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# 2092: CBS Sunday Morning News - Transcript (1-30-00) (fwd)
From: John C. Kozyn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I found the following article on the CBS web site today. I gotta say
I loved this article! There were more than a few humorous moments! My
remarks are made parenthetically.
Street Corner Negotiations In Haiti
(CBS) CBS News Sunday Morning Correspondent Rita Braver had a bit of
an adventure while reporting in Haiti. And she learned from that
experience that all is not quiet in the Caribbean nation following
Operation Restore Democracy. An archive of The Braver Line is
available. Rita Braver's email address is email@example.com.
Whether it's in the United States or abroad, television journalists
always experience a definite awkwardness about getting videotape in
On the one hand, you are trying to draw attention to the plight of
the poor. On the other, you are voyeuristically invading the privacy
of those who have so little.
And of all the places I've traveled in 28 years of covering the news,
I've never seen people with so little as those we encountered in
Haiti. For millions of people, houses are cement block structures
with dirt floors, cardboard boxes or grass shacks.
Clean water is nonexistent; people seem to bathe, rinse and wash
their clothes in sewage-laden streams. Paved roads are rare. In the
countryside, people use wobbly looking mules, donkeys and horses to
transport meager goods. Sometimes you'll see a man straining to pull
a heavy wheelbarrow.
Children run ragged or just plain naked. As you pass, people point to
their bellies, as if to say, "I am hungry."
[Blan! Geev me wun dolla!!]
In city markets flies are everywhere, and the stench of rotting food
and human waste is unbearable. People mash themselves into and on top
of trucks known as tip tops, sitting, standing and crouching. Every
gas station is guarded by someone with a gun.
[Yeah, keeping an eye on those shady characters on them "tip-tops"]
In fact even a clinic in a slum neighborhood had an armed guard. And
it was in that neighborhood that our CBS News reporting team had a
firsthand glimpse of how lawless life can be on the streets of Port
Au Prince, Haiti's capital.
[Two lousy video tapes get "persuaded" from you, and now the whole
city is "lawless"]
We had been in the clinic interviewing a doctor who was talking about
how little had changed in the five years since the United States and
other Western nations forced out Raoul Cedras, the military dictator
who had seized power in the country. When U.S. troops came in, the
people hoped for economic improvement, a chance to make a better
That has not happened, and now the U.S. support mission in Haiti is
officially ending, although reserve units and National Guard troops
will still carry out training exercise in other parts of the country.
Haitians say that they themselves are to blame for many of their own
problems. There may be more freedom now, but power in the land is
still held by corrupt, incompetent and quarreling government
officials. But many Haitians also wonder why the United States has
been so unable to help their country help itself.
And in the clinic, the children suffering from a variety of
infectious diseases are a marked reminder of why change is so
Outside the clinic, we took some shots to show how depressed the
whole neighborhood is. Afterward, I began doing what's known as an
"on camera," saying a few words about how we had come to look at
whether five years of U.S. efforts in Haiti had made any difference.
[I especially like how this segues from one topic - how corrupt and
lawless Haiti is, to another - the real stars of the piece: Rita
Braver and her media crew].
A few folks had gathered around our team producer, James Houtrides,
cameraman Mario DeCarvalho and soundman Manny Garcia. That happens
But suddenly, there seemed to be a problem. I could see Mario, who
has had many assignments in Haiti over the years, talking with a
couple of tough-looking guys. He seemed to be speaking in French
(Haitians speak French, or a dialogue known as Creole), and he was
gesturing at the camera, offering to let them look through the
[I couldn't stop chuckling for several minutes - for those of you who
watched the show this morning, did she really say "dialogue"?]
Then suddenly Mario shrugged his shoulders, took the tape out of the
camera and handed it to one of the men. Then they went over to our
car with him and took another tape. I knew that the man must have
threatened the crew in some way, but I didn't know what he said.
So when he came rushing by me with the tapes, I started to follow
him, "Monsieur, s'il vous plait," I implored, asking him in French to
please give us back our work.
"Rita, please come here now," I heard Mario say. And the tone in his
voice made me turn immediately. The crowd was still milling about the
two four-wheel drive vehicles we had rented to transport us and our
"I gave him the tapes because he had a gun," Mario said. "We better
go now." We and our Haitian drivers did indeed climb into the cars
and inch our way through the crowds and out of the neighborhood.
Later I learned that the man who took the tapes had simply pulled up
his T-shirt and pulled a chrome-plated .45 out of his jeans pocket.
He had apparently been angry that we didn't have "permission" to be
in the neighborhood.
Our driver, Thomas, was convinced that the thugs who took our tape
were only low-level street hoods, and so he went to find the big boss
of the neighborhood.
Mario, Manny and Thomas went back to try to negotiate for the tape,
but we never did get it. All of us got the impression that rather
this being random street crime, there was some belief that our story
was going to be unfavorable to some political group, and that's why
we had been relieved of our videotape.
I tell you this tale not to focus on what happened to us, but to give
you an example of how insecure and brooding things are in this
neighboring country, just 600 miles off our coast.
We called our "invasion" of Haiti, Operation Restore Democracy. But
there is a great chance that in the end, we will have succeeded only
in replacing one set of bullies with another.
[This is rich. Comparing a coup régime of 3 years to some minor
league hoodlums who purloin two video-tapes.]