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  erzilidanto at yahoo.com  
  CAPSIZED, 1997



(Electronic sounds of whips, whistles, lashes, chains and a gun shot
Someone clamps heavy chains on her wrist. She drags chains and ropes, falls, falls. )


Capsized. (Water splash) i am on one of those desperately overloaded paper boats heading for America and it just capsized. (Water splash).

Transported beyond self. "No burial," i thought. The water is now in my lungs, i can't breathe.

A ton of bricks compresses the air out of me, blessing the world with a physical form that no longer carries my consciousness. The feeling of dissociation along with a frisson goes out of my body, passing miles and miles of turbulent ocean waters, breaking surface at my last gasp.

With that last emission, i am catapulted into another dimension. Anticipation more pain, but amazingly feel only this deep hollow calm.

An odd disconnected feeling engulfs me, like the echo inside of an
empty drum just after it's been hit. The hum resounds, sending waves and waves and waves of sensation up my spine. Except there's no spine to me. My flesh is floating away and i can see sharks circling around it. i watch as the sharks circle, seeing the tiny bubbles flowing from parts of me.

A shark takes a bite from my abdomen, the center of my emotions, the area of my deepest meditations and most excruciating pains. But i feel nothing. i'm like a clump of rubber.

The anatomically structured world collapses.

i watch my body, now being devoured in pieces, reminiscent of watching my two children - Anais and Ti-Jean Dantò- getting killed. Two children getting killed? i don't have any children. Who's dreaming. Topaz. Who's Topaz? An angry and perplexed Black woman you met while you were in the asylum together.

I'm having a dream belonging to a woman named Topaz. i don't know why. But now that vessel which was her that is now me is being torn apart as i watch.

As more blood spurts, more sharks close-in for the feeding frenzy. But i'm, she's no longer in a constant state of flux, going in all directions. There is stillness in profound emptiness. Now i understand why watching the ocean, a river or any body of water has always had such a compelling pull on me. A message was there, makes this witnessing easier.

Flat silence. Heavy, heavy red liquid mixed in the uterus of sea water. i am loosing focus quickly, expanding as each part of my body - Topaz's body, separates. Becoming a brew of the sea. Returning to a primeval state.

A limitless blanket of all consciousness, all points of references, simultaneously. The blood is the ocean. i am part of the shark. The air bubbles break the ocean surface, catch the wind and there i am swirling across the Atlantic. My gaze unlimited. Free at last. i sway with the ocean, the wind the sharks, the weeds. On far off shores, i touch the sand and become part of the earth. i am no longer contained-in-poverty, kept leashed and kenneled, flattened and reduced by poverty pimps masturbating on black pain in the name of nationhood. Deeper and deeper i expand, touching life and becoming more alive. This is what i used to think was death! Too glorious this! This rush of absolute stillllllness. Every gaze an energy expanding to infinity.

i sank deeper into the bottomless ocean trying to see the bottom; hoping to find the thousands, no, millions of others whose Black bodies and blood are lining the Atlantic ocean, since our Middle Passages. Just then appeared the blood of thirty thousand Haitians massacred at the Dominican Republic border. Blood that seeped through the earth's bottom, down Massacre River and into this ocean, now sharing with me this everlasting destiny. To know, to ask, to get an answer, to find Dantò. I never did find Buddha on the road i just left. Zanset yo e Timoun yo vini, the Ancestors are in this body of water.

But just as i'm about to touch them, just as i was about to touch them, like always what's beneath my scull-cap can't hold on to certainty for but fleetingly. So just as i was almost there, almost there, almost there; i was not there anymore. i'm with the wind, the sand, the sun, the trees, flowers, clouds, the North star...(Radio announcement interrupts. Alarm rings. Cacophony of ringing noises)

An alarm clock is ringing.

i want to stay in the flat silence, (Anba Dlo, Nan Ginen) this place of blessed consciousness without pain. But the ringing outside continues calling me.


(On Video projections, we see white sands, clothes, decomposing corpses, shark-bitten, dehydrated and bedraggled Haitians scattered among the rocks and shrubs, while others huddle under makeshift tents rescuers had build from tarpaulins, sticks and branches...The water is crystal clear and you can see the boat submerged with its mast sticking out. On the beach, there are massive amounts of people with clothes and blankets everywhere. Image fades into large tv screen, with worldwide news anchors reporting on the capsized Haitians as families dine nonchalantly, play video games, watch tv and go about their Western lives unconcerned. No one pays attention to the TV and radio announcement about the perpetual crossings of the Haitians, except the woman storyteller. Some switch the channel to Entertainment news headlines, or turn the volume down, others eat popcorn, watch silently, munching gleefully. Nobody cares.)


"A sailboat carrying 250 Haitians sank off Flamingo Cay yesterday. The third of such incident involving Haitians in less than a week. Last Saturday 200 Haitians were rescued after their boat ran aground near Harbour Island. On Tuesday, 123 Haitians were plucked from their sinking ship off the coast of Great Inagua Island. Even as rescue efforts were under way on Flamingo Cay on Thursday, another group of dazed and desperate Haitians were shipwrecked, trying to get to Miami."


"Capsized" © 1998 by Èzili Dantò. All rights reserved. You may not copy, re-post or publish, in any manner, without the copyright owner's written permission.


To subscribe, write to erzilidanto@yahoo.com
zilibuttonCarnegie Hall
Video Clip
No other national
group in the world
sends more money
than Haitians living
in the Diaspora
Red Sea- audio

The Red Sea

Ezili Dantò's master Haitian dance class (Video clip)

zilibuttonEzili's Dantò's
Haitian & West African Dance Troop
Clip one - Clip two

So Much Like Here- Jazzoetry CD audio clip

Ezili Danto's

to Self

Update on
Site Soley

RBM Video Reel

Angry with
Boat sinking
A group of Haitian migrants arrive in a bus after being repatriated from the nearby Turks and Caicos Islands, in Cap-Haitien, northern Haiti, Thursday, May 10, 2007. They were part of the survivors of a sailing vessel crowded with Haitian migrants that overturned Friday, May 4 in moonlit waters a half-mile from shore in shark-infested waters. Haitian migrants claim a Turks and Caicos naval vessel rammed their crowded sailboat twice before it capsized. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Dessalines' Law
and Ideals

Breaking Sea Chains

Little Girl
in the Yellow
Sunday Dress

Anba Dlo, Nan Ginen
Ezili Danto's Art-With-The-Ancestors Workshops - See, Red, Black & Moonlight series or Haitian-West African (Clip one - Clip two) ance performance
zilibutton In a series of articles written for the October 17, 2006 bicentennial commemoration of the life and works of Dessalines, I wrote for HLLN that: "Haiti's liberator and founding father, General Jean Jacques Dessalines, said, "I Want the Assets of the Country to be Equitably Divided" and for that he was assassinated by the Mullato sons of France. That was the first coup d'etat, the Haitian holocaust - organized exclusion of the masses, misery, poverty and the impunity of the economic elite - continues (with Feb. 29, 2004 marking the 33rd coup d'etat). Haiti's peoples continue to resist the return of despots, tyrants and enslavers who wage war on the poor majority and Black, contain-them-in poverty through neocolonialism' debts, "free trade" and foreign "investments." These neocolonial tyrants refuse to allow an equitable division of wealth, excluding the majority in Haiti from sharing in the country's wealth and assets." (See also, Kanga Mundele: Our mission to live free or die trying, Another Haitian Independence Day under occupation; The Legacy of Impunity of One Sector-Who killed Dessalines?; The Legacy of Impunity:The Neoconlonialist inciting political instability is the problem. Haiti is underdeveloped in crime, corruption, violence, compared to other nations, all, by Marguerite 'Ezili Dantò' Laurent
No other national group in the world sends more money than Haitians living in the Diaspora


Anba Dlo, Nan Ginen

See also,
Breaking Sea Chains, Little Girl in the Yellow Sunday Dress and RBM Video Reel



....And ten years later, May 2007, Haiti's misery, grief and agony continues to be piled on and on - slaughtered and persecuted everywhere - as the world turns its face away over and over again, creating its own racist looking glass for comfort.

Capsized 2007
- Haiti Crossing Death

The way they were forced to live,
to die,
tear us alive.

Like so many before them, battered hope floated high
against ending in a watery grave
when they saw land.
Then, stomach-knotting-searing-agony swooped down.
Just like the 101 Haitians
the week before
who had landed in Miami,
the most hated humans in the Hemisphere met hate.
From the imperial Euro/U.S. colonies,
still surrounding them,
containing them.
after 500 years.
unlike Haiti,
bowing to imperial kings, queens, and the
white settlers' authorities.
This time the British colony, Turks and Cacos Islands, was the patrol boat that rammed them,
towed them away from any sanctuary
into deeper waters.

All aboard
crippled at birth for being of and from the first enslave and colonial lands and peoples to fight and win in-combat against the greatest superpowers on earth, throwing off the yoke of European enslavement, colonialism and white cultural domination;

All aboard thus
exulted at birth, are scorned by the feudal lords, administering neighboring Caribbean/Latin American client-countries for the imperial powers.

All aboard
maligned by would-be allies so mentally colonized
they don't even dream of throwing off the yoke of Euro/US financial colonialism, (neoliberalism) to own the lands, patrimony and natural resources where they live and labor.

All aboard
singularly subjected
to over two centuries of unlimited European/US indignities, cruelties that neighboring imperialist client-countries inflict at will and with impunity.
But still strong enough to endure without hate,
hope and faith crowded on that overloaded Haitian boat that was
criminally towed,
abandoned to the sea and sharks.

No remorse.
No mortification.
No distress.
Selfish to the bone.

Asylum, justice, sanctuary eternally denied their kind.

they suffer no more.

They left
that part to us.

To consume us now,
to tear us to pieces now
as Western sharks did them.

They're hope gone, pain gone, suffering gone.
All those parts -
left to us now.

(c) May, 2007 - Ezili Dantò

Haiti crossing death toll rises

Capsized boat at quay in Turks & Caicos Islands, May 8, 2007 (BBC News)
The capsized boat was towed ashore

Survivors on the boat

The bodies of 54 Haitian migrants have been recovered after their boat capsized in shark-infested waters near the Turks and Caicos Islands.

At least 73 of the 150 people believed to have been on board on the boat have been rescued.

The incident occurred on Friday at 0420 (0920 GMT) about half a mile (0.8km) south of Providenciales Island, a Coast Guard in Miami spokesman said.

Several of the victims appeared to have been bitten by sharks, officials said.
A police boat from the islands, north of Haiti, was trying to tow the sinking boat to port when it capsized.

Sixty-three people were immediately picked up by the police vessel and taken to South Dock on Providenciales.

Ten others were later saved by the police after a US Coast Guard helicopter spotted them clinging to the 25ft sail freighter's hull.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, a British overseas territory, is located to the north of Haiti and south-east of the Bahamas.

The number of Haitian migrants attempting the dangerous crossings to the US or to other Caribbean islands has increased in recent months.

Some 909 Haitians have been caught by the US Coast Guard since January, officials say.

Haitian Migrants Claim Boat Rammed Them

The Associated Press | Washingtonpost.com
Tuesday, May 8, 2007; 8:15 PM

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haitian Migrants claim a Turks and Caicos naval vessel rammed their crowded sailboat twice before it capsized last week, killing dozens of people, the director-general of Haiti's National Migration Office said Tuesday.

Jeanne Bernard Pierre, the director-general of Haiti's National Migration Office, said the migrants' account hasn't been confirmed but that the Haitian government would consider it "criminal" if found true.

The death toll rose to 61 Tuesday from Friday's pre-dawn capsizing of the migrant-laden sailboat off the British Caribbean territory of Turks and Caicos, after more bodies were found drifting in the Atlantic Ocean, the Turks and Caicos government said Tuesday.

The migrants' bodies were spotted by a police boat and fishermen in shark-filled waters near where their overloaded sloop overturned, Turks and Caicos Gov. Richard Tauwhare told a news conference.

"We are making every effort we can to identify the bodies," Tauwhare said, adding that two U.S. pathologists were conducting autopsies on the badly decomposed remains.

More than a dozen other Haitian migrants were missing and presumed dead. Officials estimate about 160 people were on board.

Tauwhare said that the vessel overturned while it was being towed to shore by a Turks and Caicos police boat during a storm. The government had previously said authorities arrived on the scene only after it sank

Seventy-eight survivors _ 69 men and nine women _ were being housed in a detention center until they can be flown back to Haiti.

Every year, hundreds of Haitians set off in rickety boats, fleeing economic and civil disorder in the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation in hopes of finding a better life by sneaking into the United States or other Caribbean islands.

© 2007 The Associated Press

Haiti immigrants protest boat tragedy

Sat, 12 May 12, 2007

Haitian immigrants are protesting over allegations that a Turks and Caicos patrol boat may have caused a packed vessel to capsize last week.

The Turks and Caicos Islands government has opened an investigation into the May 4 disaster, the worst to hit Haitian migrants in years, according to the Associated Press.

Survivors are reported to have claimed that the coast guard crew rammed their rickety sailboat as it approached the shore, then towed it into shark-filled waters, causing it to capsize, and abandoned them.

"This is our blood. We will demand justice if what the migrants say is true," said Line Francois, pastor of All Saints Evangelical Assembly, a Haitian Protestant church on the territory's main island.

"But when you're a foreigner living in another country, your voice is not that strong." He added.

In a statement Friday the Turks and Caicos government said that a police boat was towing the migrants toward shore and immediately offered help when their boat overturned, disputing migrants' accounts that they were being led away from land and that police initially refused to rescue them.

Haiti's government ordered flags lowered to half-staff for an official period of mourning for the lost migrants, and the Interior Ministry promised to crack down on human traffickers even though the country's coast guard has only a handful of working boats.

In 1998, Turks and Caicos Islands police allegedly opened fire on a boat packed with more than 100 Haitian migrants, touching off a capsizing that led to the drowning of dozens. Officials said the police fired warning shots and none hit the migrants or the boat.

Haitians have been coming to the Turks and Caicos for years, fleeing the violence and social turmoil of the Western Hemisphere's poorest country for jobs as construction workers, janitors, landscapers and bellhops in the wealthy territory of 33,000.

Haitians mostly live in ramshackle communities, but the conditions are far superior to life back home.

Roughly 160 Haitian migrants were packed aboard a 25-foot boat when it ran into stormy weather before dawn Friday off the coast of this British territory. At least 61 were killed in the incident and the remaining passengers have been rescued.



Haiti Immigrants Angry With Boat Sinking
By STEVENSON JACOBS, Associated Press Writer, May 11. 2007 9:51PM

A group of Haitian migrants arrive in a bus after being repatriated from the nearby Turks and Caicos Islands, in Cap-Haitien, northern Haiti, Thursday, May 10, 2007. They were part of the survivors of a sailing vessel crowded with Haitian migrants that overturned Friday, May 4 in moonlit waters a half-mile from shore in shark-infested waters. Haitian migrants claim a Turks and Caicos naval vessel rammed their crowded sailboat twice before it capsized. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Haitian immigrants were simmering with anger Friday over allegations that a Turks and Caicos patrol boat may have caused a packed vessel to capsize last week, killing at least 61 of their countrymen.

The Turks and Caicos Islands government has opened an investigation into the May 4 disaster, the worst to hit Haitian migrants in years. Survivors said the coast guard crew rammed their rickety sailboat as it approached the shore, then towed it into shark-filled waters, causing it to capsize, and abandoned them.

"This is our blood. We will demand justice if what the
migrants say is true," said Line Francois, pastor of All Saints Evangelical Assembly, a Haitian Protestant church on the territory's main island. "But when you're a foreigner living in another country, your voice is not that strong."

The Turks and Caicos government said in a statement Friday that a police boat was towing the migrants toward shore and immediately offered help when their boat overturned, disputing migrants' accounts that they were being led away from land and that police initially refused to rescue them.

Haitian immigrants form an essential low-income work force here, laboring to build luxurious beachfront homes, collect trash and carry suitcases for tourists. Many say allegations in the capsizing underscored their belief that they get treated like second-class citizens compared to locals, known in the Turks and Caicos as "belongers."

Many Haitians arrive here illegally by boat, paying about US$400 (euro300) for the two-day journey across 125 miles (200 kilometers) of ocean. Several interviewed by The Associated Press recounted stories of illegal Haitian immigrants being robbed, beaten and deported by immigration agents before they could lodge a complaint.

"Dogs get treated better than Haitians here," spat a 33-year-old Haitian hotel worker, who declined to give his name for fear of retribution. He called what happened to the migrants last week a "crime" but doubted it would ever be resolved.

"Haitians don't get justice in this place," he said.

But some said their home country, not the Turks and Caicos, is to blame.

"The Haitian government didn't do its work and create jobs," said Rudy Delancy, a taxi driver who has lived here for more than 10 years. "That's why people risk their lives and get on the boats."

Haiti's government ordered flags lowered to half-staff for an official period of mourning for the lost migrants, and the Interior Ministry promised to crack down on human traffickers even though the country's coast guard has only a handful of working boats.

In 1998, Turks and Caicos Islands police allegedly opened fire on a boat packed with more than 100 Haitian migrants, touching off a capsizing that led to the drowning of dozens. Officials said the police fired warning shots and none hit the migrants or the boat.

Haitians have been coming to the Turks and Caicos for years, fleeing the violence and social turmoil of the Western Hemisphere's poorest country for jobs as construction workers, janitors, landscapers and bellhops in the wealthy territory of 33,000.

Haitians mostly live in ramshackle communities, but the conditions are far superior to life back home.

Many are proud of having helped convert the Turks and Caicos from a mosquito-infested backwater to a popular resort.

"Haitians built this place," said Ronald Gardiner, a Haitian-born businessman who used to host a Creole-language radio program in the Turks and Caicos. "When I came here 22 years ago, there was no fresh water, no electricity and mosquitoes were the king of the island. Now look at it."


Haiti: scores of boat people drowned
Submitted by WW4 Report on Mon, 05/14/2007 - 02:56.

At least 61 Haitian migrants drowned after their boat capsized as it was being towed by a police vessel near the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British overseas territory about 125 miles north of Haiti, in the early morning of May 4. Officials said about 160 people were crowded on to the 25-30-foot Haitian sloop and that 78 were rescued; about 30 people are missing and presumed dead.

The Turks and Caicos government initially kept the 78 survivors locked up in a detention center and barred them from talking to reporters. At first local Turks and Caicos officials reported that police agents didn't arrive on the scene until after the migrants' boat had capsized. But on May 8 Gov. Richard Tauwhare acknowledged that the incident occurred as the sailboat was being towed by a police vessel in rough seas. The survivors, who met with Haitian National Migration Office general director Jeanne Bernard Pierre, disputed the Turks and Caicos account. The police rammed the sailboat twice, they said, and then towed it away from the shore, causing it to capsize. Pierre told reporters on May 8 that the Haitian government would consider ramming the boat a "criminal act."

"When they hit us the first time, water rushed into the boat and everybody screamed," Dona Daniel told reporters after the survivors were flown back to Cap-Haitien on May 10. The patrol boat threw them a line, Daniel said. "[W]e thought they were bringing us to shore, but they took us further out to sea." The boat capsized because the police "pulled too hard," according to survivor Marcelin Charles. Survivors said some migrants tried to pull themselves aboard the police vessel but were beaten back with wooden batons; others were run over by the patrol boat, they said. According to Haitian media, some survivors indicated that the US Coast Guard was also involved in the incident. (Haiti Support Committee News Briefs, May 10 from AP; Groupe d'Appui aux Rapatries et Refugies-GARR press release, May 10; AP, May 11 via Haiti Support Group; AlterPresse, May 11)

Turks and Caicos Islands, which has about 33,000 residents, has opened an investigation with help from London. Many Haitians reportedly migrate to the islands without permission, paying about $400 for a two-day journey by boat. Haitians get jobs as construction workers, janitors, landscapers and bellhops. Dozens of Haitian migrants drowned in a 1998 incident when Turks and Caicos police allegedly opened fire on more than 100 migrants crowded into a boat, which then capsized. Officials said the police fired warning shots and didn't hit the migrants or the boat. (Guardian, UK, May 12 from AP


Bodies from boat tragedy sent to Haiti
May 20, 2007 (FortWayne.com)

Relatives react Saturday during the burial of 59 of 61 victims of the capsizing of a boat of Haitian migrants in shark-infested waters in Turks and Caicos after their return in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. (AP Photo)

The remains of dozens of Haitian migrants who died when their boat capsized off the Turks and Caicos Islands were returned to their homeland Saturday and buried in a common grave, angering relatives who were not given a chance to identify their loved ones.

Family members clutching photographs of victims wept as the 59 bodies – wrapped in black bags and marked “John Doe” or “Jane Doe” – were unloaded from a cargo ship in Cap-Haitien. Officials said the bodies were badly decomposed and could not be readily identified.

“God will welcome each one of you, our compatriots. You should not have had to take to the seas and leave your country,” the Rev. Hubert Constant, the archbishop of Cap-Haitien, said after blessing the 28 male and 31 female victims.

More than 160 migrants were aboard the overcrowded sloop when it capsized May 4, flinging them into choppy, shark-filled waters.

The bodies of 61 migrants were recovered and more than a dozen are missing and presumed dead. Some had been eaten by sharks. Two bodies were buried in Turks and Caicos. There were 78 survivors.


At least 10 immigrants dead off Boynton Inlet; 17 rescued; search continues, after packed boat flips By MICHAEL LAFORGIA, BILL DIPAOLO and JASON SCHULTZ
Palm Beach Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

RIVIERA BEACH — One by one, the bodies were carried off the boat in a somber sunset procession. Wrapped in silver tarps or white sheets, they rode up the long wooden dock on gurneys.

The paramedics had a steady rhythm worked out by the time they reached the last one - a tiny brown package, small enough to carry in a gym bag. The body of a child.

Video Capsized boat: Rescue efforts, Palm Beach Post
Photos: Rescue and recovery

In the latest sad chapter in the ongoing immigration saga played out in the deep waters between Florida and the Caribbean, about 30 Haitian and Bahamian immigrants spilled into the Atlantic Ocean early Wednesday after their boat capsized about 15 miles off the South Florida coast, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The men, women and children, including an expectant mother and a man stricken with appendicitis, bobbed and treaded water helplessly for about 10 hours, driven inexorably northward by the Gulf Stream. Battling hypothermia and exhaustion in the 70-degree water, they might all have drowned had not a boater on a pleasure cruise spotted two figures among the waves and called for help.

By nightfall, at least 10 of the immigrants, including the child wrapped in brown, were confirmed dead. An unknown number were missing.

The dead were among 27 men, women and children pulled from the ocean by the Coast Guard, which scrambled a helicopter and at least three boats overnight to comb an ever-widening search area as it stretched north on the Gulf Stream.

"We'll keep searching," said Chief Warrant Officer James Mullinax of the Coast Guard's Lake Worth Inlet station. "You always hear about miracle stories."

At a briefing in Miami Wednesday evening, Coast Guard Capt. James Fitton said rescuers still didn't know how many people went into the ocean.

"Nobody has an actual head count," said Fitton, who speculated the immigrants might have been borne west by smugglers from the Bahamas.

Mullinax wouldn't say whether he suspected smugglers, especially given that rescue parties found no trace of the immigrants' boat.

But, he added, "When you see that many people crammed onto a boat that small, you can see how somebody would make that assumption."

The U.S. Coast Guard called in the Cormorant, an 87-foot cutter, at least three smaller boats and helicopters to scour the water for survivors.

As the rescue operation took shape, a Coast Guard flight surgeon was flown by helicopter to the cutter, where he directed triage as the survivors were brought aboard, said Bosun's Mate 1st Class Tom Sims.

As the dramatic rescue unfolded at sea, an equally sprawling and impressive effort was under way on land. Responding to a Coast Guard alert that between 20 and 100 people were badly hurt, about 50 fire and paramedic trucks from Palm Beach County, Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Lake Worth and a private county contractor swarmed the Boynton Inlet at about 1:30 p.m.

An hour later, the emergency workers, most of whom weren't needed, were told to move to Riviera Beach.

"It wasn't perfect, but no civilians were harmed because of that," said Deputy Chief Steve Delai of Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue. "We'll have the opportunity to learn from some of these things."

A Coast Guard helicopter flew two young women to Delray Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Shelly Weiss. One was critical and the other was in good condition, Weiss said.

The Coast Guard flew a third survivor to Palms West Hospital in Loxahatchee, said hospital spokeswoman Lisa Gardi. That person was still alive Wednesday afternoon, Gardi said.

By 4:30 p.m., survivors started coming ashore on Coast Guard boats. The worst off were taken by ambulance to St. Mary's Medical Center. The walking wounded were cared for at the Coast Guard station in Riviera Beach. The dead were carried to a morgue set up in Phil Foster Park by the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner's Office. Autopsies were scheduled for this morning.

Fourteen people remained on the cutter offshore. Once recovered, the survivors will be interviewed and processed by immigration officials.

The Coast Guard on Wednesday was investigating reports that the immigrants' boat left for Florida from the Bahamas.

The Royal Bahamian Defence Force offered help in the rescue but was waved off because the survivors already were so close to the Florida coast, said Chief Petty Officer Mario Bain, from Nassau. Bain said his agency and local police in Bimini were trying to determine whether the boat left from that island, which, along with Grand Bahama, is closest to the Florida coast.

Staff writers Eliot Kleinberg, Andrew Marra and Don Jordan contributed to this story.

Previous incidents at sea

February 1994: Two adults and two boys, part of a group of Haitian immigrants struggling to reach shore after being dropped from a boat, drown off Hutchinson Island in Martin County.

March 1999: Three Haitians survive a mass drowning off Palm Beach County that may have claimed as many as 40 lives.

May 2002: A boat carrying an unknown number of Haitians capsizes off the Bahamas; 13 drown and 73 are rescued by the Coast Guard.

August 2002: A boat carrying 39 immigrants runs out of gas off Jupiter Island, prompting many to swim to shore. Two are reported missing.

April 2003: A boat capsizes off the Dominican Republic with more than 100 Haitians aboard. At least four die and 16 are reported missing.

September 2005: A 6-year-old Cuban boy dies when a boat capsizes while he and his parents are being pursued by a Coast Guard cutter about 45 miles south of Key West.

November 2005: A woman jumps off a smuggler's boat and tries to swim to shore in Manalapan. A police officer discovers her body in the surf around 2:30 a.m. At least 18 other Haitian immigrants are caught and detained.

November 2005: The bodies of three Haitian women wash ashore in Pompano Beach. At least a dozen other people are caught and detained.

April 2006: Rolnique Metayer, 35, of Haiti dies when a boat capsizes about 25 miles off Pompano Beach. Two others were believed to have been swept away. George Rolle, a Bahamian, was indicted on five smuggling counts.

April 2008: A boat capsizes near Nassau, killing at least 14 Haitians. The captain, a Honduran man living in the Bahamas, is one of three survivors and is later charged.

- Compiled by staff researcher Niels Heimeriks


A failed country on America's doorstep


Editorials, Miami Herald, Posted on Sun, May 13, 2007


The recent surge of Haitians taking to the seas to flee their destitute country resulted last week in a terrible calamity -- a capsized sailboat and 61 souls lost, some of them chopped up by sharks. Then came even-worse stories from survivors, alleging a crime of indescribable inhumanity. Survivors said that a Turks and Caicos patrol boat had rammed their sailboat, towed it into deeper water and abandoned all aboard the crippled vessel to the sea and sharks. Several investigations are under way by local authorities and the British government. What is needed, though, is a thorough, independent investigation by a disinterested party such as the Organization of American States.

This sickening, gut-wrenching tragedy has caused many caring Americans to ask perplexing questions about why such things continue to happen and what, if anything, can be done to prevent them from recurring. The answers aren't simple or easy, but this much is clear: The more that the United States and the international community can do to stabilize Haiti's politics and help to rebuild its shattered economy, the less likely it would be that desperate people will cast their fate and lives to the sea.

In a community that routinely welcomes Cubans who flee Fidel Castro's unbending treachery, the difference in how U.S. immigration policy treats Haitian and Cuban migrants increasingly is becoming a sore point. The reality, however, is that U.S. policy is different for Haitians. When they are interdicted, for example, Haitians have virtually no chance to make a claim for political asylum. If a Haitian interdicted at sea doesn't aggressively demand or shout asylum, he will be sent back. Last year, 1,198 Haitians were interdicted but not one of them was granted asylum.

More Haitians are leaving the island this year because conditions have deteriorated so badly. In April, the U.S. Coast Guard interdicted 704 Haitians, nearly as many as were intercepted all of last year. The last big surge came in 2004 when Haiti was beset with political turmoil that led to former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigning and leaving the country.

Political scars from those days haven't healed. In many respects, life for most people has gotten worse. Killer storms have left thousands homeless; kidnappings and gang violence are a scourge in the cities; and riots and pillage from years of upheaval have wrecked the economy.

Haiti needs basic infrastructure such as sewers, roads and electric power; and it needs improved public services for courts, police, healthcare and education. Most of all, though, Haitians need jobs.

On Thursday, Haitian President Rene Preval met with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and later with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Mr. Preval asked for U.S. help in catching human smugglers and in fighting corruption. Mostly, though, he asked for economic help. One thing that Congress can do to bring quick help is to fund and implement an initiative that would allow Haiti to export some textiles to the United States duty-free. Rep. Kendrick Meek asked for support of the initiative in letters to international banks, the OAS and Congressional leaders. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said she will ask President Bush to support the effort. Through such initiatives, Haiti can begin the long journey to economic well-being.


Posted on Wed, May 9, 2007 on Miamiherald.com

Migrants cursed by fate, caught by cutter


Published Nov. 14, 2005

A wind is blowing the night Marie Joseé Germain hears that the boat will make a run for Miami. She hugs her children goodbye, and sobs all the way to the port.

At the abandoned dock where the boat is tied up, she takes a seat on an old battery case and softly sings a song while she waits for the captain and other passengers.

The wind blows, the lightning strikes, the boat is rocking on the sea. . . . But God is watching over us. Captain, don't panic, just take us there.''

Captain Ricardeau Felix pulls up in a borrowed Isuzu Trooper and assures everyone that the voyage is on. But Germain is beginning to doubt it, assuming he wouldn't want to embark on the 700-mile trip in rough seas and leave his friend's SUV on the docks.

Then some U.N. peacekeeping troops from Nepal step out of their post nearby, curious at the activity along the water. They walk around for a few minutes, and go back inside.

We can't leave now,'' Felix announces. They'll stop us. We're going to have to move the boat and go later.''

Germain sighs, wondering what his real motives are. Even before Haitian migrants ever sail into the Windward Passage, they must navigate a murky underworld of boat owners, sailors, middlemen, hustlers and bandits. They rarely know who is calling the shots. Most don't even know whether a boat is leaving until they board it, or its destination until they get there.

At sea, they risk drowning or dying of thirst. On land, they risk losing the money they pay to smugglers and falling deeper into the abyss of poverty they are trying to escape.

I tried many times on these boats, and I just lost all my money,'' said Alexandre Renet, 34. We'd pay them [$800 U.S.] and they'd get halfway there and turn back and keep our money.''

Renet is nonetheless trying again -- waiting with Germain in the dark parking lot. He said goodbye to his wife and children in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and took the spine-jarring, six-hour bus trip to this city on the north coast of Haiti.

I couldn't do anything for them there, and I don't like begging,'' he says.

His uncle in New Jersey is paying his fare. Renet is not wasting the money on the leaky sailboats that might or might not get him to the Turks and Caicos Islands 150 miles away -- the shortest and first leg of a long, costly journey that winds through the Bahamas to South Florida.

Renet and Germain hope to go on a straight run to Florida on a homemade plywood and fiberglass speedboat named Air Florida 2.

In his pocket, Renet keeps a piece of paper with the critical phone numbers on it. He can't wait to make the call -- I am here, come pick me up. His uncle says he'll wire some money and drive down from New Jersey to get him.

Jude Bernardin, 21, is not so blessed, with no family to help him get out. For three years, he has been trying to leave Haiti the cheapest way possible, on one of the sloops that sail to Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos.

He sold his inheritance for his last attempt in July: a pig, two goats and 10 chickens.

Two days out at sea, he began to hear muttering that they were turning back. He could only guess what was happening from his confined space - wedged into the sloop's dark belly with more than 200 people, disoriented by the heat, the stench of vomit and the groans of ragged planks holding back the sea.

When the hatch opened the next day, he was exactly where he had started. The sailors claimed that the compass had broken and that it was too risky to proceed.

Bernardin suspects that they never planned to go to Providenciales. They already had everyone's money. Had they gone farther into international waters, they would have risked the U.S. Coast Guard catching them and destroying the boat.

But Bernardin is undeterred.

Even if it's a fake trip, I'll be on it,'' he says.


By August, Bernardin hears of another trip to Providenciales with the same captain. He hopes he will get free passage this time. But he is small and boyish and doesn't carry much clout in the slum.

The boat is tied to a wall at the opening of the inlet. It's a 60-foot sloop, made of rough-hewn timber and painted blue and white. There is no motor. A sail is fashioned from a vinyl billboard banner for the 2005 Nissan Altima. Vodou flags hang from the bow, in the belief that they will make the boat invisible from the Coast Guard.

One of the sailors, Alain Silves, says they are ready to go even though they don't have much food or water.

We're going anyway,'' he says. Do or die.''

On Aug. 26, passengers begin to gather along the muddy bank of the inlet, swollen from rains the day before. Uprooted lilies and weeds drift by.

Bernardin hears that the boat might leave that night. He has nothing to pack - his possessions could fit in a grocery bag. He visits someone who might know more about the captain's plans.


In a 10-foot-by-6-foot shack, Fritz Nel lives with four other adults and five children. He is thin and sinewy as a bundle of wires, with the watery eyes of malnutrition.

He doesn't know anything more than Bernardin, but he is ready. He bought new pants and a shirt to look respectable when he arrives. He plans to take his two young sons with him.

I worry about them dying. But when you get to Provo with children, they give you more attention. Maybe they'll let us stay.''

Their friend Theodore Fritz is grim with fear at the thought of the passage.

He never thought he would have to leave his country like this.

A little more than one year before, he was a part-time university student and radio journalist in Port-au-Prince. Then, on the air, he denounced the gangs that claim allegiance to ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide as rapists and murderers. Three days later, when he was at school, several men beat his wife with an iron bar, breaking her back and both legs, and torched his house.

His family went into hiding. They're still looking for me, going to neighbors' houses, asking for me,'' he says.

And now the 31-year-old father has come here to catch a boat. He has never been on a boat before, never swam in the ocean.

Now all I can think about is dying on the water.''


That afternoon, clouds bloom off the mountains and drench the city at dusk. Sailors have heard rumors of a hurricane out there somewhere; Katrina churned over Miami the day before and into the Gulf of Mexico. But they don't know the details. Many captains don't even use maps, describing their routes into the Bahamas as a succession of currents, winds and landmarks.

The smugglers call off their boat's departure.

For three more days, clear mornings give way to tropical squalls in the evenings. The journey is stalled. The out-of-town passengers have to beg for food and spots to sleep.

Finally, on Aug. 30, 169 people row into the black bay on canoes and dories and board the 60-foot sloop. Fritz the journalist, his friend Nel and Nel's two boys find their places inside.

The captain won't let Bernardin on unless he pays.

The boat sails without him.


A week later, Air Florida 2 motors off into the night on a trip that its passengers later recount: Two days out, they hit a violent head wind off the north coast of Cuba. As the boat crashes through a rising sea and driving spray, most of the 25 people aboard get wretchedly sick. Ricardeau Felix, the captain, doles out a small supply of Dramamine. He wants to go on - as does his wife, hunkered down on the floorboards with their four children.

But Felix's half-brother doesn't think the boat can hold up, the passengers recount. He tells Felix that they will die if they go farther.

He is a huge, scowling man who commands respect.

The engines are groaning. One of them keeps stalling. The starter fails, and each time it does, the mechanic has to pull the rope-starter furiously to get it going, rubbing his hands to blisters.

They turn back. Many of the passengers are furious. When they get back to Cap-Haitien the next day, Felix's wife says she will not even talk to him. They sold everything for the trip -- their radio, dishes, the furniture.

Renet will have to call his uncle in New Jersey later. He takes the bus back to his family home in Port-au-Prince, dejected, wondering if he was taken again.

Germain goes home to the shame of returning to her three children with nothing. Their money for school I used for the boat.''


Felix promises everyone that they will leave again as soon as he can refill the gasoline and fix the engine and starter.

But by mid-September, Air Florida 2 is still docked. Felix is trying to placate his increasingly frustrated passengers. He announces several times that the boat is ready to go. But his stated plans are always foiled, one day by a faulty battery, another by the winds.

One night, he and a dozen friends and would-be passengers meet in an abandoned port building to appease Aga-Ou, the Vodou spirit they believe rules the sea.
Candles light a sweltering back room as the men gather in a circle and pass a bottle of Barbancourt rum among them. One man lights a torch. Another with a honey-smooth voice slowly chants to bring Aga-Ou out. They spray a perfume called Florida in the air.

The chanting turns to singing. They beat drums and sticks in a gathering fury.
Suddenly, Felix, wearing jeans and no shirt, barges into the circle and demands,

Who called me? Who called me?''

Aga-Ou has taken over his body.

Felix quivers with angry energy. Everyone else backs up. He grabs the torch and scrubs his chest and armpit with the fire. He tries to shove it down his jeans, but other men jump forward and keep him from doing so.

The room reels with the heat and drums. The rum bottle shatters against the wall. A man crashes to the ground, possessed by a spirit. He writhes and kicks in violent spasms. The broken glass crunches beneath his bare back. The men try to restrain him, but his feet strike them away.

A chicken is sacrificed. The drums slow. Aga-Ou leaves.

The men slowly clear the room. They hope he is appeased.


The voyage of the 60-foot sloop is cursed by more human factors.

Three days out, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Sapelo spots the boat just 27 miles north of Haiti. A Coast Guard video shows it teeming with people. The American sailors tell the migrants that they are boarding. They launch inflatables and throw them life vests.

The Haitians are severely dehydrated and sick. They are out of fresh water and disoriented, thinking they are nearing Florida. They are taken aboard the cutter. Officers shoot the sloop with high-caliber rifles to sink it.


Looking for Haiti's Freedom on May 18, 2007

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Smuggled Haitians get measly wages for work in Jamaica BY KIMONE THOMPSON (Observer senior reporter) thompsonk@jamaicaobserver.com|Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A group of Haitians after their arrival in Jamaica
(Photo: Jamaican Observer)

HAITIANS smuggled into Jamaica as part of a human smuggling ring have been receiving measly wages for work done on construction sites, among other jobs offered.

"Recently we heard that in Portland people were paying them (Haitians) $250 per day to do work, which is pathetic. They give them food then pay them $250 a day to do construction work and all those things," according to Inspector Steve Brown, spokesman for Operation Kingfish.

"We know that when Jamaicans go up to Haiti to smuggle drugs, they bring back Haitians with them and use them to do odd jobs but as far as a number, we don't have that," Inspector Brown added.

He did say however that since the middle of 2007, 11 persons (mostly Jamaicans) have been arrested on charges including human trafficking and that there are now seven such cases befor ethe court.

"Not every Haitian who comes here does so of his own will," a Haitian source with intimate knowledge of the situation told the Observer. "I know of Jamaicans living in Haiti, particularly in the south in places like Cité de Soleil, they are the ones taking people here. They smuggle arms and promise people, especially young girls, that they will get them jobs in Jamaica and when they get them here they hand them over to other people," the source said.

Another source, who does work with Haitians detained here, reported that victims paid up to US$600 for trips after being told they would have taken them to Miami, but taken to Jamaica instead.

"These are people who sell their goats, their house, any and everything they have to get that US$600 and when they come here there is nothing. And it's not like they can return because there is nothing to return to," said the source.
Haitians have always been coming to Jamaica but they started fleeing in droves in 2004 when a rebel coup ousted then Prime Minister Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Jamaica's Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Observer that of the number of Jamaicans who have arrived here since 2000, only 25 have been granted asylum. Spokesman for the ministry, Wilton Dyer, couldn't immediately supply the total number of asylum seekers to have come but said that it had been "less than 1,000 since 2004".

Chargé d'affaires at the Haitian embassy in Jamaica, Max Alcé, told the Observer that between 2005 and 2007, 751 Haitians were repatriated. Four hundred and six were done in 2005 alone while the remainder is split between 2006 and 2007. He couldn't say however, how many were being detained because "(the police) do not advise us when they hold Haitians until months later when they need an interpreter to take them to court or when they are getting ready to deport them".

Observer investigations revealed, however, that another 13 were sent home via a chartered flight on April 25. Up to that date, we were only aware of three others who were in lock-up. The three Haitians and a Honduran who have been charged with illegal entry and illegal possession of firearm have been in custody since last year when they were picked up at sea by local police. When they turned up in the Gun Court last Tuesday, they were remanded in custody because their legal aid attorneys reportedly had other cases.

"They are all over the place illegally but it's difficult sometimes to identify them when we go into the areas unless they speak. Asylum has been granted to a number of them but there are a number of them here who are illegal and they become involved in other things like the guns for drugs trade between Jamaica and Haiti," Inspector Brown said.

"Some of them may come to find jobs and they'll work sometimes with the fishermen and other people on the beach (but) people take them and use them for different purposes... (and) some of them are being used by Jamaicans," he said.

Our sources agreed that the frequency of smuggling trips between Haiti and Jamaica and the openness of Jamaica's borders made it difficult to keep track of the number of Haitians who come to Jamaica by boat. They said, however, that trafficking in persons plays a considerable role in the trafficking of arms and drugs between the two countries. And according to them, Jamaicans are heavily involved.

Said Brown: "There is evidence to support the guns for drugs trade between Jamaica and Haiti. Drug dealers leave from almost anywhere in Jamaica. You have to understand that our borders are porous and against that background, they just go anywhere and exchange guns. They can leave from Manchester, from St Catherine, from Portland and bring back guns to Jamaica.

"We arrested some in St Elizabeth last year coming from Haiti. We arrested another St Elizabeth syndicate led by this man 'Lazarus'. We have 15 persons before the court from the St Elizabeth syndicate alone. The drugs for guns trade is major challenge for us and we have focus groups looking directly at that. For the human trafficking aspect, what we do is once they are caught we give them the full book. We don't go after the bigger charge and leave the one that may seem lesser," he said.

"Once they are caught they are arrested then sent home," said Brown, who later added that a public education programme warning Haitians of the consequences of entering the island illegally would be ideal but has not been pursued because "it's not our jurisdiction".

Since Operation Kingsfish began the 'Get the Guns' campaign in the middle of last year they have seized 115 firearms and 12 motorboats and have arrested 43 persons, both Jamaicans and Haitians.

Other than human trafficking and the search for a better life, the Kingfish spokesman said Haitians, particularly women, also come to Jamaica searching for the Jamaican fathers of their children.

"Jamaicans go up there and father children with some of these women and these women then come to Jamaica to find the fathers of their children."

Nonetheless, a Haitian lawyer with whom the Observer spoke said Jamaicans are discriminating and are giving Haitians a bad name. He alleged that some locals who get in trouble with the law here pretend they are Haitians, and use the opportunity to join their criminal network once they are deported.

"I'm sure there are some involved in drugs and gangs and things like that but we're not the worst in the world. It's Jamaica that's known all over the world as one of the most violent countries...We're paying for something we did 204 years ago. We're being accused of everything and I don't know when it's going to stop," he said.

"Most Haitians we've talked with have complained about the treatment they've been receiving at the Horizon Remand Centre," said another lawyer who requested anonymity.

"In terms of food, they say they don't eat well. They get things they don't eat and if they complain, nobody pays attention. They sleep on the floor, they don't have clothes and even after the judge orders deportation, they stay in jail for a long time."

He gave the example of a woman who was arrested in St Thomas and fined $5,000 for illegal entry. The sum, he said, was paid by the woman's Jamaican boyfriend but up to two weeks ago, she was still in custody.

"In court, they are not questioned. It is decided beforehand whether they'll be sentenced to a fine, jail or be deported (...) They'll always give them a lawyer but he tells them to plead guilty even when the guys are not guilty," he said.

Immigration being unfair to Haitians

Posted on Sun, May 4, 2008 on Miamiherald.com

Wilbert Benoit, father of two, taken away on a dark morning. Marie Thelusma arrested in front of her baby boy. Francieuse Lafortune, new mother, locked up while she was still breast-feeding. Fabienne Josil, five weeks pregnant, dragged away after fainting.

Not in Haiti -- here in South Florida. Of all the tragedies that visit Haitians -- famine, rioting, drownings -- the most heartbreaking are the ones we can stop: the breakup of working families.

Zealous immigration cops are arresting and deporting hundreds of mothers and fathers, not just separating parents from their kids, but sentencing relatives in both countries to even greater hardship.

Josil, the latest one to make the news, was released April 25 after local Haitian activists publicized her story. She was arrested on April 18 as she took out the garbage. She collapsed and suffered uterine bleeding. She was finally released on humanitarian grounds. But Barbara Gonzalez, spokeswoman for U.S.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Miami, told The Miami Herald's Trenton Daniel: ``That doesn't negate the fact that she has a final order of removal.''

Jargon and nonsense words may help soldiers carry out their orders. But dulling language also helps render the unacceptable benign.

There is no reason to be removing parents from their children. And over the years, plenty of legislation has tried to protect Haitians in the United States from this fate. Again and again, it has failed.


Cuban-Americans have the adjustment act. Haitians have only the flawed HRIFA legislation. Even that might have protected Josil, 26, who came to the United States legally with her father, said her attorney, Jeanne Hines. But she turned 21 before her status could be adjusted. New legislation to fix that loophole has support among Florida's delegation. But the measure consistently dies in the House.

Hondurans, Salvadorans and Nicaraguans all have protected status that prevents their deportation due to calamities at home. Haitians do not. And it seems no riot or flood will persuade President Bush to grant it to them.

That leaves Haitians here with little support.

Tally Hustace, 59, is not an immigration expert or a lawyer. She's not even Haitian. But her work as a nurse practitioner at Jackson Memorial gives her a special perspective on what is happening inside Haitian families as immigration steps up deportations.

''The mothers have lost their means of support, and they're just desperate,'' Hustace said. ``I didn't have any idea the immigration policy was creating these types of situations. And it's all done under the cover of darkness.''

Last week, she rushed to the house of a mother of four, whose husband was deported. The woman threatened to kill herself.

''She was thinking if she died, her kids would be in the hands of the state, and they'd be better off,'' Hustace said. She was able to get the mother to a psychologist. ``But that was just one case we knew about.''


Another nurse at Hustace's clinic told the story of a mother who was under order of deportation and moving every two days from house to house, like a fugitive.

We may never be able to stop the hunger and despair that forces people to flee their homes. But we can put an end to the private cataclysms visited daily on Haitian families in the United States.

Surely, in these times of global calamity, this country can find more pressing things to do than round up men and women whose only crime was to wish for a better life for their children.

© 2008 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.
22 Haitians drown near Bahamas, two survivors treated then deported
By TOSHEENA ROBINSON-BLAIR, Associated Press Writer

Posted on Tues, April 22, 2008 on Miami Herald

NASSAU, Bahamas --

Two Haitians who survived the capsizing of their migrant-laden boat were being treated for exposure Tuesday as the U.S. Coast Guard scanned the seas for other victims of the sinking that claimed as many as 22 lives.

Officials estimate that 25 people were aboard when the boat went down on Saturday as it headed for Florida. Only three have been found alive.

The bodies of 14 Haitians have been recovered, said Coast Guard spokesman Barry Bena - correcting a previous count of 20 caused by double-counting of some bodies. Chief Petty Officer Ralph McKinney of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force said the bodies were of 12 women and two men.

A Coast Guard cutter, jet and helicopter were continuing the search Tuesday.
"We can only hope if there is anyone out there, we can go ahead and rescue them," Bena said in Miami.

Jhacson Brave, of Lake Placid, Fla., fears his cousin Roselene Almonor, 31, was on the boat. She had been expected to arrive in Miami on Sunday, but "she never showed up," Brave said.

"It's tough in Haiti, there's no jobs, really," said Brave, who said he migrated in 1987.

Riots over food in Haiti killed at least seven people earlier this month, but Haitian authorities expressed doubt the voyage was related to the unrest.

Survivors described the boat as a go-fast, a kind of speed boat, suggesting the migrants had more money than others who make the perilous crossing jammed aboard makeshift vessels.

The only survivors rescued so far were two Haitians and a Honduran, allegedly the boat's skipper, who was being held by police investigating allegations of migrant smuggling.

The two migrants - a man and a woman - were transferred from a detention center to a Nassau hospital because of skin ailments caused by long exposure to sea water, said Weston Saunders, the assistant director of the detention center.

He said that illegal migrants are generally deported.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The Latin Americanist: Haitian migrants drowned near Bahamas ourlatinamerica.blogspot.com

Up to twenty Haitian migrants are alleged to have drowned off the Bahamian coast after their boat capsized. A U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said that only three people survived- two Haitians and a Honduran.

The two Haitians who made out alive may be deported according to a Bahamian immigration official. One news report alleged that recent food riots have served as an impetus for Haitians to leave their country by any means necessary:

"I will leave with the next boat going to Miami because I can no longer resist this hunger," Marcel Jonassaint, 34, told Reuters on Tuesday as he sat barefoot near the dock in Montrouis, throwing a handful of small rocks into the ocean.

"I have four children and I don't have a job and everything is expensive, even for those who are working," Jonassaint said. "So what do you want me to do?"…

"I left earlier this year. Our boat was intercepted in the high seas, but I will try again," said 29-year-old Rachel Chavanne. "I know some people, like a cousin of mine, who had a successful trip there.

Sources- Associated Press, The Latin Americanist, Reuters, Xinhua, CNN

Image- MSNBC (“Hundreds of Haitians wait for food at a U.N. distribution center in Port-au-Prince on April 18 in the wake of rioting in the country.”)


Four dead after boat capsizes in shark-infested waters

Associated Press - May 28, 2008 12:23 AM ET

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - A spokesman for a tourist boat that found
a capsized speedboat Sunday between Florida and the Bahamas says it was a
"horrific" scene.

In the water were several bodies, with tiger sharks circling. Rescuers
say one body was devoured as they watched.

Police in Puerto Rico believe the victims were four Haitian migrants trying to make it to the U.S. It's thought their boat capsized in rough water.

Thousands of Haitians try to sail to the U.S. every year in rickety, overcrowded boats. Last month, at least 20 died on a trip from the Bahamas to


See also: Capsized: HLLN Haiti crossings' Links and Video - Ezili Dantò live in Miami


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