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New York Times Reveals How Haiti Became The Poorest Country In The Americas

By GERMAN LOPEZ/New York Times

France’s ransom
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world, and a new Times investigative series explores why. One stunning detail: France demanded reparations from Haitians it once enslaved. That debt hamstrung Haiti’s economy for decades — and kept it from building even basic social services, like sewage and electricity.
The series is based on more than a year of reporting, troves of centuries-old documents and an analysis of financial records. I spoke to my colleague Catherine Porter, one of the four reporters who led the project, about what they found.
Why tell Haiti’s story now?
I’ve been covering Haiti since the earthquake in 2010, and returned dozens of times. Any journalist that spends time in Haiti continually confronts the same question: Why are things so bad here?
The poverty is beyond compare to anywhere else. Even countries that are impoverished compared to the United States or Canada, or many Western countries — they still have some level of social services. Haiti just doesn’t.
Even if you’re rich, you have to bring in your own water, and you need a generator for electricity. There’s no real transportation system; it’s basically privatized. There’s no real sewage system, so people use outhouses or the outdoors. There’s no real garbage pickup, so trash piles up. There’s little public education — it’s mostly privatized — so poor people don’t get much, if any, formal schooling. The health care is abysmal.
The usual explanation for Haiti’s problems is corruption. But the series suggests something else is also to blame.
Yeah. This other answer lodged into the side of my mouth as I read more history books on Haiti. One by Laurent DuBois mentioned this “independence debt,” but he didn’t go into much detail. That was the first time that I read about it and was like, “What is this?”
So what was it?
After Haiti’s independence in 1804, France came back and demanded reparations for lost property — which turned out to include the enslaved humans. French officials encouraged the Haitian government to take out a loan from the French banks to pay.
It became known as a double debt: Haiti was in debt to former property owners — the colonists — and also to the bankers. Right from the get-go, Haiti was in an economic hole.
It is wild: The colonists asked the former slaves for reparations.
You have to remember that, at the time, no one came to help Haiti.
It was the only Black free country in the Americas, and it was a pariah. The British didn’t want to recognize it because they had Jamaica and Barbados as colonies. The Americans most certainly did not want to recognize it; they still hadn’t ended slavery.
What might Haiti look like today without this double debt?
One example is Costa Rica. It also had a strong coffee export industry, like Haiti does. When Haiti was spending up to 40 percent of its revenue on paying back this debt, Costa Rica was building electricity systems. People were putting in sewage treatment and schools. That would be closer to what Haiti could have been.
We haven’t even gotten into the U.S. occupation from 1915 to 1934 and Haiti’s dictator family, both of which further looted the country. It was one crisis after another inflicted on Haitians.
That’s true. A dictator, François Duvalier, came into power in 1957. Before that, the Haitian government had finally cleared most of its international debts. The World Bank had said that Haiti should rebuild. Instead, Duvalier and then his son put the country into increased misery.
As if that wasn’t enough, after Haiti’s president asked for reparations in 2003, France removed him from office, with U.S. help. Have France and the U.S. owned up to the damage?
France has had a slow softening. In 2015, its president, François Hollande, said that France had imposed a “ransom” on Haiti, and that he would pay it back. But very quickly, his aides corrected him, saying that he meant he was going to pay the moral debt back; he wasn’t talking about money.
The Times is translating these stories to Haitian Creole. What’s the goal?
If I’m talking to anyone on the street in Haiti, they’ll speak only Haitian Creole. So I felt that if we’re going to do a story about Haitian history, surely it should be accessed by the people of that country.
The most popular form of media in Haiti is the radio, especially in rural areas where illiteracy is high. My hope is that we can get the Creole version in the hands of some people to read parts of it over the radio, so people in Haiti can hear it and debate it and form their opinions.
This is a Haitian history. It should be made as accessible as possible to Haitians.
More on Catherine Porter: She grew up in Toronto and got her first full-time journalism job at The Vancouver Sun. In 2010, she went to Port-au-Prince for The Toronto Star to report on the earthquake — an assignment that changed her life. She has returned more than 30 times and written a memoir about her experiences there. She joined The Times in 2017, leading our Toronto bureau.
The Haiti series
The Times this weekend published several articles on Haiti’s history, including:
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Coast Guard Rescues 38 Survivors From Capsized Vessel in the Mona Passage

SAN JUAN — The Coast Guard suspended at 10 p.m. Sunday the four-day search for additional survivors of a capsized vessel in Mona Passage waters between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Rescued are 38 survivors, 36 Haitian and two Dominican Republic nationals. Rescue crews also recovered 11 people deceased, whose nationalities are yet to be determined.

“Our most heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of those who did not survive or remain missing, our prayers are with them,” said Capt. Gregory H. Magee, Commander of Coast Guard Sector San Juan.  “I commend all the partner agency crews who responded in this case, their bravery and actions helped save 38 lives from almost certain death, as well as, the air, surface and land-based crews involved in the search.  These crews have done their utmost to ensure that if there were anymore survivors, that they would have had the best chance to be rescued. 

“Unfortunately, as the threat of illegal voyages continues, we could be forced to respond to similar events in the future. The dangers of these voyages are real, we see them everyday, people aboard grossly overloaded makeshift boats taking on water in high seas with little or no lifesaving equipment.  These people are at the mercy of ruthless smugglers who are not concerned with their lives or safety. To anyone thinking of taking part of an illegal voyage, don’t take to the sea! It could just save your life.”

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a communication at approximately 11:47 a.m. Thursday reporting that the aircrew of a Custom and Border Protection aircraft had sighted a capsized vessel with people in the water who did not appear to be wearing life jackets.

Coast Guard watchstanders directed the launch of an MH-60T helicopter from Air Station Borinquen and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos, while Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine units also responded to rescue survivors.

Rescue crews involved in the search conducted 20 air and 10 surface searches, covering over 5,194 square nautical miles, an area larger than Puerto Rico.  

Rescue assets involved in the search:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley
  • Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos
  • HC-130 Hercules from Air Station Clearwater
  • C-27J Spartan from Air Station Sacramento
  • Air Station Borinquen MH-60T Jayhawk helicopters
  • Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations assets
  • Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine units

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/843120/coast-guard-customs-and-border-protection-and-puerto-rico-police-units-respond-capsized-illegal-voyage-north-desecheo-island

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Food Shipment Supports At Least 3,700 Families After Haitian Earthquake

 PORT-AU-PRINCE — At least 3,700 families across several Salesian programs and educational centers in Haiti had access to better nutrition thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, and Rise Against Hunger, an international relief organization that provides food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable. In the second half of 2021, two shipments were sent to Haiti to support nutritional efforts after the devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 14 killed more than 2,000 people and left thousands injured and homeless.

Families connected to Notre Dame du Rosaire Parish and Saint Ann Parish, along with students from Fondation Vincent and Don Bosco Lakay in Cap-Haïtien and in Port-au-Prince, were among the recipients. Don Bosco Lakay has specialized facilities depending on the type of assistance needed. At Foyer Lakay, children live as a family for a period of four years until the completion of their apprenticeship in a technical profession. The Lakay Program for Street Children provides shelter and educational services for street children in Cap-Haïtien and Port-au-Prince. There are also vocational training programs where youth are able to study and gain the skills needed for long-term employment.

Don Bosco Lakay in Cap-Haïtien is also in the planning process to open eight new departments including IT, electricity, sewing and tailoring, welding, motor mechanics, construction, and cosmetology. These courses will be targeted toward at-risk youth from the neighboring City-Champin.

One of the recipients of the food donation was a young man named Jonas Joseph, who goes by the nickname Ti Djo. He is 14 years old and was born in Shada, the largest slum in Cap-Haïtien. His mother died giving birth to him, and his father refuses to accept him as his son. He was raised by his grandmother, who lives far below the poverty line and cannot buy daily meals. As the situation grew worse, she sent Ti Djo into domestic service.

Ti Djo experienced the worst moments of his life. He lived with little sleep and was responsible for everything in the house. He also faced physical abuse from the family. It became too much for him and he left to live on the streets.

One day, an educator from Don Bosco Lakay befriended Ti Djo. Eventually, Ti Djo went into the Don Bosco Lakay program where he is taking welding classes.

Paulin Iguène, director of Don Bosco Lakay said, “Ti Djo used to be weak but now he is getting strong, and he especially likes Rise Against Hunger food. Ti Djo is smiling, jovial and engaged. He is also happy because we were able to get in contact with his grandmother who is still alive.”

Salesian missionaries began working in Haiti in 1935 in response to the Haitian government’s request for a professional school. Since then, Salesian missionaries have expanded their work to include 11 main educational centers and more than 200 schools across the country.

Each of the main centers includes a number of primary and secondary schools, vocational training centers, and other programs for street children and youth in need. Salesian programs are located throughout Haiti, including in the cities of Port-au-Prince, Fort-Liberté, Cap-Haïtien, Les Cayes and Gressier. Today, Salesian missionaries in Haiti provide the largest source of education outside of the Haitian government with schools providing education to 25,500 primary and secondary school students.

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Coast Guard Returns 72 Dominicans, 14 Haitians To Hispaniola After Illegal Voyages

SAN JUAN — The Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez repatriated 72 Dominicans and returned 14 Haitians to the Dominican Republic between Wednesday and Thursday, following the interdiction of two illegal voyages in Mona Passage waters near Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

One interdicted Dominican Republic national remains in Puerto Rico to face federal prosecution on charges of attempted illegal reentry into the United States. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecution in this case.

These interdictions are the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.

“We are very proud of cutter Heriberto Hernandez’s crew performance these past few days,” said Capt. Gregory H. Magee, Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan.  “Their actions helped safeguard the nation’s southernmost maritime border while saving the lives of nearly 90 Dominican and Haitian nationals from two illegal voyages. These voyages put thousands of lives at risk every year. If you are thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage, do not take to the sea!  If caught, you will be returned to your country of origin or you could find yourself facing criminal prosecution in U.S. courts.”

The first interdiction occurred Tuesday, after the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Marine Enforcement Aircraft detected a suspect illegal voyage in the Mona Passage transiting towards Puerto Rico. Following the sighting, the Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez interdicted the 30-foot makeshift boat and embarked all the passengers who were onboard. The cutter Heriberto Hernandez crew repatriated 30 Dominican Republic nationals and returned seven Haitian males from this group to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Wednesday.

The second interdiction occurred Wednesday morning, after the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Marine Enforcement Aircraft detected a suspect illegal voyage in the Mona Passage near Puerto Rico. The interdicted vessel was grossly overloaded and capsized shortly thereafter, throwing most of the vessel passengers into the water.  The cutter Heriberto Hernandez crew, with the assistance of on-scene Puerto Rico Police marine units, safely recovered and embarked all the vessel passengers.  The cutter Heriberto Hernandez repatriated 42 Dominican Republic nationals and returned seven Haitian males from this group to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Thursday.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19.

Since Oct. 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, the Coast Guard and CBIG partner agencies have carried out 53 illegal voyage interdictions in Mona Passage and Caribbean waters near Puerto Rico.   Interdicted during this period, are 1,308 non-U.S. citizens comprised mostly of Dominican Republic and Haitian nationals (940 Dominicans, 298 Haitians, 24, Cuban, 1 Ecuadorian, 36 Venezuelan).

  •  463 Dominican, 15 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2021
  •  491 Dominican, 08 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2020
  •  429 Dominican, 06 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2019
  •  280 Dominican, 04 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2018 
  •  262 Dominican, 03 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2017
  •  246 Dominican, 19 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2016

Family members in the United States inquiring about possible family members interdicted at sea, please contact your local U.S. representative. Relatives located outside the United States please contact your local U.S. Embassy.

CBIG unifies efforts between U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.

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Coast Guard Takes 2 Dominicans, 39 Haitians Back To Hispaniola After Illegal Voyage

SAN JUAN — The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon repatriated two Dominicans and returned 39 Haitians to the Dominican Republic Wednesday, following the interdiction of an illegal voyage Tuesday in the Mona Passage waters near Rincon, Puerto Rico.

One other Dominican Republic national from this group remains in Puerto Rico to face federal prosecution on charges of attempted illegal reentry into the United States. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico is leading the prosecution in this case.

The interdiction is the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.

“This was a great case and outcome for the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon and our CBIG partners, who work daily to safeguard the nation’s southernmost maritime border against existing threats and saving lives from the dangers associated with illegal voyages in the maritime domain,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “If you are thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage, we ask that you not take to the sea.  These voyages puts thousands of lives at risk. If caught, you will be returned to your country of origin or you could find yourself facing criminal prosecution in U.S. courts.”

During a routine patrol Tuesday, the aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection Marine Enforcement Aircraft detected an illegal voyage, approximately 10 nautical miles southeast of Rincon, Puerto Rico.  Following the sighting, the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon interdicted the 30-foot makeshift boat.  The crew of the cutter Richard Dixon safely embarked all the passengers after they were observed bailing water to keep the vessel from capsizing. 

The cutter Richard Dixon repatriated 27 men and 14 Haitian women from this group to a Dominican Republic Navy vessel Wednesday morning.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19.

Since Oct. 1, 2021 to Feb. 28, 2022, the Coast Guard and CBIG partner agencies have carried out 45 illegal voyage interdictions in Mona Passage and Caribbean waters near Puerto Rico.   Interdicted during this period, are 1,088 non-U.S. citizens comprised mostly of Dominican Republic and Haitian nationals (798 Dominicans, 253 Haitians, 1 Ecuadorian, 36 Venezuelan).

  •  463 Dominican, 15 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2021
  •  491 Dominican, 08 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2020
  •  429 Dominican, 06 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2019
  •  280 Dominican, 04 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2018
  •  262 Dominican, 03 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2017
  •  246 Dominican, 19 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2016

Family members in the United States inquiring about possible family members interdicted at sea, please contact your local U.S. representative. Relatives located outside the United States please contact your local U.S. Embassy.

CBIG unifies efforts between U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.

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U.S. Seeks Extradition From Jamaica of Suspect in Murder of Haiti’s Moise

KINGSTON (Reuters) — The United States has requested the extradition from Jamaica of a suspect in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, the suspect’s lawyer said on Thursday.

Former Haitian Senator John Joel Joseph, whom the Haitian government considers a key suspect in Moise’s murder last July, was arrested in Jamaica after having fled Haiti.

Joseph has agreed to the extradition, his lawyer Donahue Martin said in a telephone interview.

The United States has become increasingly involved in the investigation of Moise’s murder, with key suspects facing the prospect of trial in U.S. courts as a probe by the Caribbean nation’s authorities stalls.

Moise was shot dead by assassins armed with assault rifles who stormed his private residence in the hills above Port-au-Prince, sparking a man hunt and investigations across several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

—REUTERS

Days after the murder, then-National Police Chief Leon Charles said Joseph was a key player in the plot, saying he supplied weapons and planned meetings.

(Reporting by Kate Chappell in Kingston, writing by Brian Ellsworth in Miami)

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Haiti: UN Agencies Warn of ‘Unabated’ Rise In Hunger

PORT-AU-PRINCE — While humanitarian assistance has been successful in averting a catastrophe, Haiti is experiencing a persistent rise in hunger levels, with many citizens suffering acutely, the World Food Program (WFP) said on Tuesday.

Alerting that 4.5 million Haitians are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity, WFP pointed to lower-than-expected humanitarian food assistance and continued fallout from the last August earthquake as key drivers.

“Hunger levels are rising unabated as persistent political instability, growing inflation and recurrent disasters continue to conspire against the people of Haiti”, the agency advanced.

Briefing the media in Geneva from the Caribbean island nation, WFP Country Director Pierre Honnorat noted the situation is worrisome, “being the worst registered since 2018”.

Severe hunger

“Haiti forms part of a ‘ring of fire’ encircling the globe where climate shocks, conflict, COVID-19, and rising costs are pushing vulnerable communities over the edge”, he said.

According to recent projections, 45 per cent of the population will be in severe hunger from March to June, and of those, more than 1.3 million are estimated to be in the emergency phase of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

The ongoing economic crisis in Haiti, characterized by a weakening currency against the US dollar, soaring inflation, and a hike in fuel prices in previous months, has reduced the purchasing power of many poorer households, making basics like food, unaffordable.

Ukraine effect

Furthermore, global food prices are at an all-time high, with the Ukraine crisis continuing to have a direct impact on food security.

UN humanitarians in Haiti warned that it would likely continue to hurt vulnerable people in the highly import-dependent island nation.

Mr. Honnorat reminded that 70 percent of goods in Haiti’s stores are imported, and said the food insecurity “situation can only worsen if we don’t support Haiti”.

“This is also fueling insecurity, migration and sexual exploitation”, he added, calling for more international support.

“It’s everything about those coping mechanisms that the population has to go for. And it’s different, they have to change their diet, they have to reduce their meals; but it also brings them to violence, it also leads some of them to prostitution,” Honnorat said.

Prices rising with inflation

Detailing the situation in Haiti, Patrick David, Senior Program Manager at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), also briefing from Port-au-Prince, spoke further on the Ukraine crisis’s impact in perpetuating food insecurity.

“Haiti imports lots of food and fertilizers and the increase of prices in these products will contribute even more to inflation, which is already high in the country”, Mr. David said.

Honnorat added that the wheat that Haiti imports “is mainly coming from Russia and then coming from Canada as well…so if the wheat flour is going up, you will see a problem and the price has already multiplied by five in two years. So, we can only expect that it will multiply again.”

The northern region is also reeling from the aftermath of heavy flooding in late January, which resulted in deaths and injury with nearly 3,500 people seeking refuge in temporary shelters.

WFP distributed dry rations to 8,000 people impacted by the flood, as well as around 1,000 ready-to-eat meals in five days across six shelters.

Emergency response

Looking at long term solutions for a country that continues to struggle with multiple crises, WFP said it is strengthening national social protection and food systems by using rights-based transfers, income generation activities and community-level disaster risk reduction solutions.

To accelerate the return to school and resumption of school feeding activities in the earthquake-affected areas, WFP engineers are also in a race against time to rehabilitate schools. ## Limited room for optimism

WFP reported an improvement in areas in the south of Haiti, attributed to continued food assistance following last year’s major earthquake.

In its aftermath nearly a million people were left severely food insecure in the affected areas.

The UN emergency food agency has reached more than 355,000 beneficiaries with food and cash assistance worth $8.2 million.

However, it warned the situation has deteriorated in other areas in the south where the emergency response has been limited.

SOURCE:ReliefWeb

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Haitian National Gone Since Monday On St. Thomas Still Missing On Her Birthday Today

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Police issued a missing poster for a Haitian national who has been missing for five days on St. Thomas.

Mikerlange Damier, 36, of Port-au-Prince, was last seen in Anna’s Retreat on Monday, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Damier is described as a Black female who stands 5-feet, 5-inches tall and weighs about 170 pounds. She has black hair and a slim build. She was last seen wearing a grey shirt, black long pants, and a bonnet and jacket of unknown colors.

Damier turned 36 years old today. She was born on March 19, 1986, according to the VIPD.

Haitian National Gone Since Monday On St. Thomas Still Missing On Her Birthday Today

Damier’s husband went to the police station at 7:47 a.m. Tuesday and reported her missing, according to police. He said he had last seen her Monday in the area of 404-107 Anna’s Retreat and had not heard from her since.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact police by calling 911, the Criminal Investigation Bureau at 340-774-2211, ext. 5554, the Major Crimes Unit at 340-642-8449, or the anonymous tip service, CrimeStoppers USVI at 800-222-8477.

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Coast Guard Takes 43 Dominicans And 23 Haitians Back To Hispaniola

SAN JUAN — The Coast Guard repatriated 43 Dominicans and returned 23 Haitians to the Dominican Republic Wednesday, following the interdiction of two illegal voyages near Puerto Rico.

The interdictions are the result of ongoing local and federal multi-agency efforts in support of the Caribbean Border Interagency Group CBIG.

“The Coast Guard’s and our Caribbean Border Interagency Group partners strong collaboration is key to safeguarding the nation’s southernmost maritime border, and to saving countless lives from the dangers associated with illegal voyages in the Mona Passage,” said Capt. Gregory H. Magee, Sector San Juan commander. “If you are thinking of taking part in an illegal voyage, we ask that you not take to the sea.  You will be risking your life and endangering others along the way.  If caught, you will be returned to your country of origin or you could find yourself facing criminal prosecution in U.S. courts.”

A Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit interdicted an illegal voyage Tuesday morning that was transporting 16 Dominicans and 23 Haitians aboard a 25-foot green colored makeshift boat just off the coast of Rincon, Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon that arrived on scene and safely embarked the migrants.

The aircrew of a Customs and Border Protection marine enforcement aircraft detected a second illegal voyage Tuesday night, approximately 28 nautical miles northwest of Aguadilla Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan directed the launch of a Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Borinquen and diverted the Cutter Richard Dixon diverted to interdict the suspect vessel.  The cutter Richard Dixon stopped the illegal voyage and embarked 27 Dominicans, 22 men and five women, from the 25-foot blue and white makeshift vessel.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crewmembers were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19.

Since Oct. 1, 2021 to Jan. 31, 2022, the Coast Guard and CBIG partner agencies have carried out 44 illegal voyage interdictions in Mona Passage waters near Puerto Rico.   So far, 1,088 non-U.S. citizens have been interdicted, who are mostly comprised of Dominican Republic and Haitian nationals (798 Dominicans, 253 Haitians).

  • 463 Dominican, 15 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2021
  • 491 Dominican, 08 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2020
  • 429 Dominican, 06 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2019
  • 280 Dominican, 04 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2018
  • 262 Dominican, 03 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2017
  • 246 Dominican, 19 Haitians in Fiscal Year 2016

Family members in the United States inquiring about possible family members interdicted at sea, please contact your local U.S. representative. Relatives located outside the United States please contact your local U.S. Embassy.

CBIG unifies efforts between U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.

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Students Go Back To Haitian School 3 Years After Gang Attack

Students have returned to the Lycée National de La Saline after it was closed due to gang violence

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Students in the Haitian capital are getting used to being back in class after gang violence closed their school for three years.

The Lycée National de La Saline, which reopened in January, is located in one of the poorest, most troubled and disadvantaged neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince. Some 5000 people live in La Saline.

It closed after by five armed gangs attacked the neighbourhood on 13 and 14 November 2018, leaving 26 people dead. The youngest victim was just 10 months old and the oldest 72 years. In a report on the incident, the United Nations also said there were two cases of gang rape.

According to the report, residents of La Saline were “allegedly targeted for their supposed affiliation to rival armed gangs.”

The school was shuttered in the wake of that attack.

Education to change the world

Selina Apollon is back at school now but remembers the two days of attacks in 2018.

“It was a massacre. I was very afraid, everyone was afraid. Fortunately, I didn’t lose any family of friends,” she said.

Selina was one of the children who were able to enroll in a new school, although for many that involved long daily journeys. Others stayed at home for all three years – unable to maintain their studies.

“I wanted to carry on studying, because without education I cannot succeed in life,” said the young student.

Today, Selina is reunited with all of her former classmates, including Jean Felix Jean who is the president of the student council.

“Our school is located in a disadvantaged, even difficult area, but despite everything we have experienced, we realize that we are the agents of change. Education is the most powerful thing we have to change the world, so we understand we must work hard and continue on to university.”

Selina and Felix, both passionate about their education, were able to advocate for all school children in Haiti when they met the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, who recently visited the Lycée National de La Saline.

“My question to Madame Amina is how can she support our community so we can finish our studies and carry on to university,” said Selina Apollon.

The UN is supporting the reopening of schools like Lycée National de La Saline.

Greeted by the student brass band, the UN Deputy Secretary-General toured the school which had received a fresh coat of paint and a new mural welcoming her to the compound. She greeted pupils in their classrooms and had this message for them.

“You have a huge opportunity to get an education; you are the future of Haiti,” she said. “Some of you want to be doctors or nurses. You can be anything you want with a good education and that begins at this school.”

The United Nations works closely with the government to improve access to free education and quality learning in order to make sure more children in the most vulnerable parts of Port-au-Prince and across Haiti are able to attend school.

“You have a big responsibility,” Ms Mohammed told the students, “because not everyone is in school, so you are privileged. You need to show your communities that to go to school leads to development, to progress.”

The UN estimates that more than 200 schools have closed under pressure from gangs as violence continues in Port-au-Prince.

A welcome sign for the UN Deputy Secretary-General

The longer children stay out of school, the more likely it is that the boys may end up joining gangs and girls may become pregnant. And child labor, sexual abuse or violence may also increase.

The Ministry of Education is pushing for more schools to open, so that students like Selina and Felix can get the education they deserve.

Selina Apollon intends to make the most of her schooling as one day, she says she wants to become secretary to the President of Haiti. But above all, she says she wants to be a “role model to all young Haitians” and someone who can help her country develop in positive ways.

This the message that Amina Mohammed shared with the students of La Saline: they must realize their potential and make the most of their privileged positions.

SOURCE: ReliefWeb