Monday, January 31, 2011
Rudolphe Richeme, MD
Photo by John Carroll
I have had the opportunity to work at Hopital Lumiere in Bonne Fin, Haiti off and on for the past 15 years.
Hopital Lumiere is up in the mountains on Haiti's southern peninsula.
The people that work in this hospital, the village community of Bonne Fin, and the patients that struggle up and down the mountain roads are salt-of-the-earth people who make Haiti go.
Dr. Rudolph Richeme is the medical director of this facility and he is begging for help. I have known him since he was a medical student and have never seen him so desperate.
Rudolphe is desperate because he hates to see his Haitian brothers and sisters die of neglect and now cholera is taking its toll in the rural mountainous areas like Bonne Fin.
Here is an e mail I received from Rudolphe late last night:
I apologize to come back with my younger brother Rodolphe (not to confuse with myself name Rudolph,see my dad Richard for the Richemes names confusion recipe) whom deceased on july the 4th 2009 from an end stage liver failure.But as I received that precious memory song from a precious friend in Myrtle Beach I have to mention that the grace of God is really amazing even with death situation.
When panick is in the air like that I recall Rodolphe who sang 2 days before he died "be still my soul" after he survived 2 days from a coma.
With Haiti's cholera outbreak it expresses how much fragile the human nature is and how much we should anchored our faith in God.
The panick was more at the air on friday afternoon when I was the only doc serving the hospital with 15 cholera patients and 50 in and out patients when my wife called me from Port as Rudlens our 3yo son started running high temperature and vomiting.My wife needed me so bad and she had limited help from my mom for 24h and with the pediatrician call and protocol Rudy2 settled down fortunately later.
Like I said earlier God is good to my family and for you who can be alive today as this week has been 1 of my thoughest experience as doctor beside the earthquake patient management.The medical staff of Hospital Lumiere Bonne Fin(HLBF),hosted this week 24 cholera patients and 10 of that amount is already discharged and 14 actually in the ER with 4 admissions per day and I am actually admiting at 10h30p.my 4th patient a 18 y.o.girl, but no hospital death yet fortunately.
Please,I apologize once again not to read this paragraph if you are not tough though it not related to a family member that died:Yesterday while I had the visit of OMS(World heath organization) the scene was more horrible when I had our first cholera death home call visit in Bonne Fin area by our water reservoir for the hospital where I had to help with the post mortem protocol(body bags,chlorox solution,...) ,sanitation of the environnement and education at the community.
It was unbeleivable to see a poor old man (70's)body died upside down with the buckit attached to his buttock from a severe dehydration where the signs and symptoms have started the night before last and didn't give him any chance to see yesterday's sunrise or to benefit hospital care.
I was speechless to see by the cadaver a 7 yo girl related to the old man lying on an assuming bed there conscious but not moving while everybody in the community was so afraid and didn't want to go in the house to rescue the poor child left for hours by the septic cadaver until myself and another employee by 2p.m. of the hospital get her out of there.
The words themselves hurt this is why I didn't take any picture of this tragic scene.
The funeral finally got organized around 6pm.and the old man is the father-in-law of one of our garage employee whom 2 weeks ago had the burrial of his sick mom aswell.
I am indeed pleased by the assistance of MSF crew(doctors without borders) for their education to the hospital staff this week and supplies support to start in Bonne fin the treatment center for cholera with the agreement and support of the government though no personels and financial aren't readily available.
With the MSF(medecins sans frontiere) staff we visited 3 churches today, where we are making campaign to educate the community what is cholera and how we can fight it with hygiene measures and chlorination used.It's a big start though our infrastructures are primitive,we have no other choice than to fight the disease and counting on more support local or outside the country and medical teams education and caring for this abandonned population.
As a new week is on,the death race is still on and I am not spared;but have no doubt that the winners in Christ are already wating for me in Heaven like Rodolphe does as I long to be with him again.
You may delete these bad memories from your emails but this is my story,this is my song and the battle is on and I am on, through the 1 whom strengthens me.
I asked Rudolph if I could publish his e mail above and he answered as follows:
It 's ok with me brother John and the fact that this precious little 10 yo girl that was by his granfather's cholera cadaver too long died last night while I was writing you makes my heart ready to explode like pushing a button to disappear from this dyshumanized earth; such things go beyond hollywood nightmare script,and this makes the call more urgent to all sectors that can support our haitian community as we spend years and years fighting and killing each other for 1 presidential chair and black market trades while the whole population is swimming in mood,feces,hunger,poverty,insecurity and primitive health care system,polluted and risky echosystem.I don't want to be president but I feel more than a president when I can help my brothers and sisters in need.
Only Lord knows why I am still on earth.I just have to respect Lord's creation through the earth but I can see that humans lack too much of heaven's ingredients.
Sorry for my reaction but politicians use poems to destroy a nation to the deepest despair but I use facts and christian parallels to move the earth planet closer to Heaven.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Photo by John Carroll
January 25th, 2011
NYT Promotes Destructive Myths About Aristide
by Joe Emersberger (for CommonDreams.org)
Ginger Thompson wrote in the New York Times on January 19 that former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide “rose to power as a champion of Haiti’s poor but became notorious for his violent crackdowns of political dissent.” 
The "political dissent" that Thompson refers to is a campaign that included murderous raids into Haiti by rebels comprised of former soldiers and death squad leaders. The rebels were given a safe haven and a base for operations in the Dominican Republic. They were audacious enough to mount an assault on Haiti's National Palace in December of 2001. After a gun battle, they were chased back into the Dominican Republic. The rebels were led by Guy Philippe and Jodel Chamblain, a man responsible for the deaths and torture of thousands of people during Haiti's military rule of 1991-1994 (after the first US backed coup ousted Aristide in 1991). 
The collaboration between the armed rebels in the Dominican Republic and the "political opposition" led by sweatshop owners Charles Baker and Andy Apaid was always clear. After the 2001 coup attempt Aristide's "peaceful opponents" did not denounce it. Instead they outlandishly insisted that the whole incident had been staged. After Aristide was overthrown in 2004, one of the first things the political opposition did in power was speedily acquit Chamblain of his crimes in a farcical trial that even US officials criticized - while of course keeping the money flowing to the unelected regime they had installed. Guy Philippe would eventually boast that he had been funded by key members of the political opposition like Andy Apaid. 
The rebels killed dozens of Haitians - most through relentless hit and run raids into Haiti's Central Plateau that went on during Aristide's second term. There were a similar number of people killed in sometimes indiscriminate reprisals by Aristide partisans. Security throughout Haiti suffered as the Haitian police were spread thin by the raids and subjected to a crippling embargo. Aristide disbanded the Haitian military shortly after his return from exile in 1994 – a move that was very popular in Haiti. However, at the insistence of the Clinton administration, after Aristide was restored, the police were infiltrated by known human rights abusers from the deposed military junta of 1991-1994 who would later become key allies for the rebels. Human Rights Watch expressed strong objections to the Clinton Administration about this at the time. 
It is worth considering how the US government would react if confronted with a similar threat - barely able to fight off armed insurgents or protect (or control) its own supporters. Bradley Manning sits for several months in solitary confinement - not for funding insurgents murdering US citizens in an attempt to overthrow the government - but for embarrassing US officials by disclosing information about grave human rights abuses. 
Aristide's ouster led to real crackdown that left thousands of people dead. About 4000 political murders were perpetrated over two years by police and death squads allied with the de facto government according to a scientific survey published in the Lancet Medical Journal in 2006. The jails were filled with hundreds of political prisoners. 
Under Aristide, the political and financial enablers of the rebels remained free to openly express their support for a coup. Rather than a “crackdown” what Aristide’s opponents faced was mainly an endless series of concessions and repeated offers to share power and hold internationally-supervised elections.
Right after Aristide was overthrown in 2004, Guy Philippe and Andy Apaid thanked the international press. That Ginger Thompson could casually refer to Aristide's “violent crackdowns of political dissent” is proof of how rational they were to be thankful.
Joe Emersberger is an editor of HaitiAnalysis.com.
 Aristide Says He Is Ready to Return to Haiti, Too By GINGER THOMPSON Published: January 19, 2011 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/world/americas/20haiti.html?ref=todayspaper&pagewanted=print
 For an overview f the paramilitary campaign against the Aristide’s second government see “Damming the Flood” by Peter Hallward.
Chamblain was second in command of the FRAPH death squads during 1991-1994 military rule. See numerous Human Rights Watch reports from the period for details FRAPH exploits. For example
HRW; Fugitives from Injustice: The crisis of internal displacement in Haiti; August 1994; http://www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/h/haiti/haiti948.pdf
 HaitiAnalysis.com Insurgency and Betrayal: An Interview with Guy Philippe http://haitianalysis.com/politics/insurgency-and-betrayal-an-interview-with-guy-philippe
 On HRW objections to Clinton see HRW: HAITI: Security Compromised Recycled Haitian Soldiers on the Police Front Line Http://www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/h/haiti/haiti953.pdf
 For information on Bradley Manning see http://action.firedoglake.com/BradleyManningMessage
 Athena R. Kolbe and Royce A. Hutson, "Human rights abuse and other criminal violations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti: a random survey of households," The Lancet, Vol. 368, No. 9538, September 2, 2006
On political prisoners see Thomas M. Griffin, University of Miami School of Law: Haiti Human Rights Investigation: November 11-21, 2004 http://www.ijdh.org/CSHRhaitireport.pdf
 Isabel MacDonald; The Freedom of the Press Barons http://www.dominionpaper.ca/author/isabel_macdonald
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Photo by John Carroll
January 24, 2011
Sacramento seems like a really nice city.
The fog in the morning is serene and beautiful and the illuminated white state capitol building at night is stunning.
Many of Sacramento's streets are wide and have "undulations". In the Midwest we call them "speed bumps". In Haiti these bumps are called "police lying down".
When we have been driving here, my seven year old son Luke likes to warn me from the back seat that we are approaching a speed bump. When he spots one, he will holler out “speed bump”, and I will slow down.
I then over-politely say "thank you" and he says "you are welcome" and giggles. This ritual can occur many times over several blocks in Sacramento and Maria seems to handle this “guy humor” quite well.
Yesterday, seven year old Widnerlande who was seated next to Luke in the back seat, would join in on the “speed bump” warnings and gleefully chime "you are welcome" when I thanked them for their warning.
This morning we all got up at 5 AM because Widnerlande’s heart surgery is being performed today.
On the way to Sutter Children's Center Widnerlande happily shouted out "speed bump" as we approached another undulation in Sacramento's dark streets.
To hear her little happy voice from the back seat made me sad. I knew that in several hours Widnerlande would experience another huge bump in her short life. But we needed to force her over it, even against her strong seven year old will.
This little girl has survived intense tropical storms, hurricanes, kidnappings, political unrest, a diabolical earthquake, and the deadly cholera that was infecting 4,000 people each week in her Haitian valley. And she survived malnutrition and poverty that we can barely understand.
And she did all this with a hole in her heart that has kept her in a state of semi-compensated congestive heart failure.
I calmed myself by rationalizing that she will be able to live through our surgical assault.
Widnerlande has passed many speed bumps in her life. And as she is lifted off the operating table this morning by many gentle hands, she will have more hurdles to pass during the next few days.
But we all know this girl will get over them some how.
Thank you, Maria and Valerie, Gertrude and Rachel and Joanna, Frandy and Jim and Jane, Garren, Tiffany and Representative Aaron Schock, Sutter Children’s Center nursing staff and child life specialists, and Drs. Nasirov, Juris, and Crockett, and Crystal, and Helen and Steven and Rose. And a special thanks to Widnerlande's fearless mother Magalene for keeping her close and keeping her alive against almost impossible odds in Haiti.
See this article and this article describing Widnerlande's situation.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Photo by John Carroll
Aristide's blocked return disrespects democracy
By Mark Weisbrot
Published: Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011 - 9:20 pm
WASHINGTON — Haiti's infamous dictator "Baby Doc" Duvalier returned to his country this week, while the country's first elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, is kept out. These two facts say everything about Washington's policy toward Haiti, and our government's respect for democracy in that country and in the region.
Asked about the return of Duvalier, who had thousands tortured and murdered, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, "this is a matter for the government of Haiti and the people of Haiti." Asked about Aristide, he said "Haiti does not need, at this point, any more burdens."
WikiLeaks cables released recently show Washington put pressure on Brazil, which is heading up the United Nations forces that are occupying Haiti, not only to keep Aristide out of the country but to keep him from having political influence from exile.
Who is this man feared by Washington? Here is how the Washington Post editorial board described Aristide's first term, back in 1996: "Elected overwhelmingly, ousted by a coup and reseated by American troops, the populist ex-priest abolished the repressive army, virtually ended human rights violations, mostly kept his promise to promote reconciliation, ran ragged but fair elections and, though he had the popular support to ignore it, honored his pledge to step down at the end of his term. A formidable record."
That was before Washington launched its campaign to oust Aristide again. With its allies, especially Canada and France, it cut off almost all foreign aid to the country after 2000. Tens of millions of dollars were poured in to build an opposition movement. With control over most of the media, and the help of armed thugs and former death squad leaders, the government was toppled in February 2004.
In 1991, President George H.W. Bush did not recognize the coup government, though the people that installed it were paid by the CIA. The United States had at least to pretend it was not involved. But in 2004, under the second President Bush, the government didn't even bother to hide it.
The most important human rights organizations did not do much when thousands of Haitians were killed after the 2004 coup and officials of the constitutional government were thrown in jail. It does not seem to be an issue to them, or to the main "pro-democracy" organizations, that Haiti's prominent former president is kept out of the country in violation of Haiti's constitution and international law. Nor that his party, still the country's most popular, is banned from elections. The major media generally follows their lead.
Now we have elections in Haiti where the Organization of American States, at the behest of Washington, is trying to choose for Haiti who will compete in the second round of its presidential election. That is Washington's idea of democracy.
But Aristide is still alive, in forced exile in South Africa.
He remains the most popular political leader in Haiti, and seven years is not enough to erase his memory from Haitian consciousness. Sooner or later, he will be back.
Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Photo by John Carroll
US deports first Haitians since earthquake
(AP) January 21, 2011
MIAMI (AP) ‹ Immigration authorities repatriated 26 Haitians previously
convicted of crimes on Thursday, plus another man who was acquitted in a
2007 terror plot, the first such deportations since the Obama administration
halted them following the devastating 2010 earthquake.
The deportations were immediately criticized by members of the
Haitian-American community and immigration advocates who say the Haitians
will face dire, inhumane conditions on their return.
"I think it's outrageous and it's inhumane and very insensitive," said
Marleine Bastien, executive director of the Haitian Women of Miami. "We are
outraged, really outraged."
An attorney for Lyglenson Lemorin, who was acquitted in 2007 of a plot to
destroy the Sears Tower in Chicago, confirmed the 35-year-old man was among
Officials have said Lemorin remained a national security threat. Five others
were convicted in the case.
"Mr. Lemorin's removal is a high water mark in the injustice inherent in our
broken immigration system," Charles H. Kuck, his attorney, said. "Deporting
an innocent man should never be condoned."
Kuck is appealing the Lemorin's deportation.
In a statement, Barbara Gonzalez, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement, said the removals were "consistent with ICE's priority
of removing aliens who pose a threat to public safety."
Gonzalez added that ICE will continue the deportations on a periodic basis.
Cheryl Little, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center,
a nonprofit law firm, said the Haitian deportees were being sent back to a
"Why is it so urgent for the U.S. to deport Haitians when Haiti remains in
ruin?" she said.
According to the firm, deportees sent to Haiti who have a criminal history
are routinely held in inhumane jail conditions, not fed or provided medical
"Whether or not they have served a criminal sentence, no Haitian should be
sent to a cholera-infested jail where they risk death," the organization
said in a statement.
Haiti is still recovering from the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that killed an
estimated 316,000 people and a subsequent cholera epidemic that has killed
thousands and complicated recovery efforts. The tiny Caribbean nation is
also facing political instability following the disputed Nov. 28 first-round
On Sunday, former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier unexpectedly
returned after being forced into exile following a mass uprising nearly 25
years ago, sending shock waves through the country.
Duvalier took over the presidency after his father, Francois "Papa Doc"
Duvalier, died and ruled from 1971-1986 and has been accused of widespread
human rights abuses.
Bastien said her organization found out about the deportations after being
contacted by relatives of the repatriated Haitians. She said the families
"There's a high chance that they will be detained in Haiti, and we are
really concerned about their safety," she said.
Florida State Rep. Daphne Campbell, whose district includes Miami's Little
Haiti, said she didn't wish to comment on the deportation of those convicted
of crimes, but that she did reach out to Vice President Joe Biden and
President Barack Obama in hopes of discussing immigration policy toward
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Photo by John Carroll
Continue to Suspend Deportation to Haiti
By Michelle Karshan
January 19, 2011
Following Haiti's earthquake, the United States made a fine humanitarian gesture when it temporarily suspended deportations to Haiti. When it revealed last month that it would resume criminal deportations to Haiti, it begged the question — why now?
Conditions have not significantly changed since Washington saw fit to suspend deportations. In fact, some have worsened. Haiti has seen more tragedy with a subsequent hurricane, flooding and deadly cholera epidemic. With barely half of pledged monies reaching Haiti, former President Bill Clinton, who co-chairs Haiti's Interim Reconstruction Commission, admitted that the recovery has been slow. President Barack Obama even opined this week that "too much rubble continues to clog the streets, too many people are still living in tents, and for so many Haitians progress has not come fast enough."
Last month, the United States issued three detailed travel advisories enumerating life-threatening security and health conditions in Haiti and advised Americans to bring their own cholera prevention and treatment supplies with them if they must travel there. And the World Health Organization announced that the cholera epidemic has not yet peaked.
Haiti's government has been in a political quagmire since the November presidential elections. Street violence followed, together with demands for the removal of Haiti's president, and a call for an interim government to be put in place.
During fragile moments in Haiti's political life, deportations seem to escalate. After President Jean-Betrand Aristide was forced out in 2004, a U.S.-backed interim government was granted its request that the United States suspend criminal deportations.
By contrast, immediately following President Rene Preval's inauguration in 2006, the United States resumed criminal deportations before a prime minister and government were even in place. Taking its cue from the United States, the Dominican Republic stepped up its deportations to Haiti, forcing 900 Haitians to Haiti recently. The onslaught of deportees from both directions strains Haiti's government and NGOs alike.
The United States says it has its own security concerns and doesn't want to be obliged by law to release dangerous criminals into our communities. However, the 100-plus Haitians recently arrested and queued up to mount U.S. marshal flights to Haiti were already at liberty in our communities, living with their families, and reporting in regularly to deportation officers. Most are legal, permanent residents, many are married to U.S. citizens, have U.S. citizen children, jobs, and many are not violent offenders.
Haiti imprisons criminal deportees when they arrive. They face life-threatening, illegal and inhumane detention conditions. Cholera has already killed more than 58 detainees and sickened 405 prisoners. President Obama said recently that "the people of Haiti will continue to have an enduring partner in the United States." Our government needs to match words with deeds by continuing the suspension of all deportations to Haiti.
Michelle Karshan is executive director of Alternative Chance, a self-help, peer counseling, advocacy program for criminal deportees in Haiti founded in 1996.
Copyright © 2011, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Monday, January 17, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
After six years, five hurricanes and tropical storms, one devastating earth quake one year ago this afternoon, a severe cholera epidemic that still continues, and Haiti's usual political violence, seven year old Widnerlande arrived in Peoria this afternoon.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
There are no big winners in Haiti right now.
And Haitian gangs and the United Nations forces (MINUSTAH) have been at war for 5 years.
And just in case you didn't know, MINUSTAH is not perfect.
In 2008, I was 50 yards from a young man who had his head blown off by UN soldiers right after Father Jean-Juste's funeral mass at the Cathedral in Port-au-Prince. He was standing right outside the church. MINUSTAH denied murdering him even though it was captured on video by a Haitian television station.
In 2006, I was in a lady's house in Soleil after she claimed a UN helicopter flew over and shot down on them, hitting three of her girls. I photographed the bullet holes in the second floor ceiling of her place in Soleil and photographed her wounded and afraid daughters. MINUSTAH denied doing this too. Here is another article regarding this topic.
And a march through Soleil in 2007 was an experience that is still fresh in my mind.
There are good guys and bad guys in Haiti, and sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.
Read this from the New York Times.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Photos by John Carroll
OSF-Saint Francis Medical Center
January 10, 2010
Leona Deemie, pictured above, states that she was abused as a child at St. Francis Hospital when she was hospitalized with polio.
OSF offered her $17,000 dollars and the gag order which would have prevented her from speaking about her abuse or the settlement.
Leona refused the money and terms from OSF.
When I talked with Sister Judith Anne about very important issues in 2001, Sister was unable to find the courage to talk with a nurse that would have told her the truth. I felt then, as I do now, that Sister was advised not to hear the truth because so many people at the top of OSF would be culpable.
So Sister is taking the same approach with Leona Deemie ten years later. Unfortunately, she listens to her counsel and not her conscience. And OSF is suffering greatly.
And so are OSF's Haitian Hearts patients who have been neglected by OSF and have died.
See this news report on what happened today.
Also, see Elaine Hopkins post today.
Photo by John Carroll
OSF-Saint Francis Medical Center Chapel, Peoria
OSF-Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria has not allowed their own Haitian Hearts patients from returning to Saint Francis Medical Center for heart surgery. Four have died.
This is not consistent with the social justice teachings of the Church. This is not consistent with the mission philosophy of OSF.
OSF has a contraceptive policy that is not consistent with the teachings of the Church. This policy was created by OSF's Catholic bioethicist and The Catholic Diocese of Peoria to allow OSF to remain competitive in the medical market place.
Should Bishop Jenky in Peoria allow OSF to remain a Catholic hospital? Should Bishop Jenky allow these scandals to continue in his Diocese? Catholic hierarchy does not like scandal.
Bishop Olmsted in Phoenix doesn't like scandal either.
See Bishop Olmsted's ruling on Saint Joseph's Medical Center in Phoenix.
Photo by John Carroll
The Peoria Journal Star had an article (advertisement) on the front page on Sunday. It was called "With the Greatest Care and Love".
The article provided a history of OSF from its beginning with the poor founding Sisters from Germany to the present day opulent medical center in Peoria.
Sister Judith Ann Duvall tries to assure Peoria that the Sisters are still in control of OSF through their governing boards. She is the chairperson of all the boards at OSF.
"We are deeply involved in the administration and governance of our health care system, and always will be," Duvall said, "because we came to religious life to give our lives to God by serving the sick, poor, injured, aged and dying 'with the greatest care and love.' "
If this is true, how can the Sisters reject Haitian Hearts patients that need surgery again at OSF. These patients have been dying because Sister Judith Ann is NOT really in control. At least I hope she isn't....
The Journal Star article then quotes president and CEO of OSF-Saint Francis Medical Center Keith Steffen. One has to quit laughing long enough to read all his scripted quotes:
"The Ministry Development program started by the Sisters allows us to reinforce our heritage as a Catholic, faith-based organization throughout OSF HealthCare system, all seven of our hospitals and our other entities," said Keith Steffen.
Mr. Steffen, who is not Catholic but likes his Catholic pay check, continues:
"Ministry development helps us promote and protect our identity in a society that challenges our Catholic ethical religious directives. It encourages a role of advocacy for the underprivileged, disenfranchised, and the poor, much as our founding Sisters did," Steffen said.
Mr. Steffen, of course, stopped Haitian Hearts patients coming to OSF through a missive from OSF's legal counsel, Douglass Marshall. Haitian Hearts has now lost three young Haitians who were operated at OSF but not allowed to come back to OSF for repeat surgery ten years later. (Two other young OSF patients in Haiti are literally clinging to life right now. Both have been homeless during part of 2010 after the earthquake one year ago tomorrow. Both have been denied repeat heart surgery at OSF.)
But OSF did build their big Milestone Project during the last decade which includes a bright shiny new Children's Hospital of Illinois that is open to anyone-- unless one is an OSF Haitian Hearts patient.
So, I think OSF speaks with forked tongue with the Journal Star being their main messenger to the public.
OSF will change for the better some day. But it won't be tomorrow. OSF is too well embedded in Peoria society.
And the nuns can't be wrong, can they?
Sunday, January 09, 2011
Photo by John Carroll
Cholera Treatment Center
See this article from the Palm Beach Post about deporting Haitians back to Haitian prisons and their risk for cholera.
Activists fight plan to resume deportations to Haiti, citing post-earthquake conditions
By JOHN LANTIGUA
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Updated: 5:46 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011
Posted: 2:18 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011
Florida immigration activists are asking the Obama administration to stop planned deportations to Haiti, citing the festering cholera epidemic there, other lingering dangers from last year's massive earthquake and recent political violence.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced in December that this month, it would resume deportations to Haiti that were halted after the quake last Jan.12.
The first individuals scheduled to be deported are Haitians who had been incarcerated for crimes in the United States, were released and benefitted temporarily from the moratorium on repatriations after the quake.
According to the activists, about 100 such Haitians - many from South Florida - have already been picked up by immigration authorities and transferred to a holding facility in Louisiana before being shipped back.
ICE officials say that, according to law, the federal government can not detain such individuals for any significant time beyond their sentences. ICE then either must remove them from the country or release them back into the U.S. population, despite histories of serious crime.
The activists, however, say no Haitian should be sent back to their native country right now given the post-earthquake devastation and the political upheaval that has followed recent, disputed presidential elections.
"We ask President Obama to hold off on removing Haitian nationals from this country in light of the horrific conditions now facing our neighboring nation," said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.
"It is within his power to show leadership and prevent a civil liberties and human rights disaster."
The cholera epidemic poses real dangers to criminal deportees, according to the activists.
Cholera struck Haiti last summer and by December 15 more than 2400 deaths had been recorded. At least 48 of those deaths occurred in Haiti's prisons, where cholera was first diagnosed in November.
"It is against Haitian law, but the deportees usually spend about two weeks locked up," says Michelle Karshan, executive director of Alternative Chance, a non-profit organization that works with former convicts. "And if they don't have family members to claim them they are detained indefinitely."
Karshan says cholera works particularly fast in Haitian prisons and jails where there is no clean water or food, inmates share squalid, unsanitary conditions and there is often little or no medical care.
"You get dehydrated quickly and without the proper medical care you can die in two to three hours from cholera," she said.
Steve Forester, Miami-based spokesman for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, decried the pending repatriations.
"What they are doing is sending people to police station holding cells and prisons where cholera has already claimed at least 48 lives, where clean drinking water is not given or available and people can die from cholera in a day," Forester said.
Newly elected Congresswoman Federica Wilson, D-Miami, whose district includes Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood, also opposes the policy.
"I am keenly aware of the devastation and the impact the present situation has on the constituents in my district and on their families in Haiti," Wilson said in a prepared statement.
"My Congressional district includes the largest Haitian population in America, so I am faced with the misery and the suffering on a daily basis."
ICE spokesperson Barbara Gonzalez said the flights repatriating Haitians are expected to start in mid-January, adding that resuming the deportations is " consistent with our domestic immigration enforcement priorities."
ICE officials say in 2011 they expect to send back to Haiti about 700 criminal aliens who have been convicted of homicide, kidnapping, sexual assault, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, embezzlement, money laundering and extortion.
As for the health dangers posed to those being sent back, Gonzalez said that ICE was mindful of the issue.
"The Department of State has been working with the government of Haiti to ensure that the resumption of removals is conducted in a safe, humane manner with minimal disruption to ongoing rebuilding efforts," she said.
The activists say despite the serious convictions, the would-be deportees have stayed out of trouble since being released from prison.They said they would continue to pressure the Obama administration to change the policy before the repatriations begin.
Thursday, six human rights groups filed an emergency petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), to halt the deportations. They include the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center of Miami and the University of Miami School of Law.
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Friday, January 07, 2011
Photo by John Carroll
Posted on Thu, Jan. 06, 2011
Dominican Republic back to deporting Haitians
By EZEQUIEL ABIU LOPEZ
The Dominican Republic has launched its first major crackdown on illegal Haitian immigrants since last year's devastating earthquake, rounding up and deporting hundreds of people in recent days, officials said Thursday.
Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola and have a long history of cross-border tension. Relations improved in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 quake, with the Dominican government providing assistance and serving as a staging ground for the international relief effort. Still, human rights groups complain that Haitians are subjected to bitter discrimination.
The Dominican government, which suspended deportations after the earthquake, resumed anti-illegal immigration efforts this week, stopping and detaining people at checkpoints around the country. In a rare move, checkpoints were also set up outside the capital.
More than 700 Haitians have been deported since Monday and more are expected in coming days, said Ambiorix Rosario, Department of Migration spokesman.
Dominican officials said the crackdown is necessary to stem growing illegal immigration since the earthquake and to prevent the spread of cholera, which has killed more than 3,000 people in Haiti since the outbreak began in October. About 150 have been sickened in the Dominican Republic.
"We are trying to strengthen our immigration controls to prevent Haitian citizens and people of other nationalities from illegally entering our territory," said Sigfrido Pared Perez, director of the Department of Migration. "In no case have we violated anyone's human rights."
Immigration agents and soldiers were stopping and questioning people as they reached the outskirts of the capital in buses and vans that each day carry people from Haiti to Santo Domingo. Those without the required papers were being loaded up on buses and taken back to the border.
"If I was alone, I'd be back in Haiti, that's my country, but I have three kids and need to work," an unidentified woman told local television station CDN before she was taken on a bus back to the border carrying a small suitcase.
The United Nations estimated before the earthquake that some 600,000 Haitians were living illegally in the Dominican Republic. Dominican authorities say that number has grown to 1 million over the past year, in a country with a population of nearly 10 million. Migrants tend to work harvesting sugar cane, as domestic servants or in other low wage jobs.
Human rights groups criticized the deportations, accusing authorities of stopping and questioning people based on their physical appearance.
"The acting authorities are clearly following a racial profile to decide who should be detained," said Francisco Leonardo with the Jesuit Refugee and Migration Service.
The crackdown also has increased the amount some Dominican border agents are asking for passage, from about $6 to nearly $14, said Davide Sala, an activist with the Jesuit organization.
Human traffickers also are charging more: $135 per person compared with $95, he said.
About a dozen suspected traffickers were arrested this week along with dozens of Haitian migrants, said Francisco Gil, army commander for the country's north region.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Great post by Crawford Killian.
Photo by John Carroll
Haiti presidential runoff 'impossible' this month
AP foreign, Wednesday January 5 2011
JONATHAN M. KATZ
Associated Press= PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A second-round vote to choose Haiti's president will not be possible until late February, after the constitutional end of current President Rene Preval's term, an electoral council spokesman said Tuesday.
The two-candidate runoff is supposed to be held Jan. 16. But results have not been finalized from the Nov. 28 first round that was criticized for low turnout, disorganization, fraud, violence and voter intimidation.
A delay will only deepen a political crisis that has already resulted in rioting and further complicate Haiti's response to a deadly cholera epidemic and the stillborn reconstruction from last year's earthquake.
The provisional electoral council is waiting for recommendations from an Organization of American States team called in to review the first-round vote. It would then need weeks more to deal with candidates' objections and allow time for campaigning, the spokesman for the provisional electoral council, Pierre Thibault Junior, said.
"The second round is not possible until the end of February," he said.
The 12-member OAS team is still working on its review and doesn't expect to present a report to Haitian officials before Sunday, OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin told The Associated Press by phone.
Ramdin said he had not received any official communication from electoral officials about delaying the vote. But he also said there was a "perception that there will be a change in the electoral calendar."
Haiti's constitution says Preval's five-year term should end — and a new president's term begin — on Feb. 7.
But Preval has lately been reminding Haitian media that delays surrounding his own complicated election meant that he was not actually inaugurated until May 14, 2006. He has also opposed the creation of a transitional government to rule between the end of his term and the election of a new president.
After Preval suggested during the summer that he could stay in power an extra three months, protesters clashed with police and U.N. peacekeepers in front of the destroyed national palace.
That unrest was tame compared to the flaming barricades and raging anger in nearly all of Haiti's major cities that met the announcement of results from the November presidential ballot.
Supporters of popular singer Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly blocked streets and shut down the capital with rock-throwing and marches when they learned he had been eliminated in favor of ruling-party candidate Jude Celestin by less than 1 percent.
Celestin, who is backed by Preval's Unity party, argued he should have been in first place. Former first lady Mirlande Manigat, who was shown to have led the vote, said she should have won the election outright.
A spokeswoman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission declined to comment, saying the ballot is a matter for the electoral council.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Photo by John Carroll
January 3, 2011
A Year Later, Haiti Struggles Back
By DEBORAH SONTAG
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — In 2010, Daphne Joseph, a slim, shy teenager, took a pounding from life.
She watched with horror as her mother’s mangled body was carted off in a wheelbarrow after the Jan. 12 earthquake. She fell in with a ragtag group of orphans taken under the wing of a well-meaning but ill-equipped community group. She left them unwillingly when a self-proclaimed relative took her away to use her as a servant.
And then last fall, not long before her 15th birthday, Daphne found herself in an actual home, reunited with the other orphans stranded after the disaster they all call “goudou-goudou” for the terrible sound of the ground shaking. She wore a party dress; she blew out candles; she smiled.
“I believe that Daphne was a fragile, sensitive girl even before ‘goudou-goudou,’ ” said Pierre Joseph, a psychologist who counsels her. “After, she was like a glass that got filled to the brim and then overflowed. You could say she is still in shock. But she is finding her equilibrium.”
After a year of almost unfathomable hardship in Haiti, there is little reason to be hopeful now.
More than a million displaced people still live under tents and tarpaulins. Reconstruction, of the build-back-better kind envisioned last March, has barely begun. Officials’ sole point of pride six months after the earthquake — that disease and violence had been averted — vanished with the outbreak of cholera and political unrest over a disputed presidential election.
And indeed, for some, misery is a constant. Rose, a young woman abducted, repeatedly raped and torturously stashed in earthquake ruins last June, was forced to flee to the countryside after her kidnappers made a second attempt. Marie Claude Pierre, whose son was whisked abroad in an orphan airlift, was sad even before the earthquake. She is sadder now.
Yet despite this gloomy backdrop, many Haitians, like Daphne, have started to find some equilibrium — to heal, to rebuild or simply to readjust their sights. A dancer whose leg was amputated is walking on a new limb. A pastor whose church was devastated is reveling in a congregation doubled in size. A businessman, stubbornly loyal to Haiti, is opening an earthquake-proof factory where his old one collapsed.
Here, haunting and hopeful, are some of their stories.
Fabienne Jean, the dancer who lost a leg in the earthquake, smiled so radiantly and expressed such courage that everybody who met or read about her wanted to help. Doctors, prosthetists, choreographers, dancers with disabilities, charitable groups — they all aspired to adopt Ms. Jean.
By early spring, Ms. Jean was struggling with conflicting offers: to be fitted here for a prosthetic limb by a New Hampshire nonprofit group or to fly to New York, where Mount Sinai Medical Center would provide corrective surgery, rehabilitation and a stay of months in the city. The foreigners’ attention was overwhelming.
After a period of agonizing indecision, Ms. Jean chose to stay in Haiti, where she felt at home. The New Yorkers were proposing a second operation to strengthen her stump. That, Ms. Jean said, was a deal-breaker. “I didn’t want another operation,” she said. “I didn’t want to lose any more of my leg.”
Recently, standing proudly on two feet, Ms. Jean led the way into her family home. Always fashion-conscious, she was wearing chunky jewelry, a spaghetti-strap tunic top and slim jeans. Her new limb, ending in a stockinged foot encased in a delicate slingback flat, peeked out from beneath the cuff. Using a cane, she gracefully, but with a slight limp, navigated the house’s challenging terrain — a sloped, rutted entryway and unfinished concrete stairs without banisters.
Ms. Jean had moved back in with her extended family after breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, also a dancer, for “reasons of the heart, nothing to do with the leg,” she said. About a week ago, she proudly settled into a rental apartment of her own, which she shares with her mother and her young daughter (a niece whom she had adopted before the earthquake).
Several times a week, Ms. Jean does pliés and arabesques as part of an exercise routine overseen by a high school senior trained as a physical therapy assistant by the New Hampshire group. That group, the Nebco Foundation, which built and fitted her limb, will be fine-tuning the socket next month and testing out feet that will allow her to dance again.
Ms. Jean looks forward to that, she said, but she added: “Realistically, there is no way I’ll be a professional performer again. So I will need another way to make a living.” She envisions a fashion boutique or a dance school.
Ms. Jean said that she did not want to be a drain on her family, which had always expected her, the oldest child and the most talented, to support them. Her father, she said, was scared after the earthquake that she would end up “in a corner, like a handicapped person.” But that is not going to happen, she said.
“There are some disabled people who think that life is over, who are ashamed,” she said, before jauntily swinging her prosthesis over her shoulder during a photo shoot. “I’m not like that. Except for the fact that I lost a part of myself on Jan. 12, I’m still Fabienne.”
The Rev. Enso Sylvert
As if he had not budged since the earthquake, the Rev. Enso Sylvert sat one recent morning on the same metal chair under the same tarpaulin, now ripped, where he held court after the disaster.
In the shadow of his collapsed church on Avenue Poupelard, Pastor Sylvert was still sporting a blazing orange shirt and wrinkled yellow tie, still preaching about the end of times.
But his vow to rebuild in 2010 had been tempered by reality. The bank recently foreclosed on the property after he fell disastrously behind on loan payments because his parishioners could not afford donations. Any day now, he said, the bank will be seizing what remains of the church.
Still, the pastor insisted, just as his chorus narrowly escaped death when the church fell, just as his daughter was spared when she stood to answer a teacher’s question while the girl who slid into her seat was killed by a concrete block, so, too, would “a miracle” keep the Evangelical Church of Grace alive.
“I am certain — certain! — that we will rise again on Avenue Poupelard,” he said. “The events of Jan. 12 destroyed hundreds of church buildings. But did they kill our churches? Ah, no. Au contraire. We don’t need roofs to pray. God is our cover.”
Beyond the church, the survivalist spirit along the hard-hit Avenue Poupelard, which pulsed so brightly right after the earthquake, chugs along wearily. People are resourceful, the pastor said, “but they carry their losses inside like nagging sorrows.”
Pastor Sylvert holds open-air services on property adjoining the church, and many are lured by the oversize speakers that blast his fiery preaching. But misery itself has been good for business, he said.
“In moments like this, with destruction all around, with electoral crisis in the air, with cholera in the water, people have only God,” he said. “God is Haiti’s only uncorrupted leader.”
Marie Claude Pierre
Deep inside a maze of alleyways in the Eternal City slum, Ms. Pierre, 30, shyly welcomed visitors into the one-room shanty that she shares with a dozen relatives — but not with any of her children.
Ms. Pierre’s oldest son, Fekens, 11, has been living at a Pittsburgh-area orphanage since a week after the earthquake, when he was plucked from Haiti aboard an orphan airlift engineered by Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania. As it turned out, several of the other children on that flight were not orphans, either, and did not have adoptive parents waiting for them.
Images of the children’s landing in Pittsburgh were broadcast worldwide, but Ms. Pierre did not know Fekens was gone until days after he left. By the time she made her way through the disaster zone to the Bresma orphanage, where Fekens and the others had been staying, it was empty. When she finally learned why, what troubled her most, she said, was that Fekens must have been trying to reach the cellphone she had lost in the earthquake to say goodbye.
A petite woman with tiny studs embedded in her front teeth, Ms. Pierre described herself as accepting without protest whatever life dealt her. Speaking softly in a shack dominated by a bookshelf cluttered with stuffed animals, she explained how she had first come to lose custody of Fekens — and her four other children.
She and her ex-husband used to fight, she said, and she would flee, battered, to relatives’ homes. During one separation, her husband “made the decision to give away our children,” she said. She was granted no say, she said, but she imagined that their stay at Bresma, which she visited monthly, would be temporary.
It was, although not in the way she had expected. Four of her children were adopted by a French family before the earthquake, according to the orphanage director, Margarette St. Fleur. Only Fekens, the oldest, remained at Bresma, and “Fekens wanted to be adopted, too,” Ms. St. Fleur said.
When the earthquake struck, leaving the orphanage damaged but standing, two Pittsburgh-area women devoted to Bresma’s children sent out an urgent appeal for their rescue, which Governor Rendell answered.
After the plane landed in Pittsburgh, the federal Department of Health and Human Services assumed legal custody of a dozen children, including Fekens, who were not in the midst of adoption proceedings. Then, in early December, the children were all cleared for adoption. Not long before that, Ms. Pierre said, Ms. St. Fleur had asked her to sign papers relinquishing her parental rights. She did.
Ms. Pierre said that she missed her children. “I hope that one day they will return to visit me,” she said. She requested that a message be given to Fekens: “Tell him bonjour, bonsoir. Tell him to behave and not to make problems. Send him kisses.”
Asked if that were all, she hesitated. “I know he is not working,” she said of her 11-year-old, “so I cannot ask him to wire me money.”
A few days after the earthquake, Alain Villard, shaking his head, surveyed the tree-shaded property in Pétionville where his boutique hotel, Villa Thérèse, lay in ruins. Ten had died there, including four Haitian children and the foreign parents who were adopting them. Several bodies lay bundled in cloth, swarming with flies.
Down in Carrefour, Mr. Villard’s large garment factory, Palm Apparel, had been flattened, and the death toll appeared to be in the hundreds. A worker’s putrefying corpse dangled out the window from which she had tried to leap to safety.
At the time, talking 20 feet from the wrapped corpses, Mr. Villard, 42, had mused wistfully about how Haiti’s depressed economy had been poised for revitalization. Surely, he said, there must be a way to recapture that momentum.
With most of Haiti paralyzed by the disaster, Mr. Villard rushed single-mindedly forward. Within a month, he had cleared the debris and human remains from his factory, which produces T-shirts for a Canadian apparel company, in time for a memorial service.
It turned out that far fewer workers had been killed than originally estimated. Sixty-seven were mourned at the service, at the end of which Mr. Villard announced the factory’s reopening at 6:30 a.m. the following Monday, with double shifts operating in the surviving buildings.
“I believe in manufacturing,” he said recently. “As a businessman under contract to a multinational company, I need to ship product. And the Haitian people need to work.”
When he spoke, at a garden table on his deserted hotel property, Mr. Villard had just returned from a trip abroad to find the country shuttered because of political unrest. “2010 — the year that Haiti was pounded with headaches,” he said.
He expects to open a new, more earthquake-proof factory on Jan. 12, and to break ground for the hotel’s reconstruction, too. Although it disappeared almost a year ago, Villa Thérèse is still ranked second of 25 hotels in Port-au-Prince on the Tripadvisor Web site — a sad commentary on Haiti’s tourism industry.
But, Mr. Villard said: “You have to keep the faith. Under no circumstances would I have packed my bags and left Haiti like others did. Yes, I could go somewhere else that has nice, paved roads and electricity. But no country is perfect. And, hey, we’ve got mangos — organic mangos.”
Daphne was deposited in January at the doorstep of an idealistic community organization called Frades, which specialized in microloans but accepted several dozen orphaned or stranded children because it seemed like the honorable thing to do.
In the spring, a young woman with little connection to her — Daphne’s half-brother’s father’s girlfriend — showed up to claim her and moved her into a squalid tent city.
Daphne, twisting her hands as she recounted her time there, said the woman used to beat her with a rough leather belt if she hesitated or refused to fetch water or empty the chamber pot. She longed to return to Frades, although the situation there was hardly ideal.
By early summer, the children were sleeping on shredded carpet remnants atop a concrete slab under disintegrating tents. They faced imminent eviction. But, just when things were truly desperate, a group of concerned Americans, and especially one very generous donor, came to the rescue. The Americans helped the Haitian group rent a nice house on a walled property, hire cooks and teachers, secure a generator and stock treated water, provisions and toys.
The Rev. Gerald Bataille, the children’s full-time guardian since January, organized a makeshift school and a household staff. The 13 boys share one bedroom with two beds, the 15 girls another. New backpacks hang, empty, on the walls. (“We don’t yet have books to put in them,” the pastor explained.)
At mealtime, the children sit elbow to elbow on two long benches. After saying grace, they wave their little hands continuously over, say, their bowls of porridge to ward off the flies as they eat.
Once the group had settled in, Pastor Bataille sought to have Daphne, who looked increasingly thin and hollow-eyed, returned to Frades. But the woman refused. So he searched for and located Daphne’s mother’s brother, an actual relative who was shattered by his sister’s death.
“The uncle gave Daphne back to us until she reaches the age of maturity,” the pastor said, adding, “And since that day, he has not once come back to see how she is.”
Daphne still has recurring nightmares and crying jags; she disappears into herself without warning. But she is devoted to her studies — an evaluation found her at a fourth-grade level — and she is loving to and loved by the other children.
“They are like my brothers and sisters,” said Daphne, wearing a lacy headband and a “Cheerleader!” T-shirt. She added that she used to tell her mother that she dreamed of opening an orphanage someday for children who were not as lucky as her.
“My mom would say: ‘Oh, you have big dreams. You will have to be a good girl — stay chaste and pray to God — to realize your goal,’ ” Daphne said. “My mom also used to say, ‘I will always be by your side.’ She is not. But goudou-goudou didn’t take away my dream.”
Monday, January 03, 2011
Saturday, January 01, 2011
Photo by John Carroll
The New York Times
December 30, 2010
An agreement reached this week between the government of Haiti and the Organization of American States points the way out of the country’s paralyzing presidential election crisis. The deal will allow experts from the O.A.S. to re-examine the results of the Nov. 28 vote to try to clear up the uncertainty over who won second place and will go on to a January runoff.
While there is wide acceptance that the top vote-getter was Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady, there was widespread anger in Haiti — and skepticism internationally — after the national election council announced last month that Jude Célestin, the protégé of President René Préval, had narrowly beaten Michel Martelly, a popular musician, for the No. 2 spot.
Independent observers stationed across the country on Election Day — a day marred by disorganization, polling-place chaos, widespread accounts of voter intimidation and fraud — had concluded that it was Mr. Martelly who had easily bested Mr. Célestin. The United States Embassy and the United Nations issued statements shortly after the vote voicing concern about irregularities. Angry supporters of Mr. Martelly and the other losing candidates staged raucous protests that briefly paralyzed a country already stricken by January’s earthquake and a raging cholera epidemic.
The country has since calmed down, but remains in dire need of a new, legitimately elected president. There is, of course, no undoing the myriad disasters of Election Day. The answer is not a full, new election. That would be hugely complicated and costly.
Haiti and the O.A.S. have the right approach with their agreement to let the outside specialists into the national tabulation center to examine everything: tally sheets, voter rolls, written reports about irregularities and incidents on Election Day. They will be able to consult candidates and interview citizens.
They must be allowed to throw out dubious results, using standards already established by the election council. And they must report whatever they find and their decisions to the president, election council and — most importantly — the people of Haiti. Process and communication are paramount, so Haitians see that their democracy is lawful, transparent and trustworthy.
It may be hard to hold the runoff as scheduled on Jan. 16. But long delays cannot be tolerated. Mr. Préval is supposed to leave office on Feb. 7, though he could legally remain until May 14, the technical end date of his five-year term. (His inauguration in 2006 was delayed.) The country is rightly eager for a new government to handle reconstruction and contain cholera. The sooner Mr. Préval hands off the reins to a legitimately elected president, the better.