jeudi 28 août 2014

Rwanda: Haiti Quake Survivor Tops University of Rwanda's Sociology Degree Course

By Athan Tashobya
Tuesday, January 12, 2010. This is a date ingrained with profound sadness in the lives of Haitians. It is the day a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful the country had witnessed in 200 years, rocked the island nation, leaving in its wake more than 200,000 people dead, and an estimated 2.3 million others homeless.
On this Tuesday afternoon, Ambroise Jean-Louis, 29, was from a routine visit to a community hospital where he prayed with the sick and often gave alms. He was just home holding a plate of food when the tremor struck.
Ambroise had run out of the house when the whole land seemed to 'dance'. Four years later, the then fourth year student of Contemporary History at the University State of Haiti compares the catastrophe that razed down almost every fibre of infrastructure in Port-au-Prince to the dark history of Rwanda sixteen years before the Haitian quake.
Coincidentally, Ambroise found himself in the very country he was fascinated about following the 1994 tragedy that was the Genocide against the Tutsi. He has been among six students from Haiti who arrived in the country in January 2011, on a joint scholarship programme at the University of Rwanda.
He wanted a second degree.
The scholarship programme, a partnership undertaking of the Governments of Rwanda and Haiti, through Haiti-Rwanda Commission, last week yielded fruits when Ambroise emerged the best graduate from the College of Arts and Social Sciences' School of Sociology.
When the dean of the school called out Ambroise's name, he described him as "one of the few international students with a particularly unique talent" and asked him to the tent for a special acknowledgement from Dr Mike O'Neal, the chancellor.
The Haiti-Rwanda Commission is an initiative formed in 2010 in the aftermath of the earthquake to harness lessons from the Rwandan experience in Haiti's rebuilding process and expand the informal partnerships existing between the two countries.
The Commission, which has a coordination unit based in Kigali, also serves as a bilateral mechanism for, drawing on joint efforts to promote health and social wellbeing that were ongoing prior to the earthquake. It is responsible for the implementation of projects to further bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Worth the choice:
When Haiti was hit by earthquake, Ambroise says everything was destroyed. There were no schools, no hospitals, no hope... nothing.
But then the HRC scholarship came. He took it without hesitation.
"My trip to Rwanda was my first ever to Africa. I had other scholarship opportunities, but I ended up here and, looking back, I am convinced I made the best choice because I have learned a lot from this country," Ambroise says.
The Haitian grew up looking up to revolutionaries for role models. Nelson Mandela, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro... name it. But "not until I got to be part of Rwanda did I realise how Africa is blessed to have a man like Paul Kagame. He is such a great patriot, so he is my role model."
"When I was young, my father said he would do anything for his children to study. I am glad I have learned from the best source, I will tell my family of how wonderful Africa and Rwanda, specifically, is a place to learn from, because we share the same social catastrophes," he says.
Before the earthquake hit Haiti, Ambroise never imagined himself in Africa, due to a lot of stereotype and myths he heard about the continent.
"There are a lot of bad things talked about Africa. In Haiti, when you hear of Africa and its people, you think of this jungle where there is a lot of cannibalism and all those sorts of things," he says.
"I really enjoy Africa, I have travelled around the region, I have good friends from Uganda, and Burundi. "I came to learn from Rwanda, not to stay in Rwanda. I am glad that I have a big package to take back home."
Among the six students on the scholarship programme, only Ambroise and three girls stood the test of culture shock. Wendy Bianca Jean-Ulysse graduated alongside Ambroise, while Nicolentsia Bateau and Stevenson Beaubrun will be graduating next year.
The two other boys in the programme, Ambroise says, had a "few challenges adapting to the country," forcing them to go back home.
Didi Bertrand Farmer, the chair of Haiti-Rwanda commission, told The New Times that having one of their beneficiaries as one of the best graduate of University of Rwanda's maiden graduation means a lot.
"The objective of HRC is to offer the best leadership education programme for future leaders of Haiti. Having one of our students performing so highly is a great thing for us," Father said.
She revealed that the Government of Rwanda offered 50 more scholarship placements for Haitian students.
"Ambroise was among the first group and we have been offered 50 more scholarships. We are working with Haitian government so that they can send those students," she added. The full scholarship includes school fees, accommodation, food and monthly allowances of about Rwf90,000.
The sociology graduate, whose focus is to contribute toward rebuilding the new Haiti, points at Rwanda's leadership model as the best suitor for his homeland's re-development agenda.
"Above all, my main point of appreciation is the leadership model in Rwanda. Of course, you can find people in leadership roles almost everywhere you look. The Rwandan model teaches me a transformational leadership that gives me an inspiring vision of the future. This can help me motivate my fellow Haitians to achieve something positive for the future Haiti we all look forward to," he said.
Ambroise, who has undergone a two-year intership at Rwanda Governance Board, told The New Times that the internship placement at the institution familiarised him with how local leaders apply humility and hard work to implement Rwanda's development objectives.
"In Rwanda, they do not simply have the responsibilities of a leader, but they apply both humility and hard work to lead effectively. After having a good exploration in Rwanda, I feel now is a great time to start. I am a young leader, but I feel that I have the potential to do a lot for my country," he said.
Ambroise said he has gained positive educational and leadership experiences in Rwanda, asserting that he has seen "a lot of constructive changes" at firsthand after the cataclysmic 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
"I have been impressed by the fact that Rwanda has found a way of rebuilding systemic human actions where both individual and collective transformations to fostering positive expectations for the country's over-ambitious goals hold accountable," he said.
Ambroise could not hold his gratitude to the Governments of Rwanda and Haiti, the Haiti Rwanda Commission HRC, and the University of Rwanda for enabling him achieve his education goals.

mercredi 27 août 2014


Il est difficile de trouver une activité dépendant d’une instance étatique qui ne soit pas souvent en crise en Haïti. A l’image du pays lui-même.
Le football ce sport adulé par les haïtiens ne constitue pas l’exception qui confirmerait la règle.
La ferveur de la dernière coupe du monde n’a pas pu être mise à profit comme ligand pour que tous les secteurs posent symboliquement la première pierre pour asseoir les bases pour faire avancer cette discipline sportive.
La fédération Haïtienne de Football est en conflit sournois avec l’exécutif. La presse a fait écho (déformé) d’un ordre express que le Président de al République aurait intimé au ministre des sports lui disant « de ne pas mettre un sous dans le football haïtien » (tant que l’ordre ne sera pas revenu dans cette fédération).
Je ne suis pas assez intéressé à ce débat pour fouiller et trouver les détails de ce conflit qui semble toucher le sport – roi dans le pays. Mais sachant que les instances officielles du football appuient toujours les fédérations au détriment des secteurs officiels de façon à conserver l’autonomie indispensable pour gérer ce monde qui brasse des sommes énormes, je ne suis pas étonné de voir un président de la fédération se comportant en chef face au secteur officiel sans compromis et surtout sans inflexion.
En attendant la grande perdante c’est bien le sport en lui-même avec une sélection haïtienne qui perd des places dans le classement fifa.
Une sélection haïtienne qui ne reçoit aucune invitation à participer dans la manne qu’a représentée la période de préparation avant le coupe du monde. Malgré la présence d’un entraîneur français nommé à la tête de la sélection, Haïti a été absente de la fête qui a précédé la coupe du monde Brésil 2014. Je ne vais pas me lancer dans une analyse de la situation du football en Haïti mais le palmarès des dernières années nous en disent assez long. Dans les compétitions officielles les grenadiers n’arrivent pas à traverser l’écueil des sélections de la zone des Antilles. Les confrontations contre ces sélections dans le temps avaient surtout l’allure de formalités.
La dernière prouesse d’Haïti dans le monde du football a été cette qualification inattendue des U17 à la Coupe du monde de 2011. Là encore il n’y a pas eu de déclic ni de point de départ dans l’esprit d’une continuité.
En recherchant des nouvelles sur Haïti je suis tombé sur les informations retraçant les performances des sélections féminines U15 et Seniors dans des compétitions organisées dans al région ces derniers temps.
En effet les fillettes U15 on participé au premier tournoi de la catégorie de la Concacaf et les haïtiennes ont eu une brillante participation avec une deuxième place après une séance de tirs au but face à la sélection canadienne.
Les deux meilleures sélections de la zone s’étaient retrouvées dans le même groupe et n’avait pas pu se départager.
La même situation se présenta lors de la rencontre finale sous le score de un but partout justifiant la séance de tirs au but qui finit par donner la victoire aux filles canadiennes.
Cette deuxième place n’est qualificative à rien mais elle permet de savoir ce que nous représentons dans cette catégorie.
La logique voudrait que l’on s’appuie sur ce qui existe et qui fonctionne pour l’améliorer dans une quête normale de l’excellence. Mais cela ne se passe pas toujours ainsi chez nous. Malheureusement l’avenir sera là pour nous donner raison.
La sélection féminine vient de terminer un tour des éliminatoires de la coupe du monde 2015 qui aura lieu au canada en se classant troisième derrière le Trinidad Tobago et la Jamaïque a près avoir écrasé 5-1 les martiniquaises.
Les haïtiennes rejoindront ainsi les qualifiées de l’Amérique du Nord (Mexique et USA, de l’Amérique centrale dans un tournoi final qui enverra directement les trois premières au Canada et la sélection classée quatrième jouera sa place dans un match de barrage.
C’est sans doute une excellente performance qui permettra aux haïtiennes de se jauger par rapport aux meilleures équipes nationales de la région. Encore une fois sans la continuité dans les projets les progrès ne se verront jamais.
Nous espérons que les instances concernées comprendront la situation et sauront s’arranger pour appliquer les bonnes solutions.
Le football haïtien semble respirer par les poumons de nos filles !
Un vrai bol d'air frais en effet !
Une situation à encourager !

lundi 25 août 2014

105 voyageurs haïtiens clandestins détenus par les autorités des Bahamas

Une opération conjointe menée samedi soir (23/08/2014), par la Force Royale de défense bahamienne, le Département d’Immigration et la Police de l’ile Ragged a permis la capture en haute mer d’un voilier transportant cent-cinq citoyens haïtiens vers les Bahamas.
La nouvelle de cette nouvelle capture de boatpeople Haïtiens par les services concernés des Bahamas a été rapportée par le journal The Bahamas Weekly.
Selon la rédaction, la HBMS de Nassau lors d’une patrouille dans la partie sud de l’archipel, aurait été informé par des habitants de Ragged Island de la présence d’un voilier rempli d’haïtiens clandestins à quelques kilomètres de la pointe sud de la ville de Duncan.
Grâce à l’aide précieuse fournie par un pêcheur une opération conjointe de recherche menée par la police locale et les autorités des services d’immigration qui a permis de capturer une embarcation fragile et non sécurisée 105 sans papiers haïtiens, 76 hommes et 29 femmes qui seront pris en charge comme détenus par les gardes Cotes bahamiens et transférés vers un lieu sur pour être ensuite jugés.
Les autorités du commandement de défense ont remercié les acteurs de ce travail d’équipe qui a conduit à l’arrestation des haïtiens.
Depuis quelques temps déjà, beaucoup d’haïtiens continuent à risquer leurs vies à bord de frêles embarcations pour quitter Haïti dans l’espoir de trouver mieux ailleurs. Nous avons récemment publié l’histoire de la condamnation en prison ferme de deux compatriotes qui avaient tenté de rentrer à Bélize par le Salvador avec des faux visas.
Lors d’un récent voyage au Bahamas nous avions pu constater le nombre important de citoyens haïtiens qui vendent des facilités aux touristes des plages (parasols, transat, boissons etc…). Ils ne semblent pas rouler sur l’or.
Il suffirait d’un effort et d’une vision plus large de tous les acteurs dans la gestion du pays pour offrir ce que nos compatriotes pensent trouver en République Dominicaine, au Brésil, aux Bahamas etc…
La balle est bien dans notre camp !

Haitian sloop apprehended in Ragged Island, Bahamas

Aug 24, 2014 - 1:11:58 PM
Coral Harbour Base, 24 August, 2014 (RBDF): The Royal Bahamas Defence Force was a part of a joint operation with the Department of Immigration and Police at Ragged Island, which involved the apprehension of over one hundred Haitian migrants on Saturday night.
While on routine patrol in the Southern Bahamas, HMBS Nassau received information that Ragged Island locals had spotted a Haitian sloop in waters several miles off the southern end of Duncan Town. With further assista nce of a local fisherman, Ragged Island Police and Immigration authorities conducted an immediate search of the area, which resulted in the apprehension of one hundred and five (105) undocumented Haitian nationals on Saturday 23 August, 2014.
The Migrants—seventy six (76) males and twenty-nine (29) females—were subsequently disembarked from their unsanitary vessel and taken into custody aboard HMBS Nassau commanded by Lieutenant Commander Raymond King and will be transported to an undisclosed location for further processing.
The Commander Defence Force, Commodore Roderick Bowe, expresses his thanks and appreciation for the assistance received from the Ragged Island Community, the local fishermen, the Ragged Island Police and Bahamas Immigration, and notes that the apprehension was a culmination of rapid response through a team effort among security forces and local communities.

Somerville celebrates first Haitian-Brazilian cultural festival

By Jennifer Smith
“Haiti and Brazil Hit The ’Ville” was centered on music, art, and food.
SOMERVILLE — Haitian and Brazilian communities congregated on Sunday in Somerville’s Union Square Plaza for a colorful afternoon festival, the city’s first joint celebration of the two cultures.
“Haiti and Brazil Hit The ’Ville” was centered on music, art, and food. It was hosted by the Somerville Arts Council’s ArtsUnion Project in partnership with the City of Somerville and SomerVIVA, the city’s language liaisons program.
Bringing together two of the largest immigrant populations served by the SomerVIVA program, the event was a “celebration of Somerville’s diverse population,” according to the Somerville Arts Council.
Jhenny Saint-Surin, the Haitian Creole language liaison with SomerVIVA and co-creator of Sunday’s festival, appreciates the connectedness of the city’s immigrant communities. Brazilians and Haitians, in particular “love soccer, love Carnival, and we eat a lot of rice and beans,” Saint-Surin said.
Somerville’s Haitian and Brazilian communities have bonded over the past two decades.
According to SomerVIVA, Haitians’ love of Brazilian soccer was sparked by “a 1978 visit by legendary player Pelé to Haiti, and the Brazilian-penned song “Haiti é Aqui” captures the significance of Haiti’s history to Brazilians.”
After the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, Brazil was the first country to donate to the Haiti Reconstruction Fund.
With the celebrations lasting from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., the festival grounds were free to enter and offered an array of entertainment and food choices, such as Haitian fritay and Brazilian churrasco.
Roommates Phung Nyugen, 30, and Alice Huang, 23, live a short walk away from Union Square. They gripped beef and chicken skewers, smiling broadly.
“It feels a bit like a farmers’ market,” Huang said. “It’s so colorful, though.”
Somerville’s immigrant community has always felt inclusive to Nyugen, who was born and raised in Vietnam and moved to Massachusetts in the last few years.
Many in attendance were recent immigrants who viewed the festival as an opportunity to bond with their community in Somerville and experience other cultures. Adriana Gama, 39, moved from Sao Paolo, Brazil, two months ago with her 4-year-old son.
“It’s been so difficult, especially since I have a son, to find food from our culture,” Gama said.
Smells rising from the food vendors’ tents accompanied performances by multicultural artists.
City of Cambridge poet populist Jean-Dany Joachim followed the festival’s welcoming statements with a series of poems in English and Haitian Creole. Joachim, who was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, performed poems on the joyfulness of children and the tragedy of wartime.
On a banner-draped stage, a Haitian konpa band and Brazilian band Samba de Tres played over a bustle of visitors examining homemade crafts and South American art.
Jewelry and clothing vendor Marie-France Merisier moved to Massachusetts from Haiti about 16 years ago. She offered a combination of hand-crafted goods and jewelry she imports from Haiti.
“We are all different, but at the same time we have cultures that are unified by art, music, and colors that are universal,” Merisier said.
The celebration was to conclude with a parade of revelers with flags, dancing to the drums, said Robson Lemos. Somerville resident Lemos, 35, helped decorate the square and was one of the presenters.
About a month in the making, the festival was “not just about entertaining people,” said Adriana Fernande, SomerVIVA’s Portuguese liaison. “It’s important for the immigrant communities to know that they are welcome and safe.”
Jennifer Smith can be reached at jennifer.smith@globe.com.

Cristobal douses Bahamas after at least 3 people caught up in swollen rivers on Hispaniola

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Tropical Storm Cristobal doused the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands with heavy rainfall as it moved slowly on a northern track in the Caribbean. One man died over the weekend and two other people were reported missing when they were caught up by swollen rivers on the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Cristobal may strengthen into a hurricane later in the week over the open Atlantic. The storm's center was expected to curve away from the U.S. East Coast.
The man who died was drowned when he tried to drive his pickup truck across a rushing river in the Dominican Republic's Hato Mayor, a province northeast of the capital of Santo Domingo, Juan Manuel Mendez, the country's emergency operations director, said Sunday.
The two missing people were swept away late Saturday by a river that burst its banks in the western Haiti port town of Saint Marc. "We're still looking for the bodies," said Luckecy Mathieu, a civil protection coordinator.
Many residents in the sparsely populated southeastern Bahamas and the tiny British Caribbean dependency of the Turks and Caicos Islands hunkered down as Cristobal's rains pelted windowpanes.
Capt. Stephen Russell, head of the Bahamas' emergency management agency, said there had been no reports of damage. Air traffic to the southeastern Bahamian islands had not been suspended, but sea vessels were advised to remain in port, he said.
Turks and Caicos Premier Rufus Ewing advised residents to remain indoors as much as possible because the island chain south of the Bahamas was still experiencing heavy rains and "extensive flooding in low-lying areas," especially on Middle Caicos and North Caicos islands.
"The inclement weather is expected to linger for another 48 hours and the flooding is expected to worsen as a result," Ewing said in a Sunday statement.
Cristobal, which formed as a tropical depression over the Turks and Caicos Islands on Saturday, is the fourth depression of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Late Sunday evening, the storm had sustained winds near 45 mph (75 kph) and was located about 105 miles (165 kilometers) east-northeast of San Salvador, Bahamas. The rain-heavy storm was tracking north at about 5 mph (7 kph). U.S. forecasters said there should be a decrease in forward speed over the next couple of days, meaning Cristobal's center is expected to move near to or east of the central Bahamas through Monday.
U.S. forecasters say Cristobal could bring up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain to the Turks & Caicos Islands and southeastern and central Bahamas through Tuesday.
Before strengthening into a storm, it had downed several trees and power lines on Puerto Rico, leaving more than 23,500 people without power and 8,720 without water. There were a handful of reported landslides.
Police said in a statement that a small bridge collapsed Saturday in the central Puerto Rican town of Barranquitas, isolating some 25 families in the area. No one was injured.
___ AP writer David McFadden reported from Kingston, Jamaica, and Evens Sanon contributed from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

samedi 23 août 2014

Jamaica, Haiti into semis

By Ian Prescott ian.prescott@trinidadexpress.com
Story Updated: Aug 22, 2014 at 8:21 PM ECT
Haiti booked a spot at the 2014 Concacaf Women’s Championship from October 16-25 in the US, joining Jamaica as the two Group B qualifiers from the 2014 Women’s Caribbean Cup, currently taking place in Trinidad and Tobago.
Haiti won 4-0 over Puerto Rico on Thursday night at Ato Boldon Stadium (ABS), Couva, following up a convincing 5-1 victory over Bermuda two nights earlier at the same venue. Likewise, Jamaica won twice, beating Puerto Rico (4-1) and Bermuda (9-1).
Both Haiti and Jamaica have six points and will fight for the group’s top honours this evening from 6.15 p.m., at the ABS. The winner will move on to Tuesday’s Caribbean Cup final against the winners of Group A, which contains host Trinidad and Tobago. The losers will play for third spot in the tournament. Before tonight’s main clash, winless Bermuda and Puerto Rico will meet at 4 p.m.
Puerto Rico began intent on keeping World Cup hopes alive on Thursday night, and played much better than the final score might suggest. Haiti found trouble getting the two forwards to score in their opening win over Bermuda.
So, Haiti’s Polish head-coach Shek Borkowski made an adjustment. He dropped wasteful striker Marie Jean Pierre to the bench and pushed goal-scoring midfielder Lindsay Zullo up front. Still, two defenders were responsible for Hait’s first two goals.
Haiti had an early chance when the penetrative left-midfielder Manoucheka Pierre-Louis hit a “grounder” an inch wide. But it took one of several forceful overlapping runs by the speedy right-back to make the breakthrough in the ninth minute. Yvrose Geril came forward with a deep, penetrative run and just when she looked about to find a pass, shot the ball into the roof of the net at the near post.
Desperate, the Puerto Ricans were tougher for long periods of the first half and looked the better team. Their best player, midfielder Laura Suarez forced a good save from the Haitian keeper Geralda Saintilus-- one of several good Puerto Rico forward attacks. But, when Haitian captain and central defender Kencia Marseille poked a free-kick in from close up on the stroke of halftime, a 2-0 lead seemed to much to overcome.
The Haitians were more athletic, ran all match, and were willing to put in a tackle in every part of the field. California-born striker Samantha Brand then extended their lead with a shot into the roof in the 75th, following another forward run by the right-back. And striker Jean Pierre came off the bench and finished powerfully for a fourth goal in the 80th minute.
(August 21)
Jamaica:, 9 (Shakira Duncan Goal 32rd, 45th, 47th & 76th) Donnakay Henry 5th & 90+2, Alicia Wilson 28th, Denecia Reid 78th, own goal) Bermuda 1 (Shantae Todd 70th)
Haiti 4 (Yvrose Gervil Goal 9th, Kencia Marseille 45th+, Samantha Brand 75th, Marie Jean Pierre 80th) vs Puerto Rico 0
(August 19):
Jamaica : 4 (Donnakay Henry 3rd pen., Shakira Duncan 34th & 51st, Nicole Campbell-Green 47th)
Puerto Rico: 1 (Laura Suarez 25)
Haiti: 5 (Marie Jean-Pierre 8th, Lindsay Zullo Goal 38th, Manoucheka Pierre-Louis 40th, Wisline Dolce Goal 86th, Jenerve Charles Goal 89th)
Bermuda: 1 (Shantae Todd 88th)

Visit to Haitian orphanage provides enduring inspiration

HOMASSIN, Haiti — About an hour’s drive from the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince is an oasis for children that is saving and changing lives. It is God’s Littlest Angels (GLA) orphanage.
Its origins actually go back to 1994, when U.S. missionaries John and Dixie Bickel, while in Haiti, were led to care for one very small, premature baby. That tiny baby girl was expected to die due to a lack of medical facilities in the area. But the Bickels rigged up a makeshift incubator and cared for the child, who was returned to good health and eventually went home.
The attention that the local community gave this event was so great that other mothers (and fathers) began bringing their sick and premature babies to the Bickels, asking for help. That was just the beginning.
Three years later, the Bickels ventured into international adoption and have been placing Haitian infants and toddlers with forever families in places such as the Twin Cities in Minnesota and Paris.
GLA is a Christian organization that partners with churches as well as faithful individuals for financial support and hands-on ministry.
I spent a week at GLA in late July during my own personal mission trip to Haiti. Many who take mission trips help build schools, or dig wells; I, on the other hand, have not been gifted with construction skills. Giving me a hammer or power tool could lead to someone getting hurt. Usually, that someone is me.
God has, however, blessed me with a sense of vision and the ability to take pictures that are, for the most part, in focus. So I offered the donation of my photography skills to help the orphanage in its fundraising and promotions. GLA accepted.
While I was at the orphanage, Judy Jacobson, her teenage daughter, Kenna, and Jacobson’s sister, Cheryl VanBeek, who had traveled from Alberta, Canada, were volunteering. The trio spent time with babies and toddlers, giving them one-on-one attention.
And a team of 13 came from the Highland Church of Christ in Robinson, Ill. The team spent a good amount of time doing painting and construction projects on a new facility that the orphanage will begin moving to in December.
Through the lens of my camera, I could see both groups sharing the love of Christ as they offered themselves as living sacrifices for these Haitian children through GLA. It was an inspiring week for me as I witnessed this. I don’t think I could help but be changed by what the staff and volunteers were doing for “the least of these.”
It was my third trip to Haiti, which by no means makes me an expert on the island nation or its problems. But each time I go, I seem to learn a little more and become a bit more attached to the people and the place.
On my first trip, I couldn’t wait to get home. This time, as I was leaving, I was already working on plans for a way to return.
God is at work and doing some amazing things in this impoverished country, and I can’t think of a better way to spend my time than by being a small part of that. For more on God’s Littlest Angels, go to glahaiti.org or call the group’s Colorado Springs office, 719-638-4348.
Chieftain photographer Bryan Kelsen can be reached at bryankelsen.com.

Northborough and Southborough relatives host Haitian youth

Northborough/Southborough – Five relatives from Northborough and Southborough are following up on their week of volunteer work at an orphanage in Haiti in March 2013. They’re hosting two Haitian teens, Patrick Carrier and Rose Kermine Chery, who are attending the International Summer Program at Worcester Academy to focus on English as a second language (ELS).
One of the family members is Northborough resident Marillyn Earley, the director of advancement at Worcester Academy.
“These kids are having an opportunity to see what our lives are like here, just as we had an opportunity to see theirs in Haiti,” she said.
Marillyn went to Haiti with her daughter Lauren, now an eighth-grader at Melican Middle School; her niece Erika, now a senior at Smith College who speaks fluent French; her sister-in-law Jill Smith Earley of Southborough and her daughter Lilly, now an eighth-grader at Dana Hall School in Wellesley.
Their inspiration to volunteer began a few years ago at St. Bernadette Church when Lauren heard a visiting deacon speak about a Haitian orphanage. The following year while a fifth-grader at Proctor Elementary School, Lauren spearheaded a month-long fundraiser with classmates Katelyn Reynolds, Katherine Lee and Tyler Potter. Katelyn’s mother is a nurse and regularly visits Haiti.
Marillyn credits Principal Margaret Donohoe for allowing the students to fully organize the fundraiser.
“She gave them the freedom to really own it,” Marillyn noted. “They went to each classroom to explain everything; they made the flyers; they had the meetings and they counted all the money.”
The students raised and donated $2,059.50 to two organizations that assist those in need in Haiti: Free the Kids and Partners in Development.
It was at a family party when they shared their interests in volunteering at the Haitian orphanage that benefitted from the students’ fundraiser. Marillyn and Jill spread the word via social media for donations to bring with them.
“We raised $5,000 from many generous Northborough and Southborough families,” Marillyn said. “We also brought backpacks, underwear and clothes – all new stuff that people donated.”
They also brought a plan to keep the children at the orphanage entertained during their school break.
“They don’t have scheduled programs on their break,” Marillyn explained. “We had a spa day where we braided the girls’ hair, and did nail polish and make-up. We also did beading, and other arts and crafts projects.”
The family also visited the children’s ward of a Mother Teresa hospital.
“Our girls just walked in and picked up the very sick babies,” Marillyn relayed. “Some of the children had skin diseases. Most of them would have starved to death if they weren’t there.”
After returning home, the family attempted to bring Haitian youth to the United States to attend the ESL program in Worcester. Last summer, they were unable to acquire a visa for them.
This year, Marillyn asked for help from the office of U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-2nd District. She expressed the family’s gratitude for the efforts of Kathleen Polanowicz, district director, and Gladys Rodriguez-Parker, senior district representative.
“They were unbelievably willing and helpful,” she said. “They wrote letters of support to the American Embassy in Haiti and they made phone calls. The second time we tried acquiring a visa we had no trouble at all.”
The family has seen a lot through their volunteer experience.
“You see the huge disadvantages that people who live in poverty have,” Marillyn said. “You also see there’s a simplicity and a lovingness in their lifestyle that often gets lost in our frenzied life. There’s a joy and a warmth in Haitian people that I hope these kids don’t lose.”

vendredi 22 août 2014

Escaped Prisoners Feared To Be Among Detained Haitian Refugees

ROYAL Bahamas Defence Force officials have picked up more than 200 illegal Haitian migrants in two separate incidents that took place between Tuesday and Wednesday.
After the arrests, officials expressed concern that some of the immigrants might have been a part of the group of criminals who took part in a prison break in Haiti earlier this month.
According to officials, at 7:46 pm Tuesday, while on routine patrol, HMBS Arthur Dion Hanna apprehended 124 Haitians aboard a white 55-foot sailing sloop 26 miles west of Flamingo Cay, near Ragged Island.
The 100 men, 16 women, and eight children were taken into custody and subsequently taken to the Coral Harbour base where they were handed over to Immigration officials for further processing.
A little over 12 hours later, at 8am Wednesday morning, defence force marines stationed at the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park apprehended 100 Haitian nationals aboard a sailing sloop 10 miles southwest of Warderick Wells Cay. Officials believe even more immigrants were still in the area.
When The Tribune arrived at the Coral Harbour base yesterday afternoon, 80 of those migrants were on base before being turned over to Immigration officials for processing. At the same time, defence force officials had been sent to retrieve the remaining migrants.
While being handed over to immigration officials, one of the Haitian nationals, a lady, apparently fainted and had to be carried onto the bus by immigration officers. Her present condition is not known.
Up to press time, no final count of the immigrants picked up in the second exercise had been given.
While speaking with reporters, Senior Lieutenant Ricardo Barry said the Defence Force had “no confirmation” that some of the migrants might have been some of more than 300 prisoners who recently escaped from a prison just outside the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
It is a big concern for us, and it’s something that we’re mindful of,” he said.
At this particular time the Royal Bahamas Defence Force is working in concert with Immigration and our medical team to ensure that persons coming into Coral Harbour are secure.”
The Tribune received reports that some of the migrants might have been “hostile”, however the officer said he had “nothing on record” about any resistance or hostility from the migrants. RBDF Commodore Roderick Bowe, in a press statement, issued his thanks to the Cuban Border Guard, the United States Coast Guard, the warden at the Exuma Land and Sea Park and the mail boat community “for their assistance” in the two apprehensions.

Haiti judge orders arrest of former president Aristide

Thursday, August 21, 2014 | 11:15 AM
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) – A judge who has issued an arrest warrant for former president Jean Bertrand Aristide says he expects the police to bring the former head of state before him by force if necessary.
Lawyers representing Aristide have filed a motion seeking to have investigating judge Lamarre Bélizaire removed on the grounds of bias.
But the judge told the Port au Prince based news website, Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN) that he had not revoked the warrant in light of the motion filed the former president.
"I issued an arrest warrant for Mr Aristide and I don't know what takes the police so long to bring him before me, because they know where he is," Belizaire said, adding “I heard rumours that I had waived the arrest warrant.
“I want to say that it is absolutely false. The warrant still holds and I am still the judge in charge of the inquiry and nothing has changed in that regard," he said, that he would continue his work in conformity with existing laws, without any form of abuse.
"I don't have any particular problem with anybody. I am a judge and I am only doing what the law requires me to do and that is all I can say for now," Belizaire added.
Aristide and several of his former colleagues have been accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from the State through his organisation, Aristide for Democracy Foundation and other organisations during the period 2001-04.
Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest, and his colleagues including Mirlande Liberus, Yvon Neptune, Jean Nesty Lucien and Gustave Faubert, have also been banned from leaving the country.
The Dean of Port Au Prince first instance court, Raymond Jean-Michel, confirmed Tuesday that he had received a copy of a motion seeking recusal and disqualification of Justice Bélizaire on the grounds of bias.
Aristide's lawyers said their client did not receive the summons which was sent to his residence, but the judge believed he deliberately chose not to appear. Aristide's lawyers argue that the judge is now obligated to stop all proceedings in the case regarding serious acts of corruption blamed on the former leader, but legal observers say the arrest warrant against Aristide is still valid and that the judge may proceed with the criminal inquiry while relevant judicial authorities examine the request for recusal.
Supporters of the former president have been gathering near his home in the Tabarre district, in a show of support for the former leader, who spent seven years in exile in South Africa before returning to the country in 2011.
Last week, a spokesman for Aristide's Lavalas Family party, Ansyto Felix, said efforts to prosecute the former leader were part of a plan by the Michel Martelly administration to persecute political opponents, on the eve of crucial elections and in the face of popular discontent, "The government of President Martelly and Prime Minister (Laurent) Lamothe is doing nothing to solve the problems and meet the needs of the population," he said.


By Samica Knight
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Summer break is winding down, and while some kids spent the last few months shopping and sleeping late, one group recently returned from a trip they will never forget.
The local teens traveled to Haiti on a mission to help change the lives of a group of orphans. The impoverished country is still working to rebuild after the deadly earthquake four years ago. While on their trip, there were constant reminders that these kids were far from home.
Riding in the back of a loud diesel work truck was far from the air-conditioned, seat-belted vehicles they're used to. Sweating and sitting on wobbling chairs, volunteers from the Houston non-profit Help For Haiti, Inc. were now in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Their reasons for coming on the trip were all very different.
"My dad sent me here because he said I'm ungrateful," said 18-year-old volunteer Bria Adams.
She, like many others, had never traveled this far outside of their comfort zone and were unprepared for what they would face when they got to the third-world country.
"I didn't think it would be this bad. I didn't think it would be this hot," said teen volunteer Billis Gordan. "It smells like the outdoors, and I kind of smell a lot of dog poop and stuff. It feels muggy."
Not having electricity or technology was definitely not something they were used to.
"This is the first time I've been away from my phone," said teen volunteer Zarissa LeBlanc.
Perhaps one of the most difficult things for the teens was living without central A.C.
"My night was horrible because I didn't bring a fan. I couldn't feel air, I thought I was dying," said 18-year-old Bria Adams about battling her mosquito net at night. "I think I started crying. I was aggravated not getting any sleep."
Their mission was to set up a summer camp for about 70 children who call Haiti's Canaan Orphanage home.
"All of the kids have been rejected, some of them since birth. So they don't know the true meaning of love. They don't know what true love is," said Sister Gladys Mecklembourg with the Canaan Christian Community.
It didn't take long for the volunteers to bond with children on the playground and in the classroom.
"We're at an orphanage and the kids just want to be hugged, they want to be touched," said president of Help For Haiti, Inc. Johnny Jones. "They want to smile at you, and how can you not react to that?"
It was a tough adjustment for these Houston teens, but their mission to help change the orphanage ended up changing them.
"The thought of not having your parents, you know, and they can still smile and live another day, and I don't know how I would get through it," said an emotional LeBlanc.
"It makes you realize how much you should appreciate your parents," Adams said. "I would talk to my parents more. I don't really talk to them now that I'm older."
Just when they thought their goal was to bring happiness to a group of orphans, they left with a renewed happiness themselves.
"Just seeing what they go through and how they're still happy. Their happiness makes me happy," said Gordan in tears.
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Titans Cheerleader Finds Mission Trip to Haiti Rewarding

Titans cheerleader Ashley found her recent mission trip to Haiti rewarding after working to help underprivileged children.
By Danielle Bertiger
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Recently, our very own Ashley A. traveled to Haiti with the organization i’mME, whose mission is to empower orphans to find their true identity with the cultivation of families, orphan care, and stewardship.
More than 78 percent of Haitians live on less than $2 per day and 60 percent of Haitian children under 14 are orphans. The work that this organization does is incredible, as seen through our interview with Ashley about her journey.
What sparked your interest to go? I traveled to Kenya in 2007, which was my first encounter with third world poverty, and ever since that humbling and inspiring experience I have felt called to serve children in impoverished nations. I went to Kenya as a young woman forming her identity, and I returned to America forever changed.
After living in Africa’s largest slum for a month, my eyes were opened to true darkness and devastation, yet amidst this chaos and despair, I saw such joy, sincere faith and selflessness in the people I met. They were barely surviving and hardly owned a single material possession, yet were full of The Lord’s Spirit. Since then, I have felt an urgency to be among that kind of community once more, but for seven years I patiently waited upon the Lord to open that door again.
I was introduced to i’mME through Preserve the Light, a Christian organization for professional cheerleaders, because they had established a friendship with David Nelson, former wide receiver for the NY Jets. PTL offered an invitation to apply for a trip to Haiti as guests and volunteers of i’mME. I was overjoyed at the mere mention of this opportunity and quickly sent in my application!
What is your most treasured memory of the trip? My team and I arrived only a few days after the i’mME house had welcomed seven new children from a nearby orphanage that did not have the financial means to care for all the children. David, Patrick, and Lauren from i’mME, brought those who were the most severely malnourished into our home to provide emergency care. These children ranged from eight months to five years old and were on the verge of death due to illness and starvation. Since we lived with them, we nurtured and cared for them day and night as if they were our own.
One specific moment that will forever be in my heart was when we brought an orphan named Prosper to the i'mME house from the orphanage. I was overcome and in awe of God’s grace and abundant love. That entire ride home tears of joy relentlessly streamed down my face as I watched Prosper in the front seat filled with excitement and assurance knowing that he would now live; for the first time he felt safe and loved. The parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 became so real to me as I witnessed this child be found and brought home just as the son was found and welcomed home by his father with rejoicing and feasting.
It was such an honor to be a part of this beautiful moment as Christ gave new life to this child of His. I will forever hold in my heart the memories of seeing the children eat pizza for the first time, sing "Jesus loves me" before meals, dance to Michael Jackson in the evenings, hold their arms up to be held, or giggle when putting on some cool sunglasses and a new outfit. Although we cared for them tremendously, it was apparent they equally cared for us. I am forever grateful for the second family I gained that day.
Are you planning any future trips such as this? I now sponsor Robensley, a child who I fell in love with from the i’mME house in Haiti, so while I continue to support his growth, happiness, and health from Tennessee, I also hope to visit again within the year to hold him again. I am invested in those friendships and wish to remain involved with their mission. It is such a blessing to be a part of this family. I can testify that their presence in Haiti is creating significant transformation.
What is your advice for those wanting to go on mission trips?
Christ calls us to, “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to all of creation,” (Mark 16:15). He doesn’t say you have to go to Kenya or Haiti, only that you must “go.” There is poverty near and far; people who are poor in spirit and/or poor financially exist in every place.
This is my advice.
(1) Pray and seek wisdom for the Lord to direct your steps.
(2) Research organizations or church groups before committing to join their team, so that you know if your vision aligns with theirs. Different groups have different approaches and you want to feel safe and at peace being in such an unfamiliar place.
(3) Prepare yourself to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I was covered in sweat, dirt, and tears the entire time. Vaccinate yourselves before going, pack appropriately in regards to clothing, medicines, and bug spray, familiarize yourselves with the customs and culture of your destination, and submit to your vulnerability. There’s beauty in giving it all up for His glory and immersing yourself to identify with those you are seeking out.
(4) Trust Him. He is all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful. The Lord will guard and protect you on your travels.

Caribbean Export assists Haiti

THU, AUGUST 21, 2014 - 6:00 PM
THE CARIBBEAN EXPORT Development Agency (Caribbean Export) recently held a series of high level meetings in Haiti aimed at strengthening relations with the country and setting the agenda for the agency’s commitment to supporting Haiti’s buoyant private sector.
In a meeting with Haiti’s Minister of Trade and Industry Wilson Laleau, Caribbean Export’s executive director, Pamela Coke-Hamilton said “Haiti has a role to play in integrating the Caribbean in to the world economy and there is a need to drive production and the export capacity”.
The delegation of Caribbean Export also met with National Authorising Officer of the European Development Fund Jean-Edner Nelson who expressed his gratitude for Caribbean Export efforts to drive the amalgamation of Haitian people into the Caribbean.
The meetings in Haiti were part of a road show the agency is undertaking to raise awareness regarding the grants that have been awarding to firms across the region under the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme.
In Haiti, eleven firms have been awarded grants with a total value of some US$324 000 over the 9th and 10th EDF with five of those being awarded in the most recent call for proposals. The companies were Caribbean Craft; Délicious Fruits, SA; Gade, SA; Kenscoff Manufacturing, SA and Produits des Iles (PISA), SA. These firms represent the agro-processing, manufacturing and creative industries.
Caribbean Export said with an overall increase of 200 per cent of grant funding awarded to Haitian firms between the 9th and 10th EDF, the results are encouraging. However, given the location and size of Haiti, it noted that the opportunity for growth is immense and the country has the potential - and is poised to become - the exporting centre of the region.
The agency will be hosting their annual Caribbean Exporters Colloquium during Caribbean Export Week and it is hoped that there will be significant involvement from Haiti in the activities.
Caribbean Export opened an office in Haiti in 2012 to facilitate the bi-national programme between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Now with a full complement of staff, it is anticipated that the team will not only develop stronger trade relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic but also with the rest of CARICOM. (PR/NB)

Art mission helps Haitians heal through creative arts

By Dianne Tennyson
Aug 22 2014 12:01 am
I had the privilege of participating in Project Haiti in May with the nonprofit ArtReach Foundation. As a registered art therapist, I helped facilitate a two-week program at the Ecole Mixtre des Sibert in Port-au-Prince to train teachers, their students and community leaders.
The ArtReach mission is to heal and aid the development of children who have experienced war, violence, or natural disaster through the expressive arts of music, drama and dance.
ArtReach is an established leader in the therapeutic use of creative arts, having now helped more than a million children with projects in Bosnia, Lebanon, Jordan and the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Art therapy is a creative, nonthreatening venue for children dealing with trauma. Children are not only less articulate verbally but are often afraid to express themselves, so the metaphors of art are a powerful, direct means to deal with the intense emotions of horror, loss, sadness, anger, and isolation. Increased self-awareness, decreased anxiety, energy and empowerment increase a child's self-worth and confidence and help reconcile emotional conflict. This improved well-being increases their chances for a successful, fulfilling life. Any age can benefit from art therapy.
I have been to Bosnia twice with ArtReach. Most everyone I worked with there saw a family member murdered or raped during the war. They experienced the unthinkable. And while these trips were intensely memorable, my recent trip to Haiti has affected my life much more deeply. My Haitian "students" made me consider what is important in life. Having nothing, they know how to have fun with nothing! I haven't turned on the TV since I've been home.
I was shocked at the living conditions I saw while riding to the school from the Port-au-Prince airport, and again at the contrast provided at the Sibert School where Shadrick St. Louis was headmaster. It is a safe haven of hibiscus blooms, fruit trees and vegetables, a luscious oasis of hope in this, the ruins of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere,
As a witness to the life-changing effects of art therapy for many years as a therapist, I was still amazed at the response of one adult participant who presented us with a model house he created out of salvaged cardboard, construction paper and glue after attending five days of our workshop.
He cut intricate windows, doors and rooms for his house and had written Imagination Healing Center over the front door with the ArtReach logo above. This was his dream for Haiti; a place where Haitians could heal through the power of their imagination. He was so inspired by our workshop, he had traveled 18 miles by three different "tap-tap" rides (motorcycles) to deliver his gift.
Our team wept, knowing how many days it took him to create this amazing evidence his life had been changed so profoundly. His dream now was not simply of food, water, or jobs, but for sharing with his struggling country the healing he had experienced through the arts.
Two of our adult participants had never drawn before, since Haitian's educate using only rote memorization. It was incredible to see the joy of these two discovering a creative way to express themselves, teach and heal.
Another participant was so inspired he arrived at 7 a.m. to stay with us more than 12 hours to share a poster showing Haiti after the earthquake, Haiti now with new hope, and a future Haiti with water, food, vegetation and happiness. He could barely contain his excitement at what he had learned! A withdrawn 4-year-old boy did not want to participate the first day. But by the third day, he had been transformed into an outgoing, vivacious child we all wanted to bring home.
Our group participants also created mandalas, experiencing the power of sacred circles and universal symbols used in the world's religions and cultures for refuge and healing through what Carl Jung called the language of our unconscious self. They also created and walked a large labyrinth designed for psychological centering and meditation.
Haitians desperately want the education ArtReach offers, tools with which to cope and rebuild a new and better life. Help us continue our mission by donating generously, or for more information, go to www.artreachfoundation.org. The public can help by sponsoring a child at the Sibert School for $1 a day through www.heartinhaiti.com. And for more information about the Vincent's private art therapy practice, or Dianne's art school, visit www.artconnects.us or contact Dianne Tennyson Vincent, MAT, ATR at 843-870-7236.
Dianne Tennyson of Mount Pleasant has degrees in nursing and art, and a master's degree in art education. She has served as an art therapist for "Expressions of Healing," a cancer support group with Roper Hospital. She has her own art school, Art Connects.

Massive Haitian Refugee Rescues off Bahamas

By George Backwell
Friday, August 22, 2014, 12:29 AM
Coast Guard crews and Royal Bahamian Defence Force (RBDF) rescued more than 400 Haitians illegally migrating in three separate at sea interdictions in the span of 11 days, informs the US Coast Guard.
Monday, an aircrew aboard a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater located a 40-foot sail freighter riding low west of Ragged Island, Bahamas. Her Majesty’s Bahamian ShipArthur Dion Hanna arrived on scene the following day and safely disembarked 124 Haitian migrants and transported them to Coral Harbour Base for further processing. The vessel was grossly overloaded with 100 males, 16 females and eight children.
Thursday, the RBDF interdicted approximately 180 Haitian migrants aboard another dangerously overloaded sail freighter illegally migrating northwest of Great Exuma Island, Bahamas. There was no Coast Guard involvement in this case.
Earlier, crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark interdicted and safely disembarked 101 Haitian migrants aboard an overloaded sail freighter before turning them over to the RBDF.
“I want to express my thanks and appreciation for the assistance received from the United States Coast Guard in providing critical information which culminated in the apprehension of the migrant vessel,” said Commodore Roderick Bowe, commander of the Royal Bahamian Defence Force.
Cronin added, “We will continue to diligently patrol the waters with our interagency partners to rescue and repatriate undocumented migrants who take to the sea. There is a controlled, safe, and legal means to enter the United States and we urge people to follow that process.”
In fiscal year 2014, the Coast Guard 7th District estimates that 4,921 Haitians, 3,216 Cubans and 539 Dominicans have attempted to illegally migrate via the sea. These numbers represent the total amount of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.

A Haitian immigrant student who holds Temporary Protected Status doesn't qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Immigration officials consider individuals with TPS to be in the U.S. lawfully, and thus not eligible for DACA, the program President Obama created for undocumented youth
Friday, August 22, 2014, 2:00 AM
Q: I AM here with Temporary Protected Status. Should I apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals? I am a political science student at Hunter College, CUNY. In 2010 when a terrible earthquake hit in my birth country of Haiti, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services granted me TPS.
Name Withheld, New York
Because you already have legal status, you don’t qualify for DACA, the program President Obama created for undocumented youth. USCIS considers individuals with TPS to be here lawfully and thus not eligible for DACA. In some ways, TPS is a better status than DACA. TPS holders have an easier time getting travel permission. In any event, neither status provides a direct path to permanent residence.

jeudi 21 août 2014

Haïti débute son tournoi avec une grande Victoire sur Les Bermudes

Lors du match ouverture du groupe A de la coupe féminine de la Caraïbes regroupant huit nations de la zone, les grenadières ont infligé une cinglante 5-0 à la sélection des Bermudes.
Les haïtiennes sont engagées avec sept autres sélections dans un tournoi préliminaire qualificatif pour la coupe du monde Fifa 2014.
Haïti et la Jamaïque faisant office de favorites partagent le groupe A avec Porto-Rico et Les Bermude.
Le groupe B est composé de Trinidad and Tobago pays organisateur, St Kitts-Nevis, Antigua-Barbuda and Martinique.
Les quatre demi-finalistes, donc les deux premiers de chaque groupe rejoindront les sélections des US, du Mexico, du Costa Rica et Guatemala pour un tournoi final de la CONCACAF en octobre prochain. Les trois premières seront directement qualifiées tandis que le quatrième aura accès à un match de barrage. Le Canda comme pays organisateur a déjà sa qualification en poche.
Haïti menée par l’entraineur expérimenté polonais Shek Borkowski, avec un palmarès intéressant forgé avec des clubs de femmes en Amérique et en Russie.
La sélections haïtienne s’appuient sur une continuité et sur l’expérience de six joueurs qui portaient les couleurs nationales déjà il y a quatre ans mais qui avaient été battues 5-0 par la sélection américaine lors des éliminatoires de la coupe du monde antérieure, une des meilleures du monde.
Parmi les points forts de la sélection Haïtienne les experts comptent un stopper d’une qualité exceptionnelle dans la personne du Capitaine Kencia Marseille, un solide et virevoltant milieu défensive Shanna Hudson, un ailier gauche explosif, Manoucheka Pierre-Louis.
On déplore l’absence d’une vraie tueuse en attaque.
Alors que la Jamaïque battait Porto-Rico 4-0, Haïti a dominé complètement une faible équipe des Bermudes. Déjà à la fin de la première mi-temps Haïti menait par trois buts à zéro se rendant le match plus facile grâce à des buts de Marie Jean Pierre, Linsay Zullo et Manoucheka Pierre –Louis, Malgré une meilleure prestation des Bermudes en deuxième mi-temps, les haïtiennes aggraveront le avec des annotation de Wisline Dolcé et Jenerve Charles. Le prochain match de la sélection haïtienne l'opposera à celle de Porto-Rico .

Opening wins for Haiti

By Ian Prescott ian.prescott@trinidadexpress.com
Haiti similarly dominated Bermuda. Haiti has a Polish head-coach Shek Borkowski, who has won with women’s club teams in America and Russia. Fielding an experienced team containing six members of the national team which four years ago lost 5-0 to the US in World Cup qualifying, Haiti also possessed an exceptional stopper in captain Kencia Marcseille, a solid bruising defensive midfielder Shanna Hudson, a penetrative left-winger Manoucheka Pierre-Louis, but non-lethal strikers.
Haiti led 3-0 at the half. First, perennial off-side striker Marie Jean Pierre put in a rebound from close up for the opening goal in the eighth minute, before midfielder Linsay Zullo’s forceful solo run ended with a low shot down the centre of goal in the 37th minute. Left wide midfielder Pierre-Louis gratefully accepted a gift three minute later when an errent clearance picked her out at the back post, where she scored.
Bermuda were marginally better in the second half, where all three goals came in the dying minutes. A fierce 30-yard shot from central midfielder Wisline Dolce made it 4-0 for Haiti in the 86th minute, before Shaunte Todd emphatically replied for Bermuda with a similar long-range shot just a minute later.
Substitute striker Jenerve Charles then made it 5-1 by shooting past advancing Bermudan keeper Jaeda Smith, after running onto a through ball. Later, Bermuda’s Todd almost repeated her long goal from a free-kick, while Haiti’s Jean Pierre, twice, also missed a near open goal, before she was taken off.
The Women’s Caribbean Cup is being contested by Jamaica, Haiti, Puerto Rico and Bermuda in Group A, while Group B contain host Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts-Nevis, Antigua-Barbuda and Martinique.
The four semi-finalists from the eight-team tournament join the US, Mexico, Costa Rica (Central America Group 2 winners) and Guatemala (Central America Group I winners) for the CONCACAF Championship in October, when the top three teams qualify automatically, and the fourth team win a play-off spot to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Another CONCACAF team Canada also qualifies as World Cup host.

Haitian Nationals Busted With False Belizean Visas At P.G.I.A.

Aug 20, 2014
Two Haitian nationals carrying passports with fake Belizean visas were busted by Immigration authorities at the Phillip Goldson Airport on Tuesday. The men, thirty-two-year-old Donald Gedeon and thirty-six-year-old Choubert Senat, arrived in Belize on the Avianca flight from El Salvador with Haitian passports.
They attracted attention because they seemed to be lingering at the back of the line.
The officer on duty requested their passports and embarkation forms, which were incomplete. The address on the said forms was Belmopan, with no address or house number.
The visas in the passports were immediately recognized as counterfeit, since they lacked security features and were noticeably different.
The men would tell authorities only that they paid five hundred US for the visas.
Both Haitian nationals appeared in court this afternoon and were charged with attempting to use a permit/visa which was not issued to be used by lawful authority.
They pleaded guilty and were fined two thousand dollars, in default one year in prison. Upon payment of the fine, both men would have been placed on a flight back home.
But by four thirty this afternoon neither Senat nor Gedeon were able to meet the fines.
Both were escorted to the Belize Central Prison.

RBDF apprehends 124 illegal Haitian migrants in Southern Bahamas

By Royal Bahamas Defence Force
Aug 20, 2014 - 6:34:37 PM Coral Harbour Base, 20 August, 2014 (RBDF) - The Royal Bahamas Defence Force apprehended one hundred and twenty-four (124) Haitian Migrants at 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, 19th August, 2014, while on routine patrol in the Southern Bahamas.
The white fifty-five (55) feet sailing sloop was intercepted at approximately twenty-nine nautical miles (29nm) off Flamingo Cay Light in the Northern Ragged Island Chain by Defence Force Patrol Craft HMBS Arthur Dion Hanna under the Command of Lieutenant Commander Christoper Darville. A search of the vessel resulted in the apprehension of undocumented Haitian Nationals consisting of one hundred(100) males, sixteen(16) females, and eight (8) children.
The Migrants were subsequently taken into custody and are currently being transported to Coral Harbour Base where they will be handed over to Immigration Authority for further processing.
The Commander Defence Force, Commodore Roderick Bowe, expresses his thanks and appreciation for the assistance received from the Cuban Border Guard and The United States Coast Guard in providing critical information which culminated in the apprehension of the migrant vessel.

« RestringHaiti” Provides Repaired instruments to Haitian music Students

by Phil Bolton | August 20, 2014
On Jan. 12, 2010, Lizzy Sandlin was a 12-year-old eighth grader at the Atlanta International School busily studying the courses required on the international baccalaureate diploma track and practicing the viola, her instrument of choice.
Before starting at the international school the year before, she had spent eight years inGermany with her parents where her father had been rector of an Episcopal church in Frankfurtand an avid musician who plays the viola as well.
It was her father who first told her about Haitiand the Holy Trinity Music School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, she recalled in an interview with Global Atlanta.
“My Dad has always told me about this music school in Haiti, where the director of the school is a violist and Episcopal priest — just like him,” she said.
She recalled hearing about the Jan. 12 catastrophic earthquake and its aftershocks that killed hundreds of thousands of Haitians that fateful month.
But she didn’t comprehend the extent of the devastation until visiting Haiti two years later to teach viola lessons at the Holy Trinity Music School.
The school is affiliated with Haiti’s Episcopal Cathedral, which was destroyed, as were its outlying buildings for academic, trade and music classes. Additionally, its three grand pianos, 20 upright pianos and a music library were destroyed as well.
“Although I was there nearly two years after the earthquake few rebuilding efforts had been made,” she said. “I saw the circumstance many of the students themselves were living in, and how music was a way for them to escape.”
Their passion to play was obvious, she said. But the earthquake claimed many of the instruments, and many of the surviving instruments had missing parts.
“It was hard to see so many passionate young musicians, my age and younger, who loved playing, but had no instrument to play on,” she added.
“Some of the students I taught didn’t have their own instruments and would spend the first half of their lesson times looking for someone who didn’t need theirs right then.”
Even those who were able to find a violin or a viola to play, they couldn’t count on the instrument having all four strings.
“These were never things that I have had to even think about,” she said. “I knew that I had to help the students in whatever way I could, so I started collecting donations from various people around the country.”
Her first steps were to launch a blog and compile a list of musicians to whom she wrote asking for their help. The initial responses were positive.
For instance, the San Antonio Symphony sent bags of supplies including a variety of instruments parts. Heidi Castleman, a viola professor at the Julliard School at theLincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York and a family friend, sent some 200 worn strings.
Lizzy managed to collect five boxes of instruments, strings, bows, pegs, other parts and rosin, which she sent off to Port-au-Prince.
Meanwhile, the music education at the school continued in Haiti with lessons in all the orchestral instruments, piano and voice.
In view of her early success and the responsiveness of the Haitian students, she decided to form a nonprofit to further their support and learned to fill out the application for a 501(c) 3 status.
Hence RestringHaiti Inc. came to life. Before it was an official nonprofit, Lizzy managed to send three violins and a viola to the music school. Once the initiative became a legal entity, however, she stepped up the fundraisers, benefit concerts and instrument drives and it has been a conduit for many more including 15 violins from the Lovett School in Atlanta.
“I got those this spring,” she said, “and since most of them needed some work done before they could be played, I spent about a month working at Stephanie Voss’ violin shop here in Atlanta, fixing them up to be shipped down to Haiti.”
Her next step in regards to what inevitably is to be a “lifelong mission” for her, according toGinger Fay, her Upper School Counselor at the Atlanta International School, is to visit Haiti again so she can teach the students how to secure their own supplies and instruments and learn to repair them — just as she did.
Meanwhile, she has continued her own involvement with the Atlanta Young Singers, participating with this musical group, one of several with which she has been involved over the years, on a summer tour in Europe to compete in the World Choir Games, an international competition that was held in Riga, Latvia.
Currently she is starting her freshman year at Barnard College in New York. She said that she isn’t totally certain about what to study but has an interest in international politics, human rights and French, which she wants to learn “at least enough to be able to communicate better with people in Haiti.”

Haitian Migrants Turn Toward Brazil

At 7:30 on a recent morning, dozens of people were already outside the Brazilian embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a white stucco building in the suburb of Pétionville. Often there are hundreds, some with visa appointments, and many more waiting in hopes of one. Workers hurried up the slope to the upscale enclave from the dusty downtown below; Jalousie, a shantytown of pastel-painted cinderblock homes, hovered above. “Today makes one year and six months that I’ve been coming here every day,” said Saintadele Ladouceur, a thirty-nine-year-old mother of two. She is from Delmas, one of the Port-au-Prince districts hit hardest by the earthquake in 2010.
The 7.0-magnitude quake, which leveled much of Port-au-Prince and its surroundings, killed an estimated two hundred and thirty thousand people, and left more than a million and a half homeless. It was, as Paul Farmer has put it, an “acute-on-chronic” event: there were countless chronic problems in Haiti, but they became acute after the earthquake. The World Bank estimates that about eighty per cent of the population lives on less than two dollars a day. .
At just past eight o’clock, a call of “Silence. Silence. Silence!” rose from the crowd outside the embassy. The phone lines had opened, and anyone with a cell phone was trying to get a visa appointment. The embassy does not have an online system for the visa process because applicants have limited access to computers. Embassy officials also decided that it would be better to give everyone a chance each day than to set appointment times weeks or months in advance. There was a collective sigh of frustration: a busy tone. The officials told me that, on an average day, they miss more than twelve hundred calls. With a staff of six, they can take no more than forty appointments daily. .
Embassy personnel often advise the crowd to leave, and ask local authorities for police enforcement to keep order outside. But they undermined their own guidelines last year by briefly accepting applications from the people outside, whether or not they had appointments. They found that it didn’t help. “People who could not get an appointment would spend night and day outside the building and, during business hours, even block the access of those who had an appointment,” said the embassy vice-consul, Daniel Arneiro. Now, he said, “I suppose they think there’s always a chance.” The staff has the list of people with appointments for the day, and goes to the door to let them in, one by one. Getting the appointment, as Arneiro put it, “is like winning the lottery.” .
As far back as the seventies, Robert Maguire, a Haiti scholar at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, told me, Haitians described emigration as “cheche lavi,” or looking for life. For decades, most Haitian emigrants left for the United States, now home to more than half a million documented Haitian immigrants, who send more than a billion dollars in remittances to their home country each year. But, since the early eighties, the U.S. government has engaged in an increasingly restrictive policy of deterrence and expedited return. Brazil’s immigration policy is comparatively lax, its labor market famously strong, and, for the first time, Haitians are leaving, in significant numbers, for the south. More than twenty thousand Haitians have moved to Brazil since the earthquake. “It’s my dream because, if I went over there, I’d get a job, no problem,” André Desir, a young man from downtown Port-au-Prince, said. “Right now I don’t feel good. This is all I can think about.” .
The strict U.S. immigration policy is based on the premise that the majority of Haitians fleeing the country are running from poverty rather than political persecution. In the days after the earthquake, a U.S. Air Force cargo plane outfitted with radio transmitters flew over the country, broadcasting a recorded message from Haiti’s ambassador in Washington. “If you think you will reach the U.S. and all the doors will be wide open to you, that’s not at all the case,” it blasted in Creole. Still, the U.S. offered temporary protected status to undocumented Haitians who had arrived before the earthquake, and put a halt to deportations. The status was later extended to Haitians who had arrived in the year after the quake, but the annual cap on visas for Haitians hardly increased. Despite the efforts of advocates and policymakers, Haitians whose visa petitions have been granted still have to wait several years, because of the backlog created by entry limits. In January of 2011, deportations resumed. In recent months, in northwest Haiti, Coast Guard helicopters have been heard hovering overhead, and cutters have been seen from the shore. .
The Brazilian story is different. Though Brazil, historically, has been a nation of migrants, economic crises starting in the late seventies turned the country into a source of emigrants; the exodus reached its height with the economic depression that followed the fall of the military dictatorship, in 1985. Until recent years, immigration to Brazil “was not an issue, primarily because it was almost non-existent,” Paulo Abrão, the Brazilian National Secretary of Justice, told me. But, as Brazil’s economy has grown into the largest in South America, and the seventh-largest in the world, it has become a magnet for workers from poorer Latin American countries and beyond. Earlier this year, unemployment fell to a near-record low of 4.9 per cent, and over the past decade, some forty million Brazilians have joined the middle class. Meanwhile, the labor supply has fallen short of the country’s growth in labor-intensive sectors like construction. .
Since the ouster of Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide in 2004—it was the second time he was deposed—Brazil has led the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, and some twenty-two hundred Brazilian troops have been stationed there. After the earthquake, word spread in Haiti about opportunities in Brazil, particularly as part of the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup, and to the 2016 Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro. For Haitians, however, Brazilian visas haven’t been easy to come by. For tourist visas, applicants must prove that they have the resources to fund the trip; for work visas, a Brazilian employer must start the application. A new smuggling industry has emerged to help Haitians traverse what is known as “the jungle route.” Undocumented Haitians pay as much as four thousand dollars, which amounts to months of work for one family, to get to Brazil. The trip is perilous, and can take more than three months. Migrants typically take flights from the Dominican Republic to Panama to Ecuador or Peru, where they meet “coyotes,” who take them by land into the Amazon and across the border. .
Without visas, they present themselves as refugees, seeking asylum, but, because they aren’t fleeing persecution, they aren’t eligible for refugee status. Brazil, however, has not deported them, and, instead, has granted them visas. “They’re already there, half a world a way, and Brazil wouldn’t deny them,” said Arneiro. By the end of 2011, about sixteen hundred Haitians had been granted visas this way. But Brazil was slow to process their papers, and the situation was deteriorating. In January, 2012, there were about two thousand Haitians stuck in Brazil’s Amazonian outpost towns, waiting for documents that would allow them to leave for the cities and find work. .
That month, in Port-au-Prince, the Brazilian government started issuing Haitians what it called “humanitarian visas,” which are residential visas granted for humanitarian reasons, in hopes of limiting the number of migrants taking the jungle route. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff visited the city that February, and declared, “We are ready to receive Haitian citizens who choose to look for new opportunities in Brazil.” A hundred visas started to be issued monthly, but the number of migrants crossing the jungle border did not decline. In the first seven months of 2013, four thousand Haitians arrived in Brasiléia, a small border town in the state of Acre that has become a welcome mat for undocumented migrants. In a further effort last summer, Brazil announced that it would lift the quota on visas for Haitians. As of June, the Brazilian embassy in Haiti had granted more than ten thousand humanitarian visas, and it continues to issue as many as possible, given its operational capacity. .
The line was long and tense. A screaming match erupted about whether the people with visa appointments were lucky or had paid off someone inside. (The embassy has said that there are no bribes.) Six security guards stood on the steps of the embassy, ready to disrupt the fights that often break out at its doors. Water vendors passed through the crowd, and a steady stream of cars and motorbikes rolled by, some dropping people off outside the embassy. .
James Novembre, a thirty-eight-year-old father of two, stood outside a car in front of the embassy. He had tried to get a U.S. visa three times, but didn’t have any luck, so he looked to Brazil instead; his younger brother lives in Brasília. Among the lucky ones, he had already received the visa, and was stopping by the embassy to submit documents for his family’s visa process before his flight to São Paulo that evening. He used to own a small beverage-distribution company, but was robbed at gunpoint at the end of last year. Once he paid back his loans, he had nothing left. “I feel excited because I am going to get a job and help my family,” he said. “Because I cannot get work here.”
By mid-afternoon, rain clouds hovered over Port-au-Prince. People who had already been in the embassy, whose papers were ready, stepped past the double doors again to receive their visas. One by one, they emerged, smiling and carrying crisp manila envelopes. The rest of the crowd, those without appointments, who had returned day after day to try their luck, watched them. Pedro Lahens strode down the steps flashing a smile, clutching the envelope. Twenty-two years old, he had been trying to get the visa for a year, and plans to go to São Paulo once he saves enough money to buy a ticket. “I’ve been suffering a long time, since after the earthquake,” he said. A car passed by, swathed in Brazilian flags. “If I could, I would throw a party tonight.”

Throwback Thursday: Katherine Dunham's fast for Haiti

News-DemocratAugust 21, 2014
Katherine Dunham always used her body to express herself, so in February 1992 when she disagreed with U.S. policy towards Haiti she used it to protest.
At age 82 she starved herself. Dunham’s fast for Haiti is this week’s Throwback Thursday.
“There is no point in fasting unless it accomplishes something,” Dunham said on Feb. 12, 1992, at her home in East St. Louis. “I hope it won’t go on for three or six months, but I’m well prepared to fast.”
For 47 days the world-renowned dancer, choreographer, anthropologist and humanitarian consumed only water and cranberry juice to protest the ouster of Haiti’s first democratically-elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and U.S. President George H.W. Bush’s decision to detain or deport many of the 16,000 Haitian refugees who fled the coup on Sept. 30, 1991. The elderly woman fasted against her doctor’s advice and through a hospitalization that came a little more than two weeks into her protest.
Her ties to the Caribbean nation were strong, dating back to 1935 when she went there to study dance on a Roosevelt Fellowship. She owned an estate there in addition to making East St. Louis her home for more than 30 years.
“People have asked me why East St. Louis and people have asked me why Haiti. I’ve decided that most people think of these two places as the ends of the world and that there is no point of my being there. Well I think that’s just why I should be there. I’ve always been periodically militant, activist and strongly against social injustice,” Dunham said.
Aristide, Jesse Jackson and the woman who would unseat U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon, Carol Mosely Braun, all visited Dunham at her home on Day 46 to ask her to end her fast. She refused, saying her goals were not yet realized.
But Day 47 was the end. Aristide asked Dunham to accompany him back to Haiti, so she resumed eating to build strength for the trip.
Dunham in 1999 moved to New York City, which is where she died in her sleep on May 21, 2006, at age 96. She considered East St. Louis her adopted hometown and had plans to permanently return before her 97th birthday celebration.
Her 35-acre estate in Port-au-Prince is a botanical garden and her East St. Louis home is a museum, but both have been troubled as a result of the poverty surrounding them. Her costumes, artwork and much of what she collected as a choreographer and anthropologist is now housed at the Missouri History Museum.
Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2014/08/21/3319605/throwback-thursday-katherine-dunhams.html#storylink=cpy

With employees' help, Vivint sends thousands of meals to Haiti

Vivint, one of Provo's local companies and a home technology giant, is pushing community initiatives and getting them done. What many might not realize beyond the orange logo, home security and summer sales jobs, is that the company is involved in a significant amount of service and monetary donations in both local and global communities.
Take last week as a major example. More than 700 employees took time during two and half work days to assemble meals for orphaned children in Haiti. The international project wasn't random either -- it aligns with Vivint's goal for the next several years to reach out to special needs children both in Utah County and abroad -- as it takes on a humanitarian area it feels needs stronger support.
"For the next five years, we will be focusing on kids who have an intellectual disability," said Holly Mero-Bench, Director of Vivint Gives Back. "We're evolving as a company and foundation. We looked at different causes and thought 'Where can we put resources, time and effort?' The cause we arrived at was children with intellectual disabilities. All of the projects that we do this year and moving forward will be centered around intellectual disabilities."
In less than three days, Vivint employees and their families managed to assemble a staggering 217,000 meal kits which will provide 595 kids in Haiti with daily meals for a year. The orphanage in Haiti specifically takes in and cares for special needs children. Not only did employees take time from their days to volunteer, but they raised and donated the $47,000 themselves required to purchase the necessary food supplies.
Vivint partnered with the Feed My Starving Children, a non-profit organization that has provided more than 600 million packaged meals to malnourished children across the world, for a fourth consecutive year. Vivint worked with the organization to pick a situation that met the initiatives and goals set to aid children with intellectual disabilities.
"Because of our previous partnership, we talked about the best location with kids that have those special needs," Mero-Bench said. "The center in Haiti takes in those kids."
Out of more than 70 countries in the world the non-profit aids, the needs in Haiti top the board. To date, FMSC has shipped more than 244,000,000 meals to Haiti with the help of companies like Vivint. To put the magnitude of the number of meals prepared via Vivint in the last four years with FMSC into perspective, the meals for the 2,000-plus children that have received the food could provide sustenance here to four to five elementary schools for an entire year.
According to FMSC, the meals packaged by volunteers are made of a rice or potato base and are designed for malnourished children in order to improve health, growth and physical well-being.
The meals from Vivint are being shipped to the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission by boat and will arrive within the next two months.
Daily Herald Community & Business Editor Jordan Carroll can be reached at jcarroll@heraldextra.com or on Twitter @jordanec.

Haiti Goes Latin, sur un air de salsa

Une compilation qui ravive des liens oubliés Haiti Goes Latin
20/08/2014 -
Patrie du compas, avec des groupes qui ont marqué l’histoire de la musique comme Tabou Combo, Haïti fait aussi partie de la planète salsa. C’est ce que vient rappeler la compilation Haiti Goes Latin, qui rassemble des titres enregistrés entre 1976 et 1984, quand les cuivres soufflaient sur les braises des rythmes latinos pour les rendre toujours plus ardents.
Il suffit parfois de jeter un œil sur une mappemonde pour comprendre la logique de certains phénomènes musicaux, même si la géographie n’apporte qu’une explication partielle. Entre les côtes cubaines et haïtiennes, il y a moins d’une centaine de kilomètres, ce qui fait de la première République noire le voisin le plus immédiat de la patrie de la révolution socialiste à la mode caribéenne. Difficile d’imaginer qu’une telle proximité n’ait pas produit ses effets, même si de part et d’autre du détroit qui porte le nom de Passage du vent, des identités culturelles fortes se sont développées.
Difficile aussi de concevoir que la salsa ait joué à saute-mouton au dessus des mornes haïtiens pour relier La Havane à Porto-Rico, un peu plus à l’Est dans la mer des Caraïbes, parfois via New-York et ses communautés exilées. Et bien que Port-au-Prince se soit mis à vibrer au rythme du compas à partir des années 60 puis surtout durant la décennie suivante, les musiciens locaux n’ont pas échappé à l’influence des artistes étiquetés Fania (Johnny Pacheco, Celia Cruz, Ray Barretto…), label américain qui est à la vague latine ce que Motown est à la soul.
A travers une dizaine de titres parus dans la période 1976-1984 et parfaitement nettoyés pour offrir un son impeccable, la compilationHaiti Goes Latin – à ne pas confondre avec un album de la même époque et portant le même nom, enregistré par Les Docteurs du rythme – s’est attachée à souligner cette spécificité, décryptant aussi le phénomène sur le plan historico-musical dans un livret très instructif.
Une demi-douzaine de chanteurs et groupes sont présents sur cette sélection, dominée par les Frères Dejean, une des formations phares du pays à l’époque, qui accompagnent aussi les projets plus personnels de leur batteur Tuco Bouzi, illustrés ici par Tuco’s Jam et Tuco’s Jam #3 très empreints de latin jazz. Avec My Angel’s Smile, joué par le bassiste Alix Jacques, le propos prend des accents brésiliens. Le piano est bien là, comme sur le morceau d’ouverture Boss du Caribbean Sextet, mais l’arrivée des claviers modernes commence à se faire sentir, entre autre sur l’interprétation du traditionnel L’Artibonite. Leur utilisation extensive finira, des années plus tard, par transformer la musique haïtienne.
Compilation Haiti Goes Latin (Celluloïd/Rue Stendhal) 2014
Page Facebook de Haiti Goes Latin
Par Bertrand Lavaine
TAGS : Salsa - Haïti - album

El doble filo del turismo en Haití: convertir el paraíso en negocio

Playas inexporadas en Île-à-Vache/ Iolanda Fresnillo 
El Gobierno haitiano se ha propuesto aprovechar el potencial turístico del país bajo una estrategia a la que acusan de centrarse en la élite
"Nos enteramos porque vinieron a poner la primera piedra del aeropuerto. Este proyecto no es para nosotros", dice un habitante de una de las localidades afectadas
Derribos, desplazamientos forzosos, o planes de macrocomplejos sin previo aviso son algunas de las denuncias por las que la población de Ile-a-vache se ha levantado
Iolanda Fresnillo
 Haití, cuatro años después del terremoto: el espejismo de la reconstrucción
"¿Te gusta Haití?", preguntan a menudo los haitianos. "Es un país muy bello". La respuesta les sorprende, acostumbrados a la imagen negativa que el mundo tiene de su país. Pero más allá de los tópicos sobre miseria, desastres naturales y conflictos que azotan Haití desde hace siglos, es un país que desborda belleza natural, convirtiéndolo en un activo para uno de los sectores económicos más dinámicos a nivel global pero con un doble filo: el turismo. Derribos, desplazamientos forzosos, o planes de macrocomplejos sin previo aviso son algunas de las denuncias que enturbian esta actividad.
El Gobierno haitiano se ha propuesto aprovechar el potencial turístico del país. En el marco de la estrategia " Haití, abierto a los negocios", el gobierno haitiano ha fijado la vista en el turismo como una de las estrategias principales para "estimular el crecimiento de la economía nacional", centrando los esfuerzos en la atracción de inversiones extranjeras y en transformar la imagen de Haití de un lugar al que ayudar, a un lugar al que viajar y con el que hacer negocios. Para el Ministerio de Turismo los retos son de imagen: "La mala percepción de la que es víctima el país a nivel internacional y la inconsciencia de la población haitiana de las riquezas turísticas y de la importancia del sector para la economía nacional".
Pero la percepción de una parte del pueblo haitiano es bien diferente: el sector crítico define el plan como una estrategia desarrollada en beneficio de una élite que no revertirá en las comunidades. Sus sospechas ponen el foco en hechos concretos, como que el gobierno garantice a las empresas extranjeras " vacaciones fiscales" si invierten en turismo o 15 años sin pagar impuestos ni costes aduaneros.
El Ministerio de Turismo argumenta que además del empleo y la formación profesional que acompañan los proyectos turísticos, se negocia con los inversores para que estos inviertan "entre un 8 y un 10% de sus beneficios en proyectos vitales para la población". Pero dichas inversiones y las promesas de trabajo digno raramente acaban cumpliéndose en Haití.
Con el fin de que así sea, algunas comunidades afectadas por los planes del gobierno están empezando a organizarse y movilizarse, bajo la premisa que, si es sin el pueblo, el crecimiento y el desarrollo no es para el pueblo. El principal ejemplo de esta tensión entre la estrategia del gobierno y las necesidades de la población local es el proyecto que se está llevando casi toda la atención de medios e inversores: Île-a-vache.
Cómo convertir el paraíso en negocio
Île-à-vache es lo que en el imaginario occidental definiríamos como un paraíso y, en palabras del Ministerio de Turismo, un verdadero tesoro: "Île-à-vache representa una de las últimas auténticas islas del tesoro de todo el Caribe. Natural, no explorada, no explotada y del todo única; se trata de un verdadero paraíso en estado puro, una rareza en el mundo de hoy".
El plan para Île-a-vache incluye la construcción de 1.200 plazas turísticas, una carretera, un aeropuerto, un campo de golf, un puerto, electrificación, pozos de agua y diversas infraestructuras sociales. Parte de las infraestructuras van a ser pagadas con fondos venezolanos de PetroCaribe. El proyecto se presenta bajo etiquetas como: turismo sostenible de baja intensidad, respeto a la integridad cultural y ambiental de la zona, espíritu comunitario o reparto equitativo de los beneficios. Pero la población de Île-à-Vache tiene razones para desconfiar de esas etiquetas.
Disculpen, aquí vive gente "No nos oponemos al turismo, sabemos que con el turismo llegaran hospitales y escuelas, pero este proyecto es demasiado grande para la isla", se lamenta Antoine Pierre, un joven que participa en una de las actividades informativas que ha preparado KOPI, el colectivo campesino de Île-a-vache. La población se siente abrumada y ninguneada.
"En mayo de 2013 el gobierno declara la Isla ‘zona reservada para el desarrollo turístico’. Nos enteramos porque vinieron en agosto a poner la primera piedra del aeropuerto. Sin el aval de la población de la isla. Este proyecto no es para nosotros". El joven Laini Marcdonald, uno de los líderes de KOPI, se reunió junto con otros líderes comunitarios con la ministra de turismo. "En diez minutos liquidó el problema, sin explicaciones, sin aclarar la viabilidad social del proyecto". Pocos días antes habían visto como, sin previo aviso, las excavadoras empezaban la construcción de la carretera, arrasando cultivos a su paso. El propio plan del Gobierno para Île-à-vache establece que "nos aseguramos siempre de consultar a los vecinos inmediatos e iniciar un diálogo constructivo". Desde el Ministerio afirman que "el proyecto ha sido diseñado para los residentes de la comunidad y será ejecutado con su participación". Sin embargo, la falta de vías de participación e información en las primeras etapas del proceso ha llevado a las especulaciones y al rechazo.
En diciembre de 2013 empezaron las movilizaciones en la isla contra los planes del gobierno. De 10 policías se pasó a medio centenar de fuerzas especiales para reprimir las primeras manifestaciones, que se han quedado en la isla. La población habla de militarización y hay diversasdenuncias de lesiones contra la policía.
Uno de los momentos más tensos ocurrió en febrero de 2014, cuando fue detenido Jean Matulnès Lamy, líder de la comunidad y muy activo en la radio comunitaria local, así como en las movilizaciones contra el proyecto. No hay cargos contra él y meses después sigue en la cárcel. Su padre, a quien todos llaman "Papa Maltunès" pide justicia: "si es culpable que sea juzgado como tal, pero ahora lo tienen retenido sólo por su oposición al proyecto".
"Si nos quitan la agricultura ¿cómo viviremos?" Uno de los temas más espinosos es el de las expropiaciones y el desplazamiento de la población. En las reuniones organizadas por KOPI y a las que asisten centenares de ciudadanas, corre como la pólvora el rumor de que "sólo 5 familias de agricultores y 5 familias de pescadores de cada localidad serán seleccionadas para poder trabajar por los hoteles, el resto tendrán que marcharse".
El Ministerio es tajante en esta cuestión: "No existen ningún plan de relocalización de los habitantes fuera de Île-à-Vache. Vamos a reubicar a aquellas familias cuyas viviendas se verán afectadas por la construcción de zonas hoteleras (estamos hablando de un centenar de casas) a zonas en Ile-a-Vache que el Gobierno les brinde con servicios básicos". El problema es que nadie sabe qué familias ni cómo ni cuando. En Madame Bernard, la principal localidad de la isla, se han empezado a marcar algunas casas para su derribo, pero las familias que las habitan no han sido informadas aún.
Casas marcadas para ser derrumbadas en Madame Bernard, Île-à-vache/ Iolanda Fresnillo "Si nos desposeen de la agricultura y la pesca ¿cómo viviremos? Es un genocidio cultural y un suicidio colectivo aceptar este proyecto" se indigna Laini. "Nos quieren convertir en obreros agrícolas al servicio de los hoteles ¡nosotros somos agricultores!" añade Antoine.
"Ésta isla ha sido abandonada por el gobierno durante décadas, y ahora nos prometen escuelas, hospitales, pozos de agua potable y centros comunitarios" añade Kenold, también de KOPI, que se une a la conversación. De camino a una de las reuniones informativas que han organizado en la isla, insisten en que no están en contra de los visitantes, pero la condición es que la población se beneficie de ello.
El gobierno, al ser preguntado por los beneficios para la población, habla de empleo, de programas de pesca, agricultura y formación, de agua potable y energía solar. Pero en Île-à-Vache desconfían de las promesas del Ministerio. Confían, eso sí, en que ganarán esta batalla: "Las obras de la carretera y el aeropuerto ya están paradas por las movilizaciones. ¡Claro que somos optimistas!", sonríe Kenold.
Mujeres cantan en reunión informativa sobre el proyecto Île-à-vache 'Cantando se lucha mejo'r: “Tenemos patatas, tenemos pescado, no necesitamos este proyecto"./ I. F.
El proyecto Este artículo forma parte del proyecto “Haití, los otros terremotos”, de su autora, Iolanda Fresnillo. Para saber más, sobre Haití y sobre Île-à-vache, podéis consultar la web http://haitiotrosterremotos.info