Today in Latin America
Top Story — Foreign aid workers are causing an increase in housing prices, political turmoil and perhaps even the cholera epidemic in Haiti, according to a feature article by The Los Angeles Times.
The massive international presence in Haiti has benefitted the minority group of wealthy Haitians, who own car dealerships, grocery stores, the car rental and telecommunications firms among other businesses, the article said.
“You wonder where all the money is going besides seeing all the blans (whites) driving new 4-by-4s,” said Steeve Laguere, a Haitian-Canadian and longtime aid worker in Port-au-Prince who has worked for Catholic Relief Services and Plan International, according to The Los Angeles Times. “And people are opening restaurants like there is no tomorrow.”
The issue of international aid groups in Haiti has divided many in the nation, with some arguing that the country could not function without the estimated 4,000 foreign aid groups operating in the country of 10 million.
Others have blamed the foreign aid groups for not only the rising housing prices, but also the cholera outbreak that has killed over 2,000 people in Haiti.
Haitians living in the Artibonite Valley, where the outbreak was first identified, have blamed Nepalese troops working for the United Nations for dumping their waste into a tributary of the Artibonite River.
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was in Haiti over the weekend, where she asked Americans not to forget the country.
Palin, who was accompanied by her her husband, Todd; daughter Bristol, a Fox News crew and the Rev. Franklin Graham, was in Haiti for a weekend visit to Graham’s aid group’s sites in this country.
“Not to get political, but if some of the politicians would come here and see the conditions perhaps they would see the need for, say, a military airlift to bring the supplies that are so needed here,” Palin said, according to CNN.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Allegations of human rights abuses have followed ex-president of Colombia Álvaro Uribe to Washington, where he is a visiting scholar at Georgetown University. While conclusive evidence of criminal wrongdoing has not surfaced, Georgetown students and the attorney for Colombian plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit against the Drummond Company are determined to force a showdown.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A peace march by local authorities in western Mexico Sunday became a support march for a slain leader of the La Familia cartel.
- 11 people were killed and 22 more wounded when gunmen attacked each other during a religious festival celebrating the Virgin de Guadalupe in Tecalitlan, Mexico.
- The U.S. Coast Guard said 17 Cuban migrants have been repatriated after being interdicted at sea.
- Cholera continues to expand its presence in the Dominican Republic, with health officials announcing seven new cases in recent days.
- Somali pirates on two skiffs seized a Panamanian vessel after firing small arms and rocket propelled grenades at the merchant ship, the European Union naval force said on Sunday.
- Heavy rains and flooding in Panama have killed 10 people and forced more than 4,700 from their homes.
- Colombia has launched a large-scale birth control effort guaranteeing all citizens access to free birth control drugs and procedures.
- Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe was ready to order troops to cross into Venezuela and capture rebel leaders in 2008, according to a secret U.S. document released by WikiLeaks.
- Ecuador will auction several oil fields including those previously held by foreign companies forced out of the country last month for refusing to accept new contract terms, the natural resources minister said on Saturday.
- Inmates at Santiago’s overcrowded San Miguel prison rioted on Friday, two days after 81 prisoners were killed in a fire that burned down a cell block.
- Argentina police have cordoned off a park in the Villa Soldati neighborhood of Buenos Aires, where at least 3 of the 1,000 squatters camped there, most of Paraguayan and Bolivian origin, were killed in attacks by local residents.
- The Paraguayan government attempted to resume talks with Argentine officials Friday in light of a shipping dispute that is costing Paraguay millions of dollars in lost trade.
- Striking Uruguayan sanitation workers resumed work on Sunday to avoid possible fines and firings as 7,000 tons of trash piled up in the capital city of Montevideo.
- Brazil launched and recovered a VSB VO7 rocket over the weekend, which successfully completed an 18-minute flight before landing in the Atlantic Ocean.
Image: IsraelMFA @ Flickr.