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TOPIC: haiti

This Happened

This Happened—January 12: Earthquake In Haiti

An earthquake in Haiti that killed 220,000 people happened on this date in 2010.

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Nord Stream Leaks, Abe Funeral, High-Speed Space Crash

👋 Ha’u!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Japan honors former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a controversial state funeral, unexplained gas leaks are reported on Nord Stream pipelines and NASA’s Dart mission succeeds, at high speed. Meanwhile, German daily Die Welt looks at how European countries are dealing with the prospect of a winter energy crisis and the potential repercussions on their support for Ukraine.

[*Hopi, Arizona, U.S.]

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The Haitian Entrepreneurs Happy To Stay Home

Given the opportunity to flee an economic and political crisis in Haiti, some business owners opt to stay.

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Mathilde Ménélas recalls the moment her parents sold a piece of their land and handed her the cash, telling her to leave the only country she’d ever known. The 26-year-old refused. Instead, she set up a beauty salon in Haiti’s busy capital of Port-au-Prince.

The trained esthetician understood her parents’ fear for her to remain in a country marred by the threat of kidnap, natural disasters, an unstable economy and rising unemployment. Ménélas says leaving her country was all she could think about.

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Sealing Off Last Mariupol Bastion, Haiti Plane Crash, Barbie Queen

👋 Kuzungpo la!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Putin changes his mind on Mariupol strategy, Rust producers are slapped with a maximum fine over Alec Baldwin shooting accident and the Queen gets her own Barbie doll. Meanwhile, we focus on how French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen’s pro-Russian stance may play out in Sunday’s decisive round of voting.

To keep up with latest developments of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, we’d also like to introduce our new daily War In Ukraine update, including local coverage and international analysis of the conflict.

[*Dzongha - Bhutan]

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

Haiti Assassination Attempt, Elizabeth Holmes Verdict, Winnie the Pooh Public Domain

👋 Khulumkha!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Haiti’s prime minister reveals assassination attempt, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is found guilty of fraud, and Winnie the Pooh is up for grabs. We also turn to French daily Les Echos to see what happens when the world of fine wine and champagne collides with the NFT market.

[*Kokborok - India and Bangladesh]

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In The News
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

Booster Hope, Jimmy Lai Convicted, Oreo Wine

👋 Sveiki!*

Welcome to Thursday, where boosters appear to work on Omicron, Jimmy Lai is found guilty and there’s a mind-blowingly bad idea for a new wine. We also see how Ukrainians are measuring the Russian threat of an invasion.

[*Latvian]

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In The News
Jane Herbelin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Sudan Prime Minister Reinstated, Peng Shuai’s Call, No Shuffling Adele

👋 မင်္ဂလာပါ!*

Welcome to Monday, where Sudan's ousted prime minister has been reinstated after a deal with the military, Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai says she is safe and well in a video call and a Venezuelan orchestra sets a new world record. We also look at the sons of two of the 20th century's most ruthless strongmen now running for president.

[*Mingalabar - Burmese]

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Migrant Lives
Arturo Galarce

A Migrant Odyssey: Haiti To Chile To Mexico's Border, And Beyond

Shella Jean was part of a new migration path from Haiti to the relatively prosperous nation of Chile. But she has since left behind her "Chilean Dream" on a perilous journey northward toward the U.S.-Mexico Border. This is her story.

I met Shella Jean in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in July 2017. The first time I saw her, she was standing next to a gas station in the blazing sun. I remember her face: the almond-shaped eyes, the thick lips, and eyebrows as thin as two strands of thread. Shella took me to her home.

We climbed a steep stone street until we reached a concrete room. It was used as a dining room during the day and a bedroom where she slept with her mother, a cousin and a nephew whom she had to take to Chile to reunite with his parents.

Indeed, accompanying her nephew was not only the mission entrusted to her by her relatives but also her chance to start a new life, away from the misery of her homeland.

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BBC
Meike Eijsberg, Alessio Perrone and Bertrand Hauger

G7 Afghan Talks, Paralympics Open, Summoning The Candyman

Welcome to Tuesday, where G7 leaders meet to discuss Afghanistan, Kamala Harris accuses China of "coercion" and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games open. Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based media The Initium reports on the pressure still put on unmarried women in Chinese society.


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Geopolitics
Yanick Lahens*

Hard Truths, And A Glimmer Of Hope In Haiti

In the wake of the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, Haitian writer Yanick Lahens revisits the history of the island, addressing its fractures, but also seeing a reason for cautious optimism.

-Analysis-

Not wanting to respond in the heat of the moment to the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, I declined requests to speak with journalists. Typically, a real-time reaction forsakes nuance, resulting in an answer that severs the event from the deeper factors that caused it. The inevitable shortcuts taken to summarize an event for "front-page news' tend to compound the reservoir of cliches and prejudices that exist around it, despite any attempts otherwise. And when an event worthy of the front page takes place in Haiti, the temptation is even greater to dive into such an abyss.

There's a reason for that. Haiti, more than any other place, has the capacity to boggle the minds of those unable or unwilling to stretch outside of their intellectual comfort zone. This emblematic island nation challenges and disturbs all at once. And yet, those who have not grasped the place Haiti holds in modern history — in its very birth and subsequent transatlantic influence — will only see the fire, poverty and bloodshed. They will only see another coup d"état, and they will only see black skin.

What happens in Haiti must always be placed in conversation with its inescapable history, summarized quickly around its unthinkable independence in 1804, when the country thwarted slavery, colonialism and nascent capitalism, and at a time when the Western powers were preparing to consolidate their world empire. Independence made Haiti the first country of the South, and subsequently the mold and template — I cannot stress this enough — of North-South relations.

Haiti understood before everyone else. Placed in quarantine (today we would call it embargo) by the colonialist powers of the time, the country was forced, as a condition to ending its political and economic isolation, to pay reparations for profits lost to the former French colonizers of Santo Domingo. This would place a heavy burden on Haiti from the beginning, dragged down by a steep mortgage that would send the country spiraling into a debt it wouldn't be able to pay off until the middle of the 20th century. And yet, during its difficult period of isolation, Haiti still helped Simon Bolivar liberate five Latin American countries and even inspired Greece to gain its independence.

Independence made Haiti the first country of the South.

Writer Laurent Dubois, in Les Vengeurs du Nouveau Monde (Les Perséides, 2006), noted that in 1801, U.S. President Thomas Jefferson was already thinking about what would happen should Santo Domingo achieve independence, which he feared would set a bad example for the other slave-holding countries in the region. In a conversation with delegates from France and England, he laid out conditions of engagement: "Not allowing blacks to own ships will be enough." In essence, Jefferson ceded Haiti the right to exist as a large village of maroons, but there was no possibility of accepting it into the concert of nations.

You may shrug and tell me that this happened long ago. But since then? Alas, the spirit and even the very words of this statement have persisted and infiltrated the policies that the great powers enforced on Haiti throughout the 19th century and up to the present day.

U.S. President Bill Clinton, a Democrat and in keeping with Jefferson's vision, did not bat an eye when referring to Haiti as the "backyard," implying a location where garbage is dumped. Donald Trump, the latest Republican president, stooped lower, remorselessly referring to the country as a "shit hole." The former eliminated Haitian rice production in the 2000s by forcing the Haitian market to accept subsidized, and therefore much cheaper, American rice. The latter, seeking the Haitian vote against Venezuela, promised unconditional support for the authoritarian regime of the late president.

But how was all this possible, you may ask? Well, it was made possible due to the complicity of the political and economic sectors that have ruled Haiti since independence.

The departure of the colonizers brought about a double shift that resulted in two different approaches to government and societal organization. The majority of the Bossales, the men and women who had just arrived from Africa, radically rejected the plantation system and liberal economic logic. Throughout the 19th century, they built an original culture that incorporated a common language and religion, prioritized the lakou (the common dwelling) as a basic community space, emphasized the cultivation of gardens and shared everything down to the last piece. It was a culture that would be protected from the beginnings of the neo-colonial project. The rural environment is referred to in everyday language as "the country outside."

Artists performing during a ceremony in honor of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moise — Photo: Orlando Barria/EFE/ZUMA

The other group was made up of the Creoles, many of whom were revolutionary leaders and others who accepted and adopted colonial traditions after independence, namely, the French language, the Catholic religion and Western legal foundations. With the two cultures constantly at odds, the chaos truly began with the failure to integrate the state model of the Creoles, across the country, and, as the sociologist Jean Casimir specifies, with the international community's negative view of the Bossale. Now, the country must find a way to build a community out of a centuries-old conflict.

Many of Haiti's struggles since the 19th century originate in this specific disconnect. Back-to-back international and internal crises throughout the 20th century progressively weakened the country's institutions, leading to long-standing distrust in government and placing a large swatch of the population into poverty without any structures intended to offer support, all of which was reinforced in 2010. Global and local crime syndicates have taken advantage of and co-opted these weak institutions. The licit and the illicit ended up merging, establishing corruption as a mode of governance, a process that eventually led to the shocking assassination of President Moïse.

Some may be quick to highlight the international aid Haiti has received over the years. But this aid perverts those who give as well as those who receive. When the aid does not simply feed corruption on both sides, a substantial portion of it goes back to the donor, leaving the recipient dangerously dependent, even if a few organizations, thank God, escape this model. The aid given after the 2010 earthquake is a perfect manifestation of this dysfunction.

As rapid urbanization unfolded and the centrality of the Creole language spread through various media and social networks, a youth has risen up, eager to stake their claim as the "country within" by showing the world their desire to fully exercise their citizenship, and build community and institutions. It is this young and new "country within a country" that has, with their bare hands, fought back against the unconstitutional referendum project supported by the international community. And they have managed to do this, as the young philosopher Edelyn Dorismond points out, despite the serious assaults on symbolic architecture; despite the massacres orchestrated by gangs, instruments of the powerful; and despite widespread imprisonment and the general exhaustion of so many.

We Haitians must save ourselves from reductive narratives.

It was these young people who were preparing to do the same, to fight against the widely contested elections that were supported by the international community. In the face of such obstacles, building community and democracy will take persistence and time. A lot of time. It will demand the construction of a new political order and fresh representation. There is no speedy solution or quick answer.

We Haitians must save ourselves from reductive narratives whose harmfulness lies in their ability to trap us in sad emotions, as Gilles Deleuze says. It is natural, and we will feel sadness, fear, hopelessness. But let us also remember, using the guiding light of history, how to make room for clear-mindedness and strength and draw from familiar joy. Let us not be defeated twice.

Contrary to what is conveyed in international or even national media, there is hope in the projects that are at work. One is the ecological community project in the lower northwest region, which is building a multifunctional park in a working-class neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Others are artistic endeavors, agricultural activities, building an efficient university, creating innovative models for schooling. All these initiatives share one key point in common: They have been able to integrate the people in their approach. In contrast to our collective misfortunes, they are unfolding far away from the "front-page" sound and fury.

In the Failles, the novel which I wrote in 2010 in the aftermath of the earthquake, I repeatedly asked myself how to write without "exoticizing" misfortune and tragedy. Let's refuse to deny our suffering, but let us not indulge in self-flagellation or use our misfortune as a means of profit. Because if there is misfortune, it is not only Haiti's, it is the misfortune of the first world, the second world, the third world and the fourth world. It is the misfortune of our dominant world-model. It is not exotic; it is the misfortune of all.

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EL TOQUE

The Latest: Cuban Protests, Jordanian Coup Arrests, Racist Reaction To England Loss

Welcome to Monday, where thousands of Cubans join rare protests against the government, Jordan arrests suspected coup organizers and it's a full-blown festa in Italy after the national soccer team's Euro win, as racists make loss even worse for England. With the Cannes Festival red carpet out, Les Echos looks at how Netflix and other platforms are helping French actors and filmmakers make their way in Hollywood.


• Thousands protest in Cuba: For the first time in decades, thousands of Cubans took to the streets in anti-government protests, expressing frustration over the ongoing economic crisis that led to a shortage of essential goods on the island. The government's handling of the coronavirus has also sparked anger, with some chanting that current President, Miguel Diaz-Canel, must step down.

• Police in Haiti arrest key suspect: A 63-year-old Haitian national and doctor, Christian Emmanuel Sanon, has been arrested in connection to the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Sanon, who arrived in Haiti via private jet in June, is alleged to be a "key suspect" in having organized the murder.

• Ethiopian leader officially wins contested election: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will remain in power after his party won an overwhelming majority of parliamentary seats. The results, which have been criticized by members of the international community, come after the jailing of opposition leaders throughout the campaign process and amid the Tigray conflict, where large swaths of the country were unable to vote.

• Jordanian monarchy officials sentenced over coup attempt: A Jordanian court has sentenced two officials, Bassem Awadallah, a former top aide to the royal family, and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a minor royal, to 15 years in prison on charges of sedition and incitement. The two allegedly attempted to push former heir, Prince Hamzah, to the throne in order to undermine current leader, King Abdullah II.

• 11 killed in India lightning strike: A lightning strike at the popular Indian tourist attraction, Amer Fort, in the Rajasthan state, is responsible for the deaths of at least 11 people. The lightning hit a tower, causing a wall to collapse and bury at least 11 people. Another 11 people were rescued and remain in stable condition, as the search for other survivors continues.

• Billionaire blasts off: Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, successfully launched into space, making him the first person to do so on a rocket he helped to fund. Branson's flight, which also included three other Virgin Galactic employees, comes just nine days before Jeff Bezos is set to take off into space in his own company's spacecraft.

• Wandering elephant finds its way home: One of the elephants in a herd that trekked over 500 km across China has found its way back to its home reserve. However, the rest of the herd continues to press on in what seems to be a never ending journey. The elephants became popular last month after escaping their nature reserve and beginning a long, inexplicable migration, marked by several group naps, which were conveniently captured by nearby drones.

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BBC

The Latest: Olympics Spectators Banned, Haitian Probe, Lobster Pain

Welcome to Friday, where Tokyo bans Olympic spectators, at least 28 people are thought to be behind Haiti President assassination and a 14-year-old girl makes Spelling Bee history. Worldcrunch also takes you on a world tour of dying languages that are being rescued by the very tech that puts them at risk.

• Tokyo Olympics will have no spectators: With the Summer Games set to begin in two weeks, the Japanese government has reversed its decision to allow spectators, deciding that there will be no live audience in Tokyo-area stadiums and arenas during the Olympic games due to coronavirus concerns. The city of Tokyo has also been placed under ‘State of Emergency" which will last until August 22.

• Colombians, Americans detained for killing Haitian President: A total of 17 suspects are currently being held in connection with the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, including two holding dual American-Haitian citizenship and the remainder are Colombian. Officials allege the attack was carried out by "a highly trained and heavily armed group" and that the team was made up of at least 28 people.

• COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer has sought authorization from the U.S. government to develop a booster shot as highly contagious variants continue to spread and undermine the efficacy of the vaccine toward mild, break-through infection. Meanwhile, Cuba reports a 91.2% effectiveness rate for its Soberana 2 vaccine in last-stage clinical trials.

• Biafra separatist leader allegedly kidnapped: The family of British-Nigerian citizen and separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu, claims he was kidnapped by the Nigerian state while in Kenya. Kanu is the leader of the organization the Indigenous People of Biafra, and had been in hiding since 2017.

• Swedish Prime Minister reappointed after no-confidence vote: Sweden's parliament voted to reappoint Stefan Löfven as prime minister when the parties responsible for ousting him in a historic no-confidence vote failed to form a coalition. Löfven has the backing of the Social Democratic party and the Greens.

• Police officer suspected of killing Sarah Everard pleads guilty: Wayne Couzens, the police officer who was the main suspect in the killing of Sarah Everard, a 33-year old British woman whose disappearance and subsequent death sparked a nationwide debate about women's safety, has pleaded guilty murder.

• UK considers banning boiling lobsters alive: As part of a proposed animal welfare bill, the United Kingdom may officially recognize crustaceans and mollusks as sentient beings capable of feeling pain, making it illegal to boil lobsters alive. Chefs aren't opposed either, because whether the lobster is boiled alive or killed shortly beforehand, the taste remains just as good.

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