Archive for Haiti
Protesters in Haiti, who demanded the departure of President Michel Martelly and decried U.S. political interference, were stopped short of their goal of reaching the U.S. Embassy Friday to air their grievances. Angry, some started throwing rocks at Haitian National Police and United Nations troops. Police fired warning shorts and tear gas, quelling the protest on the 26th anniversary of a bloody election-day massacre in which dozens of voters were hacked and shot to death at a Port-au-Prince high school by soldiers and gunmen. The Nov. 29, 1987 violence halted Haiti’s first free and fair general elections following the 1986 departure of dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. While about 600 demonstrators opted to mark the day laying flowers at a school site, several thousand others marched toward the embassy. Police, who had secured the embassy’s premises since Thursday with metal barricades, stopped the demonstrators and launched tear gas when they tried to reach the diplomatic post another way.
The U.S. government said that an employee at its embassy in Haiti has died following a car accident in the poor Caribbean nation. A statement written on behalf of the administrator of U.S. Agency for International Development, Rajiv Shah, said that USAID Foreign Service Officer Antoinette “Toni” Beaumont Tomasek died in Haiti on Saturday. Her death came after a car accident on June 26. She was 41. The statement, issued after an inquiry from The Associated Press, did not give a precise cause of death. In Haiti, Tomasek worked as a community health specialist who focused in the areas of water, sanitation and education. She began working for the USAID mission in Haiti in May. The California native and former Peace Corps volunteer joined USAID in 2009, where she worked in Indonesia. Here she set up a program that offered grants to local organizations seeking to prevent and treat tuberculosis.
Britain has reopened its embassy in Haiti after being absent for nearly a half century, a part of an effort to broaden its diplomatic and business presence in the Western Hemisphere. The new two-person mission will be housed at the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince. The ambassador is Steven Fisher, who is already the British envoy to the neighboring Dominican Republic. He will continue to live and work in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo. Britain opened an embassy in El Salvador late last year and another will be reopened in Paraguay in July as part of a push by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to strength British diplomacy in Latin America and the Caribbean. A new British consulate was opened in late 2011 in the Brazilian city of Recife. There was already a full embassy in Brazil’s capital of Brasilia and consulates in the leading cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Haiti plans to open a diplomatic mission in Britain in September. Britain’s last ambassador to Haiti, Gerard Corley Smith, left the country in 1962 after being declared persona non grata by dictator Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Defence of Chile, a Chilean Navy Sergeant Enrique Arevalo Flores, 44, a native of Quilpué, married with two children, Assistant Defence Attaché at the Embassy of Chile in Haiti, died after being fatally wounded by bullets in Petion ville (Port-au-Prince). According to available information, the sergeant was assaulted by unknown as he was leaving a restaurant, receiving four bullet wounds. Arevalo was rushed to hospital Lambert Santé, where he passed away, Sunday at 5:45 am. The Chilean Ministry of Defence specifies that Sergeant Arevalo was not part of the soldiers of the UN Mission for Stabilization in Haiti (Minustah) and that the judicial authorities and the National Police of Haiti had begun an investigation.
A top Haitian lawyer is perplexed by U.S. Ambassador Kenneth H. Merten, who has stoked controversy over whether Haitian President Michel Martelly holds U.S. citizenship in violation of Haiti’s constitution. Stanley Gaston, president of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association, questioned why Mr. Merten invoked U.S. privacy laws when he discussed Mr. Martelly’s citizenship at a news conference with the Haitian president last week. “Listen to me good,” Mr. Gaston told reporters in the Haitian capital. “If President Martelly is not an American citizen, then the United States doesn’t have to go into this debate at all.” At last week’s news conference, Mr. Merten said: “President Martelly is not American. He is Haitian.” The ambassador, however, also appeared to obfuscate matters by adding that U.S. privacy laws are “very strict.” “I don’t have the right to discuss the file, whether they are a president or one of my friends, without the permission of the person concerned,” Mr. Merten was quoted as saying. His reference to a “file” was not explained. A Haitian parliamentary commission is investigating allegations that Mr. Martelly might hold dual U.S.-Haitian citizenship or might have renounced his Haitian citizenship before he ran for president last year. In either case, he would be ineligible to hold his office. Before he ran for president, Mr. Martelly was an entertainer who frequently performed in Miami. He owns a house in Palm Beach, Fla.
Sean Penn was officially made an ambassador at large for Haiti for his relief work for the country, still reeling from the devastating earthquake two years ago. Penn was offered the job by the Haitian foreign minister Laurent Lamothe at the Cinema for Peace benefit at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. “I do accept,” Penn said, adding it would be useful to “change being called hey you (bleep), to hey Mr. Ambassador!”
An agent for the Haitian embassy in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) was forced to deny allegations that he and the Haitian government would be involved in human trafficking. These accusations are coming from the local Haitian community in TCI who also would allege that the embassy agent, Donald Metellus, would be a participant in the victimization of children born in TCI to Haitian nationals. Metellus claims that persons in the TCI Haitian community are trying to ruin his reputation. “The allegation are as quoted by him that I have being taking money from the Haitian Government on behalf of the illegal Haitians who migrate to the Turks and Caicos Islands by boats on several occasions, to feed them; and also accused me of being dishonest and saying that I have also being paying the TCI Immigration authorities not to issue documents to Haitian children who born in this territory…” Metellus says he has been assisting TCI immigration officials and at not time received money from the Haitian government of from the TCI government and also added that at time he has had to spend his own money to assist detained Haitians who arrive by boat. The TCI Ministry of Immigration and Border Control would be spending millions of dollars to repatriate Haitian migrants entering the country by illegal means.