Florida Roundup: First Governor's Debate

Oct 10, 2014
Miami Herald

Andres Martinez Casares / For The Miami Herald


The death of former Haiti president Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has stirred strong emotions locally and in Haiti.

After learning of Duvalier’s death, many Haitians took to social media and radio to recount the horrors and brutality suffered under his regime.

Flickr user a-birdie

As Haiti’s national police director from 1996 to 2002, Pierre Denize had a mission: to help the country’s fledgling democracy build a more professional and humane justice system.

Denize had seen too much of the polar opposite in his youth – especially when his parents were jailed, brutalized and exiled during the three-decade-long reign of cruelty and corruption known as the Duvalier dynasty.

Reporting On Duvalier: Diary Of A Dictator

Oct 7, 2014
Miami Herald

There can come a time when reporters and photographers spend so much of their working lives immersed in covering one issue, one person or one country, that their relationship with the subject being covered becomes almost symbiotic.

Think of it as a detective who must know his or her suspect’s every thought and every move.

Where will they be today? What will they say today? Perhaps, more importantly, what can be confirmed today -- and what is the real reason behind the latest action?

Nadege Green / WLRN

From Stalin in Russia to Pinochet in Chile, there’s at least one thing we’ve learned about dictators: Despite the terrible things they often do, people’s memories of them can be fond as well as frightening.

Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier – who ruled from 1971 to 1986 and died on Saturday in Port-au-Prince at age 63 from a heart attack brought on in part by a tarantula bite – was no exception.

 WLRN spent the weekend listening to the divided opinion on Baby Doc in Miami’s Haitian community.

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:

Andres Martinez Casares / For the Miami Herald

Even for a fiend as monumentally corrupt as he was, the first words out of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s mouth upon his return to Haiti in 2011 were shamelessly dishonest.

“I came back to help my country,” Baby Doc said after ending 25 years in exile in France.

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.