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a421: Cincinnati Post: Sen. Mike DeWine: Haiti is mired in misery.Followed by a letter sent to Collin Powel (fwd)
From: Robert Benodin <email@example.com>
Haiti is mired in misery
WASHINGTON - America is preoccupied with fighting terrorism and hunger a
world away in Afghanistan, but there's a dirt-poor little country in our own
back yard where human misery is painfully on display.
I'm talking about Haiti.
Sen. Mike DeWine can tell you all about the wretchedness in Haiti. He just
got back from there last week.
It was his 10th trip in seven years to the tiny Caribbean nation. He keeps
going back because he recognizes the country's strategic importance to the
United States and because he thinks Americans have a moral obligation to
help the unfortunate inhabitants of that politically corrupt and
On this particular trip, the Ohio Republican met with Haitian President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide and U.S.
Ambassador Brian Dean Curran to get a better feel for the prevailing
political and social climate there.
The news was far from encouraging.
''The situation in Haiti is not good,'' DeWine said. ''The economy is not
improving. It is getting worse. The infant mortality rate is still high. You
have mobs that take justice into their own hands. You have local political
officials who are murdered.''
Just one year ago, DeWine stood on the floor of the U.S. Senate as Aristide
was about to be sworn in for the second time and spoke of the Haitian
president's ''second act,'' a rare opportunity to place his country and its
people on the path toward democratic and societal reform.
But so far, Aristide's second act has been a disappointment. Haitian people
who had high hopes that their leader would turn things around are growing
frustrated by the lack of progress.
''They expected major changes to take place when Aristide came back in
power,'' DeWine said. ''Those changes are not taking place. The life of the
average Haitian has not improved and in many cases has decreased.''
Aristide and his supporters have either refused or been incapable of
creating a climate in which democracy can thrive.
After an attempted coup failed in December, organized mobs that backed
Aristide retaliated by attacking people in the opposition, burning down
their headquarters and their homes.
''That cannot be allowed to continue,'' DeWine said.
Neither can the social problems that plague the nation. Haiti's infant
mortality rate is 15 times that of the United States. Diseases like measles
and tuberculosis are epidemic because just one-third of the population has
clean water and even fewer have access to sanitation.
The AIDS toll is staggering. The country has 300,000 reported AIDS cases out
of a population of 8 million. By one estimate, there are 30,000 new cases of
HIV infection every year. Roughly 7 percent of Haitians live in a family
with at least one person who has AIDS or HIV.
Why should people in the Midwest be concerned about the grave conditions in
Because 5 to 10 percent of the cocaine sold on the streets of Ohio is
shipped through Haiti, DeWine said. And unless the country's problems are
brought under control, the United States could see another huge wave of boat
people coming out of Haiti, which could create huge humanitarian and
political problems for this country as well.
In Port-au-Prince, DeWine visited with Father Tom Hagan, a Catholic priest
from the United States who runs four schools in the city's worst slum, Cite
Soleil. Hagan showed him a shipment of food and other supplies that had
arrived the week before from Matthew 25 Ministries, a non-denominational
group in the Cincinnati area.
The United States will give $55 million this year in humanitarian assistance
to Haiti. But that money goes to non-government relief efforts, not the
Haitian government. If the government wants help, it first must show that it
is dealing with the country's misery, DeWine said.
Until then, ''I don't know if Haiti is going to emerge from this morass,''
Michael Collins is The Post's Washington bureau chief
Congress of the United States - Washington D.C.
December 20, 2001
The Honorable Colin Powell
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Secretary Powell:
Knowing of your prolonged interest in United States policy and toward Haiti,
we are writing to request immediate access to a list of Haitian Government
officials possessing United States' documentation, such as valid visas and
green cards. Based on recent discussions with U.S. Ambassador Brian Dean
Curran, it is our understanding that the consular and political sections
within Embassy Port-au-Prince have complied a list of Haitian Government
officials possessing valid U.S. immigration documents.
We are especially concerned that a number of Haitian Government officials,
such as Senators Dany Toussaint and Medard Joseph, currently possess some
form of U.S. immigration documents. Senators Toussaint and Joseph have been
credibly linked by a number of U.S. Government agencies to narcotics
trafficking in Haiti. Specifically, 8 U.S.C. 1182(2)(C) notes with respect
to controlled substance traffickers that: "Any alien who the consular or
immigration officer knows or has reason to believe is or has been a knowing
assister, abettor, conspirator, or colluder with others in the illicit
trafficking in any such controlled substance, is inadmissible."
We are further concerned that other Haitian Government officials, such as
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Environment Minister Webster Pierre and
Interior Ministry official Eric Trouillot, also possess some form of U.S.
immigration documents. Specifically, 8 U.S.C. 1182 (3)(C)(i) notes with
respect to foreign policy constraints on the issuance of U.S. documents to
aliens: "An alien whose entry or proposed activities in the United States
the Secretary of State has reasonable ground to believe would have
potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United
States is inadmissible." Given the growing evidence of the hostile and
anti-democratic nature of Haiti's Aristide regime, we believe that the
Department of State needs to make a clear determination as so whether Haitia
n Government officials should benefit from having access to U.S. territory
through their possession of valid U.S. immigration documents, such as visas
and green cards.
We therefore reiterate our interest in obtaining the list of Haitian
officials possessing U.S. immigration documents that was prepared by staff
at Embassy Port-au-Prince. Given the changes in Haitian Government
leadership since the list was first prepared, we would further ask for an
updating of said list to include all relevant officials in the Haitian
Cabinet. President Aristide's office (including the Presidential Security
Unit and the Presidential Intelligence Unit), the Haitian Parliament, the
Haitian National Police leadership (including the directors of the SWAT,
CIMO, Central Judicial Police, and the HNP Investigative Unit), senior
officials of Fanmi Lavalas, and the leadership of the Haiti-registered
Aristide Foundation. We look forward to a detailed response to this request
no later than January 20, 2002.
Senate Select Committee
Porter J. Goss
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence