFP) - The huge, deadly earthquake that pulverized Haiti in 2010 also caused destruction or heavy damage to 60 years of public records, the country's director of National Archives said Wednesday. The nation lacked an inventory, so what ...
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 02:40:24 GMT
Tue, 10 Dec 2013 20:31:48 GMT
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 21:26:09 GMT
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 21:19:28 GMT
Albany Police captain takes trip to HaitiAlbany Democrat HeraldCapt. Eric Carter took about a week off from the Albany Police Department and travelled with his 14-year-old son Conrad to Haiti this November, but the trip wasn't your average vacation. Carter was training the national police and security guards in ...
Wed, 11 Dec 2013 18:17:24 GMT
Tue, 10 Dec 2013 06:00:11 GMT
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Results 1 - 10 of Headlines for Haiti
Monday, November 4th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
www.stratfor.com -- The recent arrival of 211 Haitian illegal immigrants in Miami has fueled speculation in the U.S. news media that thousands of Haitian boat refugees could start washing ashore in South Florida in the coming months. According to many reports, the hurricane season is ending, Haiti’s economic outlook is looking grimmer by the day and political gridlock between President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his opponents is pushing the poorest country in the Americas closer to violence.
It is true that Haiti’s economic and political turmoil are increasing the pressure on its populace to flee to the United States. However, the current trickle of boat refugees into the United States will only swell into a flood if the Bush administration eases its current tough policy for dealing with such groups, or if Aristide decides it suits his political purposes to force more Haitians to leave the country.
The Bush administration likely will not significantly ease its current policy of incarcerating and deporting all Haitian boat refugees, despite recent bipartisan congressional criticism that the policy is discriminatory and possibly illegal. A senior State Department official recently testified at a congressional hearing that the policy is intended to discourage massive migration by sea from Haiti.
However, Aristide’s main priority is obtaining aid money to keep his regime alive. Haiti has been cut off from more than $500 million in multilateral development aid since 2000, after international observers determined that legislative elections swept by Aristide’s Lavalas Family (FL) party that year had been rigged.
If Aristide decides that more illegal migration by sea would pressure the U.S. government to stop blocking direct aid flows to his regime, he may seek ways to encourage that trend. If this happens, a growing tide of Haitian refugees could be politically embarrassing for the Bush administration, which already is widely criticized in Latin America over perceived policy failures in Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela and other countries.
However, illegal immigration from Haiti would have to jump spectacularly -- reaching into the tens of thousands annually, as it did between 1991 and 1994 -- to have a dramatic economic impact on state and local government services, like education and health care, in Florida.
Nonetheless, one way that Aristide could boost illegal migration would be to stir up more violence in Haiti -- by ratcheting up the regime’s alleged harassment, intimidation and murder of those opposed to Aristide and his ruling FL party. International non-governmental organizations operating in Haiti have linked the regime’s harassment of opponents to the slow rise in the number of Haitians fleeing the country by sea in the past two years.
Although Aristide is under tight U.S. and international scrutiny that somewhat restricts his regime’s ability to unleash armed political gangs against opponents, Haiti’s deteriorating economic and political outlook is fueling both criminal and political violence. As this trend intensifies in the coming months, more Haitians may attempt to negotiate the perilous Florida Straits in flimsy boats.
Haiti’s economy is in ruins, but Aristide’s regime deliberately could seek to make the crisis worse. In fact, Haitian banking sources told The Associated Press in October that "highly placed government officials" were planning to nationalize dollar accounts in Haitian banks and pay the depositors in local currency, called the gourde, at half the actual market value of the U.S. dollar.
Aristide reportedly intended to use the nationalized dollars to pay off some debt arrears to multilateral entities, in order to unlock a new flow of direct foreign aid loans to his regime. However, in an economy where most Haitians live on less than $1 a day and unemployment is about 60 percent, the regime’s planned nationalization of dollar accounts would have erased, at a single stroke, half of the liquid hard currency assets of tens of thousands of small-account holders.
These account holders are mainly professional and middle-class Haitians, but the impact of such a proposal would have trickled down to poor Haitians who work for professional and middle-class families.
Rumors and press reports of the Aristide regime’s alleged plan sparked a five-day run on banks by small depositors, who pulled $25 million out of a banking system that held total dollar deposits of $457 million as of June 2002. The run on deposits depreciated the gourde even more and poured fuel on the price-inflation fire, since resource-scant Haiti imports most of its basic needs.
Aristide denied he was planning to nationalize dollar accounts, and in interviews with local radio stations he accused the Bush administration of spreading "false propaganda" to destabilize his government. However, because the run on deposits further depreciated the gourde, it drove up prices on the basic goods that deforestation has forced Haiti to import.
Although Aristide has the ability to ramp up the flow of illegal boat refugees, he may be content to prolong the status quo, since the Bush administration cannot force his resignation and the regime’s political gangs have more firepower than the Haitian police and political opposition. Moreover, although Aristide’s popularity has plunged, his FL party still has the ability to mobilize thousands of poor Haitians to attack regime opponents.
Meanwhile, foreign aid may not be flowing into Haiti, but the drug trade is making up much of the difference in the underground economy. Haiti is now the main Caribbean transit point for about 15 percent of the Colombian cocaine consumed each year in the United States. Haitian drug traffickers and corrupt government officials get only a small cut of the profits in the drug distribution chain. However, Haiti’s persistent economic turmoil and political instability also offer international drug traffickers a promising opportunity to penetrate the regime and buy protection.
Aristide may take advantage of the alternative income opportunities offered by international drug traffickers who want a safe haven in Haiti. In fact, some government officials already have been implicated in the drug trade, according to Haitian news reports.Results Page:
Wednesday, August 7th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
www.stratfor.com -- Recent politically motivated violence in Haiti’s fourth-largest city is a manifestation of the dwindling popularity of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Although he is not in immediate danger of being ousted, Haiti could become even more unstable in the future. This could have a wide-ranging impact on both U.S. counter-drug efforts and refugee flows from the Caribbean country.
Members of a Haitian political group calling itself the Cannibal Army crashed a stolen tractor through a prison wall in the city of Gonaives Aug. 2, freeing 159 prisoners including the group’s leader, Amiot Metayer. Rioting triggered the prison breakout when several thousand people torched the city hall and courthouse in Gonaives, Haiti’s fourth-largest city with a population of about 200,000.
Ruling Lavalas Party spokesman Jonas Petit dismissed the rioters as a "small group of armed men police should deal with." However, four days after the breakout, nearly all of the escaped convicts remained at large and police had not restored order in Gonaives, where Metayer and others were demanding the immediate resignation of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Aristide is unlikely to resign voluntarily and does not appear to be in any immediate danger of being forcibly toppled from power. Even so, the politically motivated violence in Gonaives demonstrates that his popularity has faded considerably in the eight years since former President Bill Clinton ordered the U.S. Army to occupy Haiti to oust the military regime that had toppled Aristide’s democratically elected government. Additionally, the violence in Gonaves is yet another indication of the growing lawlessness and instability that is overwhelming Haiti.
Aristide has lost favor with many of his constituents due to his government’s inability to attract investment to the country, create jobs or reduce poverty. The Aristide government has been in essence paralyzed by the controversy following the sweep by the ruling Lavalas Party of legislative elections in 2000, which came amid widespread charges of fraud. Moreover, decisions by the United States and Europe to withhold more than $500 million in aid to Haiti until the political gridlock ends have aggravated the country’s critical economic plight.
However, even if Aristide and his political opponents work out a compromise that clears the way for new legislative elections, it’s not a given that Haiti will become less unstable as a result. Similarly, even if international aid starts flowing again, very little is likely to reach the poor Haitians for whom it is intended. In fact, a recent World Bank study of aid granted to Haiti over a 15-year period ending in 2001 concluded that the funds had no discernible impact whatsoever in reducing the country’s staggering poverty levels and improving general living standards.
History is repeating itself yet again in Haiti. Like nearly all of his predecessors in the country’s turbulent history as an independent republic, Aristide and his closest followers have grown very wealthy in power while the rest of the country has gotten only poorer. Corruption remains an endemic institutional feature of Haiti’s government and its political and law enforcement institutions. Moreover, Aristide’s government appears to be resorting increasingly to judicial intimidation and vigilante violence to silence its political opponents, according to recent news reports.
Ten people were killed last December in what the government said was a failed coup to topple Aristide. However, opposition leaders said that the government staged the alleged coup to create an excuse to imprison its most troublesome opponents.
A report issued last July by the Organization of American States did not endorse this allegation, but it did find that the government and the Lavalas Party had issued weapons to pro-Aristide mobs who burned down the houses of several prominent opposition leaders after the alleged coup attempt occurred.
Given the economy’s dismal prospects, Haiti likely will become more politically unstable in the coming months as Aristide seeks to consolidate his control and deflect growing pressures by the opposition to force his resignation. The president might be able to defuse the political tensions somewhat if the opposition accepts his recent proposal to hold new legislative elections next November for all 83 House of Assembly seats and two-thirds of the 27-seat Senate, followed by new local elections in 2003.
If new legislative elections are held later this year, and international observers certify that they are reasonably transparent and honest, the U.S. government and European Union might be persuaded to start disbursing the aid held up since 2000. However, given Haiti’s long history of government corruption and Aristide’s penchant for populism and a professed dislike for free-market policies, it’s unlikely that giving the country hundreds of millions of dollars in aid will do much to improve its people’s lives.
On the other hand, a forced regime change that topples Aristide and brings someone else to power likely would not improve Haiti’s future outlook either. Haiti cannot self-govern, and none of the foreign governments and entities like the United Nations that intervened in 1994 are willing to do so now, even though the country is poorer and more unstable than it was eight years ago.
However, although extending international aid and support to Haiti may not help the country, it is fairly certain that, left to its own devices and deprived of any international aid at all, the country could become even more unstable and lawless in the future.
If this happens, at least two developments with implications for U.S. security likely would result. The first is that the government of Haiti (which is a transit country for about 20 percent of the cocaine shipped to the United States and Europe via Caribbean smuggling routes) could become thoroughly corrupted by international drug traffickers who, according to Haitian news reports, already own many members of the U.S.-trained Haitian police force.
A government in Haiti corrupted by drug funds could make the country a safe haven for international criminal gangs and hinder U.S. counter-drug operations in the Caribbean.
Second, the United States could see a new wave of refugees fleeing crushing poverty and political violence by setting sail for South Florida in leaky boats and homemade rafts. This threat does not appear imminent, but it remains an option that many Haitians may choose eventually if their country’s economic and political turmoil worsens.