Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Do More for Haiti

Posted on Wed, Sep. 24, 2008
Do more for Haiti, some lawmakers ask

The Bush administration's decision to temporarily halt deportations to Haiti after four deadly storms does not go far enough, said members of a House Foreign Affairs panel who called Tuesday for the U.S. to step up its assistance to the storm-ravaged country.

Not only should the administration treat Haiti with the same kind of urgency it showed Georgia after it was bombed by Russia, but it should afford undocumented Haitians living in the United States the same kind of temporary refugee status granted to Hondurans and Nicaraguans after Hurricane Mitch devasted those two nations in 1998, panel members said.

''It is now more imperative than ever that the United States grant Haitian immigrants Temporary Protected Status,'' U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, said before the House subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. ``TPS is the least expensive, most immediate form of humanitarian assistance we can provide Haiti.''

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Friday that it would temporarily halt deportations to Haiti but would review its decision on a day-to-day basis. The relief is not Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, a designation approved by Congress in 1990 for foreign nationals fleeing civil war and natural disasters.

A longtime advocate of the Haitian community, Hastings told the committee that the Bush administration's refusal to take substantive action left Haiti's already fragile government ``vulnerable to greater political instability.''

Later he told The Miami Herald that he was satisfied the hearing had helped to bring more attention to Haiti.

''You have to keep the lamp shining on this,'' Hastings said. ``I don't think it would be recognized without the pressure.''

Hastings said he believes the attention lawmakers have sought for Haiti since the storms has convinced lawmakers to include $100 million in additional aid for Haiti in an upcoming budget bill.

''We've got to continue highlighting the need,'' he said.


Soon after the hearing, Florida Republicans Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart announced that they plan to meet Wednesday with DHS officials to follow up on a letter urging President Bush to grant TPS to Haitians.

Kirsten Madison, deputy assistant secretary of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, told congressional lawmakers that while State Department staff members were still discussing TPS designation among themselves, there were concerns that such a designation would ''encourage people to depart'' Haiti.

''Obviously, we don't want to create a humanitarian crisis on the high seas,'' she said.

Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., said the storms created ''a disaster of epic proportion,'' in an already poor country and could trigger another kind of humanitarian crisis that left people with no choice but flee by sea.

''We have a moral obligation to move expeditiously and quickly,'' he said, pointing out that while the administration rushed to pledge $1 billion to Georgia, it was talking ''nickel and dimes'' about the disaster in its own backyard.

''Haiti always seems to be last in line. We do not want a humanitarian disaster there,'' he said.


Tuesday's hearing was organized by Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, who toured the devastation shortly after Hurricane Ike side-swept Haiti and added to the trail of wreckage. He was joined on the trip by fellow Democrats Yvette D. Clarke of New York and Donna F. Edwards of Maryland.

''In certain regions of Haiti, the local infrastructure has been completely overwhelmed as floodwaters submerged the ports and airports, and virtual lakes formed over the roads,'' Meek said.

Haitian President René Préval, who is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, has called on the U.S. and others to help him obtain emergency bridges to reconnect the country. Eight key bridges collapsed during the storms.


The aid for Haiti has been slow in coming. The U.N. has collected only 2 percent of a $108 million flash appeal it has requested for emergency relief for the next six months, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Meanwhile, the Haitian government is seeking at least $123 million to replace some of the $180 million in storm-destroyed crops over the next six months.

Miami Herald staff writer Lesley Clark contributed to this report from Washington.


© 2008 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, September 15, 2008

OSF is Afraid

OSF in Peoria is afraid.

They don't want the story out.

What story?

The story that describes how they are letting their Haitian patients die miserable deaths.

Like Heureuse.

The President of OSF Healthcare System, Sister Diane Marie, is one of the remaining Sisters at OSF. She has very little control over day to day management of the medical center.

Here is what Sister recently wrote in "Connections"--an OSF pamphlet:

"While the world outside of OSF gears up for a new focus on collabortion and team-building, we can take great pride and give thanks for our Foundational Value of teamwork and for our tradition of caring for the sick, the poor, and the dying. We are well-positioned to continue and enhance our service to patients and to extend our Mission of caring "with the greatest care and love"."

Why would Sister be writing this? This is nonsense. Just ask Heureuse.

Today, I e mailed,,,,, and

I tried to send this this post regarding Heureuse.

All of the e mails bounced back to me because OSF has blocked my e mails.

For good reason OSF obviously don't want these Children's Hospital of Illinois Foundation members receiving my e mail. OSF's policy denying care to Heureuse is against all that the Sisters preach (and write about) and the U.S. Bishops demand regarding Catholic health care.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Haiti's Poor Can't Run or Hide

When the waters rise with the hurricaines, Haiti's poor have nowhere to go. However, poverty is the real killer.

See this link for descriptions of Haiti's latest insult and what to do.

Also, see Maria's post in Live From Haiti.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The White Plague

Even in the 1930's, when a man was found to have tuberculosis, he received a notice to quit his job and school children with the disease were ordered to stay home indefinitely.

Rene and Jean Dubois called tuberculosis "a social disease" in order to associate the disease with poverty.

"There will emerge from this synthesis the conclusion that tuberculosis is not, as Dickens believed, a disease the "medicine never cured, wealth never warded off". It is the consequence of gross defects in social organization, and of errors in individual behavior. Man can eradicate it without vaccines and without drugs by integrating biological wisdom into social technology, into the management of everyday life."

Rene and Jean Dubois, 1952
"The White Plague"

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Hurricaine Ike

OSF-Saint Francis Medical Center and Catholic Diocese of Peoria, are you reading the news?

Photo from the Miami Herald.

Bishop Wenski

I first met Father Thomas Wenski in the late 90’s. My eighty year old mother and I stayed in his large rectory with an interesting mix of individuals. There were young law students representing Haitian refugees as well as Haitian-Americans working for Father Wenski.

I think Father charged my mom and me $6 dollars per day and this included three meals that we prepared ourselves in the simple rectory kitchen.

His rectory was located in Little Haiti in Miami and was guarded by two German shepherds. The neighborhood was dangerous. I found a bullet that had been shot on the sidewalk and two Haitian market owners were killed by burglars one Saturday on a bright sunny afternoon.

Fr. Wenski is an advocate for Haitian immigrants and for Haiti. His rectory was next door to a Catholic Church and a large school that seemed to have been vacated years before by middle class Miamians who wanted to flee this part of Miami. Father used this school for Haitians to teach them English and various other skills. He also ran a legal center across the street to give the Haitians as much free legal representation as possible.

Fr. Wenski was very matter of fact and practical. I wouldn’t describe him as warm and fuzzy, but he was very efficient in his work for Haitians. He said mass in the church nearby at 6 PM on weekdays in fluent Creole.

In the last 10 years Fr. Wenski has become a Bishop and is currently the Bishop of the Diocese of Orlando. He is also the chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace.

The following article is from the Catholic Post in Peoria:

U.S. church official says Haiti desperately needs political stability

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CNS) -- Haiti desperately needs political stability so that jobs can be created to lift the poor out of a critical situation, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Policy. "The situation is critical, although there is still a glimmer of hope," Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., told Catholic News Service July 16. "Haiti now needs a solid success story so that hope does not disappear." Bishop Wenski, who visited Haiti in mid-July, said that in a private meeting earlier that day, Haitian President Rene Preval expressed his thanks for the work of the Catholic Church in advocating for the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity Through Partnership Encouragement Act and for the job opportunities it could create. The U.S. HOPE Act II, as it is known, allows the United States to import Haitian textiles and could create 30,000 jobs in Haiti where, the bishop said, it is estimated that every job feeds an extended family of 10 people, so "30,000 jobs could feed 300,000 people."

I doubt Bishop Wenski would be thrilled with the Catholic Diocese of Peoria and the way the Diocese supported OSF when the 1.6 billion dollar OSF Medical Center in Peoria cut all funding for Haitian Hearts.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

And in Peoria...

So while Heureuse hides from hurricaines and fights through her heart failure in Port-au-Prince, the Catholic Diocese in Peoria is building.

Bishop Jenky should have helped Heureuse.

Heureuse's Seaside Home

Here is Heureuse, the outside of her home, and her kitchen.

Her echocardiogram showed that the hole between the lower chambers of her heart has opened up again and her heart is shunting blood in the wrong direction.

She needs surgery soon.
And we just got done spending $104 million dollars for the four day Republican National Convention.

Photos by Frandy

Friday, September 05, 2008

Haiti and Water

Haiti has too much water right now...just not the right type.

The ratio of potable water per person in Haiti is one of the worst in the world.

The New England Journal of Medicine (August 21, 2008) had this to say about the politics of clean water and sanitation:

Most U.S. residents turn on their faucets feeling confident that they won't contract a waterborne disease. Many people in the developing world have access to only 5 liters of water per day, whereas the average American uses 10 times that amount merely to flush the toilet each day and 80 times that amount for all daily activities combined.

Hurricane Katrina reminded us, however, that our privileged status can be threatened by natural disasters that lead to contaminated drinking water and make waste removal difficult, which can trigger illness. Disasters that temporarily require a population to defecate in plastic bags, buckets, open pits, agricultural fields, and public areas for want of a hygienic alternative remind us that 2.6 billion people live this way every day.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Now Hurricaine Hanna

I received this e mail today:

Personal Account of Hurricane Damage in Haiti

Karen Ashmore Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 10:01 AM

In the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav, less than a week ago, devastation has struck Haiti. There are many victims who have been left homeless. The city of Gonaives is now under 2 meters of water. Since Monday morning strong rain has pounded mountain villages throughout Haiti and the waters gushing from the mountains are carrying mud and anything in their paths to flood the valley city of Gonaives.

Tidjo (Lambi Fund of Haiti regional coordinator for Northern Haiti) and Margot (Lambi Fund advisory board member) called at 3 am to inform us that Tidjo's home was flooded. Margot was traveling and had to seek refuge at Tidjo's home. Due to the sturdiness of Tidjo's home, over 20 neighbors had sought shelter on the roof top.

Many others have sought refuge on their roof tops, Gonaive's hospitals are flooded and are asking for help in moving and securing their patients. The city does not have the capacity to handle this emergency and the mayor has sought assistance.

St Cyr (Lambi Fund regional coordinator for Southern Haiti) came to Port-au-Prince for a staff meeting, just called home and was informed that his neighborhood in the South is completely flooded and the rushing waters have carried away many of their household items. His family has had to seek shelter on their rooftop.

Hurricane Hanna came too closely on the heels of Gustav and stalled over Haiti.The flooding from both hurricanes caused hundreds of deaths, loss of crops, homes, micro-enterprises and animals due to heavy rainfalls. Although food aid is a temporary solution, ultimately, Haiti desperately requires investments in sustainable development in an effort to restore environmental integrity and reduce poverty.

A close neighbor to the U.S., Haiti desperately needs support in rebuilding the communities ravaged by the recent storms, but also needs support in becoming self-sufficient. Natural disasters cannot be avoided, but the severe devastation caused by it can surely be mitigated. To support the sustainable development rebuilding efforts of Lambi Fund of Haiti, please go here and make an online donation.

We will keep you posted on further details. Meanwhile forward this email to those who share your values.

Karen Ashmore
Executive Director

Address postal inquiries to:
Lambi Fund of Haiti
PO Box 18955
Washington, DC 20036-8955

See this CBS video of Hannah's destruction in Gonaives.


Monday, September 01, 2008

More on Heureuse

Last week Heureuse survived Gustav and acute congestive heart failure at the same time. She lives in a slum near the ocean in Port-au-Prince.

Frandy, our 19 year old contact in Haiti, is doing all he can to help with Heureuse.
Frandy is very poor and doing what our very rich Catholic medical center in Peoria should be doing.

See below a chat I had with Frandy yesterday regarding Heureuse.

From: Dejean Frandy
Date: Sun, Aug 31, 2008 at 5:02 PM
Subject: Chat with Dejean Frandy

4:50 PM me: frandy, did you see heureuse today?
4:51 PM Dejean: yes i did
she's doing better
me: what do you mean by better?
4:52 PM Dejean: when arrived at her house, so she was cooking
she's not too bad
now she's able to get 2 or 3 meals by day
me: is she breathing better?
4:53 PM Dejean: yes
me: is she happier?
is she sleeping better?
Dejean: yes
yes sir
me: is she walking outside or does she stay inside?
4:54 PM Dejean: and tomorrow, i'll take to Pilie's clinic
me: good
Dejean: she even has opportunity to kook food
me: please have him send me the results of the echo via e mail...
Dejean: she cooks everyday now
ok i will
4:55 PM she said hello to you
me: i need the results right away...STAT...please tell heureuse hello for me...
4:56 PM henri adrique needs to see pilie also...please pay for his echo too if he has no money....
Dejean: ok
about Henrique's case, i am sorry i don't any money to do that
i don't have
4:57 PM me: frandy, heureuse cannot run out of medication....please go to Grace Children's and get more meds for her if she needs them...before she runs out...
Dejean: ok
she has some for now
4:58 PM me: check her medicines for her before you leave for pilie tomorrow and take all of her pills with her to dr pilie...see which ones she is short on...find out which ones she needs...
Dejean: ok
i will
4:59 PM me: i just got an echo result from dr pilie for suze....wait a minute please....
Dejean: ok
that's fine
me: ok...
5:00 PM frandy, thank you and I will wait to hear from dr pilie tomorrow about heureuse....i will e mail dr pilie now....
Dejean: ok
5:01 PM i hope you get all the information
me: please tell dr pilie that heureuse needs to be on potassium supplement.
thank you and bon nuit...
kembe fem
5:02 PM Dejean: thank you very much
may God bless you
5:03 PM byeeeeeeee
me: by
Dejean: tell your family hello for me
me: ok
Dejean: aaaaa you are very welcome