12/17/12 - Monday’s Topical Currents is with Temple University Professor Joan Mellen, whose latest book is OUR MAN IN HAITI: George de Mohrenschildt& the CIA in the Nightmare Republic. It tracks the role of the U.S. military and CIA in the internal life of Haiti, particularly during the despotic reign of Francois (Papa Doc) Duvalier. Mellen cites ties to the U-S Mafia, drug traffic, and even the Kennedy assassination.
There's one more presidential debate left, and it takes place in the most crucial swing state of them all. Host Phil Latzman along with panel of journalists, politicians and an academic discuss U.S. foreign policy and domestic issues important to Florida voters.
Carmen Maria Romero was one of the four medical workers in Haiti whose voices you heard in After the Quake: Patients and Healers. She’s a physical therapist who had already been volunteering in Haiti for ten years, and who traveled there last January to help with the relief efforts.
Romero was so moved by the suffering and the resilience of her patients that she decided to quit her job and relocate to Haiti.
When an earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, the United States stopped deporting Haitian immigrants to the devastated nation. But deportations resumed last January, and Franco Coby, 24, of Fort Myers, found himself banished from the country he grew up in since the age of 6.
If you’ve ever visited Little Haiti, you’ve probably seen Miami muralist Serge Toussaint’s work, which is sprinkled throughout the city. How can you tell it’s his work? His signature is a dollar sign instead of an “S” in Serge. He spends most of his time in Little Haiti, but his work can be seen in Liberty City, Little River, Allapattah, the Miami River and all the way to Fort Lauderdale.
After the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, thousands of Haitians fled to South Florida to escape the devastation in their country. Some were able to leave Haiti on tourist visas. Others came as guardians to their injured children. No matter how they came to the country, most have been living in limbo in the United States.
One of the aftereffects of the earthquake in Haiti is that local journalists have found new freedom. Many are now airing the kinds of political commentary and criticism that used to invite violence and censure– even death.
The shift comes across loud and clear on Haiti’s airwaves, where most people get their news.
Jennifer Maloney brings us the story of Haitian radio host and reporter Makenson Remy, known to listeners as “Four-by-Four” because of his rugged brand of go-anywhere reporting.
In March, 150 nations pledged more than $5 billion dollars to rebuild Haiti. Construction firms around the world, and especially in South Florida, began jockeying for those funds. Developers and planners from South Florida bid on contracts to build roads, construct housing, and remove debris. And not just developers and planners. Even Royal Caribbean, based in Miami, bid on housing contracts.
After the earthquake, nine-year-old Peterson Exais was trapped under rubble for four days. Once he was rescued, Peterson was rushed to a tent hospital in Port-au-Prince. Chad Perlyn was the first doctor available. He is a pediatric plastic surgeon at Miami Children’s Hospital.
Perlyn knew the tent hospital was not equipped to treat Peterson. So he put the boy on a list for treatment at one of the U.S. hospitals that were tending to young earthquake victims– hospitals in far-flung cities like Orlando, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.
After January’s massive earthquake, thousands of Haitians fled to the United States. More than 2,500 of them were school-aged kids who were quickly placed in classrooms across South Florida.
The new students were suddenly immersed in a foreign language, culture, and school system. It could have been a bewildering experience. But at Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes, the Haitian students who lived in South Florida before the quake took the recent arrivals under their wings.
A few days after the earthquake, the U.S. government decided that Haitians living in the United States would be eligible for Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. However, there has been much confusion about who can apply, how you apply and what happens after you apply for TPS.
For example, only Haitians who were living in the United States before the earthquake are eligible for TPS. As Alicia Zuckerman discovered, some Haitians refer to TPS as “Ti Pelen Sosyal”– Kreyol for “L’il Social Trap”– because they fear that they may be deported if they apply.