Thursday, October 30, 2008

This is Good News

Haitian Hearts has another patient accepted...Heureuse!!

More to follow....

We Don't Really Know How Bad It Is

One million Haitians homeless after spate of tropical storms

Joseph Guyler Delva

Friday, October 24, 2008

GONAIVES, Haiti (Reuters) - Impoverished Haiti is suffering one of the worst catastrophes in its history after the recent onslaught of tropical storms and hurricanes, the U.N. humanitarian aid chief said on Friday.

Four tropical storms and hurricanes that battered the Caribbean nation in August and September - Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike - killed more than 800 people and left nearly 1 million homeless or in dire need of help.

Following a visit to the storm-ravaged northern city of Gonaives, U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said more needed to be done immediately to improve conditions while promoting sustainable measures to address Haiti's long-term problems.

"From what I heard before and from what I've seen just now, this is a major catastrophe, one of Haiti's biggest catastrophes probably," Holmes told reporters during a news conference in Gonaives, where storm-triggered floods killed about 500 people.

The storms caused nearly $1 billion damage, according to the World Bank President Robert Zoellick, who made a trip this week to Haiti, where many people living on less than $2 a day.

The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti has struggled with dictatorship, political upheaval and violence since a slave revolt threw off French rule more than two centuries ago.

The damage caused by the storms, coming after deadly riots in April over skyrocketing food prices, has hampered efforts by the current government to build stable democratic institutions and forced emergency appeals for millions of dollars of international aid.

The flooding left thousands of people, including many children, crammed in makeshift shelters and without basics necessities.

"The conditions in some of the shelters are really not good. We need to do more and we need to improve," Holmes said.

During a visit to one of the shelters, Holmes was approached by several flood victims who told him they had not received any food for days and that they wanted help to rebuild their homes or find a decent place to stay.

"The food ration they gave us finished a week ago and we have to go out on the street to beg for something to eat sometimes," Mecitane Cedieu, 50, said.

Many say they are afraid to sleep at night without any sort of security.

"Only God is watching on us at night. It's all dark and mosquitoes keep eating us," Elida Desir, 49, said.

The World Food Program said it had already distributed food to more than 500,000 people, including 280,000 in Gonaives. But many complain they have not received any food.

Many of Gonaives' people were still trying to clean mud out of their homes. Weeks after the floods, residents and their personal belongings could still be seen on rooftops and the city was covered with dust.

"I am working hard cleaning, but I am very hungry and sometimes I feel like I am going to faint," said Pierre Andre Bastien, a shovel in his hands as he worked near the main public square.

© Reuters

Copyright © 2008 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 27, 2008

U.S Role in Haiti's Food Riots...Bill Quigley

April 21, 2008
30 Years Ago Haiti Grew All the Rice It Needed. What Happened?
The U.S. Role in Haiti's Food Riots
(CounterPunch Website)

Riots in Haiti over explosive rises in food costs have claimed the lives of six people. There have also been food riots world-wide in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivorie, Egypt, Guinea, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Senegal, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

The Economist, which calls the current crisis the silent tsunami, reports that last year wheat prices rose 77% and rice 16%, but since January rice prices have risen 141%. The reasons include rising fuel costs, weather problems, increased demand in China and India, as well as the push to create biofuels from cereal crops.

Hermite Joseph, a mother working in the markets of Port au Prince, told journalist Nick Whalen that her two kids are “like toothpicks” they’ re not getting enough nourishment. Before, if you had a dollar twenty-five cents, you could buy vegetables, some rice, 10 cents of charcoal and a little cooking oil. Right now, a little can of rice alone costs 65 cents, and is not good rice at all. Oil is 25 cents. Charcoal is 25 cents. With a dollar twenty-five, you can’t even make a plate of rice for one child.”

The St. Claire’s Church Food program, in the Tiplas Kazo neighborhood of Port au Prince, serves 1000 free meals a day, almost all to hungry children -- five times a week in partnership with the What If Foundation. Children from Cite Soleil have been known to walk the five miles to the church for a meal. The cost of rice, beans, vegetables, a little meat, spices, cooking oil, propane for the stoves, have gone up dramatically. Because of the rise in the cost of food, the portions are now smaller. But hunger is on the rise and more and more children come for the free meal. Hungry adults used to be allowed to eat the leftovers once all the children were fed, but now there are few leftovers.

The New York Times lectured Haiti on April 18 that “Haiti, its agriculture industry in shambles, needs to better feed itself.” Unfortunately, the article did not talk at all about one of the main causes of the shortages -- the fact that the U.S. and other international financial bodies destroyed Haitian rice farmers to create a major market for the heavily subsidized rice from U.S. farmers. This is not the only cause of hunger in Haiti and other poor countries, but it is a major force.

Thirty years ago, Haiti raised nearly all the rice it needed. What happened?

In 1986, after the expulsion of Haitian dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loaned Haiti $24.6 million in desperately needed funds (Baby Doc had raided the treasury on the way out). But, in order to get the IMF loan, Haiti was required to reduce tariff protections for their Haitian rice and other agricultural products and some industries to open up the country’s markets to competition from outside countries. The U.S. has by far the largest voice in decisions of the IMF.

Doctor Paul Farmer was in Haiti then and saw what happened. “Within less than two years, it became impossible for Haitian farmers to compete with what they called ‘Miami rice.’ The whole local rice market in Haiti fell apart as cheap, U.S. subsidized rice, some of it in the form of ‘food aid,’ flooded the market. There was violence, ‘rice wars,’ and lives were lost.”

“American rice invaded the country,” recalled Charles Suffrard, a leading rice grower in Haiti in an interview with the Washington Post in 2000. By 1987 and 1988, there was so much rice coming into the country that many stopped working the land.

Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste, a Haitian priest who has been the pastor at St. Claire and an outspoken human rights advocate, agrees. “In the 1980s, imported rice poured into Haiti, below the cost of what our farmers could produce it. Farmers lost their businesses. People from the countryside started losing their jobs and moving to the cities. After a few years of cheap imported rice, local production went way down.”

Still the international business community was not satisfied. In 1994, as a condition for U.S. assistance in returning to Haiti to resume his elected Presidency, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced by the U.S., the IMF, and the World Bank to open up the markets in Haiti even more.

But, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, what reason could the U.S. have in destroying the rice market of this tiny country?

Haiti is definitely poor. The U.S. Agency for International Development reports the annual per capita income is less than $400. The United Nations reports life expectancy in Haiti is 59, while in the US it is 78. Over 78% of Haitians live on less than $2 a day, more than half live on less than $1 a day.

Yet Haiti has become one of the very top importers of rice from the U.S. The U.S. Department of Agriculture 2008 numbers show Haiti is the third largest importer of US rice - at over 240,000 metric tons of rice. (One metric ton is 2200 pounds).

Rice is a heavily subsidized business in the U.S. Rice subsidies in the U.S. totaled $11 billion from 1995 to 2006. One producer alone, Riceland Foods Inc of Stuttgart Arkansas, received over $500 million dollars in rice subsidies between 1995 and 2006.

The Cato Institute recently reported that rice is one of the most heavily supported commodities in the U.S. -- with three different subsidies together averaging over $1 billion a year since 1998 and projected to average over $700 million a year through 2015. The result? “Tens of millions of rice farmers in poor countries find it hard to lift their families out of poverty because of the lower, more volatile prices caused by the interventionist policies of other countries.”

In addition to three different subsidies for rice farmers in the U.S., there are also direct tariff barriers of 3 to 24 percent, reports Daniel Griswold of the Cato Institute -- the exact same type of protections, though much higher, that the U.S. and the IMF required Haiti to eliminate in the 1980s and 1990s.

U.S. protection for rice farmers goes even further. A 2006 story in the Washington Post found that the federal government has paid at least $1.3 billion in subsidies for rice and other crops since 2000 to individuals who do no farming at all; including $490,000 to a Houston surgeon who owned land near Houston that once grew rice.

And it is not only the Haitian rice farmers who have been hurt.

Paul Farmer saw it happen to the sugar growers as well. “Haiti, once the world's largest exporter of sugar and other tropical produce to Europe, began importing even sugar-- from U.S. controlled sugar production in the Dominican Republic and Florida. It was terrible to see Haitian farmers put out of work. All this sped up the downward spiral that led to this month's food riots.”

After the riots and protests, President Rene Preval of Haiti agreed to reduce the price of rice, which was selling for $51 for a 110 pound bag, to $43 dollars for the next month. No one thinks a one month fix will do anything but delay the severe hunger pains a few weeks.

Haiti is far from alone in this crisis. The Economist reports a billion people worldwide live on $1 a day. The US-backed Voice of America reports about 850 million people were suffering from hunger worldwide before the latest round of price increases.

Thirty three countries are at risk of social upheaval because of rising food prices, World Bank President Robert Zoellick told the Wall Street Journal. When countries have many people who spend half to three-quarters of their daily income on food, “there is no margin of survival.”

In the U.S., people are feeling the world-wide problems at the gas pump and in the grocery. Middle class people may cut back on extra trips or on high price cuts of meat. The number of people on food stamps in the US is at an all-time high. But in poor countries, where malnutrition and hunger were widespread before the rise in prices, there is nothing to cut back on except eating. That leads to hunger riots.

In the short term, the world community is sending bags of rice to Haiti. Venezuela sent 350 tons of food. The US just pledged $200 million extra for worldwide hunger relief. The UN is committed to distributing more food.

What can be done in the medium term? The US provides much of the world’s food aid, but does it in such a way that only half of the dollars spent actually reach hungry people. US law requires that food aid be purchased from US farmers, processed and bagged in the US and shipped on US vessels -- which cost 50% of the money allocated. A simple change in US law to allow some local purchase of commodities would feed many more people and support local farm markets.

In the long run, what is to be done? The President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who visited Haiti last week, said “Rich countries need to reduce farms subsidies and trade barriers to allow poor countries to generate income with food exports. Either the world solves the unfair trade system, or every time there's unrest like in Haiti, we adopt emergency measures and send a little bit of food to temporarily ease hunger."

Citizens of the USA know very little about the role of their government in helping create the hunger problems in Haiti or other countries. But there is much that individuals can do. People can donate to help feed individual hungry people and participate with advocacy organizations like Bread for the World or Oxfam to help change the U.S. and global rules which favor the rich countries. This advocacy can help countries have a better chance to feed themselves.

Meanwhile, Merisma Jean-Claudel, a young high school graduate in Port-au-Prince told journalist Wadner Pierre "...people can’t buy food. Gasoline prices are going up. It is very hard for us over here. The cost of living is the biggest worry for us, no peace in stomach means no peace in the mind.¦I wonder if others will be able to survive the days ahead because things are very, very hard."

“On the ground, people are very hungry,” reported Fr. Jean-Juste. “Our country must immediately open emergency canteens to feed the hungry until we can get them jobs. For the long run, we need to invest in irrigation, transportation, and other assistance for our farmers and workers.”

In Port au Prince, some rice arrived in the last few days. A school in Fr. Jean-Juste’s parish received several bags of rice. They had raw rice for 1000 children, but the principal still had to come to Father Jean-Juste asking for help. There was no money for charcoal, or oil.

Jervais Rodman, an unemployed carpenter with three children, stood in a long line Saturday in Port au Prince to get UN donated rice and beans. When Rodman got the small bags, he told Ben Fox of the Associated Press, “The beans might last four days. The rice will be gone as soon as I get home.”

Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. His essay on the Echo 9 nuclear launch site protests is featured in Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance from the Heartland, published by AK Press. He can be reached at People interested in donating to feed children in Haiti should go to

People who want to help change U.S. policy on agriculture to help combat world-wide hunger should go to: or

Sunday, October 26, 2008

TPS for Haitians

Haitians rally for protection of immigrants

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Friday, October 24, 2008

WEST PALM BEACH — A crowd of about 3,000 traveled by foot, by taxi, even by bus, to rally in front of the federal courthouse Friday afternoon, demanding that Haitians are no longer returned to a country that is falling apart.

Children cheered from the shoulders of their parents and even the elderly twirled umbrellas in the air like batons, shouting, "Hey, Hey, George Bush, TPS for Haitians."

Decimated by four storms this hurricane season, the already poor and unstable country is in such dire straits that even President René Préval has asked the U.S. to grant Haitians Temporary Protected Status, which means those living here illegally could stay and obtain work authorization until Haiti's atmosphere improved.

TPS is usually granted to nations in the midst of an armed conflict or an environmental disaster. In the past, it has been given to natives of Somalia, Burundi, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Sudan.

Because of Haiti's natural disasters that killed thousands and left hundreds of thousands homeless, many wonder why the country also hasn't been granted TPS.

"They ignore Haitian people," Wisner Toussaint of Coral Springs said of the U.S. government. "We don't know why. We need to be treated fairly."

This summer, the Department of Homeland Security announced a temporary suspension of deportations to Haiti because of massive flooding from the storms, but the government has not gone as far as to call it TPS.

"Little kids, 3 and 4 years old, are on the street asking for food and money," said Bob-Louis Jeune of the Haitian Citizen United Task Force. "The people don't know where to go, what to do. It's very sad. TPS ... we deserve it."

Buses came from as far as Orlando for the four-hour rally, which forced police to shut down a section of Clematis Street because they couldn't contain all of the people on one side of the road.

Local Haitian disc jockey Lesly Jacques directed the crowd to sing the American and Haitian national anthems, then led the supporters in a passionate chant that echoed through the streets. Men and women waved signs displaying words of support, and others held cellphones in the air so relatives from afar could hear.

Although deportations to Haiti are temporarily halted, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are still arresting those living in the U.S. illegally and placing them in detention centers until the suspension is lifted. Immigration advocates are asking ICE to stop the arrests, arguing that many of those arrested do not have criminal backgrounds and contribute to society.

ICE spokeswoman Nicole Navas said they are still breaking the law.

"We are still enforcing immigration laws," Navas said. "Those with final orders of removal will remain in custody."

Representatives from the Haitian Citizen United Task Force, which organized the rally, said their next stop is Washington. They plan to ask, just as they did on Clematis Street, "President Bush, can you hear us?"

Racism and Poverty

Racism and Poverty
John Maxwell

The people of Haiti are as poor as human beings can be.

According to the statisticians of the World Bank and others who speculate about
how many Anglos can dance on the head of a peon, Haiti may either be the
second, third or fourth poorest country in the world.

In Haiti’s case, statistics are irrelevant.

When large numbers of people are reduced to eating dirt – earth, clay – it
is impossible to imagine poverty any more absolute, any more desperate, any
more inhuman and degrading.

The chairman of the World Bank visited Haiti this past week. This man, Robert
Zoellick, is an expert finance-capitalist, a former partner in the investment
bankers Goldman Sachs, whose 22,000 ‘traders” last year averaged bonuses of
more than $600,000 each.

Goldman Sachs paid out over &18 billion in bonuses to its traders last year,
about 50% more than the GDP of Haiti’s 8 million people.

The chairman of Goldman took home more than $70 million and his lieutenants –
as Zoellick once was – $40 million or more, each.

It should be clear that someone like Robert Zoellick is likely to be totally
bemused by Haiti when his entertainment allowance could probably feed the
entire population for a day or two. It is not hard to understand that Mr
Zoellick cannot understand why Haiti needs debt relief.

Haiti is now forced by the World Bank and Its bloodsucking siblings like the
IMF, to pay more than $1 million a week to satisfy debts incurred by the
Duvaliers and the post-Duvalier tyrannies. Haiti must repay this debt to prove
its fitness for ‘help’ from the Multilateral Financial Institutions (MFI).

One million dollars a week would feed everybody in Haiti even if only at a very
basic level – at least they would not have to eat earth patties. Instead the
Haitians export this money to pay the salaries of such as Zoellick
But Zoellick doesn’t see it that way. According to the World Bank’s website
the bank is in the business of eradicating poverty. At the rate it does that in
Haiti the Bank, I estimate, will be in the poverty eradication business for
another 18,000 years.

The reason Haiti is in its present state is pretty simple. Canada, the United
States and France, all of whom consider themselves civilised nations, colluded
in the overthrow of the democratic government of Haiti four years ago. They did
this for several excellent reasons:

• Haiti 200 years ago defeated the world’s then major powers, France
(twice) Britain and Spain, to establish its independence and to abolish
plantation slavery. This was unforgivable.

• Despite being bombed, strafed and occupied by the United States early in
the past century, and despite the American endowment of a tyrannical and brutal
Haitian army designed to keep the natives in their place, the Haitians insisted
on re-establishing their independence. Having overthrown the Duvaliers and
their successors, the Haitians proceeded to elect as president a little black
parish priest who had become their hero by defying the forces of evil and

• The new president of Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide refused to sell out
(privatise) the few assets owned by the government (the public utilities

• Aristide also insisted that France owed Haiti more than $25 billion in
repayment of blood money extorted from Haiti in the 19th century, as alleged
compensation for France’s loss of its richest colony and to allow Haiti to
gain admission to world trade;

• Aristide threatened the hegemony of a largely expatriate ruling class of
so-called ‘elites’ whose American connections allowed them to continue the
parasitic exploitation and economic strip mining of Haiti following the
American occupation.

• Haiti, like Cuba, is believed to have in its exclusive economic zone, huge
submarine oil reserves, greater than the present reserves of the United States

• Haiti would make a superb base from which to attack Cuba.

The American attitude to Haiti was historically based on American disapproval
of a free black state just off the coast of their slave-based plantation
economy. This attitude was pithily expressed in Thomas Jefferson’s idea that
a black man was equivalent to three fifths of a white man. It was further
apotheosized by Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan
who expostulated to Wilson: “Imagine! Niggers speaking French!”

The Haitians clearly did not know their place. In February 2004, Mr John
McCain’s International Republican Institute, assisted by Secretary of State
Colin Powell, USAID and the CIA, kidnapped Aristide and his wife and
transported them to the Central African Republic as ‘cargo’ in a plane
normally used to ‘render’ terrorists for torture outsourced by the US to
Egypt, Morocco and Uzbekistan.

Before Mr Zoellick went to Haiti last week, the World Bank announced that Mr.
Zoellick’s visit would “emphasize the Bank's strong support for the
country.” Mr. Zoellick added: "Haiti must be given a chance. The
international community needs to step up to the challenge and support the
efforts of the Haitian government and its people."

“If Robert Zoellick wants to give Haiti a chance, he should start by
unconditionally cancelling Haiti’s debt,” says Brian Concannon of the
Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti. “Instead the World Bank- which
was established to fight poverty- continues to insist on debt payments when
Haitians are starving to death and literally mired in mud.”

“After four hurricanes in a month and an escalating food crisis it is
outrageous that Haiti is being told it must wait six more months for debt
relief,” said Neil Watkins, National Coordinator of Jubilee USA Network.
“Haiti’s debt is both onerous and odious”, added Dr. Paul Farmer of
Partners In Health. “The payments are literally killing people, as every
dollar sent to Washington is a dollar Haiti could spend on healthcare,
nutrition and feeding programs, desperately needed infrastructure and clean
water. Half of the loans were given to the Duvaliers and other dictatorships,
and spent on Presidential luxuries, not development programs for the poor. Mr.
Zoellick should step up and support the Haitian government by cancelling the
debt now.”

“Unconditional debt cancellation is the first step in addressing the
humanitarian crisis in Haiti,” according to Nicole Lee, Executive Director of
TransAfrica Forum. “There is also an urgent need for U.S. policy towards
Haiti to shift from entrenching the country in future debt to supporting
sustainable, domestic solutions for development.”

The above quotations are taken from an appeal by the organisations represented

Further comment is superfluous.

Poverty and Globalisation
President Jean Bertrand Aristide, now in enforced exile in South Africa, might
be sardonically entertained by a new report just published by the world’s
Club of the Rich, the OECD –Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
This report, titled “Growing Unequal” examines the accelerating trend
toward economic inequality in the societies of the world’s richest countries.

The report contains several mind-blowing discoveries which will, no doubt,
amaze journalists and policy-makers in the Western hemisphere and keep them
entertained for many years.

The major finding is that globalisation and free trade have hurt millions of
people, particularly the poorest.

Another ground-breaking discovery is that “work reduces poverty”.

One of these days Jamaicans and other Caribbean people may decide to find out
whether these theses are true and whether if they are, we should have signed on
to the new EPA with the European Union.

If our ginnigogs were able and willing to read they might become aware of a
phenomenon called the “resource curse’ which appears to condemn developing
countries with enormous mineral wealth to misery, war, corruption and

If our ginnigogs could or would read, they might find it useful to discover
whether an acre of land under citrus or pumpkins is not more productive,
sustainable and valuable than that same acre destroyed for bauxite.

If our ginnigogs could or would read, they might become aware of the fate of
the island of Nauru, ‘discovered’ less than two hundred years ago, mined
for phosphate, returning a per capita national income rivaling Saudi Arabia’s
two and three decades ago and now to be abandoned because the land has been
mined to death and is destined to disappear shortly beneath the waves of global

Softly, softly, catchee monkee

If our ginnigogs were able to read and willing and able to defend the interests
of Jamaica and the Jamaican people they might discover that bauxite mining
will, within a relatively short time, contaminate all the water resources of
Jamaica, destroy our cultural heritage, wipe out our priceless biological
diversity, deprave our landscape and reduce those of us who survive to a state
of penury and hopelessness. Goodbye tourism, goodbye farming, welcome hunger,
welcome clay patties.

According to the experts if you drop a live lobster into a pot of boiling water
the creature will make frenzied efforts to escape. If, on the other hand, you
put him in a pot of cold water and bring it slowly to the boil, the lobster
will perish without a struggle.

Jamaica, on the atlas, is shaped a bit like a lobster.

Bon appetit.

Copyright © 2008 John Maxwell

Friday, October 17, 2008

This is Bad News...

October 15, 2008

Poor to suffer meltdown as well

Associated Press

GENEVA -- The world's poorest people will be hungrier, sicker and have fewer jobs as a result of the global financial crisis, and cash-strapped aid agencies will be less able to help, aid groups are warning.

The charities that provide food, medicine and other relief on the ground say cutbacks have already started, but it will take months or more before the full impact is felt in the poorest countries of Africa, Latin America and Asia.

During global recessions in the 1970s and 1990s, aid spending dropped sharply and took years to recover, said Matt Grainger of the British-based charity Oxfam International.

Aid agencies face more than just the prospect of plummeting donations. Higher food prices and more joblessness are greatly increasing the number of people who need assistance.

Philippe Guiton of World Vision told the Associated Press that his agency plans to cut back hiring, which will have implications for delivering aid to the needy.

"What we are going to do now is to issue an order to reduce spending, to delay recruitment, delay purchases of capital assets, etc., until we can see clearer how much our income has dropped," he said.

Robert Glasser, secretary-general of CARE International, said the agency has "a number of major donors who have invested heavily in the markets and have now seen their portfolios take a big hit."

What that will mean on the ground could take months to gauge and perhaps years for a complete recovery, aid groups said.

In impoverished Haiti, funding for projects to rebuild from tropical storms that killed nearly 800 people and destroyed more than half the nation's agriculture hangs in the balance.

"It's too soon to tell yet because we haven't heard back positively or negatively from our major donors," Greg Elder, deputy head of programming for U.S-based Catholic Relief Services, said by telephone from the battered port of Les Cayes.

The group is waiting for word from the U.S. Agency for International Development on whether it will get $2 million for 10 new food-for-work projects, which provide Haitians with rations in exchange for building roads, irrigation systems and environmental projects.

That means problems across the board, said CARE's Glasser. Wealthy countries will stop investing in developing countries, and cut back on imports from poorer countries, leaving their governments with less money to pay for health care and schools, he said.

In Zimbabwe, a Red Cross food program for 260,000 orphans and HIV-infected people began last month to make sure AIDS victims have sufficient nourishment in a nation where millions are going hungry because of drought and land-seizures that have devastated agriculture.

HIV-infected people are especially vulnerable because without food they cannot tolerate their medicine.

"The farmers' food stores are depleted. There is no food available," said Peter Lundberg, country representative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

"I spoke to a family a few days ago and I said, 'How are you coping?' Basically this was a poor farmer family. And they said, 'We used to have three, maybe four, meals a day and now we're down to one meal.'"

Medecins Sans Frontieres, which runs AIDS clinics in the Cape Town township of Khayelitsha in South Africa, said it's "far too early" to determine the impact the crisis would have on donations.

"The money we're spending now was collected some time ago," said Henrik Glette, a South Africa-based spokesman for the group.

But Neil Tobin, an employee of UNAIDS in Sierra Leone, warned: "It is well documented that AIDS is a problem compounded by poverty. Thus the concern is that any sharp economic downturn may present increased challenges, particularly for developing nations in responding to the epidemic."

Top scientists meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, said they feared the financial turmoil would curb research into a new AIDS vaccine.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said "the increases in the budget we had hoped for will not be forthcoming."

Alan Bernstein, head of Global Vaccine Enterprise, said the financial meltdown is "not good news for research in general and vaccine research in particular."

Associated Press writers Jonathan M. Katz in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Michelle Faul and Donna Bryson in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Clare Nullis in Cape Town, South Africa contributed to this report.


Haitian Hearts Has Another Patient Accepted

Today was a great day.

Miterlande is a 16 year old girl who lives near Port-au-Prince.

We examined her for the first time two years ago. She has severe mitral valve regurgitation and stenosis. This valve was destroyed because of rheumatic fever.

Miterlande was accepted today into an excellent medical center in the United States with a great cardiovascular team. She will have heart surgery soon!

Work on her visa has already started.

(For the three of you who faithfully read this blog, Heureuse still patiently waits in Carrefour.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Haitian Deportations...Catholic Bishops Say "No"

Posted on Wed, Oct. 15, 2008

U.S. bishops call for halt in Haitian deportations

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, citing humanitarian reasons, has joined the growing call for the Bush administration to designate Temporary Protected Status for undocumented Haitians living in the United States.

The TPS status -- set aside for countries suffering from political tumult and natural disasters -- would allow undocumented Haitians to reside legally in the United States and obtain work permits.

In an Oct. 8 letter to President Bush, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, argued that Haiti qualifies for TPS because of the recent devastation of consecutive storms and an earlier food crisis.

The letter, made public Tuesday, calls for TPS for an 18-month period and also noted that conditions in Haiti are comparable to or worse than those in countries that recently received an extension of TPS, such as El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.


© 2008 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New York Times Editorial

October 13, 2008

New York Times Editorial

Help for Haiti

This year has been especially cruel to Haiti, with four back-to-back storms that killed hundreds of people, uprooted tens of thousands more and obliterated houses, roads and crops. A far richer country would have been left reeling; Haiti is as poor as poor gets in this half of the globe. Those who have seen the damage say it is hard to convey the new depths of misery there.

The Bush administration promised Haiti $10 million in emergency aid and Congress has since authorized $100 million for relief and reconstruction. The United Nations has issued a global appeal for another $100 million. We have no doubt that Haiti will need much more.

There is something the United States can do immediately to help Haitians help themselves. It is to grant “temporary protected status” to undocumented Haitians in the United States, so they can live and work legally as their country struggles back from its latest catastrophe.

This is the same protection that has been given for years, in 18-month increments, to tens of thousands of Nicaraguans, Hondurans, Salvadorans and others whose countries have been afflicted by war, earthquakes and hurricanes.

While the Bush administration has temporarily stopped deporting Haitians since Hurricane Ike last month, it has not been willing to go the next step of officially granting temporary protected status to the undocumented Haitians living here.

Haiti’s president, René Préval, and members of Congress have urged the administration to change its mind. We urge the same.

There is very little that is consistent in the United States’ immigration policies toward its nearest neighbors, except that the rawest deal usually goes to the Haitians. Cubans who make it to dry land here are allowed to stay; those intercepted at sea are not. Hondurans and Nicaraguans who fled Hurricane Mitch 10 years ago have seen their temporary protected status renewed, as have Salvadorans uprooted by earthquakes in 2001.

Haiti, meanwhile, more than meets the conditions that immigration law requires for its citizens here to receive temporary protected status, including ongoing armed conflict and a dire natural or environmental disaster that leaves a country unable to handle the safe return of its migrants.

If Haiti is ever going to find the road to recovery after decades of dictatorship, upheaval and decay, it will take more than post-hurricane shipments of food and water. Haiti desperately needs money, trade, investment and infrastructure repairs.

It also needs the support of Haitians in the United States, who send home more than $1 billion a year. What it does not need, especially right now, is a forced influx of homeless, jobless deportees.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Make Soup in Haiti

“If it’s old and ugly, paint it a bright color. If it’s barren, plant a flower. If it’s broken, glue it together (or make something new) with the pieces. If it’s garbage, make compost. If they’re fighting, sing a song. If they’re sick, sit with them on the bed. If they are hungry, make soup."

Sister of Saint Joseph

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Heureuse Means Happy

This following is an online chat I had with Dejean (Frandy) today regarding Heureuse. Heureuse is the 29 year old Haitian gal that needs heart surgery....Dejean is our 19 year old Haitian young man who helps Haitian Hearts on the ground in PAP when we are not there...please pray we find a medical center for Heureuse very soon.

She was operated at OSF in Peoria in 2002, but OSF will not allow her to return for repeat heart surgery.

From: Dejean Frandy
Date: Sat, Oct 11, 2008 at 1:09 PM
Subject: Chat with Dejean Frandy

12:55 PM me: frandy are you there?
Dejean: yes
how are you doing?
me: talk to me...
12:56 PM Dejean: ok
She's not doing ok for now
she can't breath well
12:57 PM and she's losing weigh seriously
she looks very thin
me: is she taking her medication?
Dejean: her heart is beating so quick
12:58 PM she's taking the same piles
12:59 PM me: ok
Dejean: but they don't do nothing to reduce the pain
1:00 PM she cried when i saw her
me: why did she cry?
where is her pain?
1:01 PM Dejean: because she's surffering
she can't hold her stomac
me: is she able to walk outside her house?
Dejean: when her heart beats
1:02 PM yes
but she's pretty afraid of her health condition
1:03 PM me: tell her to decrease her furosemide to twice each day...not three times each day...she needs to eat bananas also
Dejean: i asked her to save her money food
1:04 PM i don't let her call me
1:05 PM me: frandy, let her call you once each day...
tell her we are working hard to find her a hosptial...are her kids gone?
1:06 PM Dejean: so i am doing my best to visit her everyday
they are gone ok
me: thanks
Dejean: they are in her country side
me: can you take her to dr pilie this week?
is there anyone that can stay with her if she is admitted to the general hospital??
Dejean: ok i will
1:07 PM me: tell her not to give up and to kenbe fem...
Dejean: she wants to do that for now
she just needs your word
me: wants to do what?
1:08 PM Dejean: she wants to be hospitalized over there
me: tell her maria and i have not forgotten her...i sent her medication this will go to gertrude
Dejean: ok
1:09 PM me: tell her not to take enalapril for two days to see if she feels better...
Dejean: ok
i got you
me: see you later, friend...
1:10 PM Dejean: ok
me: also, you are going to get your computer this week from dr ebel...
Dejean: yes he told me that
1:11 PM me: au revoir...
Dejean: you know what? they are very good
me: yes they are...
Dejean: tell them i said "merci beaucoup"
me: dako..
Dejean: they really want to take me out of poverty
1:12 PM with only one thing
i like it
me: dako...
Dejean: thank you very much
thank you
me: du rien...
Dejean: let me write him back
me: dako...

Friday, October 10, 2008

The U.N. in Haiti...2008

UN Force in Haiti Likely to be Renewed
by JONATHAN M. KATZ, Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N Security Council will likely keep peacekeeping
troops in Haiti for another year, but will not heed Haitians' calls to shift
their focus to economic development in the storm-ravaged nation, the chief U.N.
envoy to the country said Wednesday.

The council held talks on renewing the Brazilian-led force. A vote is expected
on Oct. 14, the day before its current one-year mandate expires.

A draft resolution circulated Wednesday would extend the mandate while keeping
the number of troops at 7,060 and police at 2,091. It also lends support for a
high-level donor conference for Haiti and "strongly condemns the grave
violations against children affected by armed violence, as well as widespread
rape and other sexual abuse of girls."

U.N. Special Representative Hedi Annabi, who heads the four-year-old mission,
told the council that though Haiti was seriously set back by riots over soaring
food prices and devastating hurricanes this year, he was convinced Haiti can
overcome its problems with help.

While Haitian President Rene Preval has called on the force for more than two
years to provide long-term assistance with "fewer tanks and more tractors,"
Annabi said he would not request a shift to development work this year because
it is not the council's mission.

"I'm not going to ask for something that will never happen," Annabi told The
Associated Press as he entered the council chamber.

"We try on the margins of the mandate to do what we can, to do simple things
for people to meet emergency needs ... but we don't have a development mandate
and never will," Annabi said.

The force has been in place since the chaos following a 2004 rebellion and the
ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. It has provided the only real
security in Haiti ever since, fighting gangs, cracking down on kidnappers and
helping develop local police.

When riots sparked by high food prices and capitalized on by Preval's opponents
broke out in April, blue-helmeted soldiers fired tear gas and rubber bullets to
keep protesters from storming the presidential palace.

At least six Haitians and a U.N. police officer from Nigeria were killed in the
week of violence.

While the peacekeeping force costs $575 million this year, the U.N. has had a
harder time finding development money.

Just 16 percent of its $108 million appeal has been funded after four storms
left at least 793 dead and thousands homeless, the U.N. Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

Bridges have fallen and roads are flooded, making it impossible for many to
reach their fields or markets, but no money has been received for economic
recovery or infrastructure projects under the appeal.

Meanwhile, food prices continue to rise after 60 percent of the year's harvest
was wiped out.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Two Years Later, Angel Gets a Chance

Almost two years ago Haitian Hearts examined a 5 year old girl named Angel. Her exam and echocardiogram revealed congenital heart disease.

We did admit her to a Haitian children's hospital for pneumonia in November, 2006 and she reovered nicely.

We documented Angel's plight on this post.

Guess what?

Angel is having heart surgery TODAY in the States. There is a God.

Stanley, the other child described in the post, has been "lost to follow up".