Haiti`s Orphans - Boston Haitian Reporter

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Haiti`s Orphans - Boston Haitian Reporter
Exploring
the haitian
american
experience
BostonHaitian.com
© copyright 2007
www.bostonhaitian.com
Boston Neighborhood News, Inc.
BOSTON HAITIAN
REPORTER
Vol. 7, Issue 1
JANUARY 2007
FREE
Haiti’s Orphans
How do they survive?
AIDS orphan Decheno Felix, age unknown, a “restavek” or domestic servant, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Although he does not attend school,
walking the younger children to school is one of his chores. On a typical day, Decheno Felix is up before dawn to trek down a mountain and
fetch water for his cousins. He is not alone. Full story, page 10. (AP Photo/South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Mike Stocker)
INSIDE THE REPORTER
Alteon’s vision for the big
screen- and the small one too
Yvon Alteon’s life work has been
to present Haitian culture from a
different perspective. Today, his
family joins him in the multi-media effort that is Tele Diaspora.
Page 4
Farewell to the man behind the camera
Jean Gabriel “Poulou” Chiappini, 55, whose skills with the
camera quietly made Tele Kreyol possible, is mourned by the
Boston community. Wilner Auguste writes, Page 2
The Dems’ challenge:
How can our Congress
help Haiti?
Brian Concannon- Page 8
Presidential cancer scare prompts anxieties-Page 7
Yvon Alteon
Page boston haitian Reporter January 2007
Menino: ‘Saving’ Strand Theatre is a city priority
By Patrick McGroarty
Reporter Staff
Mayor Thomas Menino
used the State of the City
address he delivered this
week from Dorchester’s
Strand Theatre to publicly revive plants to
renovate the Uphams
Corner landmark beginning with $6 million in
capital improvements.
In a half-hour speech
delivered to a theatre
crowded with public officials and city leaders
and broadcast live on
television, Menino also
pledged to add 190 new
police officers to the
Boston force during fiscal 2007 (50 more than
previously expected) and
announced the creation
of an innovative new
early education program
called “Smart from the
Start.” Each initiative
highlighted in the speech
was carefully chosen
to portray the mayor
as actively engaging
neighborhoods beyond
the city’s downtown core
and eagerly infusing new
ideas into the work of his
13 year-old administration.
Menino’s decision to
deliver his 10th State
of the City address from
the Strand was another
facet of that two-pronged
objective. It has been a
decade since the mayor
last gave the speech from
beyond downtown, and
the previous occasion
was also in Dorchester.
In 1996, he gave the address from the Jeremiah
E. Burke high school, at a
time when the Burke was
seen as a sad symbol of
the failed Boston Public
School system.
Menino’s plan for the
Strand is essentially
the re-institution of a
strategy first recommended by a task force
he appointed in 2004.
That body determined
that an initial capital
investment would be
necessary to bring the
theatre up to a basic level
of functionality for local
and nationally touring
entertainment acts and
to make it attractive to
a deep-pocketed private
management company.
Some preliminary work,
which concluded in 2005,
replaced nearly 300 seats
in the theatre’s orchestra
section and peeled back
decades of gaudy paint
to expose the charm of
the theatre’s original
detailing to prospective
investors. But the work
wasn’t enough to persuade a management
company to take on
the extensive renovation project or to take a
gamble on investing in
Uphams Corner, where
transportation and public safety concerns are
still potential roadblocks
to drawing large crowds
from beyond the immediate neighborhood.
The new plan calls for
$4 million already allotted for fiscal 2007 and
an additional $2 million
to be requested in 2008
to make improvements
to the almost 90 yearold theatre’s heating,
plumbing, and mechanical infrastructure during a complete theatre
closure that will begin on
January 31 and stretch
into much of the year.
The Strand Theatre
Task Force will be reassembled to organize
the renovation project
and to court the favor of
potential investors for a
project that the mayor
estimated could cost as
much as $25 million.
The hope is that these
improvements and the
promise of a complete
renovation will convince
national entertainment
acts (the list of past
Strand headliners includes the Temptations,
Al Green, and Phish) to
return to Dorchester.
In December 2005, an
electrical short at the
theatre delayed a performance of the Urban
Nutcracker by almost 20
minutes. This past holiday season, for the first
time in its six year history, BalletRox staged
the Urban Nutcracker
at a downtown theatre
instead of at the Strand.
Menino says luring acts
like the Nutcracker, with
a hometwon constituency and natural connection to the neighborhood,
is a priority of the initial
renovation.
“The Urban Nutcracker doesn’t belong downtown. It belongs here,
in the neighborhood,”
said Menino in an interview with the Reporter.
“My goal is to have the
restoration bring the
Strand to a position in
the community like the
Apollo.” Menino was
referring to the famed
theatre in Harlem, but
there are key differences
that may make emulating the Appollo’s success
difficult.
“This would have to be
partnered with an initial
investment in the local
infrastructure,” said
City Councillor Charles
Yancey, whose district
in Dorchester and Mattapan does not include
Uphams Corner. “Parking and traffic flow in
this neighborhood are
horrendous.”
Bringing 1400 politicians, neighborhood
leaders, and journalists
to Uphams Corner for
Tuesday night’s address
required a legion of detailed police officers and
shuttle buses to cart drivers back and forth from
the Bayside Expo Center. Yet the mayor says
that he believes existing
bus service, limited parking at a municipal lot
across Columbia Road
on Ramsey Street, and
the promise of improved
service on the Fairmount
Line would be sufficient
to support a full calendar
of performances at the
theatre.
“Rapid transit and the
enactment of the Indigo
Line is something that I
have always supported,”
said Menino. “The Strand
is part of a larger vision
that I have for Uphams
Corner that includes the
Kroc Center, the housing
stock.”
Uphams Corner is
hanging on the cusp of
significant revitalization, with several major
projects slated to make
headway in the year to
come: Most importantly,
construction continues
on the $100 million
Kroc community center
at the corner of Dudley
and Clifton Streets; a
CVS store is expected
to come to Dudley Street
as well, at the site of the
former America’s Food
Basket; and merchant
Hal Cohen is looking to
sell the more than two-
Mayor Tom Menino
acre property he owns at
65 East Cottage Street to
a developer who would
preserve commercial
jobs there and in conjunction with a development
that included affordable
housing.
At-Large City Councillor Sam Yoon said that
he was impressed by
the mayor’s speech, and
faithful in his vision for
Uphams Corner.
“Investment in isolation is not going to lift all
of our problems. But you
have to start somewhere,
and these plans sounded
like a good step in that
direction.”
Yancey said he was
encouraged, but not satisfied, with the mayor’s
overall message.
“It was not as ambitious as I had hoped,”
said Yancey, pointing
out that plans for a
new Mattapan branch
library, which the mayor
mentioned in his speech,
date back to at least
1997 and that plans to
renovate the Strand has
been in the works for
several years.
“He came out earlier
this year with a plan for
a downtown skyscraper
and to move city hall; I
would have wanted just
as ambitious of a grander
vision for the larger city
of Boston.”
Menino also pledged
to bring 190 new officers into the Boston
Police Department in
the upcoming fiscal year,
50 more cops than the
previous benchmark.
The mayor also pledged
that he would soon travel
to Washington D.C. for
a meeting with House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(D-California) to press
the need for tougher national gun laws to protect
urban youths.
Locally, he mentioned
that department command staff would be
required to spend more
time in district station
houses, and generally
echoed the communityfocused rhetoric that
new commissioner Ed
Davis has related to city
residents at a number
of recent community
forums.
While 2006 was a very
strong year for the Boston Public School system,
as the department received national recognition for recent improvements and a promising
new commissioner was
found in Manuel Rivera
of Rochester New York,
the mayor said that he
is “far from satisfied”
with the performance of
Boston’s public schools,
and announced the creation of a “Smart from
the Start” program that
would target the poorest
and youngest Bostonians
with a slate of social
and language-based programming to prepare
them for school.
Jean Gabriel Chiappini, videographer, dead at age 55
By Wilner Auguste
Special to
the Reporter
Jean Gabriel Chiappini, a Tele Kreyol production adviser and
cameraman, died on
Wednesday, November
29, at New England
Medical Center, where
he had been admitted
four days earlier after
suffering from a stroke.
Gabriel was 55 and had
been with Tele Kreyol
since the beginning of
the Haitian access TV
program.
Popularly known by
name “Poulou”, Gabriel Chiappini was born
in Cap-Haitian in the
northern part of Haiti on
February 27, 1951. After
a joyful childhood, said
one of his sisters, Gabriel
moved with his parents
to Port-au-Prince, the
capital, for his academic
studies at the Lycee
Alexandre Petion and
the college of Francois
Capois. He became a
master in the art of photography, a talent he had
inherited from his father
Jean Chiappini, who
owned Chiappini’s Foto
in Port-au-Prince. For
years, Gabriel managed
the photography studio
where his professional
performance helped him
Jean Gabriel Chiappini’s skills behind the camera for the Tele Kreyol network
made him an essential part of the local Haitian community.
provide for his family.
Gabriel immigrated to
the United States with
his family in the middle
of 1986. After spending
sometimes in New York,
he moved to Boston in
1987 where he worked
as a bank assistant and
special courier for 18
years. During Haiti’s
unrest of 1985-1986,
said his sister, Huguette,
Gabriel gradually added
to his technical accomplishments, the mastery
of video camera, which
became his main tool
for journalistic reporting. Gabriel was well
known in Haiti and the
Haitian community of
Boston for his professional photography and
video recordings during
social ceremonies such
as marriages, communion, graduations and
baptisms.
Jean Gabriel Chiappini was among the
original members of Tele
Kreyol. He brought to
the program all the experiences he gained from
his works in Haiti with
his many video reports
of the February 1986
events in Haiti. Gabriel
had always had the difficult camera task in Tele
Kreyol Productions, from
the camera close up shot
in the BNN studio in
Roxbury to the camera
on top of the Mobile van
production or the shoulder strap camera. He also
produced two segments
for Tele Kreyol: “Mache
Chache,” with reporter
Jean Claude Charlet and
“Sante se Riches,” with
Dr. Michel H. Brutus,
Executive Director of the
Health Education Learning Resource Projects
(H.E.L.P.) Gabriel helped
also with the production
of Camera Mosaique, a
TV program produced
by Yves Cajuste.
A wake was held for
Gabriel on Friday, December 8, 2006 at the
Waitt Funeral Home
in Brockton. During
this time his children,
friends, and family members reflected on his
life.
“I lost a brother, a son,
and a good friend,” said
Dr.Charles Dessalines
from New York, a Haitian musicologist who
married Gabriel wife’s
cousin. “Chiappini was
an exceptional father
and a model spouse.”
“He lived a great life,”
said well-known artist
of Canada, Luc Mervil,
Mrs. Chiappini’s nephew
and God’s son. Mervil,
who led mourners to applaud Gabriel’s great life
said, “When you met Gabriel, you met someone
with values. His values
will never die.”
Gabriel’s funeral service was held at the
Church of Christ the
King in Brockton on
Saturday, December 9,
2006. His old friend from
Haiti, professor Smith
Barthelus, former editorin-chief of the Haitian
newspaper “Le Nouveau
Monde”, presented Chiappini as a professional
photographer and cameraman who used his
great talent to serve his
country, Haiti, and his
Boston community.
“He lived for his profession and for others,”
declared Barthelus. “He
had nothing for himself.
Gabriel always wanted
to share all his possessions with his friends.
Jean Gabriel Chiappini is survived by his
wife, Heguette Mardi
Chiappini, his children,
Gabrielle, Patrick, Jean
Hugues, Judermia,
and Sainthia, his great
children, Nicholas and
Annelle Chiappini Resendes, his brothers and
Sisters Huguette Chiappini Altine, Nicole Chiappini Lecoin, Georges
Chiappini Dallemand,
Jean-Claude Chiappini,
many nephews, nieces,
cousins, brother and
sister-in laws.
January 2007
BOSTON HAITIAN Reporter
Page International News
Michelle Montas takes job as UN chief’s spokesperson
By Edith M. Lederer
UNITED NATIONS
(AP) - Incoming U.N.
Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon on Sunday
appointed veteran Indian diplomat Vijay
Nambiar as his chief
of staff and award-winning Haitian journalist
Michelle Montas as his
spokesperson.
The appointments
were the first by Ban,
who officially takes the
reins of the United Nations on New Year’s
Day. In a statement, he
said he intends to make
further appointments in
the coming days.
“Today’s appointments
will serve as a solid basis
for establishing my team
and pursuing a program
of reform of the Secretariat to provide cntinuity along with change,’’
Ban said.
Montas began reporting for Radio Haiti-Inter
in the early 1970s with
her husband, Jean Dominique, where the two
exposed human rights
abuses, political corruption and state-sponsored
violence in Haiti.
Between 1980 and
1994, the radio station
was attacked six times
and Montas and her husband were forced into exile twice. Dominique was
assassinated on April 3,
2000, as he walked into
the station.
Montas continued to
work at the station, but
after her bodyguard was
fatally shot on Christmas
Day 2002 and threats
continued she closed the
station in February 2003
and fled to New York.
She served as spokesperson for the U.N. General Assembly in 2003
and is currently the head
of the French unit of U.N.
Radio. A graduate of the
Columbia University
School of Journalism,
she received the Maria
Moors Cabot Prize for
courage in journalism
in 2002.
Nambiar, a former
Indian ambassador to
the United Nations, has
served since March as
special adviser to outgoing Secretary-General
Kofi Annan on a wide
range of issues, including
as a contact with the 192
U.N. ambassadors.
Before coming to the
United Nations, Nambiar served as India’s
deputy national security
adviser. He joined the
Indian Foreign
Service in 1967 and
specialized in the Chinese language, serving in
Hong Kong and Beijing.
He has served as India’s
ambassador to Pakistan,
China, Malaysia, Afghanistan and Algeria.
“I have known Mr.
Nambiar for a long time
and we share deep confidence and respect for
each other,’’ Ban said.
Michelle Montas, an award-winning Haitian journalist who was married to
slain journalist Jean Dominique, has been named the spokesperson for the
new United Nations’ General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon.
Page boston haitian Reporter Reporter’s
January 2007
News about people
making moves in & around
our community
Men Nou
Consistency, values key to success at Tele Diaspora
By Yolette Ibokette
Contributing Editor
If you ask Yvon Alteon,
Chief Executive Officer
of Tele Diaspora, Inc.,
to tell you the formula
for his astonishing success, he’ll say, “We’re
persistent, disciplined,
and we persevere.”
Consciously or not, he
says, “we” as he enthusiastically shares the
overdue recognition he’s
been receiving with his
business partners and
family members. (Alteon was honored with a
special award at the annual Haitian-Americans
United dinner earlier in
the month.) This selfless
trait may also due to the
fact that he has 19 brothers and sisters.
Born in St. Raphael, an
area in the countryside
that is about 45 minutes
from Cap Haitien, Alteon
says life was good for
his hard-working family. Unlike those who
live in Port-au-Prince,
they were never hungry
because they could easily
go to their farm for plantains, sweet potatoes and
vegetables. In this safe
and loving environment,
he completed his primary schooling and then
his secondary schooling
in Cap Haitien. After
studying cinematography in Port-au-Prince,
he left Haiti in December
1985.
He spent three days in
Miami and then arrived
in Boston on January
1st, 1986. Alteon says,
“Although I had relatives
living in other parts of
the United States, I came
to Boston because an
older sister was already
living here.” He’s been
here ever since.
In Boston, Alteon went
straight to work. Married at the tender age
of 21 in Haiti and with
two children back there,
he had responsibilities.
After working for two
years, he attended the
Connecticut School of
Broadcasting to study
radio and television
broadcasting. He then
worked as a volunteer
on radio broadcasts and
later professionally at
Radio Metropole and Radio Nouveaute hosting
educational programs
and talk shows. In 1989,
Alteon began working
in television broadcasting, achieving one of his
dreams. He continued to
run Yvon Video Productions where he filmed
weddings, baptisms,
Yvon Alteon
communions and other
events.
“Although we’re busy
with other projects now,
we still have Yvon Video
Productions because
the demand is still out
there,” he says.
As the head of Tele
Diaspora, Inc., he’s now
confidently turned Diaspora Express and Video
Services over to his
children to run. His
oldest son, Vontsky, 23
years-old, oversees the
business. His daughter,
Yveline, 21 years old,
manages it; and Yvens,
16, is the technological
genius. Alteon is most
thankful to his wife of
25 years, Janique, who’s
always supported him.
“Whatever success
we’ve achieved is in large
part due to her,” Alteon
says.
In 1991, Tele Diaspora
began broadcasting with
only 30 minutes of programming. Today, it has
8 ½ hours of live weekend
programming. It’s also
accessible live on the Internet all over the world
at: telediaspora.com.
“When we created Tele
Diaspora, it was because
we saw that there was
a lack of information in
the community. While
Tele Kreyol was already
in existence 4 or 5 years
before us, we were the
first television station
with a commercial goal
in Boston.” Since businesses could only advertise on radio programs,
Tele Diaspora offered
an alternative because
unlike other television
programs, they paid for
their time slot.
Tele Diaspora is on
Channel 26 on Cuenca
Vision (through Comcast) and Channel 58
(non-cable) on Saturdays
from 9 p.m. until 12 a.m.
and Sundays from 7 a.m.
until 12:30 p.m. The
programs vary greatly.
There’s a gospel program
hosted by Pastor Verdieu
Laroche; “Rankont” with
Danique Eloi; An’n Koze
with Gary Zizi; Gabrielle
Rene and Andre Bastien,
Jr., discuss financial
matters; Patrick Romain
hosts a show on tax
issues; Nicole Cesar’s
“Tiffany” focuses on kids
in Haiti; Gerlens Cesar
covers computer-related
issues; Elda S. James
tackles legal questions;
Dr. Philip Barron has a
chiropractic show; David
Cange reports on news
from Haiti; Ronald Nelson delves into sports;
and Rony Dorvil has
music news. The hosting
coordinator of all these
dynamic programs is
Beethoven Camille.
In addition to these
programs, Tele Diaspora has been producing, distributing and
funding Haitian films
for 12 years. Some of
these films are shown and
promoted on some of the
programs. They’re also
sometimes shown at the
Strand Theater and then
sold on DVDs by Diaspora
Express and Video Services. “We’re a worldwide
distributor with affiliates
in most major cities in
the United States, the
Caribbean, Paris, Canada
and Haiti. We have three
warehouses with about a
million DVDs.”
While all of the films
were produced in Haiti at
one time, this is no longer
the case. The U.S. and
Canada are now popular
locations for filming due
to the persistent violence
and political unrest that
have plagued Haiti. However, Alteon says he’ll
return to making films
in Haiti as soon as the
situation improves.
A better political environment will also stimulate opportunities to
produce more films and
for the youth to find
work in the industry.
He’s also discovered that
Haitians love Haitian
films. Whereas they lose
interest in a Hollywood
film that comes to Haiti
after two weeks in the
theaters, a Haitian film
attracts large crowds for
at least 2 months.
As successful as the
Haitian film industry has
been and continues to be,
it also has its challenges.
For example, there aren’t
enough theaters in Haiti
to show films once they’re
completed. With only
Imperial and the recently
re-opened Capitol, a film
can be on a waiting list for
two years before it finds
a venue. Unfortunately,
during this wait, they’re
often pirated.
Haiti’s market is also
very small. As a result,
Alteon is trying to enter
the U.S. market. He believes Haitian films play
a very special role for the
dyaspora.
“Haitian films encourage respect for the culture
and people. We’ve often
been portrayed in an
unfavorable light by oth-
ers who film the worst
parts of the country.
Now when people see
a Haitian film, they
wonder if it was really
shot in Haiti because
they never knew that
the country had so
many beautiful places,”
he says.
Alteon would like to
see Haiti’s film industry
become as successful
as Nigeria’s, which has
flourished since 1992.
According to Alteon,
it’s the second source
of revenues after agriculture, and Nigeria’s
government now sees
its value and has begun
to support it.
“We’re encouraging
the Haitian government to value our film
industry. There are
many jobs in this field.
In film, you don’t have
to be an intellectual or
scholar to participate.
You can sweep the yard,
do makeup, clean cars,
or carry a camera. So
this industry can help
Haiti develop and advance.”
Alteon is convinced
that Haitian films have
evolved to the point that
it’s the best avenue to
reach the community.
He encourages people
to make these films. In
Haiti, he works with a
very talented group of
actors and executive
producers: Jean Gardy
Bien-Aime, Reginald
Lubin, Smoy Noisie,
Etienne Mora Jr., Reynald Delerme and executive producer, Sachat
Parisot.
In the future, in addition to producing
and distributing films,
Alteon would also like to
have a worldwide television station similar to
CNN and MTV.
“Even if we die at 95
years old, at 93, we aim
to have this station. We
live in this country that
offers many opportunities. We’re as smart as
the folks who created
CNN or ABC, and we
have our values.”
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January 2007
BOSTON HAITIAN Reporter
Page Dental pain can be a real obstacle for students, teachers
By Yolette Ibokette
Contributing Editor
Those of us who are
teachers know that there
are always one or two
students who have difficulty paying attention
in class for various reasons. Surprisingly, one
of those reasons is dental
pain. What I didn’t know
is that this is a fairly common occurrence in many
classrooms in Boston and
surrounding cities and
towns. A recent study
by the Catalyst Institute
funded by Delta Dental
on children’s oral health
finds that kids with dental pain tend to experience more absenteeism
and have difficulty paying attention in class.
In order to improve
dental care, some cities
have instituted schoolbased dentistry programs. For example, the
Forsyth Institute, an independent organization
that conducts oral health
research, funds a program that sends dentists
to some Boston, Lynn
and Cape Cod schools
twice a year to perform
screenings. In addition
to cavities, these dentists
have found problems
such as infections, gum
swellings, gum drainage
and kids in need of root
canals. The dentists fill
cavities with temporary
fillings, place sealants in
teeth and provide other
services.
The Cambridge Public
Health Department’s
Children’s Dental Program which began in
1997 starts this process
with a visit to classrooms
by Joyce LeFevre, the
Children’s Dental Program coordinator, to
prepare the kids for the
experience. She first
teaches the kids how
to care for their teeth.
Then she dons a dental
mask and gloves and
shows them dental mirrors and lights.
This
tends to make kids feel
less afraid, particularly
those who’ve never seen
a dentist. The following
week, the dentist visits
the school. John Giunta,
DMD, Professor of Oral
Pathology, Emeritus
from Tufts University
School of Dental Medicine, who volunteers with
the program after more
than 30 years’ teaching at Tufts, performs
basic dental screenings in Cambridge’s
schools. Dr. Giunta has
diagnosed problems such
as cavities, abscesses,
malocclusion (improper
meeting of upper and
lower teeth) and poor
oral hygiene. Children
who have dental problems are referred for
treatment. Dr. Giunta
notes, “Dental health
is very important to
overall good health. It
can prevent infections
and, perhaps, diseases
elsewhere in the body.”
According to the doctor,
not only does good dental
hygiene prevent things
such as tooth decay, gum
disease and even bad
breath, it can also help
with serious diseases
like heart attack, stroke,
poorly controlled diabetes and even some problems in pregnancy. He
continues, “One should
seek dental care the
same as they would a
yearly physical. In fact,
the mouth may present
with signs of systemic
disease elsewhere in
the body. Sometimes,
it may be the first sign
of the disease. Diabetes
or AIDS are examples.
So, oral health is very
important.”
According to LeFevre,
“The program is successful and is very important to all children,
especially the disadvantaged. We’ve provided
oral health instruction
and dental screenings to
thousands of children in
preschool through grade
4.” She has also seen
the number of children
being screened increase
over the years. LeFevre
also helps families to
access treatment and
gives them information
on dental clinics in the
area. This is helpful to
many Haitian families
who don’t have a regular
dentist. Additionally,
poor oral hygiene is a
problem in the Haitian
community in adults and
children. Many adults
don’t visit the dentist
unless they’re in serious pain. It’s somewhat
understandable since
many families don’t have
health and/or dental
insurance and instead
rely on free care when in
pain or sick. Dr. Giunta
adds, “Unfortunately if
a parent did not receive
good dental care themselves, they may not
appreciate its benefits
and may not stress or
seek out good dental
care for their children.”
However, the epidemic of
tooth decay in children
isn’t limited to the Haitian community or even
Massachusetts. It’s a
national epidemic.
The Forsyth Institute says, “The Surgeon
General has reported
that oral diseases are
rampant in one third
of America’s children,
many of whom are disadvantaged.” To help
prevent tooth decay, the
American Dental Association (ADA) makes
the following recommendations for good oral
hygiene:
• Brush teeth twice a
day with fluoride toothpaste. Tooth brushing
plays an important everyday role for personal
oral hygiene and effective
plaque removal.
• Clean between teeth
daily with floss. This
removes plaque and food
particles from between
the teeth and under the
gum line.
• Eat a balanced diet
and limit between-meal
snacks.
• Visit your dentist
twice a year for professional cleanings and oral
exams.
• Replace toothbrushes every three or four
months or sooner if the
bristles become frayed.
Children’s toothbrushes
often need replacing
more frequently than
adults because they can
wear out sooner.
• Do not share toothbrushes. This could
result in an exchange of
body fluids between the
users of the toothbrush,
placing the individuals
involved at an increased
risk for infections.
• Rinse toothbrushes
thoroughly with tap
water after brushing to
remove any remaining
toothpaste and debris.
Store the brush in an upright position if possible
and allow the toothbrush
to air-dry until used
again.
• Do not store toothbrushes in closed containers or cover them. A
moist environment such
as a closed container
encourages the growth
of bacteria.
In addition to the aforementioned measures,
regular visits to the
dentist are a must. The
mayor’s office in Boston
suggests that families
who lack health and/or
dental insurance call
MassHealth at: 1-888665-9993. Adults and
children can also receive
quality, low-cost dental
care at Boston University’s School of Dental
Medicine at 100 East
Newton Street,near the
Boston Medical Center.
In Cambridge, for free
dental care, families can
contact the Children’s
Dental Health program
at: 617-665-3800.
Health Insurance
ALERT
Have you been
receiving Free Care?
We can help you with the new changes
to your Free Care
insurance coverage.
If you receive a
letter from the
Commonwealth
of Massachusetts
about insurance
changes, please bring it to
Dorchester House or Codman Square
Health Center as soon as possible.
We’ll help you learn if you qualify
for the new Commonwealth Care
Health Insurance Program.
Please continue to see your doctor.
High quality,
friendly health care in
your neighborhood.
For information, or to make an appointment
with an enrollment specialist, call:
617-740-2294 or
617-740-2642
617-822-8310 or
617-822-8108
Page boston haitian Reporter January 2007
News from Haiti
Engel: Deportees not fueling crime in Haiti
By Myrna Domit
PORT-AU-PRINCE - A
senior U.S. legislator has
pledged to help resolve
a dispute between Haiti
and the United States
over deporting Haitian
convicts to their homeland but rejected Haiti’s
assertion that the U.S.
policy has fueled violent
crime.
U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, a Democrat from
New York, called the
long-standing disagreement over deportees
“a sensitive issue’’ but
emphasized that Haitian
convicts sent home by
the United Stateswere
not “the only reason why
there is a lack of security’’
in theimpoverished Caribbean nation.
“It might be simple to
say that if we just solve
the deportee problem,
everything will be well
with security. But we
don’t believe that,’’ said
Engel, the incoming
chairman of the House
western hemisphere
subcommittee.
“We are however committed to try to bring
the two sides together
on the deportee issue,’’
he added during a news
conference. “We believe
Haiti must tackle the
problem of security and
we are eager to help.’’
Haitian officials
weren’t immediately
Haitian Prime Minister Jacques
Edouard Alexis has says an increase in the number of criminal deportees the US sends to
Haiti would “complicate the
security situation.’’
available to comment.
Engel was speaking
at the close of a two-day
trip to Haiti along with
five other Democrats
- Donald Payne, of New
Jersey; Kendrick Meek,
of Florida; and Barbara
Lee, Maxine Waters and
Lynn Woolsey, all of
Preval’s Independence Day
speech cut short by power
By Evens Sanon
Associated Press
Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCEPresident Rene Preval
defended the country’s
fledgling democracy in a
televised Independence
Day speech on January
1 that was cut short by
a power failure.
Preval’s microphone
stopped working about
six minutes into his address before a crowd in
Gonaives, the northern
city where the country’s
declaration of independence from France was
signed Jan.
1, 1804. He walked off
the outdoor stage when
the power did not return
after several minutes.
Preval, elected in February, said the gangs
blamed for widespread
violence were sabotaging
the country’s recovery
from a February 2004
revolt that toppled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
``All the people that
are not for peace are the
ones who don’t want democracy. They only want
power for a small group,’’
Preval said. ``Today the
Haitian people have a
historic opportunity to
create a government that
will benefit everyone
and build a democracy
in peace.’’
Preval’s microphone
was powered by a generator, and several parliament members addressed the crowd before
it apparently failed.
Few Haitians have
electricity, and outages
occur frequently.
Last month, Haitians
voted in local elections
billed as a step toward
the troubled country’s
return to democratic
rule following Aristide’s
ouster.
Preval urged Haitians
to have patience for his
young coalition government, describing democracy as a key to the
country’s development.
``Democracy is a difficult
exercise, but it must be
done,’’ he said.
Preval, 63, returned
to Haiti on Dec. 29 after undergoing medical
tests in Cuba where he
said doctors determined
his prostate cancer has
not returned. He was
diagnosed with cancer
in 2001, the final year
of his first presidential
term. (AP)
Suspect arrested in slaying
of Jordanian peacekeepers
PORT-AU-PRINCE - U.N.
Troops and local police
raided a slum in Haiti’s
capital on Jan. 5 and
arrested an alleged gang
member wanted in the
slaying of two Jordanian
peacekeepers, the U.N.
mission said.
No shots were fired during the pre-dawn operation in Port-au-Prince’s
Cite Soleil slum, a base
for well-armed gangs
blamed for a spate of kid-
nappings and shooting
deaths, the mission said
in a statement.
An alleged gang member identified only as
Zachari was captured
and turned over to Haitian police for the Nov.
10 killing of the
Jordanians, who were
driving back to base
when their jeep came
under heavy gunfire.
A suspected kidnapper also was arrested in
Former military commander
arrested in Delray Beach
DELRAY BEACH, Fla.
- A former Haitian military commander listed
on a United Nations list
of human rights violators has been arrested in
Florida, U.S. authorities
said last month.
Placide Jolicoeur, 52,
was arrested Nov. 29 at
his home in Delray Beach
and is awaiting deportation at the Krome Detention Center outside
Miami, Immigration and
Customs Enforcement
officials said.
Jolicoeur served as a
commander of Haiti’s
military sub-district in
Mirebalais in 1992, according to ICE. The U.S.
Department of State
has identified him as a
human rights violator,
and he is among 240
human rights violators
listed by the U.N. Civilian Mission.
(AP)
the raid.
The U.N. mission said
Zachari directed kidnappings for the feared
Beloney gang, which authorities allege is behind
a wave of recent abductions for ransom.
In December, U.N.
troops and Haitian police
raided Cite Soleil and
killed five people in the
peacekeeping mission’s
bloodiest crackdown in
months.
U.N. troops have announced plans to increase patrols next week
to prevent kidnappers
from targeting children
returning to school after
the Christmas holiday.
The 8,800-strong U.N.
force arrived in July
2004 to restore order in
the Caribbean nation
after a chaotic uprising
toppled former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
Haiti’s first democratically elected leader.
Fourteen peacekeepers have died since the
mission began, including
six Jordanians. (AP)
California.
Last week, Haitian
Prime Minister Jacques
Edouard Alexis said the
United States would
soon increase the number of criminal deportees
it sends to Haiti from
25 to 100 per month
- a move he said would
“complicate the security
situation.’’
Alexis also said the
United States warned
Haitian officials that
they would lose vital aid
and U.S. travel rights
unless they cooperated
with the policy - an accusation denied by the
U.S.
Embassy in Port-auPrince. Engel said the
lawmakers met with
President Rene Preval
and Alexis but didn’t say
whether they discussed
the deportee issue.
Haiti’s government
doesn’t track how many
crimes are committed by
people who have been
deported, and no hard
evidence exists to suggest they significantly
affect crime in Haiti,
which has a police force of
4,000 to patrol a country
of 8 million.
The country has struggled to disarm politically
aligned street gangs
that flourished i the
aftermath of a 2004
revolt that toppled former president JeanBertrand Aristide. In
recent months, dozens of
foreigners and Haitians
have been kidnapped,
and violence has forced
hundreds of slum dwellers to flee their homes
despite the presence of
an 8,800-strong U.N.
peacekeeping force.
At least 2 wounded as
crowd clashes with police
PORT-AU-PRINCETwo people were injured
when an angry mob
clashed with police on
Dec. 21 while officers
tried to transfer two men
suspected of attempting
to kidnap a child, witnesses said. The melee
erupted when a crowd of
several hundred people
descended on the police
station to demand the
suspects be released so
they could be lynched,
witnesses said.
At least two men were
wounded by gunfire
when Haitian and U.N.
police fired shots and
tear gas to disperse the
crowd, according to two
Associated Press photographers at the scene. It
was unclear who shot the
men and their condition
was not immediately
known.
A U.N. vehicle was also
set on fire and destroyed
during thefracas.
Haitian police spokesman Frantz Lerebours
said the two kidnapping suspects were later
transferred to another
jail and were being held
for questioning.
Kidnappings are a major threat in the Haitian
capital and both the U.N.
and national police have
recently launched operations in recent weeks
intended to crack down
on the problem.
The appeal also is
aimed at ``ensuring that
authorities are better
prepared in the event
of natural disasters,’’
said Joel
Boutroue of the U.N.
stabilization mission in
Haiti. The global body
maintains an 8,800strong peacekeeping
force in the Caribbean
country, sent to restore
order after a bloody Feb-
ruary 2004 revolt toppled
former President JeanBertrand Aristide.
After a relative lull
in violence, peacekeepers and Haitian police
have been struggling
to contain killings and
kidnappings blamed on
street gangs, some of
which declare loyalty to
Aristide.
Aristide lives in exile
in South Africa. (AP)
U.N. issues appeal for $98
million to help Haiti
GENEVA (AP) - The
United Nations appealed
Dec. 18 for contributions
of $98 million to help
stabilize Haiti, where
gang violence has forced
hundreds to flee their
homes in recent months.
The U.N. said it needs
money for programs
aimed at boosting Haiti’s
economic recovery and to
help provide people with
basic services.
At least 5 killed as UN
troops battle gangs
in Cite Soleil
By Evens Sanon
Associated Press
Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCEU.N. peacekeeping troops
traded heavy gunfire for
more than five hours on
Dec. 22 with gangs in
a slum of the Haitian
capital, and at least five
people were killed.
U.N. armored personnel carriers converged
on the seaside slum of
Cite Soleil early in the
morning and fighting
quickly erupted between
the two sides, according
to witnesses.
Later, people who live
in the slum showed As-
sociated Press photographers the bodies of five
men they said had been
killed by fire from the
U.N. troops. Two others,
including a young boy,
had gunshot wounds.
In past gunbattles in
Haiti’s crowded, mazelike slums, people have
been struck by crossfire
from both sides so it was
not possible to confirm
who shot the five men.
The U.N. released
a statement saying it
had launched a joint
operation with Haiti’s
National Police in Cite
Soleil as part of an effort
to fight a recent upsurge
in kidnapping and other
violence by gangs based
in the slum. U.N. representatives could not immediately comment on
reports of casualties.
U.N. forces were also
seeking to take back
control from the gangs of
a principal route through
the slum at the northern
edge of the capital, Portau-Prince.
It was not immediately
known if there were any
casualties among the international force, which
came to Haiti following
the rebellion that ousted
President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide in 2004.
January 2007
BOSTON HAITIAN Reporter
Page News from Haiti
Preval’s possible illness adds to uncertainty
By Stevenson Jacobs
PORT-AU-PRINCE- The disclosure that Haitian
President Rene Preval’s prostate cancer may have
returned has some here worried that more political
turmoil lies ahead with his planned departure for
treatment.
Preval revealed Dec. 10 that blood tests in Havana
showed possible signs of cancer but said the results
were inconclusive. He said he would return to Cuba
on Dec. 26 for more tests and treatment.
Reaction to the news has been surprisingly muted
in a country that only days before had buzzed with
rumors that the bearded 63-year-old leader was
gravely ill.
Perhaps seeking to quiet such talk, Preval made
a surprise appearance Sunday night at a small
reception in the capital for a visiting delegation of
U.S. legislators. He chatted with diplomats, joked
with friends and puffed on cigarettes during the
outdoor
party at the U.S. ambassador’s residence.
Preval’s medical disclosure comes as Haiti
struggles against the gang violence that erupted
after a 2004 rebellion overthrew former President
Jean Bertrand-Aristide, a one-time Preval ally.
Preval won a landslide presidential victory in
February and enjoyed several months of relative
calm in the country. Since May, however, dozens
of foreigners and Haitians have been kidnapped
and gang fighting has forced hundreds to flee their
homes in the
capital of Port-au-Prince despite the presence of
an 8,800-strong U.N. peacekeeping force.
One opposition lawmaker, Frantz Robert Monde
of the Fusion party, suggested over the weekend
President Preval says his prostate cancer has not
returned, despite a scare last month. AP photo
that the president may have to temporarily step
down while he undergoes treatment. Preval’s office
offered no comment on the remarks.
Charles Henri Baker, a wealthy industrialist and
former presidential candidate who has been critical of
the government, said stepping down could destabilize
the impoverished Caribbean country.
``You can see our police are not able to secure the
streets. (U.N. peacekeepers) are not able to do so
either ... so if there’s an absence of power, it could
go anywhere,’’ Baker said.
The two-time president was first diagnosed with
prostate cancer in 2001, the final year of his first
presidential term. Preval had surgery in Cuba to
treat the disease and has regular checkups.
Taiwan’s ambassador to Haiti said he met with
Preval before he went to Cuba for medical tests last
week and said he appeared ill.
``He wasn’t very well, however, I don’t think it
was so
serious,’’ Cheng-Ta Yang said, adding he believed
Preval’s possible illness would have a ``psychological
impact’’ but little else.
``The stability of this country doesn’t depend on
President Preval himself,’’ he said.
Haiti’s minister for women’s affairs noted that
other leaders have remained in power while battling
illness.
``Francois Mitterand led France while being sick
without revealing the evil that he suffered, a cancer
of the prostate like our head of state,’’ Laurence
Jocelyn Lassegue told reporters.
If Preval were to step down, Haiti’s constitution
requires the head of the Supreme Court to become
president and fresh elections to be called in 90
days.
The constitution also allows Preval to temporarily
hand over power to an executive council made up of
Cabinet members and led by the prime minister.
(AP)
Girl speaks, shops publicly after 16-pound mass
removed from her face at US hospital
By Jennifer Kay
SUNRISE, Florida
(AP) - A teenager who
had been unwilling to
leave her home in Haiti
after a football-sized tumor enveloped her face
went on a public shopping spree on Dec. 20.
“Thank you,’’ Marlie
Casseus, 14, said with
a smile to one woman
who handed her $10 to
buy batteries for her new
portable CD player. With
a pink cell phone clipped
to her jeans,
Marlie also filled up
her shopping cart with
DVDs, video games and
new clothes.
Four surgeries this
year at Holtz Children’s
Hospital in Miami removed the 16-pound
(7-kilogram) tumor, re-
centered Marlie’s eyes
and defined her nose, and
implanted a synthetic
skeleton made of hard
polymer under her eyes
that looks like normal
cheekbone.
“She’s come a long way.
She is happy,’’ her mother, Maleine Antoine,
told another Wal-Mart
shopper who stopped to
congratulate Marlie on
Preval: U.S. not doing
enough to help fight drugs
By STEVENSON
JACOBS
Associated Press
Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE
-President Rene Preval
said Haiti remained a
``victim of drug-consuming countries’’ in a speech
on Jan. 9, accusing the
United States in particular of not doing enough
to help his impoverished
nation fight the narcotics
trade.
In his annual address
to open Parliament,
Preval called drug trafficking and the corruption it breeds the main
threats facing Haiti as it
struggles to return to stability following a chaotic
2004 revolt that toppled
former President JeanBertrand Aristide.
Renewing a criticism
he made in his first presidential term, Preval accused rich, drug-consuming countries of blaming
Haiti for failing to stop
the flow of illegal drugs
while doing little to boost
the Caribbean country’s
weak defenses.
``A lot of crimes happening in the country
are connected to drugs.
But everybody knows
that Haiti doesn’t produce drugs. Haiti isn’t a
big consumer of drugs.
... Haiti is the victim of
drug-consuming countries, mainly the United
States,’’ Preval said, repeating the words from a
speech he first made six
years ago.
“Since I made that
speech ... , has the situation changed? I don’t
think so,’’ Preval said.
A spokeswoman at the
U.S. Embassy in Portau-Prince declined to
comment.
With its ill-equipped
defense forces and hardto-protect coastline, Haiti has long been an attractive transshipment
point for drug traffickers
smuggling South American cocaine into the U.S.
and Europe.
Preval’s speech came
as his young government
struggles to contain a
surge in kidnappings and
killings blamed mostly
on street gangs, some
of which are thought to
have ties with the drug
trade.
Preval said traffickers
were seeking to corrupt
Parliament and the executive branch and fuel
instability to ease smuggling.
``Drug trafficking and
instability go hand-inhand,’’ he said. ``It’s a
violent poison for society.’’
The speech was the
second time in recent
weeks that Preval’s government singled out
Haiti’s largest international donor for alleged
neglect.
Late last year, Haiti’s
prime minister accused
the U.S. of threatening
to cut off aid unless the
country accepted Haitian
criminal deportees. U.S.
officials denied making
any threat.
her first big shopping trip
after undergoing reconstructive surgeries. The
$1,400 shopping spree
was funded by a Florida
woman who read media
reports about Marlie’s
medical saga.
The tumor-like growth,
first noticed when Marlie
was 8, had choked off
her ability to speak,
crushed her airways and
stretched her features
so far apart that only
her eyes, nostrils and
a single tooth were recognizable. U.S. doctors
have said she was near
death when she arrived
in Miami last year.
Now Marlie shows off
her dance moves and
ability to sip water from
a cup like anyone else.
She has been in speech
therapy since a tracheotomy tube was removed
from her throat last
month. She converses in
Creole with her mother,
but only the vowels in the
words are clear - without
teeth she cannot clearly
enunciate consonants.
“For a long time, she’s
never talked. I’m happy
to hear her voice,’’ Antoine said.
The teen and her mother headed home to Portau-Prince on Dec. 23.
Marlie will return to
Miami in two years for
additional surgeries on
her nose and jaw and to
receive dental implants,
said Dr. Jesus
Gomez, who has
led Marlie’s surgical
teams.
Marlie suffers from
a rare form of polyostotic fibrous dysplasia,
a nonhereditary genetic
disease that causes bone
to swell and become
jelly-like. The condition
affects her entire skeleton: she is bowlegged
and short for her age,
and her fingers and feet
are swollen and crooked.
(AP)
Children released unharmed
by kidnappers in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCEKidnappers freed seven
children who were seized
on their way to school in a
volatile suburb of Haiti’s
capital, a U.N. official
said Dec. 15.
The children were
released unharmed late
on Dec. 14 following negotiations between their
relatives and the captors, but it was unclear
whether a ransom was
paid, U.N. police spokesman Fred
Blaise said. The students, whose ages were
not released, were riding
to school in the northern
La Plaine suburb when
armed men hijacked
their vehicle.
Their release came as
several Haitian media
outlets reported a string
of new child abductions
in and around Port-auPrince. Ten children
were kidnapped in the
capital on Dec. 14, private Radio
Kiskeya reported. Haitian authorities could not
immediately confirm the
report.
More than 30 children
have been reported kidnapped in Haiti since
November, alarming
residents of the impoverished Caribbean nation
of 8 million. Most of the
crimes are blamed on
street gangs that flourished in the aftermath of
a violent uprising in 2004
that toppled former
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s
first democratically
elected leader.
U.N. peacekeepers this
week launched a round
of anti-kidnapping operations in the capital,
detaining 25 suspects so
far and setting up random checkpoints, Blaise
said. The measures will
continue for several
days, he said.
Meanwhile, fear of
kidnappers has led many
schools in the capital
to close until after the
Christmas holiday.
(AP)
Page boston haitian Reporter January 2007
Commentary
Resolve to find the Truth about U.S. role in Haiti
By Brian Concannon, Jr.
The New Year is a
good time for all kinds of
resolutions: resolutions
(or firm decisions) to do
certain things better; the
resolution (or settling)
of conflicts; and passing
resolutions (or expressions of a joint opinion).
Although any time of any
year is a good time for
resolutions promoting
stability, prosperity and
peace in Haiti, this New
Year presents a particularly good opportunity
for Americans and our
government.
Haiti was the Americas’ second independent
country- proclaiming its
independence on New
Year’s Day 203 years ago.
But we did not recognize that independence
for fifty-eight years.
The refusal to recognize
Haiti was the result of
a conflict between our
espoused principles of
freedom and our practice
of keeping millions of
human beings in slavery. The U.S. could not
acknowledge the freedom of a country run by
former slaves without
asking hard questions
about ourselves.
Abraham Lincoln took
a step towards resolving
that conflict on June 5,
1862, when he recognized Haiti during the
U.S. Civil War. Three
and a half months later,
President Lincoln took
the next step, resolving
to soon emancipate all
slaves in areas remaining loyal to the rebel
Confederacy. True to his
word, on New Year’s Day
1863 Lincoln issued the
Emancipation Proclamation, instantly turning
the abolition of slavery
into the principal issue
of the U.S. Civil War.
Our conflict between
slavery and freedom was
definitely resolved with
the Union victory in the
war and the ratification
of the 13th Amendment
to the U.S. Constitution in December 1865,
which abolished slavery
for good throughout the
U.S. Emancipation was
Brian Concannon, Jr.
important, not only because it freed over four
million Americans from
the bondage of slavery,
but also because it freed
the rest of the U.S. from
the hypocrisy of keeping slaves in a country
that claimed to be free.
Ending the hypocrisy
also raised America’s
international standing:
by the 1860’s, most countries recognized slavery
as the evil it always was.
By resolving to eliminate the evil, we earned
respect, and friends. In
particular, emancipation
forced France and England, whose commercial
interests would have
benefited from an independent Confederacy,
but whose principles
opposed slavery, to stay
out of the war.
Two hundred years
after its independence,
Haiti presented the U.S.
with another potential
conflict between our espoused principles- this
time our commitment to
democracy- and our practices. On February 29,
2004, the country’s 33rd
coup d’etat forced the
constitutional President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide
out of the country on
a U.S. plane. He was
replaced by a brutal
dictatorship that reigned
until June 2006, and
thousands of Haitians
were killed in political
violence over the next
two years.
President Aristide
claimed that the Bush
administration played
BOSTON HAITIAN
REPORTER
“An Exploration of the Haitian-American Experience”
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a key role in his overthrow, by supporting his
armed and unarmed opponents, weakening the
government through a
development assistance
embargo, and eventually forcing him onto
the plane. Mr. Aristide’s
claim is echoed by many,
including members of
the U.S. Congress, world
leaders, and millions of
Mr. Aristide’s supporters in Haiti. The claim
is also supported by reports from human rights
groups, documents filed
in lawsuits and by media
investigations, including a New York Times
investigation published
last February.
If these charges are
true, the Bush Administration’s practices
conflicted with the fundamental American commitment to democracy,
both here and abroad,
a principle that President Bush has espoused
widely, even justifying the Iraq War as a
democracy promotion
exercise. These practices
would also have violated
international law, and
caused great suffering
in Haiti.
The Bush Administration has consistently
rejected the allegations.
Officials contend that
the withholding of aid
was not an embargo,
but a legitimate effort to
force the government to
correct election irregularities; that U.S. aid to
Haiti fought poverty and
helped build democracy;
and that President Aristide asked the U.S. to fly
him out of the country
after he had resigned in
the face of a rebel takeover of much of Haiti.
The best way to resolve
these conflicting accounts of the U.S. role in
Haiti’s 2004 coup d’etat
is an impartial, independent inquiry. If the Bush
Administration is correct
in its denials, it deserves
to have the record set
straight. If the Administration did participate
in the overthrow of an
elected government, that
fact should be established. Haitians need to
know whether they can
trust the U.S. to keep
our word and respect our
principles. More importantly, determining the
causes and mechanics of
Haiti’s 33rd coup d’etat
is essential for avoiding
the 34th.
Establishing the truth
about the U.S. role in
Haiti’s coup is also important for the U.S.
Although the 2004 coup
did remove a government that our government disliked, in the
medium and long terms,
the overthrow hurt U.S.
interests. The instability
caused by the 33rd coup
(like the 32d and others)
generated refugee flows
that placed unwanted
pressure on our immigration and homeland security systems. U.S. troops,
already overextended in
Iraq and Afghanistan,
were stretched thinner
by a three-month deployment in Haiti. The
post-coup chaos provided
more opportunities for
South American drugs
to pass through Haiti to
the U.S.
Allegations of U.S.
involvement in Haiti’s
coup also hurt our international standing,
at a time when we need
friends in the world.
They particularly undermine our credibility with
respect to our claims
that we are trying to
establish democracy in
Iraq, and our criticisms
of other governments as
undemocratic.
The countries of the
Africa Union and the
Caribbean Communitytogether almost onethird of the United Nations’ members- called
for the UN to conduct
an independent inquiry
in March 2004. The UN
declined to investigate
and instead sent troops
to Haiti to support the
illegal Interim Government. That support,
along with the troops’
shootings and illegal
arrests of political dissidents makes Haitians
distrust the UN’s ability
to impartially investigate the coup.
The new U.S. Congress
that will take office on
January 4 may provide
the best opportunity for
a credible investigation
of the February 2004
coup d’etat. Unlike the
UN, Congress has the
ability to require Bush
Administration officials
to answer questions and
produce relevant documents. Some members of
Congress supported the
President’s Haiti policies
in 2004, while others
opposed it, which could
help ensure balance.
Congress already has
a vehicle for such an
investigation: the proposed “Responsibility
to Uncover the Truth
about Haiti Act”, known
as the TRUTH Act.
The TRUTH Act would
appoint a bi-partisan,
independent commission
charged with investigating the February
2004 coup d’etat, and
determining whether the
U.S. contributed to the
overthrow of the Constitutional President,
directly or by channeling
aid to groups that helped
the overthrow.
The TRUTH Act’s commission would resemble
the Iraq Study Group
that released its report
last month. Commission members would be
appointed by Congress
(half by Republican leaders, half by Democrats),
and would be entrusted
with reviewing all the
evidence, and submitting a final, public report, including findings,
conclusions, and recommendations of corrective
measures, if needed.
The new Democratic tilt in Congress means that
members who have shown a keen interest in Haitian
policy, like Massachusetts’ own Congressman William Delahunt, above, can now press their interests
to greater effect.
The TRUTH Act was
originally filed in 2005
in the U.S. House of
Representatives by Rep.
Barbara Lee of California, with 21 co-sponsors.
It was referred to the
House International
Relations Committee’s
Western Hemisphere
Subcommittee, where it
languished. But with the
arrival of the new Congress, the TRUTH Act’s
time may have come.
Following a December
visit to Haiti, Rep. Lee
promised to re-introduce
the Act. This time she
will have more support
in both the International
Relations Committee
and the House as a
whole, both of which
have a majority of Democrats.
Rep. William Delahunt
of Quincy, another member of the International
Relations Committee,
could provide critical
support for the TRUTH
Act. Mr. Delahunt has
followed Haiti closely,
visiting the country several times. Although he
did not co-sponsor the
original TRUTH Act, Mr.
Delahunt has shown a
willingness to challenge
the Administration when
its pronouncements on
Haiti conflict with his
information. The former prosecutor’s sharp
questions during hearings following the coup
d’etat in 2004 exposed
contradictions in the
Administration’s policies, and he has refuted
Administration claims
of problems with Haiti’s
2000 elections with his
own observations as an
observer that day.
Over the last few
months, Delahunt has
shown an increased
willingness to confront
President Bush on other
international relations
issues. In November, he
joined Republican Rep.
Jeffrey Flake of Arizona
to call for an investigation of potential misuse
of so-called “democracy
promotion” funds in
Cuba. In September, he
criticized the Administration’s manipulation
of intelligence on Iraq,
especially the withholding of information showing that the Iraq War
is fueling, rather than
combating, terrorism.
Congressman Delahunt
will soon be in a particularly good position to
pursue all these investigations- he is expected to
become chairman of the
Oversight and Investigations panel of the House
Committee on International Relations.
By enacting the
TRUTH Act, Congress
could establish the facts
about the U.S. role in
Haiti’s 2004 coup d’etat,
thereby resolving, once
and for all, the outstanding controversies about
that role. If the investigation determines that
the U.S. did participate
in President Aristide’s
overthrow, that knowledge would allow Congress to take steps to
resolve the conflict between such illegal and
harmful practices and
our professed policy of
promoting democracy
and respecting human
rights. The knowledge
would also inform the
most important resolution of all: a commitment
by everyone who works
on Haiti issues- Haitians and Americans,
government officials,
candidates and voters- to
allocate political power
in Haiti with ballots, not
bullets, and to promote
the stability that Haiti’s
peace and prosperity
requires.
Human Rights lawyer
Brian Concannon Jr.
directs the Institute for
Justice & Democracy in
Haiti, ijdh.org.
January 2007
BOSTON HAITIAN Reporter
Page Editorial
Major effort needed to make Strand Theatre viable
Is the Strand Theatre worth saving?
That’s a question that Mayor Menino answered
this week with a resounding yes..when 1400 persons
filled the theatre for the Mayor’s State of the City
addresss.
This week, the Mayor put the weight of his powerful office behind the concept- along with a promise
of $6 million in city funds over the next two years
to renovate the Columbia Road building.
But Menino’s hopes for the Strand, however admirable, need be measured against the reality of
the theatre’s past and present. This is not the first
time that City Hall has pledged to give the Strand
a new lease on life: after its reclamation by the city
in the late 1970s, then-Mayor Kevin White used
the venue for his annual speech, and then, as now,
there was a promise that, with government help,
the Strand would be revived. But alas, almost three
decades later, efforts to make the Strand a viable
neighborhood arts venue have come up decidedly
short. Good intentions, and internal touch-ups to
the building itself, will not save the Strand Theatre
from its present position as a largely irrelevant,
little-used and antiquated venue.
The Mayor sees his investment in the Strand as
symbolic of a renewed emphasis on neighborhood
improvements in Uphams Corner, and that should
be very welcome all across the city. But as he himself
lamented in his speech, there once were neighborhood theatres throughout the city, and now only
the Strand remains
And the reasons why are not a mystery: in a dramatically different world of movie megaplexes and
home entertainment, these old palace-like theatres
are expensive to maintain. Even the few remaining live performance theatres in downtown Bosotn
struggle to survive amidst fierce competition for
product and audiences.
Mayor Menino’s instincts, however, are correct:
The Strand can be preserved, and set on a new
course. But to be successful where past efforts have
failed, the city-funded improvements will require
professional management and marketing skills;
otherwise, it might be better to invest the funds
elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Any attempt to save the Strand that does not
tackle the problem of infrastructure and accessibility in Uphams Corner is badly flawed. On Tuesday,
city officials themselves urged people coming to the
Mayor’s address to park at Bayside Expo Center, and
take shuttle buses to the Strand, because parking for
1400 theatre-goers is inadequate. What other city
venue would require that sort of maneuvering to
bring in an audience! Put simply, without parking,
attractions at the Strand are not likely to succeed.
An imaginative plan is needed to deliver on the
potential of the renovations. This plan could include
the construction of a parking structure in Uphams
Corner to accommodate the event-goers. The city
should leverage its relationships with Boston’s
business community to help pay for the new infrastructure.
A valet parking system should be considered, and
Bank of America, the Strand’s next door neighbor
on Columbia Road, could be asked to make a commitment to this neighborhood arts center. The bank
recently announced the end of a long standing sponsorship of the Celebrity Series of performing arts
at several downtown venues. Perhaps this bank,
formerly headquartered here in Boston, would step
up to support the Strand.
The $6 million commitment by Menino is a good
start. What is needed now is some imagination, a
resolve to push the envelope, and a willingness to
go the distance to make Uphams Corner, and the
Strand, a real destination for people from Dorchester
and beyond.
- Ed Forry
Reporter Publisher
Commentary
City’s pushes new economic plan for Mattapan
By Dana Whiteside
Did you know that Mattapan’s roadways and
thoroughfares are some of the most heavily traveled in the City? Morton Street alone sees 34,000
vehicles per day; Blue Hill Avenue sees upwards of
22,000. Cummins Highway and River Street each
boast nearly 20,000 each day. What might it be like
for Mattapan to attract these travelers in quality
shops, thereby bringing dollars and investment to
the neighborhood? This is one of the many questions which the next phase of the MEDI effort will
begin to address.
In July 2006, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Boston
Redevelopment Authority Director Mark Maloney
unveiled the comprehensive Economic Action Agenda
which was created as part of the Mattapan Economic
Development Initiative (“MEDI”) planning process.
This document provides a roadmap and framework
for activities to improve the economics and quality of
life for the Mattapan – namely through (1) improving the business districts of Mattapan Square, Blue
Hill Avenue Center and the Morton Street Village
Corridor; (2) creating job opportunities within the
neighborhood and (3) increasing capital investment
in commercial areas and properties.
The Mayor also charged City agencies, led by the
Boston Redevelopment Authority, to work with
the community to make into reality the vision
and recommendations set forth within the MEDI
Economic Action Agenda. To further jump-start
implementation, he committed “$250,000 in seed
capital” to support viable commercial/retail real
estate development and announced the hiring of two
MEDI Business Development Managers (“BDM’s”)to
coordinate business efforts, providing direct access
to City and private resources that support small
business growth.
Since the fall, elements of the implementation
phase have been underway. Business Development
Managers Danny Hardaway and Stu Rosenberg
have been working diligently to connect with and
provide assistance to the over 250 small businesses
and establishments along Mattapan’s commercial
corridors. This work has included coordination of
meetings with businesses operators and property
owners to introduce them to the wide array of municipal and private sector services to help expand or
improve their property. As a result, the Mattapan
neighborhood will see an infusion of BLDC (Boston
Local Development Corporation) loan, RESTORE
(façade improvement) grants and other sources that
will help change the look and feel of the business
districts.
As has been announced, the Mayor has also named
a Community Implementation Team (“CIT”) to serve
in an advisory capacity and take part in guiding the
implementation phase working with City agencies
to put in place various strategies recommended as
part of the MEDI Economic Action Agenda.
This advisory board will be charged with :
1- Providing support for strategies outlined in
the MEDI Economic Action Agenda namely to: (a)
improve appearance of commercial districts; (b) create a Mattapan retail identity; (c) advise the BRA
and City agencies relative to economic development
priorities for MEDI – namely a successful Main
Streets designation for Mattapan;
2- Serving as a resource to the MEDI City Team
and related departments through informational
review and participation in regular working sessions
and development of programs such as the MEDI
Neighborhood Retail Program;
3- Serving in an advisory capacity relative to
projects and issues relevant to zoning, real estate
development review, business development and
community organization in Mattapan;
4- Providing community representation through
active participation in public meetings in addition
to communication about the goals, direction and
progress of the MEDI with all neighborhood stakeholders; and
5- Providing support for projects and outreach
efforts of the MEDI (e.g. BOSTON SHINES in Mattapan, community charettes, project review, etc.)
The members of the Mayoral Community Implementation Team for MEDI are:
-Rev. John Borders, Pastor, Morning Star Baptist
Church
-Ms. Barbara Brewster, Chairperson, Mattapan
Civic Association
-Mr. Jeff Brewster, Manager, McDonalds (Mattapan Square)
-Mr. Jim Clarke, Mattapan Street Neighborhood
Association & Former Vice-Chair Boston State
CAC
-Mr. Gerard David, Member, Morton Street Board
of Commerce
-Ms. Denise Fotopolous, Member Mattapan Board
of Trade
-Ms. Dawn Greenidge, Former MEDI CAG Member
-Ms. Louise Gant, Board Chairperson, Mattapan
CDC, Former MEDI CAG Member
-Mr. Ernst Guerrier, Principal Guerrier & Associate
-Mr. Russell Holmes, Former Chair, MEDI CAG
- Ms. Cheryl Johns, Manager, Sovereign Bank
-Ms. G. Sierra Khan, Managing Director, Mattapan
Cultural Arts Development
-Mr. David Lopes, Chairperson, Wellington Hill
Association; Former MEDI CAG Member
-Mr. Azid Mohammed, Former MEDI CAG Member
-Mr. Jean-Claude Sanon, Director, Community
Outreach, Haitian-American Public Health Initiative
-Ms. Thelma Sullivan, Owner “The Black Pages”
-Ms. Judy Vance, Chairperson, Woodhaven Street
Association
-Ms. Sandy Zamour-Calixte, Coordinator, External
Affairs Sherriff’s Department
-Mr. James Claiborne, Captain, Area B-3 Police
Station, Ex-Officio
-Mr. Spencer DeShields, Executive Director, Mattapan Community Development Corp.,Ex-Officio
-Fr. William (“Bill”) Joy, Pastor Saint Angela’s
Parish, Ex-Officio
-Ms. Lillie Searcy, Executive Director Mattapan
Family Service Center, Ex-Officio
Mayor Tom Menino unveiled a draft of the BRA’s
MEDI report in Mattapan last summer.
-Ms. Azzie Young, Executive Director, Mattapan
Community Health Center, Ex-Officio
Regular meetings of the MEDI CIT will begin in
late January/early February of 2007 and will be
organized in similar fashion to those held by the previously engaged Community Advisory Group which
facilitated the planning phase of this initiative.
There are significant and exciting new opportunities proposed for Mattapan with which the MEDI
effort will take part. Examples include the improvements to MBTA Stations at Mattapan Square and
Morton Street; the proposed Morton Street Homes
Development by the Mattapan CDC; the development of the former Cote Ford site; the forward
movement of 872 Morton Street; and the proposed
Transit Oriented Development project at Mattapan
Square by Nuestra/EDFC.
Similarly we will work to coordinate efforts to
attract the new and improved goods and services
referenced in the MEDI Consumer Survey while
supporting the work of those existing businesses
that wish to remain competitive and viable in the
newly created market.
As we move ahead, we look forward to the continued efforts of our MEDI Business Development
Managers, greater coalition building among our
community stakeholders and broad participation
from residents, business operators, property owners
and Mattapan institutions alike as we collaborate
to make Mattapan an even greater neighborhood to
live, work, invest and play.
Dana Whiteside is the Deputy Director for Economic Development at the Boston Redevelopment
Authority.
Page 10
boston haitian Reporter January 2007
A nation of children
Number of AIDS orphans on the rise in Haiti
By TIM COLLIE
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
PORT-AU-PRINCE (AP) -Charline might become
a poet. Maybe a teacher or a diplomat.
She might become a voice for all the children here
who live alone or afraid in the city and in villages
where people seem to die a lot.
But Charline is just 16.
She takes pride in her role as surrogate mother
to the other children. Her story begins with a song
that she and the others sing:
``Let us, the children, live because we are the
hope of the country.
We are like a spring that bubbles forth but never
runs dry.
Children of Saline ...
of Haiti ...
of Miami ...
Let the children live in peace.’’
•••
Here is the first thing to know about Haiti, the bare
and brown western claw of the Caribbean island of
Hispaniola: It is a nation of children. Gray hair is
getting harder and harder to find. Eight million
people live here; four million are under age 14.
Too many of them are children without parents.
Today, a large slice of their generation - by some
official accounts, 250,000 - has lost one parent or
both to AIDS.
The global epidemic, now in its 25th year, has
killed more than 400,000 people in Haiti. It has killed
tens of thousands more throughout the Caribbean,
steppingstone islands in Florida’s backyard and one
of the largest tourist playgrounds on Earth.
The number of children orphaned by AIDS will
likely continue to grow. Experts see no end in sight.
They voice concern: If things don’t veer from their
current path, Caribbean society, and the Caribbean
economy that relies heavily on tourism, will suffer
more.
Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere and
sixth-poorest on Earth, has by far the region’s highest
A nurse checks the pulse of a patient at Dr. Paul Farmer’s Zanmi Lasante Hospital in Cange, Haiti, Sept.
20, 2006. Farmer, a Harvard University professor, is founder of Partners in Health, a pioneering medical
mission in Haiti’s highlands that gives free treatment to thousands.(AP Photo/Ariana Cubil)
rate of baby and child deaths, the highest rate of
AIDS deaths, and the highest number of children
orphaned by AIDS.
This year, for the first time, anyone living with
HIV/AIDS in Haiti can get the new generation of
drugs that turns a killer disease into a manageable
condition. But there are hurdles to getting the
drugs: bad roads, distant villages, scant information,
fear.
At the same time, of the thousands and thousands
of young people left, a handful will be nurtured
in places where they learn about the disease that
killed their parents. Where they will learn about
(Continued on page 11)
January 2007
BOSTON HAITIAN Reporter Page 11
Orphans often fend for themselves on streets of capitol
(Continued from page 10)
acceptance over stigma, facts over fear. Where, in
turn, they will learn to teach others who still fear
and shun anyone connected to AIDS.
Charline is one whose life hangs in the balance. She
was just 4 when her mother got sick with the wasting
disease that the child knew only as tuberculosis. A
father died before Charline knew him and an older
brother left for the Dominican Republic, as thousands
of Haitians do each year, looking for work.
Charline and another brother took care of their
mother the only way they could.
They went into the streets to beg.
Charline: ``Every day, I put on my clothes and
went to the street ... Me and my brother, we each
took a different route ... In the middle of the day,
I’d come home to my mother.
I’d cook for her. I’d braid her hair, and I’d make
sure she drank her medicine … Sometimes when
I didn’t get any money to go home, I would send a
message to my mother that I wasn’t coming home
that night.’’
•••
Charline came to the street when the AIDS
epidemic was in its 12th year. The disease had
claimed thousands of lives. About that time, doctors,
missionaries and others who worked with children
saw something different: more kids in the street.
It soon became clear: Hundreds were orphans
who had lost one parent or both to AIDS. The
children often didn’t know what killed their mothers or fathers. If others knew, those children were
treated like walking dead. No orphanages would
take them.
Something else they didn’t know: They could well
be carrying the virus, too, because roughly one-fourth
of children born to HIV/AIDS-infected mothers are
carriers themselves.
On the streets, children look for a new family,
people who look out for one another, called a ``cartel.’’
Charline found hers among the older kids who slept
under the benches in front of Haiti’s National Palace,
in Champs de Mars park.
She stood out. For one thing, she was a girl.
Ten years ago, street kids were mostly boys.
The girls came later, as the epidemic killed more
mothers.
Charline showed up in clean clothes and then went
home most nights to a mom. She was on the street,
but not yet of the street, a big difference in Haiti.
She was not a kokorat, the name for kids who live
on the street full time.
•••
Charline:
``A man came ... and asked what was happening
to me.
I told him how the other kokorat attacked me ...
He told me I should go talk to this woman in the
car.
I did not want to go ... Very often people wanted
to steal me because I was a nice girl.
People would always tell me that they wanted to
take me to foreign lands ...
I was afraid that this woman was going to take me
away, and I’d never see my mother again.’’
•••
Charline at age 7 could have been a restavek, a child
sold or sent off to relatives to work as a household
slave. She could have stayed on the street, become
a prostitute, or maybe been sold and shipped over
the border to the Dominican Republic.
Instead, she went to the woman in the car, a wellconnected advocate for women and children, one of
those unexplained angels sent
to save lives.
Charline:
``I mustered my strength
and walked over to the car
and the woman ...
She picked me up and sat
me on her lap.
She asked me why I was in
the street, and I was telling
her all about my mother ...
I told her that I hadn’t
brought my mother anything
to eat for a while, that I had
to go and see her.
And she bought clothes for
me.
She bought me sandals.’’
•••
Nearly a mile above the
city is La Maison l’Arc en
Ciel, Rainbow House, the first
orphanage in the country, and still one of only a
few, built for children of AIDS dead.
It is here that Charline arrived nine years ago.
The sanctuary was founded in 1996 by a French
Canadian lawyer and her Haitian husband in
response to a gaping national need. Haiti had
orphanages, dozens in every major city, some run
by churches, some by the government. But none,
not one, would knowingly take a child orphaned
by AIDS.
Danielle and Robert Penette hoped to change that.
They found a home on a choice plot of mountain
land - a mansion once owned by the family of the
wife of Haiti’s former dictator Jean-Claude ``Baby
Doc’’ Duvalier.
Within the year, Rainbow House had 17 children,
the youngest 14 months old.
The Penettes had one rule: No child older than 6,
because after that, children are too tough to reach,
too far gone.
But something about Charline touched them.
They gave her a home. Charline is luckier than
most, living in the protective fold of Rainbow House.
Twice she tried to escape over the compound walls,
to go back to the city to beg, to bring help for her
mother, maybe to keep her live a bit longer.
Her mother died one month after Charline
arrived.
Charline:
``When my mother died I wasn’t sad at all because
I saw that she was suffering so much ...
After her death, I became very mean ...
When I realized I didn’t have a mother or a father
anymore, I started crying.
I did not sleep. I could not eat.
But you know, it was Mrs. Penette who gave me
strength.
She always told me that if I was here today in this
orphanage it was because I had enough strength to
take care of my mother.’’
•••
As part of their social education, the children at
Rainbow House who were old enough to understand
heard the question: What would they do if they found
out a friend, a teacher or a roommate had HIV, the
virus that causes AIDS?
The questions are the underpinning of the
Rainbow House philosophy: The only right way to
live is to embrace anyone who is infected. After the
deaths of some of the younger children, Charline’s
Unofficial no longer: ‘Clef
gets ambassador’s title
PORT-AU-PRINCE
- Wyclef Jean has been
named a roving ambassador for Haiti, the foreign minister announced
Thursday.
The 34-year-old hiphop star will promote
development in the country and represent Haiti
at various events abroad,
said Foreign Affairs Minister Reynald Clerisme.
President Rene Preval
chose Jean for the honorary position as a way to
boost the image of an impoverished country that
is struggling to restore
stability after a violent
rebellion in 2004.
“We have so much to
recover from with our
bad reputation. With
Wyclef, we can gain a
lot,’’ Clerisme said.
Jean, a Haitian citizen who lives in the
United States, wasn’t
immediately available
for comment. His Yele
Haiti foundation promotes arts, education
and sports as a way to
bring jobs and development to Haiti.
He grew up in poverty
but left Haiti for the U.S.
at age 9. Jean later won
fame with The Fugees
and as a solo performer.
(AP)
Read the Reporter online anytime:
www.bostonhaitian.com
Above: Josny Simplice sits down for a break as his
day begins fetching water as other children walk
past him in their starched school uniforms, in Port
au Prince, Haiti, April 4, 2006. Simplice is an AIDS
orphan who has never attended school and now a
“restavek”, a domestic servant. (AP Photo/South
Florida Sun-Sentinel, Mike Stocker)
emotions softened. She opened her arms when the
younger girls, some frail and sick, climbed into her
lap wanting to play and be held, wanting her to love
them back.
They were her new family, and they needed her,
just as her mother had.
•••
Charline is a young woman now.
She attends eighth grade at a school near Rainbow
House. She will leave in a few years to start a new
phase of her life. Right now, she is a teenage girl
much like teenage girls everywhere.
She thinks about her future, about where her path
will lead outside the compound walls. She imagines
becoming a poet, a teacher, a diplomat, a doctor.
But wherever she goes, she says, her true mission
will be this:
To speak for children who are affected by
HIV/AIDS.
It is, she explains, her calling.
Her mission from God.
Charline:
``If God did not see that I can stand up and fight
against this disease, he’d never give it to me ...
I praise God that he chose me to be sero-positive
... It’s because God sees me as a special person that
he makes me sick.’’
•••
In the Caribbean, as in the United States, being
infected with HIV/AIDS no longer means certain
death. Powerful drugs that control symptoms and
slow the path of the virus have poured into the Caribbean nations that need them most, including Haiti,
the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Guyana.
Medicine that prevents pregnant women from
passing the virus on to their babies is there for the
asking as well.
These medicines hold half the key to this
generation’s future.
Because, to get to the medicine, you have to step
forward. And that means telling someone - doctors,
family, friends - that you, or maybe your loved one
ones, are infected. (AP)
IT’S TIME TO THINK ABOUT
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Page 12
boston haitian Reporter January 2007
Coast Guard says it stopped fewer migrants off of Florida
By LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ
MIAMI - The number of migrants stopped off the
southeastern U.S. coast dropped by more than 40
percent last year, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
Coast Guard agents patrolling the waters of
South Carolina, Florida and the Caribbean, where
migrants from Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican
Republic frequently arrive, stopped 6,061 migrants
in 2006, down from 10,279 in 2005. Stormy weather,
fear of increased patrols and political changes in the
migrants’ home countries contributed to the drop,
officials said.
The number of Cubans stopped at sea dropped
only slightly, but the number of Haitians stopped
dropped sharply, down 60 percent to 769 people.
The number of Dominicans stopped also had a steep
drop - down 50 percent to 2,203.
Miami-based Haitian advocate Marleine Bastien
said the drop in Haitian apprehensions was likely
tied to last year’s election of the country’s president,
Rene Preval, who has received wide support both
internationally and at home.
``Haitians want to live in Haiti. They want to stay
in Haiti. They only come here when they feel their
lives and the lives of their loved ones are threatened,’’
Bastien said. ``Whenever there’s a democratically
elected government in place, they tend to have a
‘wait and see’ attitude.’’
Bastien said U.S. immigration policies have also
decreased the flow. Haitians who illegally make it
into the U.S. are generally sent back, while most
Cubans who reach U.S. soil are allowed to stay.
A separate set of figures shows that Cubans may
have been more successful in reaching land in 2006
than in 2005. During fiscal years 2005 and 2006, the
number of Cubans detained by border patrol on land
in South Florida jumped from 2,530 to 3,076.
Miami Border Patrol spokesman Victor Colon
called the change insignificant. But South Florida
immigration attorney Wilfredo Allen said the statistics could signal an increase - not a decrease - in
Cuban immigrants.
Coast Guard officials said the announcement by
Fidel Castro in July that he was handing over power
to his brother may have caused enough uncertainty
about the future of the dictatorship to keep some
Cubans from attempting to leave. But Allen said
the uncertainty may have prompted more people to
migrate, and that tighter restrictions by both the
Cuban and U.S. governments have prompted more
people to rely on smugglers.
``And the smugglers are effective at their job,’’
Allen said.
Still, the overall decrease in interdictions at sea
mirrors the overall drop in illegal immigrants arrested by Border Patrol agents in South Florida and
the Caribbean during the 2006 fiscal year. (AP)
Dominican activist Pierre recovering from heart surgery
By John Porretto
HOUSTON (AP) - A
Dominican human rights
activist was recovering
this week from heart surgery, her doctor said.
Sonia Pierre was doing well and could be
heading home in one
week, said Dr. John C.
Baldwin, a cardiac surgeon who arranged the
operation.
Pierre’s heart condition was discovered during a medical examination in November, when
she was in Washington
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Tuesday, January 23rd, 6:00-7:00 PM
Thursday, February 8th, 6:00-7:00 PM
Wednesday, February 28th, 6:00-7:00 PM
to receive the Robert F.
Kennedy Human Rights
Award honoring her
for her work fighting
discrimination against
Haitian descendants.
While in Kennedy’s office, Pierre agreed to an
examination by Baldwin,
a member of the board of
directors for the Robert
F. Kennedy Memorial,
which gives the annual
human rights award.
Baldwin sent her to
Texas, where he once
headed the department
of surgery at Methodist
Hospital in Houston.
Baldwin said Methodist agreed to do the
surgery Jan. 8 as a
charitable case, though a
Methodist spokeswoman
said she was prohibited by federal law from
commenting on such
matters.
Pierre, who is in her
early 40s and was raised
in a migrant worker
camp, began as an activist three decades ago at
the age of 13, when she
was arrested for leading a march to demand
rights for sugar cane
cutters.
More recently her
group, the Movement
for Dominican Women
of Haitian Descent, has
fought to secure education and citizenship for
ethnic Haitians living in
the Dominican Republic.
An estimated 500,000 to
1 million ethnic Haitians
live in the Dominican Republic, many in isolated
village slums.
Haitians fleeing poverty provide cheap labor for the Dominican
economy, particularly
during the sugar cane
harvest, Kennedy noted
at the awards ceremony.
Many face abuse, harsh
living conditions and the
constant threat of deportation, he said.
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Sonia Pierre, right, is shown receiving the Robert
F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in November
from Senator Edward Kennedy.
``Because of Sonia, this
neglected, impoverished,
downtrodden community has greater rights
and greater hope for a
future where equality
and justice are not just
ideas, but reality,’’ the
senator said.
Pierre is the 23rd
recipient of the award
given in honor of the
former senator, U.S.
attorney general and
presidential candidate
who was assassinated
in 1968.
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for enrollment into K1, children must be age 4 on
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Friday mornings at 9:00A.M. by appointment.
To receive an application, get information or sign
up for a tour, please call (617) 825-0703. You can
also download applications from our website at
www.NHCSonline.org
January 2007
BOSTON HAITIAN Reporter Page 13
Profiles in Haitian Art
Rebellious American Seldon Rodman championed Haitian art
By Steve Desrosiers
Contributing Editor
We have unfortunately
come to the end of our
brief year or so long
journey through the
other Haitian revolution – Haiti’s native arts
movement. It had its
great native and non-native generals, men like
Dewitt Peters, Jose Gomez Sicre, a Cuban critic
who was influential in
helping Peters advance
the cause of the native
arts movement, and
artists Albert Mangones
and Geo Remponneau,
who among many others
helped to administer the
success of Haitian arts on
the world scene.
There were the great
soldiers of the tradition,
the painters, men and
women who struggled in
the trenches of isolation
and poverty carving and
preserving their perspective of life in a tragic
and beautiful Island.
Its champions included
artists like Maya Deren,
Seldon Rodman and the
many other who gave
Seldon Rodman, far right, was more than just a
patron of the arts for Haiti: He also participated,
writing a play based on the revolution.
their time and talents in
helping Haitians polish
and preserve their native arts.
We owe a debt of gratitude to those persons
who helped to bring critical acclaim and world
attention to Haitian art.
One such individual took
the cause of Haiti’s art
practitioners to heart.
He lived in Haiti and
tirelessly memorialized
its great artists. His
books on Haitian art
continue to be the best
references on the life
and the meaning of the
work of Haiti’s greatest
painters. He defended
their works, commissioned some for himself
and kept coming back for
more whether the Island
was stable or under the
veil of dictatorship.
The American, Seldon
Rodman, was one of a
kind. Born in Manhattan in 1909 to wealthy
parents, Seldon lost
his father, an architect,
before his first birthday.
The Yale educated Rodman was an avowed rebel
with many axes to grind.
And grind those axes he
did through a variety of
publications in the 1930s
lashing out at everything
from Yale’s leadership
to the Roosevelt administration’s New Deal
programs during the
American depression. He
missed his college graduation in order to rush off
to Europe and meet his
favorite authors, men
like Ernest Hemingway,
Leon Trotsky, and James
Joyce among others.
Among the risks that
brought the young Rodman notoriety in the
1930s was an attempt to
rile wealthy customers
at the Waldorf-Astoria
to leave the restaurant
in support of striking
waiters. He gained more
attention for publishing a well thought out
anthology of poetry that
included African-American folk songs.
In 1938 he visited Haiti
for the first time, learned
of its history and was
inspired to pen a play
on the Haitian revolution that was staged in
Haiti. Nelson Rockefeller
traveled to the Island to
attend the premier of
that play in 1942.
Seldon joined DeWitt
Peters in championing
Haiti’s native artists and
by 1948 was co-directing
the Centre D’Art. He
would go on to memorialize and popularize
Haitian artists with
three books on Haitian
art and to commission
artist Wilson Bigaud to
provide the art work for
a children’s book on the
life of the average Haitian peasant family. By
1949 he was influential
in facilitating and directing the mural painting
paintings of Port-auPrince’s Cathedral Ste.
Trinite.
Rodman championed
Haitian artists among
other third world artists
and amassed a vast personal collection of their
work. He owned a home
in Jacmel and traveled
to Haiti right into his
senior years. In the mid
1980s he donated a large
portion of his Haitian
art collection to Yale
University and Ramapo
College in New Jersey.
Both universities went
on to published extensive catalogs on Haitian
arts. He died at age 93 in
New Jersey, survived by
an extensive family and
over 40 books on a wide
(Continued on page 19)
Page 14
boston haitian Reporter January 2007
Community Health News
Get Moving!
By Vidya Sharma
Tips for Staying in Shape this Winter
With the arrival of cold
winter months, many of us
prefer to stay indoors, sip
a cup of our favorite hot
beverage, and find excuses
for not staying physically
active. A recent survey of
5000 people suggested that
about 30% do not get any
exercise at all around this
time of the year. Regular
physical activity has been
proven to improve muscle
strength, increase energy,
increase mental sharpness, improve the efficiency of heart and
lungs, lower blood pressure, help in weight
loss and maintenance
of optimum weight. A
regular exercise plan
of at least 30 minutes per day on most
days of the week will
help in reducing the
risk of several chronic
diseases such as overweight and obesity,
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high blood pressure, high
blood cholesterol, heart
disease, stroke, type II
diabetes mellitus and
many others.
Whether you choose
to exercise indoors or
outdoors, be sure to take
adequate safety precautions. It is always a good
idea to dress in layers,
especially for outdoor
activity. Wear comfortable clothing, shoes and
socks. Keep yourself
hydrated at all times by
drinking plenty of fluids
before, during and after
exercising. Warming-up
before beginning any
form of activity helps to
improve blood circulation and loosen all the
muscles.
Staying physically active does not necessarily
mean jogging or running
or taking special exercise
classes. Several routine
tasks that we perform
on a daily basis can be a
source of great healthboosting activities. Some
common examples include:
• Activities like cooking,
taking out trash, ironing,
vacuuming, mopping,
shoveling snow, cleaning
out the garage, cleaning
your closets, playing
with your kids, taking
your pet for a walk, etc.
help to burn those extra
calories.
• Getting up from the
couch and walking across
the room for changing
channels on the television rather than using
the remote. Keep in
mind, every little bit
counts!
• Parking your car at
the farthest end of the
parking lot and then
walking to the grocery
store. When inside, take
a walk around various
aisles instead of heading
straight to the aisle of
interest. This not only
enables us to remain
healthy, but also improves our knowledge
of the various products
in the store.
• Using stairs more
often instead of elevators.
• Getting off one stop
earlier when using the
train or bus and then
walking the remaining
distance to reach your
destination.
• Walking while talking on the phone, instead
of sitting on the couch.
• Renting exercise
videos from public libraries and incorporating at
least one of them in your
daily routine. A great
abdominal workout at
all times would be to
tighten and hold in your
stomach muscles as in
taking a deep breath for
about 30 seconds and
subsequently releasing
it. Repeat this for about
10 times.
So, don’t let the arrival of winter dampen
your spirit to exercise.
Follow the above useful
tips to stay active, feel
fresh and energetic as
we prepare to battle the
cold weather!
Vidya Sharma, MA,
RD, LDN is a Community Nutritionist at
Mattapan Community
Health Center.
Caregiver Advisor
(Haitian Creole)
The Caregiver Alliance of Suffolk County
is seeking a dynamic, bi-lingual Haitian
Creole/English-speaking individual for fulltime position as Caregiver Advisor for
caregivers of the elderly.
Must have excellent communication and
presentation skills, strong organizational
abilities; ability to work independently
and as team member.
BA in Human Services or equivalent
experience and minimum 4 years
experience working in human services, case
management and/or with the
elderly is preferred.
E-mail resumes & cover letter to
[email protected] or fax to
Ms. Walker @ 617-277-5025
Mattapan Community Health Center welcomes Dr. Lauren LaGrega who
earned a BA degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. She is a graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine and of
the North Shore University Hospital Pediatric Residency Program, where
she received the Resident of the Year Award. Dr LaGrega brings a wealth
of experience as an Attending Physician at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, Bronx,
New York and as an Instructor in Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College
of Medicine in New York. Mattapan Community Health Center is pleased to
add another experienced doctor to its winning pediatric team. Dr. LaGrega
is accepting new patients. Call 617-296-0061 for an appointment.
Pictured above with Dr. Lauren LaGrega of Mattapan Community Health
Center is Samuel J. Dorcemond, a bright-eyed model patient.
January 2007
BOSTON HAITIAN Reporter Page 15
Mattapan Community Health Center News
Regular exams are key to fighting Cervical Cancer
By
Julie Mottl-Santiago,
CNM, MPH and
Lisa Thomas, RN
January is Cervical
Health Awareness month
and it was declared
by the US Congress to
raise awareness about
the need for prevention
and treatment of cervical
cancer. Mattapan Community Health Center
is pleased to share this
important information
about the disease. Almost 4,000 women die
every year in the US of
cervical cancer, with African American women 2
to 3 times more likely to
die than white women.
Cervical cancer happens when abnormal
cells grow out of control
in the cervix, or the lower
part of the woman’s
womb (the upper part
of the womb is where
the baby grows when
a woman is pregnant).
The cervix opens into
the vagina (birth canal)
that goes to the outside
of the body.
Fortunately, cervical
cancer can be almost en-
tirely prevented by getting regular pap smears
at your clinic or provider’s office. The pap smear
can save a woman’s life
because it can detect precancerous cells on the
cervix that can then be
treated. If the pap test
shows abnormal cells are
growing, the provider or
health center will notify
you about what the next
steps to take will be,
depending on what the
results show. Sometimes
only a repeat test is
necessary; sometimes a
“colposcopy” to look more
closely at the cervix and
take a biopsy is done.
This is a short, relatively
painless procedure done
in a clinic or doctor’s
office. It is important
to keep the follow-up
appointments after an
abnormal pap test so
that any pre-cancerous
cells are not just found
but also treated. Most
women who get cervical
cancer have never had a
pap smear or not had one
in 5 years or more.
Cervical cancer is
caused by the human
papilloma virus (HPV), a
sexually transmitted virus carried by both men
and women. There are
generally no symptoms
of the highest risk types
of HPV, and there is no
good test for detecting
HPV in men. The virus
changes into cancer in a
woman’s cervix and can
evolve slowly over years.
Recent studies show that
condoms protect against
HPV virus. They are also
associated with lower
rates of cervical cancer
and are effective in preventing other sexually
transmitted infections.
Women should have
a pap smear every 1-3
years, starting 3 years
after becoming sexually
active. Pap smears are
done by many different providers, including
nurse-midwives, obstetrician/gynecologists,
family practice physicians, and nurse-practitioners. Women under
30 should be tested every
year, while women over
30 who have had 3 normal
pap smears for 3 years in
a row can talk with their
provider about whether
they can be tested every
2-3 years. Older women
between the ages 65 to
70 should have at least
three normal Pap tests
and no abnormal Pap
tests in the last 10 years,
but can then ask their
provider about whether
they need to continue to
be tested.
Teens can prevent
cervical cancer in the
future by visiting their
health center, even if
they are too young for
a pap smear. Their provider will talk with them
about what they can do
to prevent cancer in the
future. There is also now
a vaccine that prevents
HPV, the primary cause
of cervical cancer. The
vaccine is recommended
for girls from the ages of
11-12 but can be given
as young as 9 years old
and up to 26 years of age.
The vaccine is given in a
series of three injections
and works best when all
three are given. Even
those who have been vaccinated still need to get
pap smears regularly,
though, since there are
many types of the HPV
virus and the vaccine
does not protect against
all of them. For the same
reason, women who have
had HPV already may
still benefit from vaccination, since they probably
have not been exposed to
all types of the virus. It
is not yet known whether
males can benefit from
the HPV vaccine and it
is not recommended at
this time.
Most health insurance companies cover
Pap smears and the
HPV vaccine, including
Mass Health. Women
without health insurance may be eligible
for pap smears through
alternative funding programs like the Women’s
Health Network and the
Free Care pool. For more
information, call and
make an appointment
with your primary care
provider or call Mattapan Health Center at
617-296-0061.
Julie Mottl-Santiago
is a nurse-midwife at
Boston Medical Center
who provides care (including pap smears) at
Mattapan Community
Health Center.
Lisa Thomas is the
OB/GYN nurse at Mattapan Community Health
Center.
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617.436.1222
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Page 16
boston haitian Reporter January 2007
National News
Haitian immigrant stripped
of U.S. citizenship
By Jennifer Kay
MIAMI (AP) - A Haitian-American man
stripped of his U.S.
citizenship after being
convicted of federal drug
trafficking charges was
released to his family,
after U.S. authorities
failed to find a country
where he could be deported.
Lionel Jean-Baptiste,
59, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials let
him know December 21
he would be released
from the Krome Detention Center, about a
week after an administrative review of his
case.
“I’m feeling happy, I’m
with my family. I didn’t
even think they would
release me,’’ he said in
a telephone interview
from his Miami home.
“I couldn’t wait to get
out.’’
He had been held at
Krome outside Miami
since June. The U.S.
Supreme Court has ruled
that foreigners who cannot be deported cannot be
held indefinitely, and set
a six-month detention
maximum.
“He was released on
an order of supervision while we continue
pursuing his removal,’’
said ICE spokeswoman
Barbara Gonzalez.
Jean-Baptiste became
a U.S. citizen in April
1996. He served seven
years in prison on a
January 1997 conviction for conspiring to
distribute crack cocaine
- a crime he still insists
he did not commit.
“But for that one single
incident, you have a man
who was otherwise a legal, law-abiding citizen.
He would be a candidate
for a good, solid citizen
in the community,’’ his
attorney, Andre Pierre,
said.
Jean-Baptiste, a former restaurant owner,
is no longer a citizen of
any nation. His native
Haiti refused to take
him because he gave up
his citizenship in the
Caribbean country to
become an American;
France also declined on
the grounds he never
lived there.
His attorney said JeanBaptiste could remain in
the U.S. as a man without
a country indefinitely.
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Application deadline: March 19, 2007.
He must check in with
immigration officials
and will be permitted to
work, but cannot leave
the U.S., Pierre said.
An immigration judge
revoked Jean-Baptiste’s
U.S. citizenship and
ordered him deported
in September - the first
time since 1962 that the
U.S. government ordered
a naturalized citizen
deported after a drug
conviction.
The U.S. Supreme
Court declined to hear
Jean-Baptiste’s case last
year, after the 11th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals
in Atlanta ruled that
the federal government
could revoke his citizenship. The appeals court
agreed with government
attorneys who argued
that
Jean-Baptiste was not
a person of “good moral
character’’ before becom-
Caption: Lionel Jean-Baptiste, a Haitian-American man, sitting, stripped of
his citizenship after being convicted of federal drug trafficking charges, was
released to his family Thursday, Dec. 21, 2006, in Miami. From left are daughter
Naomie Jean-Baptiste, grandson McLeon Jean-Baptiste, niece Taina Milfort,
and wife, Raymonde Jean-Baptiste. U.S. authorities failed to find a country
to which he could be deported. (AP Photos/Mitchell Zachs)
ing a citizen.
He arrived in the U.S.
by boat in 1980. He went
on to gain permanent
residency, buy a restaurant in Miami’s Little
Haiti neighborhood and
eventually brought his
wife and three sons
from Port-au-Prince.
Two daughters were
born in Miami. (AP)
Immigration Q & A
I am married to a US
citizen? Why do I need a
medical exam for Green
Card?
Q: I am filing for a
green card (lawful permanent resident status),
based on my marriage
to a US citizen. I understand that a medical
examination is part of
the application process.
Why is that necessary?
Can I just take the form
to our family doctor and
have her fill it out?
A: The US Citizenship
and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires
a medical examination
for adjustment of status
applicants in order to
determine whether there
are any health-related
issues that could affect
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an immigrants admissibility to the US, such as
tuberculosis or HIV. The
exam can also identify
medical conditions that
require follow-up care.
The medical examination must be sent to USCIS with the adjustment
of status application.
(Note that an adjustment of status applicant
who came to the US on
a K visa will have had a
medical examination as
part of the visa application process at home and
will not need to repeat
the procedure in the
US. He will only need
to send in a copy of the
vaccination supplement
with his adjustment of
status application.)
All USCIS medical examinations include:
• Physical Examination: Applicants are required to have a physical
examination and a mental status evaluation.
• Tuberculin (TB) Skin
Test: All applicants 2
years of age and older are
required to have a tuberculin skin test (TST).
• Serologic (Blood)
Test: All applicants 15
years of age and older
are required to have
serologic (blood) tests
for HIV and for syphilis.
Applicants under age 15
can be tested for HIV or
syphilis if there is reason
to suspect the possibility
of infection.
• Vaccinations: Applicants need to show that
they are current with
all vaccinations recommended by US public
health officials. See the
complete list of recommended vaccinations at
uscis.gov.
Unfortunately, you
cannot have the medical examination done
by your family doctor.
The doctor performing
the exam must be on the
USCIS list of approved
“Civil Surgeons” and you
must pay the cost of the
exam. You can find the
list of approved physicians using the Civil
Surgeons Locator on the
USCIS web site, uscis.
gov, or by calling USCIS
national customer service at 1-800-375-5283.
The doctor you choose
will fill out Form I-693
and the required vaccination supplement
that will be submitted
to USCIS as part of your
application package. The
form and supplement
are placed in a sealed
envelope by the doctor
Project Hope has the following
full-time positions available:
New Accounts
Welcome
• Senior Counselor/Case Manager
• Counselor/Case Manager
• Housing Stabilization Advocate
at Fields Corner MBTA
Please see our website for more information.
www.prohope.org
1471 Dorchester Ave.
Phone:
265-8600
“We Get Your Plates”
and signed or stamped
across the seal; you must
not open it. The doctor
should give you a copy
for your records.
The results of a medical exam are valid for 12
months, so you should
apply for adjustment of
status as soon as possible after you have your
exam.
If you have any questions about the medical
exam, especially if you
are concerned that you
have a medical condition
that could affect your
eligibility to become a legal permanent resident,
call IIC at 617-542-7654
or visit one our legal
clinics for a confidential
consultation.
Disclaimer: These articles are published to
inform generally, not to
advise in specific cases.
Areas of law are rapidly
changing. US Citizenship and Immigration
Services and the US
Department of State
regularly amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures.
For legal advice seek the
assistance of an IIC immigration specialist or
an immigration lawyer.
IRISH IMMIGRATION CENTER
59 Temple Place,
Suite 1010, Boston, MA
02111
Telephone (617) 5427654 Fax (617) 5427655
Email: [email protected]
iicenter.org Web site:
www.iicenter.org
An organization accredited by the US Department of Justice
January 2007
BOSTON HAITIAN Reporter Page 17
Ruth’s Recipes
Getting the basics down to cook rice with ease
By Marie Ruth
Auguste
Special to
the Reporter
Cooking rice is not
a difficult task, yet, I
often hear complaints
about making that dish.
Lately, I have been running into young Haitian/ Haitian American
women including some
of my dearest friends
that just can’t get this
rice thing right.
I hear things like: “No
matter what I do my rice
never comes out like my
mom’s, it’s always too
hard.” Or, “my rice always comes out mushy
or pàt.” One woman told
me that when she began
to cook Haitian food, she
used a food processor to
prepare her spices because she didn’t have a
pilon, which is Kreyol for
wooden mortar. For one
reason or another, her
rice dishes were always
terrible; she tried everything that her mother
told her but still, could
not get it right.
This woman decided
that the secret was in
the pilon. “There must
be some kind of voodoo
in that thing that makes
the food taste so good,”
she said. So, she went to
Haiti and bought a pilon.
Still, this lady continued
to have issues with cooking rice.
Marie Ruth Auguste
If you’re a pro in the
kitchen, white rice, rice
and beans, peas, djondjon (dry mushrooms)
etc. make no difference
to you, piece of cake! For
others, cooking Haitian
rice is a disappointing
experiment regardless
of the type of rice in
question. The fact is,
as easy as cooking rice
may seem to some of
us, there are a number
of ways to spoil it and
ruin a meal. Too much
water, over stirring, not
enough rice, overcooking
and under cooking, and
wrong temperature will
mess up your rice.
For example, I have a
friend who gets so exited
when she cooks that
she can’t stop stirring,
her rice is always pàt
(mushy). The good news
is that once you master
these little intricacies,
you will never ruin another rice dish again.
Yes! It’s that simple.
Sometimes people ask
if the type of rice used
makes a difference. I
believe the answer to
that is yes, however, the
basic rules always apply.
What do you really need
to keep in mind when
cooking rice? Amount
of water, amount of rice,
temperature and time.
These are the essentials
but obviously you also
need to add the right
ingredients for taste.
To avoid mushy rice,
make sure that you don’t
use too much water/not
enough rice, also avoid
constant stirring. So how
do you know when you
have the right amount
of rice for x amount of
water if you’re not following a recipe? When you
add rice to boiling water,
place it in the center of
the cooking pot at once
before you stir. You
should have a mountain
of rice right in the center
of the pot. At this point,
make sure that you can
see the very tip of the
mountain of rice just
above or below the surface of the water. Cook
rice uncovered between
medium high and high
temperature until the
water disappears, and
when you can barely
hear the boiling sound.
Using a temperature
that is too high will
cause the cooking water to evaporate too
quickly; you may end up
with partially cooked
rice that is burned.
After the boiling water
vanishes and when you
can barely hear the
boiling sound, you must
lower the temperature
to low and cover tightly,
this process is called
toufé and it can make
or break the result of
your rice. You should
toufé for at least 15 to
20 minutes for small
to medium servings (2
to 8 people) and longer
for larger amounts.
During this final step,
the temperature should
remain on low and you
should NOT under any
circumstance uncover
the pot. Some of you
know exactly what
I’m talking about. My
mother for example
gets terrified if you
touch that rice during
the “toufé cycle! Once
you master the basic
rules, you can embellish the flavor of your
rice with coconut milk,
shrimp, okra etc. whatever suits your tastes
and your diet. Here
are some basic and
traditional Haitian rice
recipes, bon appetit!
Plain White Rice
Makes 2-4 servings
4 cups of water
4 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoon of salt (or
to taste)
1 whole scallion (cleaned/
cut in half)
4 cups of regular white
rice
In a small to medium
cooking pot, heat up oil
on medium high for about
a minute and fry scallion
until golden (be careful
with the hot oil popping)
then add water and salt.
Stir and taste for salt
amount. Bring to a boil
on high. When boiling
begins wash rice in room
temperature water (I
wash my rice three times.)
Drain washing water and
add rice to the center of
the cooking pot at once.
Again, you should be able
to see the very tip of the
rice. If you can’t see the
tip of the mountain of rice
before you stir you have
too much water or not
enough rice. Stir lightly
and cook until water evaporates, approximately 15
minutes. Next, reduce
temperature to low and
cover very tightly for 20
minutes. Serve warm with
your favorite bean sauce,
seafood, meat or poultry.
Rice and sweet peas
with dry mushrooms
(duri colé a poi frans
avek djon-djon)
Makes 2-4 servings
1 cup dry dark brown
mushrooms (djon-djon)
1 cup of sweet green
peas (frozen or fresh)
2 ½ cup of golden rice
(or white rice)
3 cups water
1 large garlic clove
(minced)
1 scallion (cleaned and
minced)
1 chicken bouillon
(maggi)
1 teaspoon seasoned
salt (i.e. lawry’s)
2 cloves
1 fresh parsley sprig
1 wedge green sweet
pepper
4 table spoon pure
vegetable oil (cholesterol
free)
1 teaspoon butter
3 pinches of ground
black pepper
Boil djon-djon in 2 cups
of water, for about 5 minutes. Next, completely
drain dark broth out of
the mushrooms into a
bowl using a strainer.
As you drain the mushrooms add one cup of
warm water, mix and
squeeze to get all the
black broth. Set broth
aside and discard the
remaining mushroom
stuff. PS- Some people
blend djon-djon for best
(Continued on page 19)
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for the month of January will be donated to the Colonel Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club
Page 18
boston haitian Reporter January 2007
Pan-Caribbean News
Officials fear citrus-leaf-eating butterfly
could ravage Caribbean, Florida crops
By JONATHAN M. KATZ
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - An
Asian butterfly known for ravaging the leaves of
young citrus trees has spread from the Dominican
Republic to other Caribbean islands and could
soon strike fruit producers in Florida, agriculture
experts said.
The lime swallowtail butterfly was spotted in
the Dominican Republic three years ago - the first
recorded sighting in the Western Hemisphere, said
Brian Farrell, a Harvard biology professor who led
the field study that found it.
The insect has since appeared in Jamaica and
Puerto Rico, and U.S. officials are concerned it
could next hop to the United States and threaten
Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry. U.S. officials
have criticized the Dominican government for not
trying to eradicate the butterfly.
``I don’t think the (Dominican agriculture) ministry is doing anything. They don’t see it as a problem,’’ said Russell Duncan, of the U.S. Agriculture
Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service in Santo Domingo.
U.S. officials worry the pest could be brought into
the U.S. by a tourist or with illegally transported
Help Wanted
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Immediate Opening
LENA PARK COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, a non-profit community based social
services agency, is currently seeking a qualified and
experienced teacher to fill an immediate vacancy
in its Early Education Program.
Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree, Associates Degree or advanced degree in Early Childhood Education and EEC Lead Teacher Certification.
Send cover letter and resume to: H. Pete Wilson,
Lena Park CDC, 150 American Legion Highway,
Dorchestser, MA 02124; Fax 617-436-0999: E-mail
[email protected]
Project Hope has the following
full-time positions available:
• Senior Counselor/Case Manager
• Counselor/Case Manager
• Housing Stabilization Advocate
Please see our website for more information.
www.prohope.org
Disability Law Center
Seeks Staff Attorney
Two years experience representing
clients who have been discriminated
against in the areas of employment
and housing discrimination or public
accommodations. Familiarity with
ADA, G.L. chapter 151B and DMH
and DMR practices and procedures.
Bilingual skills a plus. DLC is an EOE.
People with disabilities and people of
color encouraged to apply.
See www.dlc-ma.org for complete job
description, app. process and benefits.
Application deadline C.O.B. 2/2/07
fruit. Known as a strong flier suited for island hopping in Asia, the butterfly might also manage the
trip on its own.
It is not known how the butterflies reached the
Caribbean, Farrell said.
Dominican officials say the butterfly problem is
under control and there is no need for a widespread
eradication campaign. ``This isn’t a big problem for
us,’’ said Damian Andujar, director of the Dominican
Agriculture Ministry’s fruit department.
The butterflies, distinguished by red and yellow
wing markings and bright blue eyespots, have such
a taste for citrus leaves that they often strip trees
of all but their branches.
A year after they were discovered in the Dominican
Republic, an infestation destroyed more than 4,000
young trees owned by produce giant Grupo Rica - 3
percent of its nursery stock, said Felipe Mendez, a
company official.
Caterpillars ate every leaf on many of the trees they
attacked, Mendez said. Damage to the company’s
orchards in the country’s south has since been contained by workers trained to pick leaves at the first
sign of butterfly eggs.
``We realized we had a natural enemy,’’ Mendez
said.
Workers in Jamaica also have been trying to kill the
caterpillars by hand. An aerial spraying campaign
has not been attempted for fear of damaging nearby
beekeepers’ hives, Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke
told the Jamaica Observer. (AP)
Bermuda cracks down on
undocumented workers
By ELIZABETH ROBERTS
HAMILTON, Bermuda - Foreigners who overstay
their visas in Bermuda will soon become wanted fugitives, as the wealthy enclave adopts new measures
to capture and deport them amid growing public
anger over illegal immigration.
The Immigration Ministry has announced it will
begin sharing photos of visa violators with a local
anti-crime group, which will post the images on the
Internet and publicize rewards for their capture.
“Anybody who overstays their time is a problem as
far as we are concerned because of the importance
we attach to the adherence to the law,’’ said Robert
Horton, the administrative head of the immigration
ministry in the British territory.
Crime Stoppers Bermuda said that within days
it will publish the first photos, of two Jamaican
construction workers, on a Web site that will also
feature suspects for other criminal offenses.
The group, which is supported by private donations, said it would pay rewards of up to $1,000 to
anyone who provides information leading to the
capture of the illegal immigrants. Those who provide
the tips can remain anonymous, said the group’s
chairman, Sean Pitcher.
“Bermudians are very law-abiding citizens, but
people may be reticent to get involved,’’ Pitcher
said.
The government is also considering other measures against illegal immigration, including greater
penalties for those caught employing or sheltering
them.
Undocumented residents make up a tiny fraction
of Bermuda’s 65,000 people, but there have been
increased complaints that illegal workers have
become a drain on public resources and are taking
jobs, especially in the construction sector.
“They may not be committing a serious crime, but
they’re basically taking jobs away from Bermudians,’’
Pitcher said. ``What they’re doing is displacing people
who could be working legitimately.’’
Bermuda, a chain of tiny Atlantic Ocean islands
640 miles (1,030 kilometers) east of the U.S., is one
of the wealthiest places in the world.
The territory is generally accessible to immigrant
residents only through guest worker programs,
which employ about 9,900 people ranging from doctors and lawyers to laborers. Visas typically expire
after six years.
Those who deliberately stay past their deadline
are deported and blacklisted from returning, Horton
said. Bermuda deports about 20 foreigners each
year, including those convicted of crimes.
Guest workers traditionally came from the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and the United States, but
a growing number now come elsewhere, including
India and Sri Lanka.
Recent months have seen increased friction over
immigration, including the beating in July of a
Portuguese man outside a bar in the capital of Hamilton. Leaders in the long-established Portuguese
community, which makes up about 9 percent of the
population, said the man was targeted because he
was an immigrant.
Immigration Minister Derrick Burgess, who took
office in September, has made a personal commitment to deport illegal residents, Horton said.
The crackdown has been welcomed by some in
the construction field. Louis Somner, an industry
spokesman, described the Web site as ``a good effort’’ and said the government should go further and
fingerprint those who enter Bermuda on short-term
permits.
Horton said it was understandable that foreigners
would want to extend their stay on an island known
for its mild climate and rare pink-sand beaches,
but ultimately the territory should be reserved for
Bermudians.
“It’s not a major problem but it is a problem,’’ he
said. ``We’re a small society and we are always concerned about strains on our social system.’’ (AP)
Dominican president delays Middle
East trip to advance expansion
of natural gas plant
SANTO DOMINGO
- Dominican President
Leonel Fernandez postponed a Middle East
trip earlier this month
that was to promote the
expansion of a natural gas terminal in the
Caribbean nation, the
country’s Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry did not
give a reason for the
postponement of the trip
to Qatar. Fernandez was
to meet with officials to
discuss expanding an
AES Inc. plant east of
Santo Domingo for purposes of routing liquefied
natural gas from Qatar
to the United States.
The trip, which would
have also included a
visit to India to discuss
business deals, is still
planned for the first half
of 2007, the ministry
said.
The Dominican Republic’s ambassador in
Doha, Hugo Guiliani
Cury, told The Peninsula
newspaper in December
that his country could
serve as a way-station for
natural gas from Qatar
if the United States decided not to increase its
number of liquid natural
gas terminals due to
security concerns.
The AES Andres facility, located 30 kilometers
(19 miles) east of the
Dominican Republic’s
capital, also generates
electricity for local use. It
currently imports natural gas from Trinidad
and Tobago, Guiliani
said.
The Dominican Re-
public has been trying to boost relations
with Middle Eastern
countries in hopes of
lowing fuel prices and
addressing chronic energy shortages. Regular
gasoline sold at US$3.74
(euro2.82) per gallon this
month. (AP)
Did You Know?
You can read the full
edition of the Reporter
@ bostonhaitian.com
January 2007
BOSTON HAITIAN Reporter Page 19
Pan-Caribbean News
Montserrat volcano shoots ash cloud 5 miles into the sky
By BENNETTE
ROACH
OLVESTON, Montserrat - The volcano that
destroyed Montserrat’s
capital in 1997 shot a
cloud of ash more than
five miles into the sky
on Jan. 8, and one of the
island’s chief scientists
said the blast was ``a
warning call.’’
The government has
advised about 50 families on the northwestern
side of the volcano’s base
that their homes were at
risk from flows of blistering gas and debris if the
dome collapses. Gov.
Deborah Barnes Jones
said she would sign an
evacuation order making it illegal for people to
remain in the area.
The blast, accompanied by increased seismic rumbling, released
gases and steam from
inside a lava dome that
has grown rapidly over
the last week, said Dr.
Vicky Hards, director of
the Montserrat Volcano
Observatory.
``I think it was a warning call ... of what it can
do,’’ Hards said.
The explosion around
sunrise also sent a flow of
volcanic material cascading two miles down the
northwest flank, but did
not immediately threaten any of the British
Caribbean island’s 5,000
inhabitants, Hards said.
Sirens alerted people to
listen to the radio for
updates.
``People in the affected
area know who they are
and should work urgently on packing up and
arranging for alternative accommodations,’’
Barnes Jones said in a
radio address.
Only ``a handful’’ of
residents were believed
to still be living in the
threatened area, said
Mark Twigg, head of the
governor’s office.
``This causes genuine
hardship for people who
have to leave, and this is
taken lightly by nobody,’’
he said.
The volcano’s latest
burst of activity began on
Dec. 24. Glowing streaks
of red from the pyroclastic flows have created
nighttime spectacles
visible across much of
the island. The volcano’s
rising dome remained in
place after Monday’s explosion, raising fears of a
bigger event soon.
The Soufriere Hills
volcano became active in
1995, and more than half
the territory’s 12,000 in-
Rodman helped cultivate Haitian art
(Continued from page 13)
over 40 books on a wide
variety of subjects.
People like Seldon
Rodman, who was born
into a world of wealth
and privilege, teach us
something about the
things that money can’t
buy. Courage, honesty,
integrity and far above
all a love for all of humanity. Neither great
wealth nor great poverty
bestows such graces on
a person. We choose
whether or not to cultivate the courage necessary to bear life’s crosses.
Awareness of such things
are important before
the camouflage of skin
color and the tragedies
of history prevent us
from being grateful for
the existence and the
industry of the likes of
the late Seldon Rodman.
We are deeply grateful to
Cary Seldon Rodman for
his work among Haiti’s
artists.
Today’s Haitian art
scene is a far cry from
the optimistic venture
that was achieved by
DeWitt Peters by the
1960s. The current scene
is one where a few art
dealers and art galleries
dominate opportunities
for artists to show their
work. There is always
the worsening poverty,
the scarcity of art supplies coupled with the
fall of tourism and thus
a rarity of buyers. Opportunities to exhibit
are also difficult to come
by. Many artists work
by signing long term
contracts with galleries that in turn sell and
profit from their art. The
galleries usually own the
artist’s copyright and
as such whatever fame
the artist earns really
benefits the galleries.
If this weren’t enough,
the price for the work of
a great artist automatically doubles upon his
death usually resulting
is huge profits for art
dealers.
All is not lost, however,
as the story of Haitian art
continues in the industry
Taking the mystery out of
cooking Haitian rice
(Continued from page 13)
result. Next, heat 4
tablespoons of vegetable
oil and add minced garlic, scallion, chicken
bouillon, salt and cloves.
If you have a pilon use
it for the mincing, if not,
a food processor will do.
When the spices begin
to turn golden, add peas,
seasoned salt and adobo.
Stir fry for a couple of
minutes and add dark
mushroom broth which
should be about 2 and 2/3
cups. Then add sweet
green pepper, parsley,
one whole hot pepper
(do not slice). Taste
and add salt/pepper if
desired. After a couple of
minutes of boiling, wash
rice and add directly in
the center of the pot at
once. Stir once and let
cook on medium high
for about 15 minutes
or until broth dries up
completely. Finally
bring temperature to
low, cover tightly for 20
minutes. Do not disturb
during this final step.
Rice and peas (duri
colé a poi rouj)
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 and ¼ dry roman
beans (I used goya from
the plastic bag)
3.5 cups original yellow
rice (i.e. uncle ben’s)
2 whole cloves
3 wholes (minced)
7 cups of water
1 cup pure coconut
milk (I used goya from
the can)
1 scallion (minced)
3 garlic cloves
(minced)
1 chicken bouillon
cube/ maggi (minced)
1-teaspoon salt (mixed
w/ minced spices)
1 teaspoon seasoned
salt (lawrys)
1 teaspoon adobo all
purpose seasoning (without pepper)
ground black pepper
to taste
1 fresh parsley and
thyme sprigs (tied together)
1 whole green hot pepper (habaneros) do not
cut open
1 small slice of green
sweet pepper
1 teaspoon butter
1/3 cup pure vegetable
oil (cholesterol free i.e.
crisco)
Wash beans and boil
with 6 cups of water and
the coconut milk (if you
choose to use coco milk.)
Cook beans on medium
high to high for 35 to 40
minutes. Add the additional cup of water after
cooking beans. Remove
the 3 cloves from beans
and drain. Set broth
aside for later. Heat up
oil on high and then add
the minced spices, you
should mash them up
together in your pilon or
food processor. When the
spices turn golden (not
burned) add the drained
beans, seasoned salt,
adobo, black pepper, both
green peppers, parsley
and thyme. Cover for
one minute. Next, lightly
stir and add bean broth.
Taste for salt and other
ingredients. Bring to a
boil, then wash rice and
add as directed previously. Add butter and cook
on medium to medium
high until broth disappears. Bring fire to low
and toufé as described
above.
Contact Ruth with your
ideas, comments and suggestions at [email protected]
yahoo.com. And watch
for her website, coming
soon: ruthsrecipes.com
of artists who are working outside of the country
in places like New York
and Canada. They are
persons like Shubert
Denis, Francois Gracia,
Lucien Bordeau, Sofia
Lacroix and the Janet
Sanon who continue to
branch out on the foundation set not so long
ago by bright eyed and
courageous collection
of individuals who succumbed to the frightful
need to shed a little more
light into the world by
doing something apparently impractical.
habitants moved away.
An eruption in 1997
buried much of the south,
including the capital of
Plymouth, and killed 19
people.
Since then, the mountainous, teardrop-shaped
island has gone on a
building binge. A new
city center is planned
for Little Bay, the future
capital, in northwest
Montserrat. The island
has a new airport to
replace the one that was
engulfed by lava flows
and a 700-seat concert
hall. A new parliament,
courthouse and cricket
field are planned.
Associated Press writer
Michael Melia contributed to this story from San
Juan, Puerto Rico.
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Page 20
boston haitian Reporter January 2007
Want Boston? We’ve got you covered.
The Reporter Newspapers
have been telling the stories
of Boston’s neighborhoods
since 1983. And we’re just
getting started.
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