Haiti judge to free some detained US missionaries

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FILE - In this photo taken Feb. 8, 2010, Jorge Puello, left, a Dominican legal AP – FILE – In this photo taken Feb. 8, 2010, Jorge Puello, left, a Dominican legal advisor, who was hired …

ANK BAJAK, Associated Press Writer Frank Bajak, Associated Press Writer 14 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A Haitian judge said some of the 10 U.S. missionaries arrested on charges of child kidnapping would be released Wednesday, nearly three weeks after they were caught trying to take a group of children out of the quake-stricken country.

Judge Bernard Saint-Vil would not specify how many people would be released, but said they would be allowed to return home without posting bail if they agreed to return to Haiti for any more questions in the pending investigation.

Saint-Vil, who had not yet issued a formal ruling, said he would await the prosecutor’s opinion before announcing the names of those to be released.

„We expected that,” said Gary Lissade, the attorney for American Jim Allen. It was unclear what would happen to any of the Americans the judge decides to hold.

Earlier Wednesday, one of the Americans, who is diabetic, was taken to a field hospital. Charisa Coulter of Boise, Idaho, briefly received treatment but was then taken back to jail. Neither her condition nor reason for the treatment was not immediately known.

And a lawyer for nine of the defendants, Aviol Fleurant, complained that Haitian police were restricting his visits to the Americans. „The lawyers are only being allowed in for three or five minutes,” he said.

De Alexandru Nădăban Publicat în Ştiri Etichetat

Baptişti prinşi cu ocaua mică în Haiti: US Baptists face child trafficking charges

Ten American Baptists who tried to take orphans out of the country will appear in court to learn whether they face child trafficking charges.

 Telegraph.co.uk spune
Members of New Life Children's Refuge sit at a police station in  Port-au-Prince
Members of Idaho-based charity called New Life Children’s Refuge sit at a police station in Port-au-Prince Photo: AFP/GETTY

The members of a church group from Idaho attempted to take 33 Haitian children to an orphanage being built in the Dominican Republic without official authorisation.

The five men and five women were stopped with the children, aged between two months and 14 years, at a border crossing on Friday and are due to appear in court on Monday.

It emerged on Sunday that most of the 33 children have family members that survived the Jan 12 earthquake.

Patricia Vargas, regional director of the SOS Children’s Village, where the children are being cared for, told the AFP news agency officials at the Haitian Institute of Social Welfare told her „most of the kids have family”.

Miss Vargas said some of the older children of the group had confirmed the officials’ words. Children over the age of seven said that „their parents are alive, and some of them gave us an address and phone numbers,” she said.

The US embassy in Haiti said on Sunday that ten US citizens were being held for „alleged violations of Haitian laws related to immigration”.

A spokesman for the church group said it had nothing but the best of intentions for the children, wanting to give them a better life.

Larry King contradicts Pat Robertson

Programul lui Larry King pe CNN îl contrazice cu dovezi pe Pat Robertson ce a spus că în urmă cu două sute de ani conducătorul răscoalei pentru eliberarea sclavilor negri ar fi făcut un pact cu diavolul. El a prezentat o haitiancă ce a fost scoasă în viaţă dintre ruine după cinci zile de la cutremur. Aceasta i-a mulţumit echipei care a salvat-o spunînd:

Cred că am fost salvată de această echipă care a fost trimisă de Domnul Isus Cristos în care cred!  

Din echipă făcea parte şi un turc.

Haiti: enslaved by its dark history

N-am fost în Haiti şi probabil că nu o să ajung niciodată acolo. Ţara are o istorie şocantă, dar ce ţară nu a avut o istorie şocantă, Groenlanda? De obicei se pune accentul pe lucrurile negative (că noi suntem mai „buni” ca ei), dar dincolo de istoria ţării respective, oamenii rămîn oameni pentru Dumnezeu, poate şi pentru noi. Tot de pe Telegraph.co.uk o analiză destul de nagativă a istoriei prezentată de Ian Thomson, redată parţial de mine, după cum urmează. Însă sunt sigur că dincolo de lucrurile negative, în Haiti a existat şi oameni buni, bucurie, fericire şi frică de Dumnezeu.

For 200 years the Caribbean nation has suffered from natural disasters and violent rulers, says Ian Thomson, Telegraph.co.uk.

By any standards, Haiti represents a very great concentration of misery and dashed hopes. In January 1804 – a key date in the history of a bedevilled country – the African slaves overthrew their French masters and declared the world’s first black republic. Haiti became an emblem of slavery’s longed-for abolition. And the slave leader, Toussaint L’Ouverture, was hailed by William Wordsworth, among other Romantics, as a “morning star” of the Americas.

Since independence, however, emperors, kings and presidents-for-life have misruled the Caribbean nation through violence and theft of public funds. The constitution is made of paper, they say, but the bayonet is made of steel.

Now more than ever, the motto of the Haitian republic, “L’Union Fait la Force” (Strength Through Union) seems a grim joke. For two centuries since independence Haiti has been split on every side. Mulatto against black; the military against democracy; African animism against Christianity. Aid workers may now try to maintain a semblance of law and order in Port-au-Prince, but looting is likely as the city jails have reportedly broken open.

Haitians say they are hard to understand, but all nations enjoy that vanity. The truth is, Haiti is a country that was never meant to be. Forged in the crucible of French colonialism, it was once the most profitable slave colony the world had ever known. The glittering prosperity of Nantes and Bordeaux, Marseilles and Dieppe, derived in part from commerce with this sugar-rich dependency of the ancien regime.

The prospect of a free black state founded on the expulsion and possible murder of its white community by Toussaint L’Ouverture horrified French colonials, as it did the whole of the Western world. As Talleyrand wrote to a French general in Washington: “The existence of a negro people in arms, occupying a country which it has soiled by the most criminal acts, is a horrible spectacle for all white nations.”

It was not until 1862 that the United States acknowledged Haiti’s independence. The country had become a dangerous symbol of redemption for African peoples, of racial equality and – most unforgivable – of anti-colonialism. So Haiti became a pariah, excluded from the family of nations and trapped in a time warp where there was little room for progress. Haitians were thought to be incapable of self-government because they were black. In fact, Haiti may yet prove to be ungovernable.

The 1957-1971 dictatorship of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier instilled fear in the population. Indeed, Duvalier entertained more than an anthropological interest in Vodou (or voodoo, in the old orthography). His wardrobe of black suits and bowler hats lent him the aspect, it was believed, of the animist divinity Baron Samedi, who haunts the cemeteries in a top hat and tails, smoking a large cheroot like a graveyard Groucho Marx.

Duvalier’s private militia – the dreaded Tontons Macoute – earned him the nickname “Lucifer of the Antilles”. Yet many Haitians mourn his loss and still plot to restore his son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, to power from his exile in Paris. In the aftermath of the earthquake it is likely that increasing numbers will clamour for the return of a strong man.

Democracy could hardly arrive overnight for a people whose ancestors were snatched from Africa to slave for Europe. Duplicity or cunning are considered heroic virtues in Haiti. To overcome your adversity is the great affair in life and the pity of the country is that it thrives on the survival of the fittest.

owever, Haitians are just as likely to show extraordinary resilience and selflessness as they rally together and find consolation in Vodou. Haitians are 80 per cent Catholic and – so they say – 100 per cent Vodouist. Vodou (from the Dahomean vodu, “spirit” or “deity”) is a peaceable New World religion that marries elements of Catholicism with the rites and rituals of ancestral Africa.

For most Haitians, Vodou is the only way to rise above the misery of poverty and the devastation wreaked by hurricanes, mud slides, storms and now this humanitarian catastrophe. When a Haitian is possessed by a loa (spirit) he is taken out of himself and transformed. At night, Port-au-Prince is now said to flicker with candles, as swaying, homeless Haitians offer prayers to the loas in hope of deliverance.

Vodou also reflects the rage and ecstasy that threw off the shackles of slavery. On the night of August 15, 1791, a ceremony was held in the north of Haiti that marked the beginning of the revolt. A rain of burning cane straw, sweet-smelling, drifted over the plantations as the slaves set them ablaze. Toussaint L’Ouverture was said to have taken part in this Vodou-inspired uprising – proof that religion is not always an opium of the people, but a prelude to action.

Two centuries after independence, however, Haiti is the battered pauper of the Americas and unimaginably destitute after the earthquake. The world’s first black republic – only 17 years younger than the United States – remains in many ways a police state.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a president in whom the world invested much hope, was overthrown in 2004 and now lives under police protection in South Africa. His successor, President René Préval, has pledged to restore the rule of law. Yet his home – the National Palace – has been destroyed and now he may have to face the daunting tradition of dechoukaj – the ferocious settling of scores and violence that follows the overthrow of a president. In Haitian creole, dechoukaj means to pull a tree out of the ground, roots and all, so that it will never grow again. There may well be a desire to rid Haiti of the old power structure, once and for all, and bring some hope of change.