by Ezequiel Abiu Lopez and Danica Coto. Originally published at boston.com
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — The Dominican Republic’s top court on Thursday stripped citizenship from thousands of people born to migrants who came illegally, a category that overwhelmingly includes Haitians brought in to work on farms.
The decision cannot be appealed, and it affects all those born since 1929.
The Constitutional Court’s ruling says officials are studying birth certificates of more than 16,000 people and notes that electoral authorities have refused to issue identity documents to 40,000 people of Haitian descent.
The decision, which gives the electoral commission a year to produce a list of those to be excluded, is a blow to activists who have tried to block what they call “denationalization” of many residents.
“This is outrageous,” said Ana Maria Belique, spokeswoman for a nonprofit group that has fought for the rights of migrants’ children. “It’s an injustice based on prejudice and xenophobia.”
Continue reading In the News: Dominican ruling strips many of citizenship
by Kevin Edmonds, NACLA
On July 13, Haitian Judge Jean Serge Joseph passed away under suspicious circumstances—sparking controversy within Haiti that his death was related to his involvement in a high profile corruption investigation against President Michel Martelly’s wife Sophia and their son Olivier.
The charges of corruption against Martelly’s family are related to the disappearance of large sums of money from several nationwide sports and social programs which are personally run by Sophia and Olivier, instead of the respective government ministries that should provide oversight. A group of lawyers, including Newton Louis Saint-Juste and André Michel, initially brought forward the high-profile case in August 2012. On July 2, the case took an important turn when Judge Joseph ordered the Haitian Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe, and several senior officials to appear in court as witnesses.
Continue reading In the News: Controversy Follows Death of Prominent Haitian Judge
Originally posted at The Economist
Three years after a devastating earthquake, the “Republic of NGOs” has become the country of the unemployed
“HAITI is open for business”, Michel Martelly, the country’s president since May 2011, likes to proclaim. His government has backed up this talk by making it easier for foreigners to own property and by setting as a goal that Haiti climb into the top 50 countries in the World Bank’s ranking for ease of doing business (it now comes 174th out of 185). In November the president opened a gleaming arrivals hall at Toussaint Louverture airport. Mr Martelly himself is in such constant motion abroad—courting donors and investors, he says—that his peregrinations and the per diems alleged to be associated with them have become a source of mordant jokes.
But gangbuster growth, hoped for as the country rebuilds itself after the earthquake of January 12th 2010 that wrecked the capital, Port-au-Prince, and killed tens of thousands of people, has failed to materialise. In the 12 months to the end of September the economy expanded by a modest 2.5%. It was the second year of dashed expectations: the IMF had forecast growth of 8% in both 2011 and 2012.
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Continue reading In the News: Still waiting for recovery
by Jacqueline Charles and Nadege Green, The Miami Herald, Dec. 10, 2012
Haitian President Michel Martelly said Monday he plans to introduce an amendment in parliament giving millions of Haitians living in the diaspora, including South Florida, the right to vote in future elections. “Of course it will be up to the parliament to decide if it goes through,” Martelly said during a press conference Monday after an all-day invitation-only diaspora forum with members of the Haitian-American community at the North Miami Beach Library.
Martelly arrived in Miami over the weekend after a tour of Japan. He said he proposed the South Florida visit and the meeting with the Haitian community “to first of all thank the diaspora for their support” during his historical 2011 presidential victory and “to inform them on the progress in Haiti and finally to find a way to engage them to help us really develop Haiti.”
“I believe there is more that can be done by the diaspora,” he said. “But before we even ask for anything, I thought it was very important that we come here to not just tell them what we do, but also show them.”
Continue reading In the News: Martelly to Haitians in South Florida: ‘Haiti has changed a lot’
Originally posted at Al Jazeera English.
Officials fear rising food prices and an increase in cholera cases in Caribbean nation where storm killed 52 people.
As Sandy causes havoc throughout the eastern US, the full extent of the storm’s damage is just beginning to emerge in the Caribbean nation of Haiti.
The UN is warning that flooding and unsanitary conditions could lead to a sharp increase in cases of cholera, while aid workers are worried that extensive crop damage will mean that food prices will rise.
Extensive damage to crops throughout the southern third of the country, as well as the high potential for a surge in cases of cholera and other water-borne diseases, could mean Haiti will see the deadliest effects of Sandy in the coming days and weeks.
Continue reading In the News: Haiti food crisis feared in Sandy’s wake
by Jacqueline Charles and Curtis Morgan, The Miami Herald, Oct. 28, 2012
Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe peered from the helicopter window and paused, as if needing time to process the ravaged landscape below: washed-out roads, rotting crops, flooded roads and raging rivers flowing with mud. “We have a big job to do,’’ Lamothe said to Sen. Steven Benoit, a member of the opposition party, who was along on a grim damage survey Saturday.
With the death toll rising to at least 51 and an estimated 200,000 homeless as a result of four days of relentless rain from Hurricane Sandy, Lamothe appealed for patience and called for investment in flood-control structures that are largely absent from the countryside. But he also expressed a weary frustration, one shared by many in this poor nation reeling from a string of natural disasters. With each one, he said, Haiti has taken a step backward. “It should not be normal that every time it rains, we have a catastrophe throughout the country,” Lamothe said.
Continue reading In the News: Hurricane Sandy in Haiti: At least 51 dead and record rainfalls