Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Election time

It is election time down here in the DR as well.

It counts a lot here as well. Not that this is a super power, just a small isolated island nation, complete unto itself, neighbor to a fragile state.

But since there is no independent civil service, all the jobs are up for grabs with the presidential election. Imagine, not only the jobs in the executive changing hands but all the jobs in the government, not just the head of the central bank but the entire executive direction of the central bank. So the election here is very important. They spend a lot of money on it. The current president, Leonel Fernadez, who is up for his up for his third term, his second consecutive term, is expected to win the majority on the on the first runoff. They have primaries.Then they have have the general election. The winner has to get an absolute majority.

An independent civil service would go a long way to moving this country up on the international corruption scale.

The leading oppostion candidate achieved his wealth while director of public works under the last president, Hippoloto Meija, under whom the peso went to 50 to one dollar and who went on to national television and bragged that the “Dominican Republic has the best prostitutes in the world.”

The other candidate, Amable Aristy. calls himself the “candidate for the poor” and campaigns out of two Hummers and a helicopters, handing out frozen chickens and peso notes. He is not embarrassed to have profiles of himself in the Sunday style section with his monagrammed shirts and his Chanel glasses.

Over in Haiti, the President has submitted the name a new prime minister. Someone who used to work in the international development bank and who therefore caused a great furor with the left in 1997 when he was first nominated. Then , for some obsurce reason, the legislature was able to request the birth records of his grandparents, to prove his Haitian citizenship. He could not produce them and so was denied the post. Not surprising since most Haitians are lacking identity papers since one ususally has to pay for them. Haiti has moved from being the most corrupt nation in the world to the third most corrupt.

Funny how politics looks so similar from one nation to another. Seen from the TV clips and the just the headlines and videos, the US political campaign is beginning to look a bit like the broad comedy as well but with a lot more weapons of mass destruction at stake.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Food Aid Arrives but runs short

In hungry Haiti, handouts only go so far
Hundreds of Haitians stood in long lines Saturday, just as others had walked for hours throughout the week to receive the U.N. and regional food aid pouring into the country after a spate of deadly riots.But amid the tenuous calm, aid groups say they are just buying time - and long-term solutions seem remote in the desperately poor nation."The beans might last four days," said Jervais Rodman, an unemployed carpenter with three children who emerged from a churchyard Friday with small bags of food. "The rice will be gone as soon as I get home."

Rodman was one of the lucky ones. Luis Elaine, 48, clutched an empty sack after being told at the same church that there was no food left. Many distribution centers simply ran out."I just hope God will provide something," Elaine said.More than half of Haiti's nearly 9 million people live on less than $2 a day, but the sharp rise in prices has thrown some of those who could barely support themselves into the throngs of the utterly destitute.Market stalls are piled with papayas and small bags of pasta, even in poor areas, but vast numbers of people simply lack money to buy them because global food and commodity prices have risen 40 percent over the past year.At least seven people were killed in the food riots this month that cost Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis his job.

The riots also were a setback to international efforts to stabilize the country, U.N. envoy Hedi Annabi said. U.N. peacekeepers came after a violent rebellion ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004."We now need to turn this around, draw the lessons from this crisis and move ahead," Annabi told The Associated Press.

The United Nations says it will distribute 8,000 tons of food and other aid in the next two months. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has pledged more than 350 tons of food. And U.S. President George W. Bush has ordered the release of $200 million in emergency aid to nations hit hardest by surging food prices - though it was not immediately clear how much Haiti would get.Brazil has given some 18 tons of food since the crisis began."It's not much, we are aware of that, but it's something," Brazilian Ambassador Igor Kipman told the AP at the churchyard in a part of the capital known as Cite Militaire. "You have an emergency, people are hungry, so we are handing out some food for the immediate problem."

As he spoke, Brazilian marines gave out rice, sugar, beans and cooking oil, while others armed with shotguns and automatic rifles stood guard or monitored the scene from armored vehicles and rooftops.Hundreds of people, including many small children, thronged the steel gates outside another church, where aid workers were giving out bags of food donated by Venezuela.Relief group World Vision said food distribution this week in Haiti's Central Plateau, north of the capital, drew about 800 people over two days, some who had walked more than three hours.The sharp rise in prices has thrown some of those who could barely support themselves into the throngs of the utterly destitute.Rodman said he was so desperate to feed his family that he pawned the tools he used to make furniture and now has no way to earn an income.

The 38-year-old said his wife is angry and frustrated."She tells me to go out and get a job, buy some food," he said, drying his tears with his dusty, blue Puma T-shirt. "This is the first time I've had to lower myself and come get this food."Since the riots a little more than a week ago, the U.N. multinational force of about 9,000 soldiers and police and Haitian police have increased patrols and checkpoints, hoping to catch gang members and confiscate weapons. Many fear that violence could easily return."Things are back to normal but it's precarious, it's fragile," said Fred Blaise, the spokesman for the U.N. police force.But most agree the short-term situation is bleak.

Haiti's economy has been shattered by years of political turmoil. The nation's infrastructure is in a shambles and its agricultural sector has been devastated by inefficiency, cheaper imports - primarily from the U.S. - and a shortage of arable land.World Vision, which is distributing $80 million of U.S. aid in Haiti over five years, says it is trying to raise private donations to buy more food and will distribute seeds and tools in the countryside, where the poverty is most extreme.Aid groups are also struggling with higher prices and say they do not have huge stocks that they can easily divert from one needy group to another."We are dealing with a very fluid situation," said Rose Kimeu of World Vision. "People are getting angrier and angrier."

© 2008 Miami Herald Media.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

UN policeman killed in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - A U.N. peacekeeper from Nigeria was shot and killed in the Haitian capital on Saturday as tensions fueled by riots over food prices continued to simmer in the Caribbean country, officials said.

Witnesses said the uniformed officer was taking food to colleagues at a police station near the National Palace when he was attacked by a group of "bandits" near the Bel-Air slum, not far from the main Catholic cathedral in downtown Port-au-Prince, a police official said.

He was dragged from his car and shot, the official said.

The United Nations said the victim was a 36-year-old member of the Nigerian police squad taking part in the Haiti peacekeeping operation.

"(The U.N. force) will pursue the authors of this abject crime with the greatest determination," the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH, said in a statement.

Port-au-Prince has been relatively tranquil since President Rene Preval called on protesters on Wednesday to stop rioting over soaring food prices. At least five people died during a week of violence in which U.N. troops battled demonstrators.

Opposition senators on Saturday voted to fire the impoverished country's prime minister over the sky-rocketing cost of food, which has had a painful impact in countries like Haiti, where most people earn less than $2 a day.

A U.N. spokesman was not available for comment.

There are about 9,000 Brazilian-led U.N. peacekeepers and civilian police in Haiti. The force was sent in after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in an armed rebellion in 2004.

Thirty-three U.N. personnel, not including the latest fatality, have died during peacekeeping operations in Haiti, according to the MINUSTAH Web site.

Copyright © 2008 Reuters

Haiti's Government Falls

By Jim Loney
PORT-AU-PRINCE, April 12 (Reuters) -

The band of senators who ousted Haiti's latest government took no chances. They stayed together, ate together and even slept in the same place to keep defection or mishap from derailing their plan.

The 16 opposition senators announced a day in advance they intended to fire Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis, the head of a coalition Cabinet that was supposed to bring stability to the poor Caribbean nation whose intrigues were captured in Graham Greene's novel "The Comedians."

But in Haiti's quicksand politics, replete with murky, shifting alliances, anything can happen.
"So we decided to spend the night together," said Sen. Evaliere Beauplan.

They called Alexis into a Saturday session of the Senate to defend his record in two years at the helm of a country perhaps best known for its impoverished masses and the widespread practice of voodoo.

The fact the Senate even had the temerity to demand the prime minister face a censure vote spoke volumes for Haiti's attempts in the past two years to establish democracy, after being run by ruthless military dictators and despots for most of the 200 years since a slave revolt freed the country from French rule.

Needing all 16 votes to oust Alexis, who was under fire after a week of riots and angry demonstrations over rising food prices, the senators were on guard against accident, illness or any intrigue that might have interfered.

"We didn't sleep at home. We all slept in the same place. We ate the same food to make sure no one got sick. We all went down to parliament in a convoy," Beauplan said.

As they gathered in the wood-paneled Senate, Alexis' friend and ally, President Rene Preval, held a news conference a few blocks away at the National Palace, a stately whitewashed monument that has seen its own intrigues, from demonstrators bashing in its gates to assaults by armed coup plotters.

Preval, the only president in Haiti's history to serve a complete term and hand power to a democratically chosen successor, had personally picked Alexis two years ago, hoping the pragmatic agronomist could heal Haiti's wounded politics.

Under crystal chandeliers in an elegant room decorated with gold-colored fixtures and heavy golden drapes, Preval announced that business and government had agreed to chop 15 percent from the price of rice.

As he spoke, the Senate met. Alexis' lot was already cast. Senators representing his Lespwa (Hope) party did not even show up.

He spoke briefly and the senators fired him in a session that lasted only 30 minutes.
"To be frank, the senators didn't really pay attention to what the prime minister was saying," Sen. Gabriel Fortune said.

The motivations of the 16 senators arrayed against Alexis were -- typically -- a bit murky. They announced initially that the no-confidence vote was being called because of the government's failure to address high living costs.

After the vote, they said he had also been fired because he failed to set a deadline for U.N. peacekeepers to leave the country, heed calls for a new national security force and protect people against crime.

Alexis was the first prime minister to be fired by a Haitian legislative body since the Duvalier family dictatorship ended in 1986, although two have resigned under pressure.

Back at the palace, the president, who nominates prime ministers, was wrapping up his news conference when he was told his carefully chosen coalition government had fallen.

"Now it's my turn to play," Preval said, and left. (Additional reporting by Joseph Guyler Delva) (Editing by Michael Christie and Peter Cooney)

US Policy for Haiti

So - I suppose that -- Indeed the "misprint" in the NY Times was indeed a projection of the US foreign policy for Haiti:

April 13, 2008
After Protests, Haitian Leader Announces Rice Subsidies

MEXICO CITY — Responding to violent street protests against rising food prices that ground Haiti to a halt over the last week, President René Preval announced subsidies on Saturday that he said would cut the cost of rice by more than 15 percent.

But the emergency move was not enough to stop Haitian senators from voting to remove Mr. Préval’s prime minister, Jacques-Édouard Alexis, who has been blamed for handling the struggling economy ineptly.

The demonstrations had begun in the southern city of Les Cayes and spread across Haiti, drawing tens of thousands of people into the streets, spurring a looting spree and causing five deaths.

On Saturday the commander of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Haiti told reporters that calm was returning to the country. But within hours, a United Nations policeman from Nigeria was pulled from his marked car and killed in Port-au-Prince.

Mr. Préval, a former agronomist who is in his second term as president, met earlier in the day with food importers at the presidential palace and emerged to announce new measures that he said would knock the price of a 50-pound bag of rice from $51 to $43, a nearly 16 percent reduction. In the poorest country in the hemisphere, that discount could mean the difference between eating and going hungry for many destitute families.

Rice is a Haitian staple, often mixed in the slums with chicken feet to create a flavorful stew. To reduce prices, Mr. Préval said he would use international aid money combined with commitments from the private sector to reduce profit margins.

The vote against Prime Minister Alexis means Mr. Préval must reconstitute his government, which he said he would do promptly. Mr. Alexis had managed to withstand a previous no-confidence vote but this time 16 of the 17 senators voted against him, wire services reported.
The tumult is nothing new in Haiti, a fragile country with a history of political turnover that is being held together largely through the presence of the United Nations peacekeeping mission. The Bush administration considers Mr. Préval’s 2006 election and Haiti’s relative stability in recent years to be one of its success stories, although State Department officials caution that the country remains volatile.

With the recent demonstrations, the Coast Guard has said it is on the lookout for mass emigration.

It is unclear how the president’s move will affect tensions. Even after the United Nations police officer was killed, much of Port-au-Prince seemed largely tranquil.

But in the clothing market where the police officer was killed, other peacekeepers took up positions as several stalls on both sides of the street smoldered after being set on fire, The Associated Press reported. The police officer had been driving a marked United Nations vehicle in the crowded market when he was killed.

Witnesses told The A.P. that other Nigerian police officers later fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse the crowd before recovering the slain man’s body. Soon after, the market stalls could be seen burning.

Rising food prices are a global concern, with some estimates putting the increase as high as 40 percent since mid-2007.

In Haiti, though, where the bulk of the population lives on less than $2 a day, the effects have been especially acute. In one slum of Port-au-Prince, a woman sat before a large pot of chicken feet and water recently, selling stew without rice. She said the rice was too costly.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Big Error at the NY Times

The New York Times is still considered America's paper of record.Yet when it printed, on Thursday, the summary of President Preval's speech, it printed the exact opposite of what Preval said. The Times said that Preval would ask his Congress to ask for a cut in taxes on foreign imports.

Preval said that he would not cut taxes on foreign imports for without taxes on foreign imports how would Haiti have money to build her schools, her hospitals.

Since the speech was given in Kreyole, one would not expect the Times to have anyone on staff who could translate. But the next day, there were several Haitian newspapers who had summaries in French. Perhaps the Times could have done that.

I have sent a letter to the editor. I have called the corrections desk. I have emailed the corrections desk.

I have now informed you, my readers. I don't supposed I can do more than that. Except to say that some in the Haitian diaspora think that the this "disinformation story" of the NYTimes is an attempt on the part of the US government to rule Haiti from afar. Which, perhaps it is. But not, perhaps, good journalism.

Travel Warning

US Bars Officials From Travel to Haiti
15 hours ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The U.S. State Department banned government officials from traveling to Haiti in a statement issued Friday after recent violent demonstrations.

It also advised American citizens to consider leaving the impoverished Caribbean country where protests over high costs of living left five dead in the countryside. The warning comes despite a general sense of calm settling over Port-au-Prince.

"If you don't need to stay, you might consider departing," said James Ellickson-Brown, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince.

An estimated 19,000 U.S. citizens live in Haiti, most dual-nationals who live in the capital. More than 140 American citizens have been kidnapped since 2005, but few were short-term visitors, the U.S. Embassy said.

Officials are meeting daily to re-evaluate travel warnings as circumstances change, Ellickson-Brown said. The embassy has been closed since Wednesday, though some staff members are still working. As the capital recovers, grocery stores offer limited stocks and long lines have formed at gas stations, where workers are charging US$8 a gallon (euro1.30 a liter) or more.

Many countries, including the United States, already posted travel warnings about Haiti before the riots. Canada is warning against all travel there, while France and the United Kingdom have warned against nonessential travel.

Haiti tourism officials say the warnings are exaggerated and unfairly discourage investment

Friday, April 11, 2008

Press Assaulted

Two Haitian reporters were injured by rubber bullets while covering clashes between protesters and Haitian and U.N. forces in Port-au-Prince Tuesday, according to news reports and interviews. A third journalist was wounded by pellets that were fired by protesters, a press advocate said. The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Haitian and U.N. authorities to provide the necessary protection to allow journalists to work safely.

“A thorough investigation of yesterday’s incident must be conducted immediately and the results publicly disclosed,” said CPJ Executive Director, Joel Simon. “We call on Haitian and U.N. authorities to provide the necessary protection to allow journalists to continue to report on the protests safely.”

Mass protests denouncing high prices for commodities such as rice and sugar broke out across Haiti last week and intensified Tuesday in the Haitian capital, according to reports in the Haitian and international press. As violence escalated across the city, hundreds of people tried to storm the presidential palace with trash bins and were met with rubber bullets fired by the Haitian National Police and U.N. forces, according to press reports and CPJ interviews. Protesters were calling for the ouster of Haitian President René Préval and U.N. forces, press reports said.

Jean-Jacques Augustin, a photographer for the national daily Le Matin, and Leblanc Macaenzy, a cameraman for Channel 11 television, were struck by rubber bullets while covering the clash, Guyler Delva, president of the local press freedom group S.O.S. Journalistes, told CPJ. Both journalists were wearing press credentials and working alongside a group of other journalists near the crowd, Delva said. Augustin was struck in the back and Macaenzy in the right arm. Both were treated at a local hospital and released the same day, according to Delva.

David Wimhurst, head of communications for the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, told CPJ that it was not clear whether Haitian police or the U.N. forces had fired the rubber bullets that injured the journalists. He said U.N. forces do not target journalists.

Yves Joseph, a photographer for the Port-au-Prince-based daily Haïti Progrès, was photographing a group of protesters looting businesses near the presidential palace when he was struck in the arms and legs by pellets fired by demonstrators, Delva said. He said the protesters took Joseph’s camera and destroyed it. The photographer was hospitalized in stable condition today, Delva told CPJ. The precise type of ammunition could not be immediately determined.

Protesters across Port-au-Prince have blocked streets with improvised barricades, burned cars and buildings, and looted dozens of businesses, international press reports said. Violent groups of protesters also smashed the windows of Le Matin and the Port-au-Prince-based radio station Radio 2000 with rocks, Delva told CPJ. Since the protests began on Thursday, five people have been killed and at least 50 have been injured, the French daily Le Monde reported.

New York, April 9, 2008

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Preval's Speech

A friend of mine made notes on a rough translation the speech from President Preval today delivered in Kreyole. It is just a rough sense of what was said made while listening to the speech on the radio

He understands that the cost of living here is very high. It is the same around the world. However the rich countries can support this better than the poor countries.What can we do in Haiti? Definitely not burn cars nor burn down houses and businesses just because we're angry about the situation.Since 2007 the price of food has increased 50%.The price of wheat, grain, oil, rice etc. has doubled.Between 1998 – 2008 the price of Gas has gone from US$10 to US$100 and is still going up.Prices are increasing internationally and they will increase in Haiti because we are importing so much of what we need. The prices internationally have not gone down. If someone has told youthat, it is a lie.

What is the solution in Haiti?To take away the tax on items? If you do that then how are we going topay for hospitals and schools. You cannot take away the tax fromimported food.The price of imported food is high and unfortunately the national production has totally broken down.Subsidising imported food is not the answer.What we need to do is subsidise local production. The rainy season has started so people are going to start planting crops.

What the Haitian government is going to do is subsidise fertilizer 50%and perhaps even lower. (This will help the crops to grow faster and develop better). The subsidies will be for NATIONAL and not imported rice. While the farmers are waiting for the harvest of the rice the govt. will help clean up the "channels" (probably means the irrigation channels).This subsidy of rice will be so that it can sell at a cheaper price.The govt will set up Distribution centres for food distribution.At the moment we are paying out US$270 million for payments for rice.We need to replace imported rice with the local production and thenthat $270m will stay in the country.

The problem of eggs in Haiti.Haitians eat 360 million eggs per year!! Haiti can produce 300 m eggs per year, so the government will relance the egg and chicken production.The same with fish – the govt. will subsidise this production as well as other similar things.This is the answer to Haiti's current problems – to subsidise national production.

To take away tax from food means that we don't have money for schools and hospitals which we need more of.

The same way to resolve the problem of transport is to provide apublic transport system – similar to Service Plus (a system which wasactually introduced by Aristide – with blue and white school buses,which worked very well under a co-operative, but then for some reason,it all broke down – long before JBA left!! But the system was good –the buses only took 5 people across the two seats – no passengers standing and at the beginning they even had bus conductors who gaveout tickets!!)

Another solution is to build more roads to the Provinces. For example in the country yams sell at a fraction of the price they do in PauP.So if we had better roads we could bring in these fruit and veg. andthey would sell at a better price.We need to work together. He is going to talk to importers of food to try and get them to lower the price – however small the difference.He's going to ask the Govt. Ministers and officials to spend less ontravel abroad and on other things.He asks that the Citizens pay their taxes to help their country.The problems in Haiti are also problems worldwide. It won't help if you demonstrate – it doesn't solve the problem and will only createmore frustration. As for Kraze/brize (smash and break) this doesn'tbring down food prices – it only makes them higher cos you arebreaking up businesses.Plus when you do this Investors will not want to come in.He sympathized with those whose businesses have been smashed andbroken. He sends his condolences to those families who have had familykilled or hurt.He understands the problems and it is out of respect for the peoplethat he is telling the truth and will not give false promises.We need a sustainable road for the future in subsidised production andsubsidized consummation.

But we need to get back to Peace.The govt, since elections have brought in a peaceful situation and wemust let the govt. do its work. Evaluate the work that the govt. hasalready done.For those of you who are suffering and on the streets – Calm down – heuses the word Poze which means take a breath.For those who are Kraze/Brize – STOP. The Police will not accept this.Let's put our heads together. Let's find a sustainable solution. Kenbela, n-ap travay ansamn. Hold on – we'll work together.National Production is the best way out of these problems.

Kenbe fèm. Hold on hard!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rioting Continues

The riots continue in Haiti. UN troops surround the National Palace.Since they are happening simultaneously in Port au Prince and Les Cayes which are about a day’s journey apart, and since there is a call for the release of drug lords, along with cries about the high cost of food, there is a grave suspicion that this is an organized attempt to destabilize the fragile government of Rene Preval.

It may not take much. Haiti is pretty isolated. She hasn’t many friends. Her closest neighbor, the Dominican Republic, treats her pretty much with contempt and loathing, hope that “just enough” of her citizens will cross the border to get the heavy work done, the construction done, the crops picked, the sugar cane picked, the houses cleaned, but not so much that the country turns entirely black, so that every one’s hair goes completely kinky curly.

And America, which really would be watching if it were not sunk knee deep, waist deep, in the sand pit, big muddy of the quick sand desert of the desert storm and really really doesn’t want to deal with Haiti again because honestly….. we have enough of our own racial issues that we haven’t dealt with, ,,, I mean we all saw what happened with Katrina……

And then we have the American left which somehow thinks that progress means that we have no freedom of the press like in Cuba and still is stuck back in the Spanish Civil War so they aren’t a lot of help

So I don’t know who is going to help Haiti..

We do have a UN peace keeping mission in place.We always think that that will help stop the bloodshed, stop the violence. But I have a journalist friend, Michael Deibert, over in the Congo which has the largest peacekeeping force in the WORLD in place and he says that 45,000 people a month are dying there. 45000 A MONTH.

We have missionary groups who collect used clothing and send it over here which doesn’t help much since all the used clothing from Goodwill ends up here.

If we send in more subsidized food, will that not only make them more dependent on foreign food, in a land which can grow everything? So how do we break the cycle of dependence? How to help?

Haitians from abroad sent home $1.6 billion in 2006 which was about 1/4 of the GNP about $200 per capita - and - a substantial amount from a group who themselves are struggling to rise into the middle class in their respective countries. Does this help?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Food Riots in Haiti

When the price of flour doubles in NYC, the price of bagels doubles at Dunkin Donuts and the morning news does a human interest story on it. In Haiti, the people riot and call out the name of Guy Phillippe who lead the uprising that overthrew President Aristide. Phillippe is under indictment as a drug dealer by the US government and is being searched for in Haiti by DEA agents.

But drug money, corrupt money, makes for plenty of money on the streets. Under the last government here in the DR, the peso was at 50 to one but there were lots of tourists, lots of money on the streets.

Haiti has lived for years on charity, on remittances, on imported food. Its staples are imported rice, and spaghetti.

Because there is a low pathogen strain of bird flu in the DR, the Haitian government placed an embargo on the importation of all poultry and eggs, all chicken salami and soup from the DR. While this was technically correct - in that the bird flu could infect the Haitian chickens, it will anyway - since it is the fighting cocks which are transmitting the flu and -- I suspect that those cockfights are taking place anyway. There are chickens and eggs that are being passed as well - just not legally. And eggs are one of the cheapest forms of protein available. There was also no reason whatsover to ban the salami, the soup, since the bird flu is never transmitted via cooked food, only through bird to bird contact. Nor is this the highly contagious H5n1 strain but the low pathogen form.

Now there is a down turn in the US economy and the Haitians in the US will have even less money to send home to Haiti. More Haitians will have less money to spend on food. I do not wish to sound cruel hearted about this. But one cannot continue to have four and five children with no means to feed them. And one cannot continue to despoil ones environment and expect it to sustain one. One cannot simply blame the rest of the world for one's own predicament. One must take responsability for one's own predicament.

I love Haiti. I respect the Haitian people beyond any that I have ever met. But sometimes,,,,,,,

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More on the Left devouring the Left

I leave Hispaniola for a moment to comment on some goings on in California.A dear friend of mine, Peter Gabel, has dedicated his life to helping to build an inner city college in San Francisco, called New College, which served a population normally overlooked by mainstream colleges: older students, minorities, inner city populations.

It had expanded over the course of 37 years to include graduate schools in law, education and psychology. New College was based on a new paradigm, of cooperation, of consensus, of shared responsibility.

It was recently brought down by the very people whom it had served – by complaints of “irregularities” to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which grant accreditation.

Law students are now sleeping in shelters.

I wonder whom has this served? Certainly not the students. Certainly not the underserved population that New College educated over the last four decades. Certainly not the interests of the progressive left.

Read the story, here.