Latin America

Haiti Again Faces 'Pure Devastation.' But Will Recovery Be Different This Time?

Oct 10, 2016
Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

Some of Hurricane Matthew's most gut-wrenching stories are coming out of the coastal city of Jérémie on Haiti's southwest peninsula – the region hardest hit.

Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press

Hurricane Matthew is making its way through the Caribbean packing Category-4 winds of more than 150 miles per hour and dropping up to 40 inches of rain. Haiti is in its path - and.that’s the country that can least absorb the damage.

Courtsey National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians

Back in July, State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed the U.S. had “suspended its assistance toward completion of the presidential electoral process” in Haiti.

Which means: Uncle Sam is not helping to pay for the presidential election being held in Haiti this coming Sunday. Nor will it help with the likely run-off election scheduled for January.

Other international donors, like Canada, have also cut off election aid. Simply put, they’re fed up with Haiti’s political leaders.

The Colombian government and the FARC rebel group have spent four years negotiating a peace deal to bring an end to more than 50 years of war.

Terms were agreed on, a deal was finalized, the accord was signed — and then, in a stunning turn of events, the people of Colombia voted against the agreement in a national referendum Sunday.

So. What now?

Associated Press

War or peace?

Those stark options faced Colombians on Sunday — and, by a margin of less than 1 percentage point, Colombians voted to remain at war. In a referendum that aimed to end Latin America's longest guerrilla conflict, voters rejected a peace agreement that would have disarmed the Marxist rebel group known as the FARC. The conflict, which began in the 1960s, has killed more than 200,000 people.

Ricardo Mazalan / AP

I won’t deny it – the leftist guerrillas who signed peace with the Colombian government this week are more Mafia than Marx.

In 1998 I spent almost a week in Colombia’s southern Caquetá province with those rebels, the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces, or FARC. Back then the FARC was Caquetá’s de facto government, controlling territory the size of Switzerland. Photographer Keith Dannemiller and I boated up and down the sweltering Caguán River talking with guerrillas and hearing why they’d joined up.

C.M. Guerrero / El Nuevo Herald

Fresh off his first debate with Hillary Clinton last night, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump came straight to Miami today to meet with Latino voters – and found he still struggles to engage a voter bloc he’ll need more of if he wants to win the battleground state of Florida.

Secretaria de Seguridad Publica de Tamaulipas

In June, Mexican freelance reporter Zamira Esther Bautista was gunned down by a group of hit men at her home in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico.

Her killing has yet to be solved; no one has been arrested.

It was the most recent murder of a journalist in Mexico – the eighth there this year. Across Latin America, 23 journalists have been murdered.

That’s a big reason media rights groups this month are urging the U.N. to create a special representative for journalists’ protection.

Carlos Giusti / AP

Puerto Rico is suffering one of the worst economic crises in the western hemisphere. Adding to the U.S. territory’s problems right now is a massive, island-wide blackout - which gives Puerto Ricans one more reason to come to Florida.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Politics makes desperate bedfellows.

So it's not such a big surprise that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Miami Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, also a Republican, appear to have finally slipped under the same campaign sheets.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Meet Jose Alvarez. Or as he’ll tell you when you’re introduced:

“My name is Jose Alvarez, D.O.P.A.”

Tom Hudson / WLRN.org

The Irish aren’t entirely strangers to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Saint Patrick’s Battalion fought for Mexico in the 1800s. Irish tycoon Denis O’Brien owns Digicel, one of the Caribbean’s largest cell phone companies.

But Ireland’s new government has set out a specific agenda for engaging Latin America that’s unusual for a European country outside Spain and Portugal. And Miami figures prominently in that strategy.

Shane Stephens, Ireland’s consul general for the Southeast U.S., based in Atlanta, spoke with WLRN’s Tom Hudson during a recent visit to Miami.

Nelson Antoine / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

If you needed another reminder that the new Brazil is really just the old Brazil, here’s some handy news:

Yet another epic public fraud scheme has emerged this week – a $2.5 billion scandal involving the pension funds of Brazil’s largest state-run companies.

This latest financial atrocity adds one more fetid float to Brazil’s long samba parade of corruption – including the $3 billion bribery horror at the state-run Petrobras oil firm.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

There was a lot of celebration – and not a little hype – last week when JetBlue took the first U.S. commercial flight into Cuba in more than 50 years.

It was another big step in the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations. But beneath all the airborne cheering is the grim reality that Cuba’s economic wings have been all but clipped. 

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Jim Wyss, the Miami Herald’s Andean bureau chief who traveled to Venezuela to cover a massive protest rally in Caracas, was detained by Venezuelan immigration authorities Wednesday evening.

Wyss arrived in the Venezuelan capital very early Tuesday and entered the country with a journalist visa valid through October. However, he emailed the newspaper at 5:21 p.m. Wednesday, saying: “Am being detained … by immigration.”

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