Haiti

Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement

Miami-Dade County’s population is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan. And its police force reflects that.

In 2012, the State Department decided to put that diversity to use beyond our borders. State recruited Miami-Dade police to help train and build law enforcement in Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica and even Egypt. Federal officials say it worked out so well that this week they re-upped the Miami-Dade force for another five years.

Carl Juste / IrisPhoto Collective

Former Haitian President Michel Martelly has returned to his pre-political life as pop singer “Sweet Micky.” He's performing at Cafe Iguana in Pembroke Pines tonight and at Miami's Bayfront Park on Saturday.

But last night he had a literary gig: presenting his just published memoir, "Michel Martelly Autobiographie," at Miami-Dade College in a Haitian Flag Day event sponsored by the Miami Book Fair.

Screengrab via presidentofkompa.com / WLRN

For the third time, Haiti has missed a deadline for its delayed presidential election runoff.

While Haiti is facing intense political pressure to get a president in office by May. 14, the island-nation's most recent president, Michel Martelly, seems to have moved on from the political spotlight  and back into the entertainment spotlight.

Before being elected president of Haiti in 2011, he was better known as  “Sweet Micky” --a Haitian musical superstar who wore wigs and had a penchant for dropping his pants during performances.

Dieu Nalio Chery / AP via Miami Herald

Haiti still doesn’t have a real President. One is supposed to be elected next month  –  but don't hold your breath.

WLRN spoke today with the leading candidate, Jovenel Moïse, about whether that’s actually going to happen – and the consequences if it doesn’t, as Haiti's food crisis worsens.

Haiti’s presidential runoff election has been called off twice since December amid charges of electoral fraud. When President Michel Martelly left office last month, Haiti’s Congress chose a temporary president, Jocelerme Privert.

Patrick Farrell

On Jan. 12, 2010, former Associated Press reporter Jonathan Katz was the only full-time American correspondent in Haiti when the earthquake hit. The massive quake left hundreds of thousands of people dead and more than a million homeless.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, foreign aid was pledged from all corners of the world. But six years after the devastating earthquake --  in spite of the combined efforts of international aid organizations, foreign governments and Haiti's own leaders – Haiti is still struggling to rebuild.

Marsha Halper / Miami Herald

“In Haiti,  you always have the feeling it’s the first day. Every day is like Monday morning,” said Jean Guy Saintus, founder and director of Haitian dance company Ayikodans.

Whenever a dance performance is getting close, Saintus warns his dancers that this might be the only rehearsal they get.

“The piece needs to be ready tonight to be able to perform tomorrow. You never know what can happen tomorrow in Haiti,” he tells them.

Dieu Nalio Chery / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Thirty years ago this week, Haiti had no president.

The country’s chubby churl of a dictator, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, had just been ousted and flown into exile with his Cruella de Vil wife. He left a power vacuum, but in those heady days hope ruled Haiti – a faith that democracy would emerge in his blood-stained wake.

But this week, Haiti has no president.

Dieu Naleio Chery / AP via Miami Herald

This afternoon Haiti once again postponed its presidential runoff election.

The vote – originally slated for last month – was going to be held on Sunday. But Haitian election officials said they canceled it because it was too hazardous. Street protests have gotten violent in recent days, with demonstrators condemning what they call a fraudulent and incompetent electoral process.

You didn’t miss Haiti’s presidential runoff election on Dec. 27. It was postponed amid accusations that the first round of voting in October was marred by voter fraud and bungling by poll workers.

In other words, just another Haitian election.

Now the runoff will be held Jan. 24 – only two weeks before Haiti’s constitution says a new president must be sworn in on Feb. 7. But given the political swamp Haiti is mired in these days, the odds of an inauguration happening by that date look 50-50 at best.

Bahare Khodabande

The Notre Dame de Lourdes School, on the edge of the Haitian border town of Anse-a-Pitres, is a study in contrasts. In the classrooms on one side of the courtyard, children sit in tidy yellow uniforms, in rows, facing their instructors.

On the other side, kids in an assortment of donated clothes push their way in and out of three crowded rooms. One teacher hustles back and forth, trying to maintain some semblance of order.

Photo Food For The Poor/Hilda Perez

The nonprofit agency Food For The Poor will build 100 homes in Haiti for  families that have fled the Dominican Republic out of fear of being deported.

The Haitian government has donated  to the nonprofit 76 acres of land in the border village of Fond  Bayard where families with children have been arriving from the Dominican Republic.

A constitutional ruling passed by the Dominican Republic took away birthright citizenship  to people born to non-citizen parents. The ruling was applied retroactively to 1929 and mostly affects Dominicans of Haitian heritage. 

Europe and the U.S.-Mexico border aren't the only frontiers being crossed by migrants. Thousands of Haitians are being deported from the neighboring Dominican Republic, and one local group is trying to help some of those those left behind.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Activists in Miami’s Haitian community called a press conference Tuesday morning to denounce Haiti’s controversial Aug. 9 parliamentary elections, which they called "a sham."

Farah Juste, a Haitian singer and the Fanmi Lavalas political party coordinator for Florida and the Bahamas, said the Haitian government should annul the election results after reports of violence, deaths and tampering in polling places.

David Gilkey / NPR

OPINION

Last week I slammed the Dominican Republic for risking its global image with an immigration policy that has unjustly made hundreds of thousands of Haitian-Dominicans targets for deportation.

When America occupied Haiti

Aug 7, 2015
A.R. Harrison, United States Marine Corps

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