President Moïse promises Haitian scholarship holders to travel to Cuba

Friday at the National Palace President Jovenel Moïse received 23 young Haitian recipients of scholarships from the Cuban Government "They were ranked best in the competition, they come from all over the country and I wish them every success in their studies," said the Head of State, who promised to travel to Cuba to visit the young people of his country who study in the largest University of the West Indies.

The 23 students will begin their studies in September in different fields : medicine, pharmaceutical sciences, telecommunications, civil engineering, agronomy and medical technology, to return to the country in 60 months after graduating, to integrate into the communities that need their services and expertise.

These new scholars will join in Cuba, hundreds of Haitians currently studying and will add, we hope, 1,526 Haitians already graduated from Cuban universities

According to Moïse, Haiti needs specialists in biotechnology, construction, agriculture, public administration "the opportunities offered by Cuba will allow the socio-economic development of our Nation."

The Head of State also thanked Cuba for its collaboration in the construction of micro hydroelectric power stations in Haiti

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Haiti's Prime Minister resigns amid deadly protests

(CNN)Haiti's Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigned Saturday amid violent and deadly protests sparked by a proposed plan to raise fuel prices, according to President Jovenel Moise.

Lafontant resigned before Parliament, which was due to host a vote of no confidence, Yves Germain Joseph, the general secretary of the National Palace, told CNN.
 
Lafontant, who took office in February 2017, informed Moise of his resignation by letter. Moise accepted the resignation, Joseph said.
 
Moise said on Twitter he would address the country Saturday night "in a special edition on the National Television of Haiti."
 
"I take this opportunity to thank Mr. Lafontant and the members of the cabinet for the services rendered to the nation," Moise said on Twitter.
 
The controversial plan to raise fuel prices would increase the cost of gasoline by 38%, diesel by 47% and kerosene by 51%.
 
Since the protests started last week, two people -- a police officer and social leader -- were killed, Joseph said.

 

Stranded Americans

 
Missionary groups from Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina were stranded in Haiti until Monday after protesters took to the streets following the fuel price hike.
American Airlines, JetBlue and Spirit Airlines also canceled flights to Haiti last week because of the protests.
 
One group said burning barricades prevented them from reaching the airport in the nation's capital, Port-au-Prince.
 
Jody Flowers, the lead minister from Chapin United Methodist Church, in South Carolina, was stranded with 13 members of his church until they returned Monday. Despite the violent demonstrations, Flowers expressed some sympathy for the protesters.
 
"When you think about the fact that some Haitians make just $5 a week and the government wants to increase the price of gasoline by 38% that in and of itself points to the reason for the unrest," he said. "Our hearts are just broken for the people out there and we're just thankful for our group, which has a lot of love and hope and a desire to help out however they can."
 
A security alert from the US Embassy in Haiti on Saturday said it was open for routine and emergency services for US citizens, but it issued a number of alerts about specific demonstrations and urged citizens to avoid those areas.
 
The US State Department still advises against travel to Haiti because of civil unrest and crime.
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Cuba, Haiti to Work Together in Reducing Disaster Risks

Cuba and Haiti consolidate their collaboration in disaster risk reduction management through sharing knowledge and training as part of South-South cooperation.

According to authorities of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), both nations maintain similar levels of exposure to natural phenomena such as hurricanes, cyclones and drought.

These events have a very severe impact on food and nutritional security, according to a document delivered this Wednesday to Prensa Latina by the WFP in the framework of the 10th International Disaster Congress, which runs until Friday in the capital's Convention Palace.

Cuba - recalled the source - has accumulated experiences and methodologies to reduce the negative impacts of these phenomena.

As a challenge, the text points out, concrete actions are maintained, as long as gaps and needs are successfully identified.

Among Cuba's contributions to Haiti is the strengthening of hydro meteorological surveillance through the transfer of tools to improve monitoring and forecasting of events, the document adds.

Channels and communication routes have been identified to ensure that participants at all levels receive the information generated by the monitoring institutions in a timely manner, it also states.

Also, the source continues, Haitian technicians were trained in the monitoring of extreme weather events, and Haiti improved its hurricane monitoring and forecasting capabilities, which facilitates decision-making.

The National Meteorological Center of Haiti now has a numerical model to determine the possible trajectory of a hurricane with 48 and 72 hour time periods.

Capacity sharing between Haiti and Cuba was facilitated by WFP on the basis of Cuba's positive experiences in South-South cooperation.

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Former Haiti President Aristide Survives Assassination Attempt

Protests in support of the still-popular former president broke out soon after the incident.

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide survived an apparent assassination attempt Monday when gunmen opened fire on his motorcade, injuring two passersby.

RELATED: After Creating Haiti's Cholera Crisis, UN Can Barely Fight It

Aristide was leaving a courthouse in Port-au-Prince, providing testimony for a money laundering case against Jean Anthony Nazaire, former commissary of the Haitian national police, when bullets flew toward his car.

Ira Kurzban, a Miami attorney who represents Aristide, told NBC News that "at least two people standing in front of the car were hit and there (was) blood on the right front bumper and headlight of the vehicle."

"Thank God no one was killed and at least one of the shooting victims was taken to the university medical center that President Aristide was instrumental in founding," Kurzban told the outlet.

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Protests in support of the still-popular former president broke out soon after. Aristide is regarded as heroic by many in the country for working his way to the top post as the country's first democratically elected president after growing up in poverty. An adherent of liberation theology, the former Catholic priest played an instrumental role in expelling dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986, whose family ruled the country for almost 30 years.

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Elected twice as president, Aristide was forced to flee the country both times, the first time in 1991 to Venezuela and then later the United States after a military coup against him. He was returned to office in 1994 with the help of pressure from the U.S. Then in 2004, the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush backed a coup against him and he was flown out of the country, which Aristide described as a kidnapping, spending his first months in exile in Jamaica before relocating to South Africa.

Aristide returned to Haiti in 2011, following a massive earthquake the year before which devastated the country, so that he could be a part of the rebuilding process.

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Former Haitian President Rene Preval Dies At 74

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Former Haitian president Rene Preval has died, the government of the Caribbean nation said on Friday.

Preval, 74, was the first democratically elected modern-day leader of Haiti to serve his full term. In 2012, during his second term as president, Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake.

Current President Jovenel Moise said on Twitter that he was saddened to learn of the death of Preval, who he described as a “dignified son of Haiti.”

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UN Finally Offers 'Half Apology' to Haiti for Cholera Outbreak

Six years after peacekeepers unleashed a devastating Cholera outbreak in Haiti, the UN admits "moral" responsibility and offers a "half apology."

After six years of refusing to accept full responsibility for causing a deadly Cholera outbreak in Haiti which has killed up to 30, 000 people since 2010, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon finally offered what he suggested was an official apology on Thursday.

PHOTO GALLERY: In Haiti, the Heartbreaking Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

Speaking at a special meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, he addressed his remarks directly to the Haitian people in Creole and French. "We apologize to the Haitian people. We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and spread in Haiti. We are profoundly sorry for our role," said Ban.

While in August a U.N. spokesperson had admitted the organization needed to "do much more" to address its role in the deadly outbreak – a statement which the U.N.’s own special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights said was a "disgrace" – this is the first time the secretary-general himself has offered an explicit apology.

Ban added that the U.N. role in the epidemic "leaves a blemish on the reputation of U.N. peacekeeping and the organization worldwide. For the sake of the Haitian people, but also for the sake of the United Nations itself, we have a moral responsibility to act and a collective responsibility to deliver." While Ban’s statement did accept "moral" responsibility, it was careful to avoid any admission of legal liability.

U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston slammed the statement, calling it a "half apology". Alston told the Guardian that the " determination not to accept legal responsibility entrenches a scandalous legal maneuver designed to sidestep the U.N.’s legal obligations," adding that "it renders a meaningful apology impossible, as is made clear by the half-apology of the secretary-general today: he apologizes that the U.N. has not done more to eradicate cholera, but not for causing the disease in the first place," he concluded.

RELATED: UN Admits Role in Haiti Cholera Outbreak for First Time Ever

The cholera epidemic first struck Haiti in October 2010, less than one year after the disastrous earthquake that worsened longstanding poverty and instability. The first people affected by the outbreak lived near a U.N. base housing over 450 peacekeepers, recently transferred from Nepal where cholera was already an issue. Multiple studies identified the peacekeepers as ground zero for the epidemic which has since spread throughout the Caribbean.

Haiti’s representative to the U.N., Jean Cazeau, said "The U.N. has shown it can admit making mistakes," adding that the statement represents "a radical change of attitude away from the morally unjustifiable approach from the U.N. until now."

Brian Concannon, executive director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, said, "Haitians are looking for a less qualified apology – for both introducing cholera and for the six years of denial of responsibility, which was an insult to Haitian dignity."

While sidestepping legal responsibility and thus the financial liabilities that come with it, Ban reiterated his plan to raise US$400 million over the next 3 years to combat the epidemic and redress some of the damages wrought on the region.

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Haiti: UN Agencies Call for Urgent Food Aid

Around 800,000 people in Haiti need urgent food aid after the devastation of Hurricane Mathew, according to an emergency assessment by UN agencies.

Miguel Barreto, the regional director of the World Food Programme (WFP) for Latin America and the Caribbean, warned of the need for funds to continue food distribution and, 'help the 800,000 people who urgently need food aid.'

'The winter planting season is approaching fast. Agricultural producers have lost everything. If we do not act now to provide grains, fertilizers and other materials they need, they will not be able to plant and then will face persistent food insecurity,' said NathanaÃ'l Hishamunda, the Representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Haiti.

Haiti urgently needs $56 million dollars to ensure food aid for the population affected by Matthew during the next three months.

The National Coordinator of Food Safety has also urged effective response coordination through institutional mechanisms and the establishment of a good monitoring, evaluation and consultation system to allow consistency, transparency and efficiency.

A week after the hurricane, the government of Haiti, the CNSA, WFP and FAO conducted an evaluation of the damages.

The report resulting from it also refers to the need to provide food and basic livelihood to 1.4 million Haitians who have lost everything as a result of hurricane.

According to a emergency statement posted on the WFP website, crops in the country were virtually wiped out, about 50 percent of livestock was lost in some areas, food stores suffered serious damage, and the availability of local products has now been reduced to fruits.

In addition, on the southern coast of Haiti, fishing activities have been paralyzed because floods which destroyed nets, traps, boats, engines and all the fishermen need to work.

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PAHO anticipates cholera outbreak in Haiti

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), has warned that acute diarrheal diseases, including cholera are threatening the population.

Dr Jean Luc Poncelet, PAHO’s Representative in Haitu, said the organisation has set up field operations with the country’s Ministry of Health in the towns of Jeremie and Les Cayes.

“Hurricane Matthew has devastated parts of the country, in the Southwest, it is estimated that 80 percent of the houses have lost their roofs, and most hospitals suffered major damages. At least 100 facilities have lost their ability to function,” Poncelet said.

“Before the hurricane, we had serious problems of access to health, water and sanitation, and cases of cholera,” he added. “So when the water supply is interrupted, cholera will increase. We are seriously concerned about an epidemic of cholera, and that’s why the Ministry of Health with our assistance is taking all measures possible to avoid that happening.”

To date, multinational teams of experts have been deployed to support the government’s efforts against cholera outbreaks. Groups were sent to Jeremie, Les Cayes and Port-au-Prince to support humanitarian operations and restore the capacity of health services and systems.

Poncelet said PAHO is working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to increase the availability of medicines and medical supplies, and cooperating in the organization and planning of the health response to possible outbreaks.

Experts in emergencies and disasters, health services, epidemiological surveillance, logistics, transport and communication have been deployed from PAHO’s Haiti office, its Washington headquarters, and other offices.

With scattered outbreaks of cholera confirmed and in anticipation of an increase in the number of cases, on Sunday, PAHO sent shipments of cholera kits containing oral rehydration solutions, catheters and water chlorination treatments to attend patients with acute diarrhea and cholera.

Poncelet said donations have already started to pour into Haiti, with a French cargo jet arriving on Tuesday with 69 tons of supplies.

France’s Ambassador to Haiti, Elisabeth Beton said her government was interested in collaborating with Haiti’s national response, and sent two water purification stations, for emergency situations, six units for basic sanitation and hygiene, 13 tons of medical and first aid supplies, and cholera treatment kits, PAHO said.

Haiti’s Minister of External Relations and Culture Pierrot Delienne thanked the international community for the donations, and the European Union’s ambassador in Haiti said the donation resulted from good coordination between PAHO and national and international officials.

PAHO also said a Dutch ship arrived with supplies and experts to rehabilitate hospitals.

Additionally, shipments of donations from Colombia and the Dominican Republic, among others, have arrived in the French-speaking Caribbean country.

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