Haitian National Police

  The prison breakout in Haiti last weekend was one of the impoverished country’s worst. More than 300 inmates escaped – and many are alleged violent offenders. But the getaway highlights larger problems.

The recently built penitentiary in Croix-des-Bouquets, outside Port-au-Prince, was funded by Canada and was hailed as a modern facility. But the breakout may well have had more to do with Haiti’s justice culture than with its jail security.

cooldesign / freedigitalphotos.net

This week on the Florida Roundup, we're exploring why subsidies to help nearly a million Floridians buy health insurance are on shaky ground.

PanAmerican Health Organization

The case of Marie Therese Lindor helps explain why chikungunya is spreading so widely and rapidly through Haiti.

As she’s done so many times before, Lindor traveled from New York earlier this year to visit relatives in Haiti. But in May, about a week before she was due to return, she got sick.

Really sick.

“The fever lasted for four days,” Lindor says. “I sat down and couldn’t get up. My body and all of my bones hurt. The second day I was bedridden. I needed help to bathe.”


06/05/14 - Thursday's Topical Currents features an interview by literary contributor Ariel Gonzalez with celebrated Miami-based Haitian author, Edwidge Danticat.  She edited a sequel to her 2011 collection of stories entitled Haiti Noir 2. Also, as we await the start of the


05/19/14 - Monday’s Topical Currents features an interview with writer and author, Roxane Gay.  Literary contributor, Ariel Gonzalez speaks with her about her debut novel, An Untamed State. As the child of Haitian immigrants wh

Philippe Dodard can't remember the first time he came to Miami. He lives in Haiti and has always come to visit one family member or another.

"What is interesting about Miami is every time I come back, I see something new," says Dodard. "And now I see that the culture is getting more and more alive everywhere."

By "culture," he means Miami's Haitian Heritage Museum, Haitian Compass Festival, and Haitian Heritage Month in May.

Brandon Clifford (courtesy)

Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World in 1492 on a ship called the Santa Maria. The vessel ran aground that Christmas Eve, off Haiti’s north shore near what is now Cap Haitien. Using historical records, underwater archeologist Barry Clifford says he recently located remnants of the ship.

The job of confirming the blockbuster find falls to Charles Beeker, the director of Indiana University’s underwater science program. Beeker says the evidence he’s seen so far, including wrought iron guns, is strong.

Hear an interview with Charles Beeker here:

Papa Machete / Courtesy

The Haitian Revolution in 1791 was the first (and only) successful slave rebellion against a crushing colonist regime. And the revolt didn’t only result in a new state, it was also achieved with the edge of a machete.

The short film “Papa Machete” opens somberly, telling how Haitians developed a martial art called Tire Machèt during that bloody, turbulent period. A versatile agricultural tool in dense tropical climates, the machete makes a valuable weapon.

When Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, a local writer who developed “Papa Machete,” first read about it, he was floored.

Creative Commons via Serge Toussaint

Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami (FANM), also known as the Haitian Women of Miami, will celebrate its 21st anniversary on Saturday. The organization, founded by Marleine Bastien, continues to be an influential organization within the Haitian community in Miami. Its work, though, includes advocacy efforts on behalf of Haitians far beyond Miami.

Milo Milfort / IPS

After last Thursday's new court decision against him – a ruling that he can be tried for crimes against humanity –  is Baby Doc discovering that you can’t go home again?

When Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier made his stunning return to Haiti in 2011 after 25 years in exile, he probably figured the country was in such a shambles that it wouldn’t have the time, energy or resources to bother with him.