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a336: Floridians will teach Haitians on Unity (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Floridians will teach Haitians on unity
By Madeline Baró Diaz
Miami Bureau

January 10, 2002

MIAMI · A group of Haitian-American political leaders is heading to Haiti in
an effort to show their counterparts in the Caribbean nation how to get
along with the opposition.

Politics in Haiti are marked by bitter divisions between the ruling Lavalas
Family party and opposition groups. The South Florida Haitian-American
leaders, who have often put partisan politics aside to support common
causes, want to demonstrate how members of the United States' two major
political parties work together.

State Rep. Phillip Brutus, North Miami Mayor Joe Celestin, North Miami
Councilmen Jacques Despinosse and Ossmann Desir, and Marc Villain, chairman
of the Haitian American Political Action Committee, will go to Haiti on Jan.
16 at the invitation of Brian D. Curran, U.S. ambassador to Haiti.

The group has Republicans and Democrats. The goal is "to try and show you
can be from opposite points of view and still work together," said embassy
spokeswoman Judith Trunzo.

While in Haiti, the Florida politicians will meet with both Lavalas members
and members of opposition groups, as well as with human rights and other
civic leaders.

Haitian politics do not have a tradition of tolerance or of opponents
listening to each other, Trunzo said. "The politics are so sharp here."

Staff Writer Tim Collie contributed to this report. Madeline Baró Diaz can
be reached at mbaro@sun-sentinel.com or 305-810-5007.

Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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