Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Activists beg U.S. to allow faster entry for Haitians

By John Lantigua, Palm Beach Post MIAMI — South Florida Haitian community leader Marlene Bastien is hoping for a big Christmas present this season from President Obama. Bastien is praying the administration will alter its current policy and allow Haitians who have relatives in the U.S. and have been approved for legal entry here, but are on a waiting list, to arrive ahead of schedule. About 55,000 are waiting, and it could take 11 years for all of them to immigrate. Bastien and other Haitian leaders are concerned that those people are in danger in post-earthquake Haiti. A sped-up schedule also would allow some of them to find work in the U.S., send money back to needy relatives and help rebuild their ravaged country. “It would be a Christmas present for Haitian families here who are suffering and worrying about […]

Rubble blocks road to rebuilding Haiti

By John Lantigua, Palm Beach Post PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — This collapsed capital does not look much different than it did the week after the Jan. 12 earthquake. In the badly hit neighborhoods, large mounds of rubble remain, block after block and piles obstruct traffic. “I don’t know why they haven’t done more to clean it up,” says Jackie St. Albans, 65, a Haitian-American and former U.S. Immigration Service employee in Miami, retired in Haiti. “There is rubble everywhere. It’s a problem and it is depressing for people to look at, day after day. You wonder what is going on. Where all the money that came into Haiti is going.” Many Haitians feel the same. And now members of the U.S. Senate are also wondering. Tuesday, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, issued a report harshly critical of the […]

Counselors struggle to save minds traumatized by destruction, death in Haiti

By John Lantigua, Palm Beach Post PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — For Pierre Yves Jovin, director of the Port-au-Prince city morgue and his employees, the nightmare doesn’t end. After the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people, the morgue was inundated with thousands of corpses. Not only were the refrigerated rooms full but the hallways, and hundreds of bodies lay in the parking lot around the building. His employees, about of 15 of them, worked around the clock, throwing bodies into dump trucks so they could be buried in common graves. Sometimes that included the remains of people they knew. “They had to suffer tremendous shock,” said Jovin. “One employee no longer shows up. I’m told he wanders the street and has lost his mind. Others are drinking much more alcohol than before. One, a young man who was always a […]

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