Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not Exactly Like Children's Hospital of Illinois

Faces of Port-au-Prince

Eight years old...orphaned and hospitalized in Port-au-Prince.

Faces of Port-au-Prince

I didn't vote in the senate elections last week.

The government doesn't do anything for us. No jobs.

Faces of Port-au-Prince

I have tuberculosis.

Faces of Port-au-Prince

Hi everyone.

My mom delivered my twin and me on the floor of our room in Soleil. A midwife helped.

My sister is quite a bit bigger than I am and my mom told the doctor that I keep losing weight.

I am skinny. My weight is 13 pounds and I am 15 months old.

There is not enough food to go around.

White rice with a little bean sauce once a day is not making it for me. There are many more babies like me in Soleil...so maybe I shouldn't say too much.

Plus, my mom loves me.

Faces of Port-au-Prince

I live in Soleil but I am no different than you. With a little food and TLC, I am good to go.

I just need a chance.

Faces of Port-au-Prince

I am five days old.

My twin died when we were born on Saturday.

My mom has AIDS.

She is 30 years old and I have five older brothers and sisters in my shack in Soleil.

And mom doesn't have any breast milk to give me. So we come to the nutrition center and they give her powdered milk. But we have no clean water to mix with the powdered milk. But I am really hungry, so I don't care.

And you think you have problems?

Faces of Port-au-Prince

Pharmacy window at clinic in Soleil.

Faces of Port-au-Prince

Sick in Soleil.

Faces of Port-au-Prince

Neonatal unit in hospital in Cite Soleil.

Faces of Port-au-Prince

Twins in the malnutrition program in Cite Soleil.

Faces of Port-au-Prince

Pharmacy window in pediatric clinic in Cite Soleil.

The child has a high fever and just received an antibiotic injection.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Faces of Port-au-Prince

This child is hospitalized in Cite Soleil.

Children with malnutrition lack the vitamins to keep their skin healthy. When skin breaks down infection can occur. Purple colored medicine is applied to try and avoid infection.

Many children in Cite Soleil are starving...one week after the "senate elections" in Haiti.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I Need a Home



Hi everyone.

I won’t tell you my name or where I live to protect my privacy. But I am in a hospital in Haiti and am an orphan.

I am eight years old and have been in the orphanage for three years. I live with 19 other girls.

My mother couldn’t take care of my brothers and sisters and me and so we are scattered in different orphanages in PAP. We were from way out in the countryside. I don’t see my brothers and sisters any more.

I was transferred to this hospital from another hospital six days ago with a high fever and my face and arms were swelling. I am anemic too. However, I am feeling better with treatment and the swelling is down.

The doctors and nurses take good care of me here and my orphanage director came to see me on Sunday.

There are many kids like me in Haiti now. We suffer as Haiti suffers.

However, I would like a good home and family. One of my problems is I don’t even know if I am adoptable. You will have to contact the orphanage director to find out if he puts us up for adoption or not. We live in a poor orphanage, but it is better than where I came from.

Contact Dr. John at haitianhearts@gmail.com if you are interested in learning more about me. He has my address and name and that is about it.

And he will post my picture when he gets enough internet power to do so.

I need a home.

Mesi.

Mr. Marshall's E Mail To United States Consulate in Haiti


This post consists of a series of e mails sent back and forth from OSF’s attorney Douglass Marshall and the American Consulate in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

My comments follow individual e mails.

Quick Summary:

Mr. Marshall contacted the American Consulate in Haiti regarding Heurese Joseph. Heurese is a patient of mine in the Haitian Hearts program. And Mr. Marshall e mailed me that he phoned Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) about Heurese’s legal status in the States.

Heurese had heart surgery at OSF in Peoria in 2002, but she had been refused further care at OSF when she became ill in 2008. Cleveland Clinic accepted Heurese for life saving heart surgery. Heurese was operated in Cleveland in December, 2008.

As you can see below, Mr. Marshall presumably sent his first e mail to the Consulate on April 1, 2009.

At the same time Mr. Marshall was e mailing the Consulate, Gertrude the Haitian Hearts Coordinator in Haiti, was feverishly working on obtaining a medical visa (B2 visa) for another Haitian Hearts patient, Katina Antoine.

Katina is a 14 year old girl who had heart surgery at OSF in Peoria in 2002. I examined Katina in November, 2008 and she needed repeat heart surgery also. She was quite ill. Just like Heurese, Katina was denied further medical care by OSF and needed heart surgery quickly.

After four months of "begging and pleading" Haitian Hearts was able to get Katina accepted into Cleveland Clinic for heart surgery.

Gertrude told me that she had an unusually hard time getting the B2 visa for Katina. She went to the Consulate on three separate occasions and Katina’s visa application was denied twice. This was intensely difficult to accomplish and a huge physical strain on Katina who was very weak.

After many e mails and letter revisions by Cleveland Clinic, Katina’s visa was granted on April 14, 2009.

Did Mr. Marshall’s contact with the American Consulate have anything to do with slowing the visa approval for Katina? Will Mr. Marshall’s meddling negatively influence visa applications for future Haitian Hearts patients that are accepted at US medical centers and need the visa for travel for life saving heart surgery?

Here is the string of e mails. We have no documentation what was said during Mr. Marshall’s phone calls to Cleveland Clinic.




From: Douglass Marshall [mailto:dmarshall@hinshawlaw.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 1:32 PM
To: Port-au-Prince, NIV
Subject: B2 visa


I would like to find out who is listed as the financial support person and at what hospital Heurese Joseph was supposed to receive medical services. She lives in Port-au-Prince. I represent OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois, and Ms. Joseph has requested medical services at OSF. However, OSF did not sign a support affidavit for her. Her physician is Dr. John Carroll, and we believe that the Cleveland Clinic is listed as the supporting hospital.

Can you provide me with any information? Thank you.


My Comment:

Why is OSF interested in this information on a person who has applied for charity assistance? Do they make these kinds of inquiries on all patients who apply for charity assistance? When OSF treats people who aren’t U.S. citizens—much less reviews applications for charity assistance--do they typically contact the Consulate in the person’s home countries making inquires about their visa status?

What is most revealing about this e-mail is that OSF acknowledges that they know the answer to the question they are asking: Cleveland Clinic is the supporting hospital. This information was provided to OSF on the Ms. Joseph’s charity application form. So why would they write the Consulate to ask a question they already had the answer to?

In my opinion, they are trying to sabotage not only Ms. Joseph’s ability to get medical care but also that of future Haitian Hearts’ patients.




E Mail Response from the American Consulate in Port-au-Prince, April 8, 2009:

Mr. Marshall,

Could you please explain to me how you, as an attorney, are involved? I mean that as a very sincere question and for my own education. This the first time an attorney has been in touch with my office for this type of request.

Have you indeed contacted Dr. John Carroll and Cleveland Clinic? If not, I would suggest that you do so, since you seem already to have elicited that information from someone, I suppose Ms. Joseph.

Visa records are subject to confidentiality regulations. I will seek guidance and I would be very interested in any further information you can give me about how your hospital became involved.

Sincerely,
Nancy McCarthy
NIV Chief


My Comment:

Understandably, the Consulate official is confused and states that she has never received this type of a request before. She makes the sensible suggestion that OSF contact me and also points out that he already has the information he is requesting. She tells him nicely that visa records are confidential.



The following is an e mail from the Consulate to Cleveland Clinic and cc’d to me:

Dear (I left out the CC employee name),

I have received an inquiry about a patient to whom we issued a visa on your request, Heuruse Joseph, dob 08-08-1978.

The visa was issued on Nov 24, 2008 and she was to have arrived for urgent heart surgery on Dec. 27. Your information informed us that a stay of two months was required and the visa was so annotated. She actually entered the US on Nov 27, 2008. Did she in fact ever receive treatment through your program?

I have just received an inquiry from another hospital, in Peoria, stating that as of now she is applying to them for medical services.

Any light you can shed on the current situation would be appreciated.

Sincerely,
Nancy McCarthy
NIV Chief


My Comment:

As one can see, the Consulate is confused and is now e mailing CCF and even wonders if Heurese was operated at Cleveland.

CCF asked me to respond to the Consulate official. Here is my response:


Dear Ms. McCarthy,

Heurese Joseph had major heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic in December, 2008.

Heurese is being followed by me with blood tests and physical exams. The results of an upcoming echocardiogram will be reviewed by her heart surgeon at Cleveland Clinic to determine her immediate and long term care.

Heurese has applied to OSF's Charity Assistance Program in Peoria for an outpatient echocardiogram. She is waiting to hear from OSF.

Her I-94 document is valid until May 26, 2009.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

John A. Carroll, M.D


Here is the Consulate response to me on April 9, 2009:

Thanks for your reply. Could you please get in touch with the hospital in Peoria to clarify with them what is needed? They have written me directly for information.

Thanks,

Nancy McCarthy


However, OSF's Doug Marshall pressed forward with his inquiry about Heurese and her visa status:


From: Douglass Marshall [mailto:dmarshall@hinshawlaw.com]
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2009 7:29 PM
To: McCarthy, Nancy H
Subject: B2 Visa

Ms. McCarthy,

Thank you for replying. My firm is General Counsel to OSF Healthcare System, located in Peoria, Illinois. OSF owns and operates Saint Francis Medical Center. I am working with OSF to resolve the issue of Ms. Joseph's status in the United States, and Dr. Carroll's request for services to be rendered to Ms. Joseph by OSF.

For many years, Dr. John Carroll brought Haitian children to OSF through the Haitian Hearts Program in Central Illinois. OSF sponsored these children and cared for them. However, in approximately 2002, OSF stopped sponsoring Haitian children through this program. (OSF's employees still go to Haiti and provide free medical and healthcare services to children through another Central Illinois program called, Friends of the Children of Haiti. In addition, OSF treats children, not from just Haiti, but from all over the world).

In December, 2002, OSF contacted Consul General Roger Daley to make him aware that OSF was no longer sponsoring Dr. Carroll's patients. OSF received a reply on December 6, 2002 from Bisola Ojikutu, Vice-Consul, that the Consulate was surprised to learn that OSF was no longer sponsoring Dr. Carroll's patients. The Vice-Consul stated that medical visas would no longer be issued under OSF's name for Dr. Carroll's patients. Also involved in these discussion were Julia Stanley and William Rowland at the Embassy.

It is my understanding that in order to have a Non-Immigrant Medical B2 Visa approved, there has to be a letter from a sponsoring hospital, who will treat the patient. Even though OSF no longer sponsors his patients, Dr. Carroll continues to ask OSF to treat patients that are in the United States, presumably sponsored by some other hospital. Ms. Joseph is the most recent request by Dr. Carroll for services from OSF. OSF is pleased that Dr. Carroll is able to continue his treatment of Haitian children through sponsorship by other hospitals. However, such requests of OSF seem not to comply with the B2 Visa requirements. OSF would like your position on this matter.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


My Comment:

Why is OSF interested in resolving “the issue of Ms. Joseph’s status in the United States”? Why do they have any interest in this? And, in fact, who is it an “issue” for? It certainly isn’t an issue for the Catholic Church. On March 19, 2009, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to President Obama asking him to grant Haitians currently in the United States Temporary Protected Status. TPS would allow Haitian citizens who are already here to continue their stay. TPS is granted for citizens from countries that have experienced recent extreme hardship. Haiti would seem to definitely qualify.

So while the U.S. Bishops are requesting that Haitians be permitted to stay in the country, OSF is questioning the consulate on the visa status of a Haitian. Again, why?

Heurese Joseph is here legally on a B-2 visa. She did indeed have very successful heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic. She is residing in central Illinois and needs a follow up echocardiogram. She could go back to Cleveland to receive this test, but since she is here and OSF has a charity assistance program, she applied for an echo. All OSF had to say was no. Ms. Joseph never received any kind of answer from OSF. The only action the application prompted was a flurry of e-mails and phone calls from OSF to the consulate and Cleveland Clinic. They haven’t once evidenced any care or concern about Ms. Joseph’s medical concerns, though they are very concerned about her visa status.

Since OSF discontinued their involvement with Haitian Hearts and stopped caring for Haitian Hearts patients, I have never requested a visa for a patient and listed OSF as the treating hospital. I do continue to ask OSF if they will accept patients, WHO ARE TRAPPED IN HAITI WITH NO REAL MEDICAL CARE, especially those like Ms. Joseph and Katina Antoine who have been their patients before and whom they might presumably feel some kind of moral obligation. Though they have continued to say no (or more typically they don’t answer at all), I will continue to ask in the hopes that they change their mind. And even though Mr. Marshall intends the reader to believe that I request OSF’s help with patients that are in the States, this is false. Medical centers in the States that have accepted Haitian Hearts patients follow up with my patients and obtain echocardiograms and other post op testing as a matter of principal. Heurese is the first Haitian Hearts patient of mine in the United States that has filled out the OSF Charity Assistance application. (By the way, she never did hear from OSF about the echocardiogram she requested.)

My requests of them to provide medical care to Haitian patients obviously upsets OSF and is one of the reasons for their e-mails to the consulate. Though OSF might like it to be the case, there is no violation of a B-2 visa by my asking OSF for charity assistance. In fact, to maintain their tax exempt status, they are legally required to provide a certain amount of charity care. They can decline the request, but in my opinion, there is no good reason for them to contact the consulate other than to attempt to sabotage the ability of Ms. Joseph and future Haitian Hearts patients to receive medical care in the United States.

Mr. Marshall also leaves out the important fact that Haitian Hearts donated over 1.1 million dollars to OSF-Children’s Hospital of Illinois for the care of Haitian Hearts patients. His word “sponsorship” makes it sound as if the work for my Haitian kids was done pro bono. It was not.

To obtain passports, medical letters, and visas for one child can take up to three years in Haiti. The roads are not great, there has been much violence in the last several years, and communication with the families in Haiti can be very difficult. If Mr. Marshall tried to find one medical center and one visa for one child for heart surgery in the United States, he would immediately see the complexity of the situation. And if the child does not leave Haiti for heart surgery, it usually means death for that child.

OSF and Mr. Marshall need to understand this and understand that creating confusion at the level of the Consulate in Haiti and at Cleveland Clinic may indeed be life threatening for Haitian children that need heart surgery in the future.

One last note at a very human, "non-legal" level, Bisolo the Consulate Official referred to by Mr. Marshall above, was shaking and had tears in her eyes when I spoke with her at the Consulate in Haiti in 2003. She told me that Paul Kramer, Executive Director of Children’s Hospital of Illinois, had called the Consulate and told her that OSF was withdrawing support for Haitian Hearts and so she could not grant any more B2 visas for Haitian Hearts patients. Bisolo is from Africa and she knew this would mean the deaths of more Haitian kids. And it has.


Next e mail is from the Consulate to OSF's Mr. Marshall:

"McCarthy, Nancy H"
04/23/2009 09:30 AM

Thanks for your reply. It is very informative. I did give Dr. Carroll your contact information and I hope that at this point the two of you have a had a chance to sort this specific case out. I certainly understand your position. I have made note that your hospital no longer has a collaborative relationship with Dr. Carroll and I let my officers know, as well.

Consular officers must look at the information presented and come to a conclusion that the applicant meets the requirements or not – that includes looking at the purpose of travel and how that purpose will be accomplished financially.

Visas of any category allow the holder to apply for entry at the port of entry, and at that time the DHS official gives them an approved length of stay. However, the length of stay and the category of admission are determined by DHS, not be the visa itself, so if this applicant was admitted as a B2 for a period of, say, six months, that decision was made by DHS and we don’t have any control over it.

Again, thanks for your response and rest assured that we will not expect to see OSF being presented as a sponsor for medical treatment.

Sincerely,
Nancy McCarthy
NIV Chief

My Comment:

Her last sentence says it all. Bishop Jenky and Sisters of OSF, where are you?

---------------------



Both the U.S. Consulate and Cleveland Clinic asked me to contact OSF to clear up their confusion. Here is an open e-mail to Mr. Marshall:


Dear Mr. Marshall,

You make it clear in your communications that no possibility existed for OSF to grant my request for charity consideration for an echocardiogram for Heurese Joseph. Given that, the only defensible response to my request would have been the simple, sufficient, "No".

As the Consular officer noted, you seem to have had all the information there was.

What pretense do you make for contacting the Consulate, or Cleveland Clinic? The inquiry was not part of a sincere consideration of my application for Heurese.

Given OSF’s, and your own, history with me, the singular treatment of Heurese can only be seen for what it is, i.e., harassment and intimidation. As OSF’s attorney, your responsibility is to guide OSF away from legally questionable actions, not participate in them.

Regarding other statements you make:

1. "We wanted to ensure that the Consulate personnel understood that OSF is no longer a sponsor of Haitian Hearts" What support can you offer for belief that the Consulate might have thought otherwise?

2. "However, such requests of OSF seem not to comply with the B2 Visa requirements." In what way? Does Heurese’s visa restrict her from obtaining services from other than Cleveland Clinic? Does Heurese’s visa restrict her to Cleveland?

3. You have not provided your communication with Cleveland Clinic. Which did you contact first, Cleveland Clinic, or the Consulate? Whichever was the first, you received the answer that Cleveland Clinic was the sponsor of Heurese’s visa. There is no innocent explanation for contacting the second institution.

4. If you intend for OSF to investigate all charity applicants immigration status, then Heurese Joseph’s passport would have provided sufficient proof of hers. Heurese was already in the U.S., we were not requesting OSF’s involvement in Heurese obtaining a visa.

5. "OSF's employees still go to Haiti and provide free medical and healthcare services to children …" What pertinence does this have to your communication with the Consulate as a representative of OSF? What do the private, volunteer efforts of OSF employees have to do with OSF? (And Haitian Hearts brought many kids from that organization for heart surgery...now no one comes for heart surgery from that organization.)

6. An echocardiogram can hardly be considered treatment. It is a test. Heurese had surgery at Cleveland Clinic, as her visa application stated. There is no open-ended treatment being requested of OSF.

7. "OSF … is pleased that you have found hospitals that will sponsor Haitian Hearts patients" Your actions contradict your statement. Malicious interference does not demonstrate pleasure.

8. Why did OSF stop sponsoring children through Haitian Hearts? Sr. Judith Ann repeatedly assured me that OSF would never abandon any child.


John

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dear Haitian-American Community


Dear Haitian-American Community,


I am very worried about what is happening in Peoria.

OSF's lawyer, Douglass Marshall, has sent e mails to the United States Consulate in Port-au-Prince and to Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF).

The correspondence concerns the visa status of a patient of mine...Heurese Joseph.

Here is a sample of the confusion Mr. Marshall has created. This is a snippet of one interdepartmental e mail at CCF regarding Heurese from two days ago:

We talked last week about a patient named Heurese Joseph from Haiti. A hospital in IL is interested in knowing whether we approved or signed off on a B-2 visa form saying we would provide medical care to this patient. Is there a particular person in GPS that handles B-2 visas?


So what is being said here?

Mr. Marshall is asking CCF if they approved a B-2 visa for Heurese to travel to the United States for heart surgery at CCF. Why does Mr. Marshall and the hospital that he represents, OSF in Peoria, care whether CCF signed off on her visa? Her surgery was done in Cleveland, not Peoria.

The confusion created by Mr. Marshall runs through many departments at CCF as evidenced by the e mail stream.

The American Consulate was alarmed last week when Mr. Marshall contacted them about Heurese. The American Consulate contacted me. I responded and the Consulate thanked me and asked me if I would explain to Mr. Marshall.

Why did Mr. Marshall contact the American Consulate in Haiti about Heurese?

My great fear is that OSF and Mr. Marshall are "poisoning the well" at CCF and the American Consulate in Haiti. This could make it difficult for me to get Haitian Hearts patients out of Haiti and accepted by CCF in the future.

And my fear is supported by OSF's recent history. Several years ago OSF and Mr. Marshall blocked my Haitian patients from returning to OSF in Peoria even with full and partial charges offered for their medical care at OSF. Many Haitian kids have suffered and some have died.

I doubt Mr. Marshall will answer my e mail in the preceeding post.

I also doubt that our local Catholic Diocese, lead by Bishop Daniel Jenky, will do anything to stop OSF from creating further confusion. Bishop Jenky has been impotent regarding important moral and ethical issues, including Haitian Hearts patients, at OSF in the past. (I e mailed the Chancellor of the Peoria Diocese last night and asked her to forward my e mail to Bishop Jenky since I do not have Bishop Jenky's e mail address.)

Thus, sick Haitian children and young adults with serious heart problems, need your help. There are no meaningful checks and balances in Peoria regarding the above issues. Hardly anyone really cares about these Haitian children to step out of their comfort zone and challenge OSF and Mr. Marshall.

I depend on you to intervene to try and convince OSF to live the Catholic faith and abide by their mission philosophy and give the Haitian children a meaningful chance at life.

Sincerely,

John A. Carroll, M.D.
Peoria, Illinois

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

E Mail to OSF's Attorney

Dear Mr. Marshall,

The United States Consulate in Haiti and Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) have contacted me and asked me to answer your questions regarding Heurese Joseph and her visa status. They have labelled their e mails as "Urgent" and "Important".

Please send me all of your e mails to the Consulate and to CCF and I will try to clear up your confusion.

Many people around the country and in Haiti are interested in your inquiry regarding Heurese. So I will post this e mail on my web logs and will post your e mails as well. I will answer your inquiries to the best of my ability.

Sincerely,

John

OSF's Doug Marshall Continues to Confuse


Doug Marshall, OSF's lawyer, continues to confuse the American Consulate in Haiti and Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

The collateral damage will be Haitian children that need heart surgery. I fear they will be denied surgery in places other than Peoria.

What a shame.

Bishop Jenky, where are you?

Chloroquine Resistant Malaria in Haiti


This study was done at Hopital Albert Schweitzer in the Artibonite Valley in central Haiti.

Read the discussion carefully.

Katina


Dear Everybody,

Thank you all for pulling and praying for Katina.

Katina is 14 years old and had surgery at OSF in Peoria in 2002. As the years passed, her mitral valve repair failed, and Katina slipped back into heart failure. She couldn't walk the hills of Port-au-Prince near as well because she was weak and short of breath.

Katina needed a new mitral valve.

With the support and love of Senator Mike DeWine and his family, Cleveland Clinic accepted Katina for heart surgery. Gertrude in Haiti fought through the visa application process, and Mary cared for Katina as she flew with her from Haiti to the States.

Cleveland Clinic did a wonderful pre-op workup to assure that Katina would have the best results possible.

The day before surgery Katina had a large double lumen catheter placed in a large vein and underwent an exchange transfusion so her blood would be healthier and able to withstand the rigors of bypass.

Katina talked with her courageous parents in Haiti the night before surgery and was very animated on the phone.

Yesterday morning Katina received a new mitral valve. And by late afternoon Katina was very alert, pointing to her breathing tube, while clearly indicating that she wanted it removed.

Many thanks to Katina's host families in Cleveland for having the heart, soul, and faith to bring her to this point.

Katina is not home yet, but will get there. We can't forget that even though she only weighs 66 pounds, she is Haitian.

Dr. John

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Peoria has a Serious Problem



Five weeks ago Haitian Hearts patient Heurese Joseph wrote a letter to OSF.

The letter is here and Heurese was requesting an outpatient echocardiogram to be done at HeartCare Midwest. OSF bought HeartCare Midwest last year.

Heurese still does not have an answer from OSF regarding whether they will do the echocardiorgram. Heurese does not have the funds to pay the $1609.00 fee that OSF charges for the echocardiogram.

Several weeks ago I received a call from a lady at OSF. She works for the Charity Assistance Program.

The lady asked me only two questions: Was Heurese here on a “medical visa” and what institution accepted her for heart surgery. I anwered her questions right away but thought that her questions were unusual... especially the question regarding whether Heurese was here on a “medical visa”. I wondered what that had to do with Heurese’s request for assistance to obtain an echocardiogram.

I asked the lady from OSF if a decision had been made whether the Sisters would allow an echocardiogram to be done for Heurese through the Charity Assistance Program. She said that the decision had not been made and implied that Heurese’s straight forward request was still being reviewed. She was nervous and she seemed to want to get off the phone as quickly as possible. (I asked for her name before she hung up and she gave it to me.)

Last year Heurese was dying in Haiti. She gave away her children to family members as she prepared to die. I documented her status on this post and I wrote this letter and sent it to important people at OSF and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.

I did not hear back from OSF regarding Heurese.

However, Haitian Hearts was able to provide Heurese with months of medication and were able to examine her in Port-au-Prince and obtain an echocardiogram ($75 US). She had a leaky aortic valve that had been repaired at OSF in 2002, but now the aortic valve needed to be replaced. She also had a hole in the ventricular septum, just below her aortic valve, that needed to be shored up because there was a leak across it.

Heurese was in congestive heart failure. Haiti had deadly food riots and four tropical storms in 2008 and Heurese was not eating much. She was quite thin, but had not given up hope.

Haitian Hearts moved Heurese to a guest house in the capital where she could eat every day and take her medication and just try and hold on.

Heurese did hold on and Cleveland Clinic Foundation accepted Heurese for heart surgery. We were able to renew Heurese’s Haitian passport, obtain a non immigrant visa, and purchase a airlines ticket for her to travel to the United States for heart surgery.

Heurese flew to Cleveland in December, 2008 and underwent heart surgery. She is doing great thanks to Cleveland Clinic and her host family in Cleveland.

However, the other day, as documented on Elaine Hopkins Peoria Story, I received this urgent e mail from the American Consulate in Port-au-Prince:


URGENT - From Non-Immigrant visa section, Port-au-Prince


McCarthy, Nancy H
Apr 8


Dear

I have received an inquiry about a patient to whom we issued a visa on your request, Heuruse Joseph, dob 08-08-1978.

The visa was issued on Nov 24, 2008 and she was to have arrived for urgent heart surgery on Dec. 27. Your information informed us that a stay of two months was required and the visa was so annotated. She actually entered the US on Nov 27, 2008.

Did she in fact ever receive treatment through your program?

I have just received an inquiry from another hospital, in Peoria, stating that as of now she is applying to them for medical services.

Any light you can shed on the current situation would be appreciated.

Sincerely,

Nancy McCarthy
NIV Chief


I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

OSF had contacted the US Consulate again regarding Haitian Hearts patients. This time Heurese had been mentioned.

I answered the e mail from the Consulate official immediately and told her that Heurese had been operated in Cleveland and that her visa was up to date.

Heurese had documented in her letter to OSF’s Charity Assistance Program that she had been operated and all she needed was an outpatient echocardiogram in Peoria.

So why was the American Consulate confused after OSF contacted them about Heurese?

I asked the Consulate Chief who from OSF inquired about Heurese. The Consulate official responded that it was Douglass Marshall, OSF’s lawyer.

History was repeating itself here in Peoria to the detriment of Haitians suffering heart problems.

Several years ago Paul Kramer, Executive Director of Children’s Hospital of Illinois, notified the Consulate and asked them not to grant any more non immigrant visas for my Haitian Hearts patients to travel to OSF for care. And Mr. Marshall followed that with a certified letter to me that OSF would not care for any patient referred by me to OSF. And this included Haitian Hearts patients.

Since that time, due to OSF’s refusal to care for their Haitian Hearts patients, even with partial charges and full charges offered for their care, some young Haitian patients of mine have died, and others like Heurese have been suffering greatly.

But for Mr. Marshall to notify the Consulate regarding Heurese seemed quite cruel and unusual. Heurese's children are waiting for her in Haiti.

Heurese had survived poverty, heart disease, Haitian gangs, the UN forces, and four tropical storms. But it hasn't been easy for her.

Why would OSF’s Mr.Marshall call the Consulate regarding Heurese when Heurese made it very clear in her letter that she was operated and all she needed was a 15 minute outpatient echocardiogram? And OSF says that they refuse no one, so it should have been a no-brainer. Right?

Something in Mr. Marshalls e mail concerning Heurese obviously bothered the Consulate official. What could he have written? Why would the Consulate official have sent me an “URGENT” e mail?

Was Mr. Marshall worried that Heurese would not get her echocardiogram at OSF?
And does Mr. Marshall e mail other Consulates from around Central America when other patients with odd names apply to the OSF Sisters Charity Assistance Program? Has OSF become a branch of Homeland Security?

Are the Sisters aware of Mr. Marshall's actions? Is the OSF Board of Directors aware of Mr. Marshall's actions?

Peoria has a serious problem. Too many people are silent and afraid. They are afraid for their jobs and their health insurance and their status in the community.

The Journal Star in Peoria is aware of Heurese and her problems here, but as usual, the Journal is protecting Peoria’s largest medical center. OSF is the Journal Star’s largest advertiser too.

The OSF Sisters need to be ashamed of their medical center's actions against Haitian Hearts’ patients. OSF’s ethicists and chaplains and doctors and nurses are cringing behind the scenes. Yet they say nothing in a public forum. If they all stood together, they could send a message safely and effectively.

And where is Bishop Jenky and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria? They are hiding as usual. Bishop Jenky fears OSF. So the hundreds of people that Bishop Jenky controls around the Diocese have to be silent also.

Several weeks ago while Cardinal George was appealing to President Obama to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for illegal Haitians in this country, OSF's Mr. Marshall was notifying the US Consulate in Haiti that a poor Haitian lady was requesting a tiny amount of medical help here in Peoria.

OSF's actions and the silence that surrounds them is very dangerous--not only for Haitians but for all of us.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Elections in Haiti this Weekend


Fanmi Lavalas Banned, Voter Apprehension Widespread

Jeb Sprague

NEW YORK, Apr 17 (IPS) - Weekend senatorial elections in Haiti are mired in controversy as Fanmi Lavalas (FL), the political party widely backed by the poor majority, has been disqualified.

As the global financial crisis unfolds, U.N. officials in New York City and Port-au-Prince are struggling to defend a troubled electoral process while gathering donor aid.

Meanwhile, a recent study by the Florida-based advocacy organisation Haiti Priorities Project (HPP) has found widespread popular apprehension and disaffection among Haitians ahead of the upcoming senatorial elections.

During eight days in early April, seventy HPP volunteers, 10 from the United States and 60 from Haiti, dispersed across the country. Their goal was to survey how people viewed the upcoming election.

"Only 5 percent of potential voters nationwide say they are ready to go to the polls in order to elect 12 senators for the upcoming elections on April of this year," said the group in a press release. Many of the respondents had never heard of the candidates fielded in the election.

Jacob François of the HPP explained to IPS, "We organised our census primarily through town hall meetings, where organisers spoke to people in groups and individually. From this we tallied the opinions of what was estimated to be 65,000 people out of a population of 8 million."

In February it was announced that Haiti’s Conseil électoral provisoire (CEP) would not recognise candidates from FL in the upcoming senatorial elections. The reason given was that the candidates - listed in two different slates - did not have the signature of the party’s head, former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was ousted by the George W. Bush administration in 2004.

FL is in a process of reorganisation that even sympathetic observers have termed "disarray." After the initial failure of the two separate FL slates to gain CEP approval, the factions came together agreeing upon a unified slate. The slate was signed by Emmanuel Cantave - keeper of the party's seals - who has approved FL slates for the past 13 years.

Still, the CEP rejected the list. Its stated objection was that the list lacked Aristide’s signature; giving just days notice, it requested a non-fascimilied signature from Aristide, exiled in Pretoria, South Africa.

U.N. officials initially urged the CEP to include all parties.

Praising the efforts of FL to be included within the electoral process, the U.N. representative for a Security Council delegation, Jorge Urbina, stated that they "were glad to hear from (Lavalas) that they are using every legal instrument in their power to reverse this decision."

In a press release, the secretary general of the Organisation of American States, José Miguel Insulza, stated, "I cannot help but express my concern about the possibility that an important group of Haitian citizens might feel that they are not being represented in this process."

By early March, Haitian Judge Jean-Claude Douyon had ruled that the CEP could not disqualify the FL candidates. Concluding that "[t]he political rights of the Lavalas have been violated," he ordered the "reintegration of candidates of that party, if they each individually meet the legal standards."

However, not long after, Judge Douyon was mysteriously removed from his post, and the CEP disregarded his ruling.

In recent weeks, following a visit from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a consensus cemented among government elites to go forward with elections without FL. Criticism of the exclusion ceased.

In late March, U.N. press agencies reported that 100 tonnes of election equipment had arrived in the country, divided into 12,000 voting kits.

CEP and U.N. officials now lay blame at the feet of ousted President Aristide. The U.N.'s Urbina says that FL's exclusion was due to Aristide’s unwillingness to sign.

Some proponents say Aristide, who has been kept from returning to the country, does not wish to give his support to elections under which holdovers from the U.N.-backed dictatorship of 2004-2006 remain and the potential for fraud and vote rigging are high.

Top leaders of his movement have been systematically targeted, in part explaining FL’s internal dissension. The highest former office holder of FL, Yvon Neptune, spent two years in jail, and has a case hanging over his head despite it being ordered dismissed two years ago by a Haitian appeals court, and almost a year since the Inter-American Court of Human Rights told Haiti to halt the case. Another FL leader, Father Gérard Jean-Juste, who spent seven months in jail with untreated cancer, is sick in a hospital in Florida.

At the same time, FL political prisoners, such as Ronald Daulphin, remain in jail after five years without being tried. A justice process for thousands imprisoned and killed under the interim government remains out of sight.

Even so, since Aristide's ouster, a few senators have, without Aristide's endorsement, run in elections claiming to represent FL without any objection made by the CEP. Only in recent months, with violence decreased, has FL come together nationally to participate in elections.

François of the HPP, discussing the U.N. and Haitian government's actions, explains, "They just do not learn. They can’t exclude a major party in Haiti from an election, that's total exclusion. It will undermine the entire process. In addition, the CEP has no business going into the internal affairs of Lavalas."

The tenuous political alliance between Haiti’s President René Préval and FL has collapsed.

Elected in 2006, Préval had the support of the impoverished majority who hoped, through his candidacy, for a return to normality and an end to post-coup repression that left thousands dead.

Once elected, critics say, Préval's administration imposed the priorities of foreign donors and elites. The emphasis today is on garment exportation.

Thousands of Lavalas activists have mobilised against the disqualification, more demonstrations are planned for the weekend.

With the credibility of the upcoming elections badly damaged, foreign donors have attempted to smooth things over with a hastily organised conference pledging aid disbursement.

Speaking to donors and NGOs, whose influence in Haiti is colossal, U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon explained, "Haiti is at a turning moment...by acting now, we will protect the considerable investment and progress we have made so far."

Meanwhile, grassroots Haitian activists, such as a Ronique, a member of a women’s collective in Cité Soleil, condemn what they claim has been a thwarting of democracy led by Préval, the CEP and the U.N.

"In the matter of elections, basically what you have is a decision to explode Fanmi Lavalas, that is the way we in Haiti see it, that this was a decision by the international community with the complicity of President René Préval to get rid of and exclude Lavalas from the election because everyone knows FL is the majority party in the country," she said in a radio interview.

She added, "People are not enthused, it is a complete silence around this election. You don't see candidates going through the neighbourhoods where the people are suffering. Nobody is interested because they don't see themselves participating in this process."

With sadness in her voice she mentions Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, one of the most internationally recognised FL leaders. He was abducted in late 2007, just after announcing his intention to run in senatorial elections, and remains missing. A leading human rights activist, he worked tirelessly to bring former death squad leaders to justice.

IPS has found that one death squad leader has been living in a luxurious hotel overlooking Port-au-Prince. Louis Jodel Chamblain, a founder of the infamous FRAPH death squad that murdered and raped thousands during the early 1990s, was interviewed by IPS a year ago at the Ibo Lele Hotel. Within earshot, U.N. officials and NGO dignitaries dined and slept.

*Wadner Pierre in Miami contributed to this story.

Photo by John Carroll.

(END/2009)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton on Haiti


Remarks at the Haiti Donors Conference
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Inter-American Development Bank
Washington, DC
April 14, 2009


Well, thank you very much, and I congratulate the IDB, President Moreno and the staff for hosting this important donors conference. I thank Secretary General Ban Ki-moon not only for the United Nations commitment, but your personal commitment with the recent trip that you took with my husband to Haiti. And I congratulate the prime minister for an excellent plan that was laid out and clearly explained, and now presented to all of us. And to Minister Oda, thank you and your government for linking the aid that we hope comes from this donors conference with the effectiveness that needs to be present.

Now, for some of us, Haiti is a neighbor, and for others of us, it is a place of historic and cultural ties. But for all of us, it is now a test of resolve and commitment. Now, some may ask, and I am sure there are some in my country and my Congress who may ask, why a small nation in the middle of the Caribbean should command so much attention. Why should countries in the Western Hemisphere, Europe, the Middle East and Asia offer assistance to Haiti in the midst of a global economic downturn (inaudible)? And I think the answer is very clear. Because what happens in Haiti affects far beyond the Caribbean and even the region. This small nation of 9 million people is on a brink. It is on a brink of either moving forward with the help of the collective community or falling further back. And it, as well as this region, will be shaped to a large extent by the decisions that we make.

On a personal note, my husband and I went to Haiti for the first time shortly after we were married, so we have a deep commitment to Haiti and the people of Haiti. Our homes are filled with art from Haiti. We have friends who hail from Haiti. But it is not only my personal concern that brings me here today. On behalf of the United States, we are here because Haiti is a neighbor and a friend. Our ties reach back to the early years of both of our nations. They have endured for generations, through our struggles for independence, through the defeat of slavery in Haiti which inspired slaves and abolitionists in my country, to the hundreds of thousands of Haitians who have emigrated to the United States and have strengthened us through their contributions in politics and business and health and education, in science, sports, and culture – the benefits of which I experienced firsthand as a senator representing New York, which has a vibrant Haitian American community.

We are also committed to creating a hemisphere in which every nation, no matter their present level of wealth or their current political circumstances, is moving in the same direction, toward greater peace, prosperity, freedom, and opportunity. With Haiti, we have the chance through global cooperation and collaboration to stand in solidarity with a government and a people who are seeking that way forward, a nation where small investments and assistance from other countries are beginning to reap dividends in economic growth, wider access to education and healthcare, stronger governmental institutions, greater safety and security, and a higher quality of life that results when material conditions improve.

Now, today Haiti is the poorest nation in our hemisphere, with one of our region’s biggest gaps between the haves and the have-nots. But just two years ago, in 2007, Haiti achieved the highest rate of real economic growth since the 1990s. It is on track to reach the completion point for the IMF’s Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in the next few months. Now, that will mean that significant debt relief is on the way, freeing up approximately $4 million a month, money that Haiti can invest directly in improving the lives of its people and building futures of self-sufficiency and confidence.

Haiti does have the region’s highest rate of HIV/AIDS, the highest rate of maternal mortality and child mortality. But the numbers of maternal deaths have stabilized and the numbers of HIV infections and child deaths are coming down.

Not long ago, from the 1950s until the 1980s, Haiti endured a brutal military dictatorship. The U.S. removed a military dictatorship in 1995, clearing the way for democracy. And after several years of political disputes, common in any country making a transition, Haiti began to see progress. And the national and presidential elections in 2006 really moved Haiti’s democracy forward. What the president and the prime minister are seeking is to maintain a strong commitment to democratic governance which will take another step forward with elections for the senate on Sunday.

Now, like many nations, Haiti struggles against crime, particularly the global scourge of drug trafficking. But reforms to improve policing, strengthening the justice system and fighting corruption are now underway. And a peacekeeping force, led so ably by Brazil, has helped to bring stability to many communities.

Haiti made these strides through the efforts of its government and its citizens and many of the nations and institutions represented here. This represents the full range of resources and relationships, from businesses and universities to NGOs and religious and cultural groups, as well as committed individuals, which is at the heart of smart power.

The trajectory of progress for Haiti, however, has been undermined by the combined winds of hurricanes and the global economic recession. So Haiti is in danger of stalling. This conference gives us all an opportunity to reignite its path to progress by working as a team with Haiti at the helm to advance a comprehensive, long-term strategy for Haiti’s growth, by coordinating hemispheric and international efforts, by targeting clear goals, by setting benchmarks to gauge our progress, and deploying our diverse skills and resources efficiently and effectively.

The president and the prime minister have identified what Haiti needs to stay on track. And with these priorities as our guide, we can make progress. Now is the time to step up our investment in Haiti, not just because the situation is dire and because the consequences of inaction could lead to significantly greater human suffering, but because Haiti has a real opportunity to make substantial progress. It has a plan to do so, and it has demonstrated the determination to carry it out.

Just think, for $150 we can pay to send one Haitian child to school for a year, or we can immunize 15 children. That is a tiny fraction of the costs of solving these problems if they escalate over time. The United States will target our support toward four areas that President Preval and Prime Minister Pierre-Louis have requested, all of which are essential for national and regional progress. First, the Haitian people need and deserve to be secure. They must be able to travel safely to work and school, and participate in civic lives without fear of violence. Second, the country needs stronger infrastructure, particularly roads, which are the circulatory system of any robust economy. And going along with the infrastructure needs is the need for jobs. So we can accomplish two things at once: putting people to work, building roads and other infrastructure throughout the country.

Third, last year’s hurricanes blew a hole in the government’s budget. Now Haiti is facing a huge deficit which will make it harder for them to meet their own goals and the needs of their people. Their debt obligations further constrain their ability to lay the groundwork for the future. And fourth, agriculture – you heard the prime minister refer to it – once again, providing a strong agricultural base for the people of Haiti to become more self-sufficient, as well as to move toward reforestation as part of that agricultural initiative, will give Haiti tools for growth it desperately needs. Now on each of these issues, we will lend our assistance and we seek partners with other nations to maximize our collective impact.

First, security. As you heard, the Secretary General referred to Cité Soleil. It was a no-man’s land. Now there is a new sense of security and freedom in its streets. The Haitian National Police have been supported in their work by the UN peacekeeping operations. Those peacekeeping forces are more than half from Latin American and Caribbean countries. And with Brazil’s lead of determination and skill, there has been an upgrade in both police functions and basic security.

But criminal networks operating in Haiti have not been eliminated. They continue to fight drug traffickers who have made the country a transit point for illegal drugs heading to the United States, Canada and Europe. We will give $2 million to fight drug trafficking through the Merida Initiative, a plan conceived by Mexico, Central America and the United States. This money will fund a secure communications network for the Haitian police, provide a maritime base, vehicles, and operational support for police drug units, provide training to promote cross-border cooperation between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and sharpen the investigation and prosecution of drug crimes.

Once security is established, opportunity can take root, and nations from Canada to Spain to Japan offered generous assistance to help repair the damage from last year’s storms. But now is the time to take the step beyond – beyond peacekeeping and disaster relief to long-term reconstruction and development. Haiti has the highest unemployment rate in our hemisphere. Seventy percent of its people do not have jobs. It also has one of the region’s highest growth rates. Together, these trends have created what Paul Collier has called a youth tsunami. Nearly one million young people are expected to come into the job market in the next five years.

To spur the creation of jobs, the United States passed the HOPE Act of 2006 to give garments made in Haiti tariff-free access to U.S. markets. Last October, we did extend this trade preference for another decade. Apparel is one of the largest sectors in Haiti’s economy, and we see great possibility for job creation in this field, and we are especially gratified by Brazil’s interest in supporting the Haitian apparel industry.

But to build a diversified economy, Haiti needs more than trade deals. It needs an infrastructure to support the flow of goods and services. The roads in Haiti, for anyone who has ever visited, are beyond inadequate. Many communities are isolated, in the year 2009, by the lack of passable roads. That prevents people from holding jobs, children from going to schools, farmers from bringing crops to market. Better roads are essential.

Haiti also needs better roads and tourist areas to promote that sector of the economy. In addition, urgent infrastructure needs include digging water catchments to prevent floods, completing a garment workers training center, and creating canals to help irrigation. As part of the $287 million in nonemergency assistance we will provide Haiti this year, we have authorized $20 million in aid to generate jobs in building roads and infrastructure. And we know that there are other ways we can use this money, but we will be more effective if we coordinate together so that we are all working off the same page, the page of the recovery plan that the prime minister described.

Now even the most responsible government in the world cannot prevent a natural disaster. The hurricanes didn’t just wash away crops and houses. They washed away months of government planning. Haiti is facing an approximately $50 million budget deficit which could undermine its plans. We will provide $20 million to help pay Haiti’s upcoming debt service obligations and to free up other resources, and we invite other donors to join us in taking care of this budget deficit.

Now fourthly, there is an urgent need for sustainable agriculture and food security. The combined effects of rising food prices globally and the destruction of crops of hurricanes have exposed millions of Haitians to malnutrition and destructive effects on health and productivity. We all know the effect of malnourished people. They’re too weak to work. Children are too hungry to learn in school. So food security is not only a source of suffering; it is a direct threat to economic growth and global stability.

Here, we need to be creative. Now, the United States will provide a $15 million in-kind contribution of food to help Haiti as it rebuilds, but that is not an answer. We need to revitalize Haitian agriculture. We need to reforest the upper watersheds. We need to borrow from the intelligence of other nations to learn how, as we help rebuild Haiti, it can become more energy independent.

Brazil has shown the extraordinary energy efficiency of using sugar cane. What other crops could be used in Haiti? We know Haiti, like the Dominican Republic, have some of the windiest areas in our hemisphere. What more could be done to promote wind energy and solar energy? We are ready to partner with any of you who have such good ideas working with the Haitian Government. But think of the people we could put to work doing the work that Haiti needs.

Now, this work is not only a matter for governments, but it is a mission for the people of our country. I’ve heard from many individuals and groups who care deeply about Haiti, but they don’t know how to invest their time and money in a way to make a real impact. We will, through our government, help to create a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that the Haitian Diaspora and the United States can contribute to. And we will help coordinate other NGOs, particularly those that have been started by Haitian Americans who want to give back and are looking for the best way forward.

When I think about all of that eroded bare land that I see when I fly over Haiti – and I can always tell where the Dominican Republic starts, because that’s where the green starts – I think about what other countries have done to reforest. When our daughter was born, a dozen people paid to plant trees in Israel in her honor. Think of what we could do for individuals to pay to plant trees in Haiti, and then to pay Haitians to learn foresting techniques to nurture and grow those trees, and to come with alternatives to burning wood so people can be warm and cook their food. All of this is connected, and we’ve got to start making those connections working together.

Now, we know from empirical data that small investments go a long way, and I’ve seen this for myself in Haiti. In addition to traveling there as a newlywed, I traveled as First Lady. I traveled out into the country to meet a doctor who had emigrated to the United States, joined the United States Air Force, had become a colonel, but then wanted to give back to the country of his birth – return to Haiti to his hometown in Pignon, to run a center for health, women’s literacy and microcredit. They had few resources, but they offered a comprehensive range of services to thousands of clients.

I have visited a family planning clinic, one of the great urgent needs in Haiti, where young people were trained to educate their peers about how to protect their health and prevent teen pregnancy. And I have met with women from a group called Women in Democracy who had attended a global conference on women’s leadership that I helped to sponsor ten years ago in Montevideo. When they returned home, thanks to the Vital Voices network that they joined, they began to help support Haitian women running for office, who wanted to see a better life for their own families. Eleven years later, their organization is growing strong. They hold trade fairs for women entrepreneurs, run civic education programs to teach women their rights, support women journalists and build even more connections to the broader region. These Haitian women remind us of the resilience of the people of Haiti, but also that we will never achieve real progress unless we reach deep into Haitian society.

When I think of the successful Haitian Americans who serve in state legislatures and on city councils, who populate our hospitals as doctors and nurses from New York to Florida, who run businesses, who are creative entrepreneurs, there is no reason that could not have happened in Haiti. Talent is universal; opportunity is not. And it is our task through this donors conference to open the door of opportunity for Haitians and to send a message of what does occur through the power of collaboration.

Every poor nation that has worked hard to gain a foothold in the global economy that has been knocked off their footing is looking to see what we can do together. I’m confident that we will make not only significant pledges here, but we will match those pledges by our follow-up efforts and our coordination, and that we will demonstrate to ourselves as well as to the people of Haiti and far beyond that we can, working together, make a significant difference. Thank you all very much.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Violence Spikes in Soleil


VIOLENCE SPIKES IN CITÉ SOLEIL
by Kim Ives & Jean Baptiste Jean Ristil, Haiti Liberte, April 8 - 14, 2009,
Vol. 2, No. 38
http://www.haitiliberte.com

One week after the inauguration of a refurbished police station there, gang
wars have erupted in the seaside shanty town of Cité Soleil. The violence
began on the morning of April 6 when sweatshop magnate Andy Apaid visited Cité
Soleil.

On that morning, several raras, the mobile musical bands that chant topical
refrains to throbbing horns and pounding drums, began circulating around Cité
Soleil playing songs to protest Apaid's presence in Cité Soleil, which was a
bastion of support for former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Prior to and during the February 29, 2004 coup against Aristide, Apaid had
financed gang leader Thomas Robinson, alias Labany , who battled pro-Lavalas
groups in Cité Soleil. Apaid was also the leader of the so-called Group of
184, a National Endowment for Democracy-supported "civil society" opposition
group which played a key destabilizing role in the 2004 coup. Labany was
betrayed and killed by one of his lieutenants, Evens Jeune, in 2005. Jeune is
in the National Penitentiary since early 2007 awaiting trial.

Among the raras in the streets of Cité Soleil that morning were Bay Kaw t,
Shalom, Afrikrara, and Medellin. As the bands arrived near the former base of
Evens Jeune, a gang leader and former soldier of Jeune named Jimmy forbade Bay
Kaw t, the rara from the Bo Kanteen neighborhood, to circulate in the area of
Upper Boston, the neighborhood of Medellin. For an unknown reason, Jimmy then
struck another man named Ricardo, a bodyguard for Haitian hip-hop artist Wyclef
Jean and a member of Jean's NGO, Yele-Haiti. Jimmy then drew a pistol and began
shooting, causing others in the large crowd to do the same.

Soon there was a full-scale war between Upper Boston, the neighborhood of Jimmy
and Medellin, and Lower Boston, the neighborhood of Ricardo and Bay Kaw t.
Jimmy's gang came into Lower Boston and began destroying houses and shops,
beating up people, and shooting in the air. Jimmy went to Ricardo's house on
Rue La Bonté, behind the National School, and completely destroyed it. Jimmy
also beat up another man named Frantz Siyou, also a member of Wyclef Jean's
Yele-Haiti. Many people around Rue La Bonté hid in their homes or fled the
neighborhood altogether.

Meanwhile, a gang from Lower Boston, headed by a leader called Toutouba, went
to Upper Boston where they fired shots, threw bottles, destroyed property and
made threats. Despite much shooting, which continued through the day and late
into the night, there were no reported deaths.

Quickly the police and occupation troops from the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti
(MINUSTAH) intervened. They arrested several people, but most of them were
released after being briefly detained at the new police station (see Haiti
Liberté, Vol. 2, No. 37, 4/1/2009)

On the morning of April 7, the police and MINUSTAH made another show of force
in Cité Soleil, driving around in trucks and armored vehicles.

Haitian Police Inspector Rosemond Aristide declared that the police would
conduct such operations in all of Cité Soleil's hot spots until the
disturbances were quelled.

But historically, such police repression and intimidation tend to make matters
worse.

For example, since April 5, gangs in the Cité Soleil neighborhoods of Cité
Lumi re and Ruelle Sonson have been battling gangs in the Revolcy neighborhood.
Heavy police and MINUSTAH intervention has had little or no effect in stemming
that fighting.

Meanwhile, insecurity is growing. On April 7, around 8 p.m., gunmen armed with
9 millimeter pistols robbed two small food merchants, Madame Jean and Madame P, in Projet Drouillard. Route National 1, which runs by Cité Soleil, is also
still controlled by bandits, despite the new police station only one hundred
yards away.

Some have speculated that the spike in violence is a reaction to the reinforced
police and MINUSTAH presence in Cité Soleil, where money is being spent on
repression rather than relief of the population's every deepening misery.
Others conjecture that the police and MINUSTAH may be fomenting the violence to
justify their presence and the use of their new anti-riot gear and equipment,
provided by the U.S. military contractor DynCorp.

(Photo by John Carroll)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Beyond the Begging Bowl...by Paul Collier


www.guardian.co.uk

Beyond the begging bowl

Haiti need not be a failing state.

Haiti is on all the lists of "failing states". Yet the persistence of its troubles demonstrates not so much their intractability as the past incompetence of the international community in helping to tackle them. Haiti should not be a failing state: its fundamentals such as neighbourhood are remarkably favourable. Its problems are fixable if the international community moves beyond gestures to a co-ordinated use of a range of policies: security, trade, governance and aid.

Like most failing states, Haiti is structurally insecure and periodically torn apart by political violence. It has one of the fastest rates of population growth in the world and a chronic shortage of jobs. Unsurprisingly, with few jobs and agricultural incomes in decline, the aspiration of young Haitians has been emigration. The last year has compounded these problems: the world food crisis toppled the government; the country was hit by four hurricanes and because of the US recession, 30,000 illegal immigrants are about to be repatriated.

International policies have been unco-ordinated, yet fortuitously, the most difficult have already been put in place. Thanks to $5bn and 9,000 Brazilian troops who - under the auspices of the UN - have been keeping the peace, there is now effective security. Brazilians turned out to be just the right military for this task. Previous peacekeepers had baulked at entering Cité Soleil. When the Brazilians saw it, their reaction was: "That's a favela: it's only seven blocks!"

Haitian emigration has enabled a trade policy to develop. Firms in the bottom billion need privileged access to our markets and this is usually difficult to negotiate. The large Haitian diaspora in America has become an effective political lobby: in 2006 Congress passed the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act (HOPE), which has given Haiti the best trade deal on earth, with duty-free, quota-free access and generous rules of origin guaranteed for a decade.

The security provided by peacekeeping and the market access provided by HOPE are a window of opportunity: potentially Haiti could now break into the US garments market. In Bangladesh the sector provides more than 2m jobs; in Haiti, a 100,000 jobs would be transformative.

The remaining policy planks are governance and aid. The governance agenda for exporting garments is not daunting - if the Bangladeshi government can do it, so can the Haitian. The governance of ports and customs needs improving, and the export zones need exemptions from legislation that prevents the private generation of electricity and multi-shift working. These changes would have political costs, but if they create jobs, the government is willing to make them.

But security, market access and governance are not enough: manufacturing needs infrastructure. Haiti's two existing garments clusters demonstrate that infrastructure will be decisive. The cluster in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, is struggling whereas that in Ounaminthe, in the remote north-east, is thriving. The explanation is that although Ounaminthe is remote from the rest of Haiti, it is right on the border with the Dominican Republic. The garment manufacturers get their electricity by plugging into the Dominican Republic power grid, and export their products through its roads and ports. Infrastructure is needed for export zones in the major population centres.

Infrastructure is expensive and so it needs aid, especially now that international private finance has dried up. But to date, even when they chose infrastructure, donors neglected the obvious. Trapped into a mentality of projects, they ignored the issue of maintenance, so the same infrastructure has been built again and again. One road has been rebuilt three times in 25 years, the last time with a $170m loan, and now needs rebuilding again. More seriously, provision has not been linked to a larger strategy. For example, in Port-au-Prince there is a donor plan for electricity, yet because of the insistence on using new equipment, the cost of the power it would produce is triple that paid by the Chinese firms with which Haiti must compete. Nobody has worked out what infrastructure would be appropriate for the HOPE opportunity to succeed.

Security, market access, governance and aid: each is dependent upon a different actor yet all are needed for success. Unless the donors can credibly commit to a more strategic programme, it would be quixotic of the government to incur the political costs of policy reform. Thanks to the recent roadshow, led by Ban Ki-moon, Bill Clinton, Susan Rice and the rapper Wyclef Jean, Haiti now has the attention of the international community. In April there is a rare opportunity to address such interdependence: all the key actors will be convened by the Inter-American Development Bank. What is needed is not to pass round the begging bowl, but to set out a list of commitments which, in combination, will turn HOPE from a tacky acronym into an inspiring reality.

• Paul Collier is professor of economics at the Oxford University

Photograph by John Carroll

The Audacity of Hopelessness...by John Maxwell


The Audacity of Hopelessness

JOHN MAXWELL

Sunday, April 05, 2009

IT is as idle to define the problems of Haiti as problems of economic development as it is to contemplate the problems of Elisabeth Fritzl as a problem of delinquent parenting.

It will never be possible to disentangle Elisabeth Fritzl from the treachery and cruelty of an evil and incestuous father, a man willing to steal the lives and souls of his own child and his children by her, to suck the very breath of freedom, to steal the light and air to which they have title as human beings; to unleash even in those outsiders who have merely heard of these horrors the potential for an infinitely complex self-generating concatenation of Mandelbrot images of sheer terror which, if we had the capacity to pursue, would lead us down endless nights and days into a chaos of unimaginable horror.


It may be possible - with sophisticated help - for the mind of Elisabeth Fritzl to begin to repair itself and perhaps even for her children to obtain some limited version of what we call sanity. It may be possible, but not, I think, in one lifetime.

Hold on tight to your screams!

Ban Ki Moon, secretary general of the United Nations, an otherwise excellent human being I am sure, is among those, like the burbling boobies of the World Bank and other international financial agencies (IFA), who believe that what ails Haiti is simply a case of distorted economic development and that there is a simple formula to fix things. Free zone development and regular voting will be sure-fire cures.

The poorest country in the Western hemisphere got that way, according to an eminent gaggle of politicians and private sector experts, by native mismanagement and the incompetence of the black Haitian population and its leaders.

Among these are Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and their advisers including the toxic spawn of Jesse Helms - Roger Noriega and Otto Reich and the International Republican Institute, and before them were Thomas Jefferson who defined blacks as three-fifths human and William Jennings Bryan, three-time Democratic party candidate for the presidency of The USA and who, as Secretary of State, was astonished at the pretensions of the Haitians whom he saw as a bunch of "Niggers speaking French".

There are also some people who believe that women who are raped are at least partially responsible for their own misfortunes and there are, I am sure, people who will tell you with absolute certainty that Elisabeth Fritzl must have in some way contributed to her father's delinquency. Haiti too, conspired in its own catastrophe. It takes two to tango, they will tell you.

Hold on tight to your screams!
In the New York Times last week Ban Ki Moon noted: "Yes, Haiti remains desperately poor. It has yet to fully recover from last year's devastating hurricanes, not to mention decades of malign dictatorship. Yet we can report what President René Préval told us: 'Haiti is at a turning point.' It can slide backwards into darkness and deeper misery, sacrificing all the country's progress and hard work with the United Nations and international community. Or it can break out, into the light toward a brighter and more hopeful future."

Last August the secretary general was full of hope: "The time has come to rebuild the institutions that have been destroyed by years of neglect, corruption and violence, to strengthen them so that the State is able to deliver the services that the people need."

In his latest visit Ban said: "It is easy to visit Haiti and see only poverty. But when I visited recently with former President Bill Clinton, we saw opportunity. "My special adviser on Haiti, the Oxford University development economist Paul Collier, has worked with the government to devise a strategy. It identifies specific steps and policies to create those jobs with particular emphasis on the country's traditional strengths - the garment industry and agriculture. creating the sort of industrial 'clusters' that have come to dominate global trade.

". dramatically expanding the country's export zones, so that a new generation of textile firms can invest and do business in one place. By creating a market sufficiently large to generate economies of scale, they can drive down production costs and, once a certain threshold is crossed, spark potentially explosive growth constrained only by the size of the labour pool.

"That may seem ambitious in a country of nine million people, where 80 per cent of the population lives on less than $2 a day and half of the food is imported." Can anyone really be so ill-informed? Can anyone believe that a country of nine million poverty-stricken people living on less than $2 a day and importing half their food can generate thriving markets for anything but subsistence production? Ban Ki Moon is our new Dr Pangloss: All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.

Hold on tight to your screams!

"It is easy to visit Haiti and to see only poverty." It probably isn't much harder if you live there and, like a parish priest named Jean Bertrand Aristide, become inflamed with the idea that you and your people are going to change things, to "build utopia on a dung heap".

The only problem is that there are people who want Haitians to remain in the misery they have been made to embrace. The facile American journalistic explanations for Haiti have always been lies, launched by no less than Thomas Jefferson and sedulously cultivated by generations of racists intent on keeping Haitians in their proper place.

The Haitians were always presumptuous: two hundred years ago they fought above their weight and won, abolishing slavery, destroying France's ambitions in the New World, doubling the size of the USA and above all, being the first nation anywhere to enshrine the rights of man, woman and child, the fundamental universal rights of human beings, in their constitution.

The almost contemporaneous American and French revolutions did not do what the Haitians did. Slavery persisted in France and in the US, and 30 years ago the US gave up trying for an Equal Rights Amendment a few years after narrowly forcing through a voting rights act to give all Americans title to their democracy. The Haitians were a serious threat to American slave-based capitalism, promising freedom to any person who set foot in Haiti, naming a main street after John Brown and arming Simon Bolivar to go liberate Latin America. Like the Cubans a century and a half later, the Haitians needed to be contained.

The Americans and the French went about solving the Haitian problem in a very businesslike way. The Haitians had sugar to sell, but their only real market was the US. The US agreed with the French that they would buy nothing from the Haitians unless the French recognised Haitian independence. This extortionate double play worked. The Haitians would starve unless they could sell their sugar.

Hold on tight to your screams!

The solution guaranteed the Haitians would starve anyway, committing themselves to pay a ransom equivalent to US$120 billion to the French, buying their freedom in cash having bought it in blood, pauperising themselves for another century. When they defaulted - as they had to - the Americans and their accomplices intervened, seizing the Haitian Treasury and Customs services, abolishing the Haitian constitution, dive-bombing the Haitian peasants when they rose to assert their rights, stealing Haitian land, cutting down Haitian forests to plant sisal, installing a fascist army to maintain the rule of a minority - light-skinned elite who despised the black Haitians upon whom they battened and fed.

They had great plans, the elite and their foreign friends. They were going to revolutionise pig-rearing in Haiti, but first they needed to get rid of the native Haitian pigs. The experts replaced the Haitian pigs with large white hogs, pigs that needed better housing than the Haitian peasants who supposedly owed them. The experts, in the interest of cheap food, then completed the ruin of the Haitian peasantry by importing subsidised American rice, destroying the Haitian market in hill rice.

Then, when the Haitians were once again pauperised, the experts and their elite allies introduced the nearest thing to slavery known to this century - free zones, where Haitians laboured for the price of less than one Jamaican patty a day. The women were injected with drugs which stopped their monthly periods so they wouldn't need time off to have babies. They were prohibited from joining unions.

Hold on tight to your screams!

This is the new dispensation of Mr Ban Ki Moon and of Mr Collier, of Mr Zoellick, of the World Bank and the IDB, of Mr Kofi Annan and Mr Colin Powell, of Mr Patterson and Mr Manning.

It will be led by a most unsavoury collection of those George Soros describes as gangster capitalists, who paid for the terror that has murdered thousands, driven thousands more into exile, used rape as an instrument of political enforcement and twice destroyed the Haitians' desperate attempts to recover their rights - the rights they were the first in the world to proclaim, a century before the UN, that every human being is entitled to the same rights and privileges as every other.

The security situation is fixed, according to Mr Ban Ki Moon. Gangs of convicted and unconvicted murderers and rapists in concert with so-called UN peacekeepers and child molesters will again control Haiti in the interests of the largely expatriate elite, the market makers whose older brothers have brought the world to the brink of moral and financial disaster, people with the divine right to be rich and to suck the blood of the poor.

Haiti's democracy was beheaded in a conspiracy between the US State Department, John McCain's International Republican Institute, and the governments of France and Canada. They shut down the development process, destroyed the nascent medical school, and blocked Haitian access to clean water. In an initiative reminiscent of King Leopold's intervention in the Congo a century ago - a kind of mission of the Red Cross as Leopold described it, they set back development in Haiti by half a century. They didn't kill quite as many people as Leopold.

Hold on tight to your screams!

And the poor, as Condoleezza Rice points out, can always vote. It won't do them much good but will provide Western journalists with a deep sense of smug self-satisfaction. Meanwhile, to Elisabeth Fritzl and the Haitians we can say: Hold on tight to your screams! One day, somebody may hear them. They may not know what they mean - but they may make a paragraph in the New York Times.

Copyright ©2009 John Maxwell jankunnu@gmail.com

Photographs by John Carroll.

Haiti and Food


From www.haitiinovation.org

Haiti Food Security Update (4/2/2009)
By Bryan Schaaf on Thursday, April 2, 2009.


President Obama is in the United Kingdom this week as part of the G20 Summit. As Nicholas Kristof wrote an op-ed, more is at stake than banks. According to World Bank estimates, the global economic crisis will cause an additional 22 children to die per hour, throughout all of 2009. Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, stated, “In London, Washington and Paris, people talk of bonuses or no bonuses...In parts of Africa, South Asia and Latin America, the struggle is for food or no food.”



Kristof goes on to note that the 500 richest people in the world earned more than the 416 million poorest people. As he puts it, the first group bears a measure of responsibility for the global economic mess but will get by just fine, while the latter group has no responsibility and will suffer the worst consequences. He asks himself whether there will be more squabbling and recalcitrance, or something constructive for those whose lives are at stake? So far, the answer seems to be some of both.



When it works, you can click on the National Basic Food Prices Data and Analysis Tool, developed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to see the price of food staples in 55 developing countries, in local currencies and measurements. The data shows that food prices in many countries have doubled in five years; poor people in developing countries spend as much as 60 to 80 percent of their earnings on food. The price of staple grains like wheat, rice and maize have been climbing since January 2009, after falling from record levels at the same time in 2008.



"The level of prices is still 19 percent above the average of 2006 ... so we're still in a period of high prices," Jacques Diouf, director-general of the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), told reporters at a conference in Bangkok. The FAO estimates that over one billion people in the world will go hungry this year because of the combined effects of the global economic crisis and high food prices. Between 2006 and 2008, fertiliser prices rose 170 percent and seeds and animal feed by at least 70 percent, putting them out of the reach of small farmers. As in Africa, most Haitians are small farmers.



Nina Fedoroff, the US State Department chief scientist, has stated that food shortages will be the biggest challenge facing the world as temperatures and population levels rise. Dr Fedoroff, who advises Hillary Clinton, said famines that strike a billion people are quite possible in a world where climate change has damaged food production and the human population has risen to nine billion. Population levels have already exceeded six billion and are expected to rise to nine billion by the middle of the century unless action is taken.



Nothing encourages creativity like a crisis. Given food shortages and high prices, humanitarian agencies have begun exploring ways to respond to crises sooner. One has been to pre-positioning food commodities closer to where it is needed to save money and time. USAID will set up several food aid warehouses in 2009 to be able to respond rapidly to hunger crises across the world. The first food aid warehouse was established in Djibouti in 2007. The facility reduces delivery time by 75 percent, saving a lag time of three to four months if the same food were to be dispatched from ports in the US.



The American approach to food aid has traditionally consisted of the following: Take surplus crops grown in the United States and send them to countries where people are hungry but don’t have the capacity to produce all their own food. Many food security experts, including many at USAID, believe that commodity-based aid has bred dependence on ongoing external assistance. This is not development. The United States spends far more on providing food than it does on agricultural assistance to other countries in order to help them become self-reliant.



This may change, and if it does, it will be due in part to the leadership of Senator Richard Lugar. Lugar has proposed creating a so-called hunger czar at the White House who would oversee agriculture development aid abroad and coordinate policy across government agencies. A bill he introduced to Congress would authorize $10 billion over five fiscal years, much of it to train farmers abroad to better feed their own populations. It also would link U.S. land-grant universities with communities in Africa and Southeast Asia to strengthen research capacity abroad. We hope Haiti will be included.



The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced that it is supporting backyard gardens in Cap-Haitien and Les Cayes. About 1,600 households are benefitting from these projects which aim to improve nutrition through the planting of fruit and vegetable plots in the families’ gardens. The projects are part of IOM’s Programme de Revitalisation et de Promotion de l‘Entente et de la Paix (PREPEP). In Les Cayes, the home gardens programme is also working with community-based associations to carry out training workshops on the nutritional value of plants and production methods.



Local agricultural technicians follow up with the families on a regular basis. Households with family members living with HIV or AIDS are also benefitting thanks to US$ 2 million funding from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In Cap Haitien , working with the Ministry of Environment and the Haitian Red Cross, IOM is providing fruit and forest tree saplings, vegetable seeds/seedlings, tools, and training to local agricultural groups. The programme is also raising awareness on environmental conservation.



The Lambi Fund announced new programs aimed at long-term food security for rural Haitians. In Gwo Sab, Lambi Fund helped community members purchase fishing boats and supplies. This will allow members to go further out to fish, which is key in that the coastal areas of Haiti are largely over-fished. Members will also plant 20,000 tree seedlings to reforest the area.



The Lambi Fund is also helping an organization in Batan establish a credit fund for farmers to plant beans, corn, and millet. They will also build grain storage and seed bank facilities. Here was well, farmers will also plant tree seedlings to reforest the area. The Lambi Fund will finance the credit fund and provide funds for materials to build the tree nursery as well as grain storage and seed bank facilities.



Another project Lambi Fund is supporting is an ox plowing service in the towns of Besi and Klona to help farmers increase land productivity and improve food security. The Lambi Fund will fund the construction of two large grain mills for the Women’s Association from Tet Kole in the North West, a 4,000 member farming organization. The 60 members of the Organization for the Development of Robè (ODRO) produce corn, millet and rice but have problems accessing neighboring mills. The construction of a local mill will make their crops marketable and increase profits. The Lambi Fund will purchase a motorized mill and fund the construction of the facility where it will be housed.



Next, it is financing a micro-credit and savings fund to help a women’s organization in the Artibonite start small businesses. The Fund will provide training in micro-credit management, organizational development, and reforestation to ensure the project’s success. Last, the Lambi Fund is also helping an organization in Veret implement a reforestation plan to plant 120,000 trees over the next two years. The organization will hire three reforestation technicians. The Fund will provide funds needed to purchase seeds, tools, and equipment and provide training.



USAID announced that it is supporting 19 credit cooperatives in Haiti's rural south, improving management capacity, formalizing their structure to comply with central bank supervisory norms, and encouraging them to develop products and services that may expand agricultural production. Through 31 points of service (of which 18 lie in rural areas and 13 in provincial towns), the project-supported cooperatives serve over 28,000 credit clients, manage a credit portfolio of over $10 million and have over 100,000 savings accounts. These illustrate the cooperatives' commitment to serving rural populations, demonstrating great potential to expand relevant financial services to Haiti's rural poor.



Nicholas Kristof wrote another article in the New York Times about the economic hardships he witnessed while visiting Cap Haitian in the north. Haitian Americans are sending less money back to Haiti as a result of the economic crunch, and their families are very much experiencing the consequences. Many children are no longer able to attend school, and it is often the girls who are forced to drop out first. Schools that used to provide meals to their students can no longer do so.



As Kristof puts it, "It’s natural in an economic crisis to look inward, to focus on America’s own needs, but it’s worth remembering that the consequence of a deep recession in a poor country isn’t just a lost job but also a lost child...If slum-dwelling Haitians can share what little they have, I hope we can be equally generous during this downturn when needs are greatest."



During the trip, he met a pair of American volunters who run an organization devoted to composting called SOIL. Composting may not seem like a big deal to many Americans, but in a country where fertilizing is relatively uncommon like Haiti, it can have a big impact. To illustrate, Haitian farmers use virtually no fertilizer — less than a pound per acre, compared with about 90 pounds in the United States — and soils are severely depleted. But Sasha calculates that if half of Haitians’ human waste could be used as fertilizer, that would amount to a 17-fold increase in fertilizer use, more than doubling the country’s agricultural production. They have established 45 composting toilets which are working quite well. The next step is to establish a municipal composting system in Cap Haitan. Check out this video about SOIL on Kristof's blog.



When UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon returned from Haiti,he wrote an op-ed stating that Haiti stands a better chance than almost any emerging economy, as a result of new U.S. trade legislation, passed last year. HOPE II offers Haiti duty-free, quota-free access to U.S. markets for the next nine years. Part of the UN's plan is to enact new regulations lowering port fees (among the highest in the Caribbean) and creating the sort of industrial "clusters" that have come to dominate global trade.



In practical terms, this means dramatically expanding the country's export zones, so that a new generation of textile firms can invest and do business in one place. Ki Moon states that model has been successfully proven in Bangladesh, where the garment industry supports 2.5 million jobs. An International Donors' Conference for Haiti will be held April 13-14 in Washington DC and Ki Moon asks other donors to invest in Haiti beyond traditional aid.



Ki Moon's op-ed touched off a lively debate among Haitians and Haiti watchers. Over the long run, Haiti needs trade more than it needs aid. The government must learn to govern and the country must feed itself. Trade is essential for creating livelihoods. But people are worried that agriculture will receive short shrift and that this strategy means ever increasing urbanization. Most of Haiti is rural, and rural Haitians must be able to support themeseves.



The New York Times notes that some diplomats worry that the government does not have the capacity to carry out even limited prescriptions for improving manufacturing, infrastructure, agriculture and the environment. Others worry that the tempo of new factory jobs is too slow, so they think money should be pumped into emergency programs like creating jobs to fix the environmental disaster by planting the deforested (and muslide prone) hills with forests.



In the article, a 26 year old Haitian named John Miller Beauvoir who has founded a charity right out of college and urges young Haitians to be involved in development, "Just providing rice and beans is not a long-term solution...If the captain does not know where you are going, no boat will take you in the right direction.”



We hope the Haitian government will seize the occasion of the Donors' Conference to demonstrate that it has the ambition and political will to undertake major reforms. We'll keep you posted about the conference and other food security related events.



Bryan




An Excerpt of Paul Collier's Remarks on Haiti
Submitted by Bryan Schaaf on Fri, 04/03/2009 - 13:43.

"...Security, market access, governance and aid: each is dependent upon a different actor yet all are needed for success. Unless the donors can credibly commit to a more strategic programme, it would be quixotic of the government to incur the political costs of policy reform. Thanks to the recent roadshow, led by Ban Ki-moon, Bill Clinton, Susan Rice and the rapper Wyclef Jean, Haiti now has the attention of the international community. In April there is a rare opportunity to address such interdependence: all the key actors will be convened by the Inter-American Development Bank. What is needed is not to pass round the begging bowl, but to set out a list of commitments which, in combination, will turn HOPE from a tacky acronym into an inspiring reality."

Photo by John Carroll, 2007, Waf Jeremy, Port-au-Prince, Haiti