Translation by Mike Levy
(Unofficial) Overview of just some of the News from AHP/ Radio Solidarité
April 21, 2010
Please visit the official site at www.ahphaiti.org
for all the news in French and Kreyol
Reactions continue from diverse sectors after the Senate votes to adopt the 18 month extension of the State of Emergency. Supporters of the bill said the measure was necessary to build confidence among international donors and address corruption concerns.
Some of the issues of most concern to critics include the constitutionality of a law that leaves an international commission and an Executive, whose term will expire on February 7, 2011, with a great deal of unchecked authority, as well concerns over civil liberties. These concerns were heightened recently when demonstrators in Les Cayes said they have had great difficulty holding anti-government protests due to enhanced security by the UN Police, MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police. A number of critics of the extension of the State of Emergency said they were especially reluctant to give the Preval administration these powers in light of what they described as poor government response to the earthquake, a lack of transparency and accountability regarding funds spent by the government prior to the earthquake, and the illegal exclusion of political parties, including Famille Lavalas in previous elections.
* The fuel crisis eased last Sunday as 102,000 barrels of petroleum products arrived via tanker in Port-au-Prince. Government sources said the fuel shortage was due to problems at the point of departure in Cartagena, Colombia. Others said the arrival port in haiti was in need of repairs. A second shipment of 200,000 barrels is scheduled to arrive on April 22 and a third on May 4 carrying 222,000 barrels. The shortage caused extremely long lines, empty pumps, electricity shortages, and very high prices on the black market.
* Venezuela cancels some $20 million of Haiti’s debt under the Petro Carib program and increases its aid by another $100 million as it reiterates its solidarity with Haiti on the Bicentennial of its independence. Haitian Foreign Affairs Minister Marie Michèle Ray and Venezuelan Ambassador Pedro Antonio Canino described ongoing and new aid projects that would continue in the medium and longer term, including in the areas of energy, health and agriculture. Every year between 100 and 200 Haitians will be able to study in Venezuela free of charge, with the next group of 80 students arriving in Venezuela in April.
* Delegations from the New England Human Rights observers and the Haitian Mental Health Network are in Haiti to learn the psychological needs and strengths of Haitians in the aftermath of the earthquake. The delegates said they have come to learn and to offer their own expertise and see with local Haitians how that can be adapted to the current situation, with the intention of developing training and other forms of assistance on an ongoing basis.
* ONA (National Office of Old Age Insurance) director general Jean Alix Boyer appeared Tuesday before the prosecutor after missing two previous appointments on corruption allegations.
* Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia presided at the funeral for the four Spaniards killed last Friday in a UN helicopter crash near Fonds Verrettes. The UN blue helmets were from a contingent of 450 sailors who left the Rota naval base for humanitarian work in Haiti.
*Note: These translations will resume in two or three weeks (hopefully on a more regular basis)…