[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Menendez on Deported Haitians

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Menendez on Deported Haitians

Ana Menendez's is on a Haiti kick these days. Here's the latest in a series of columns on Haitians and what she considers the injustice of being deported back to Haiti. This one was on the front page of the Sunday paper and has a nice three-page spread with several color pictures.

Some "money" quotes from the column:

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- At 30, Watson Navarin already is living the end of his story. The boy who left Haiti for the hope of America returned 11 years later as a convicted felon. His forced homecoming held none of the sentimental promise of the exile's return and all the bitterness that his family tried and failed to deliver him from.

Exploitation, cruelty, indifference. Haiti offers its poor many reasons for leaving and very few for returning. Those who do often come back against their will.


Navarin was deported to Haiti in 2004 after a drug conviction, but he still talks and dresses like the teenager from Asbury Park, N.J. Last Thursday, he was wearing long baggy pants, a jersey and a cap -- a light blue ensemble dedicated to the glory of the Lakers and the Clippers.

Tall, strong and foreign, he stood out in the hardscrabble streets of the capital where his presence was greeted with a kind of unfriendly curiosity. The outfit, the big silver chain and his English marked him as DP, a member of the shadow diaspora of deportees that even Haitian leaders are blaming for the crime and violence here.

Ana feels bad for Navarin because he gets harrassed for what amounts to being a show-off. I can't gather the sympathy for him, I'm sorry.

Jean Destin left Haiti for Miami when he was five years old. He says he was arrested for drug possession, jailed and deported in 2001 at the age of 25. He arrived, disoriented, at his aunt's house in Petite Place Cazeau, a Port-au-Prince suburb.

''I'd forgotten the language,'' he said. ``My own family couldn't communicate with me. I didn't know how to ask for a glass of water.''

Today, he lives in a concrete addition to his aunt's house. The 8-by-8-foot space is protected by security bars. On weekends, the space becomes ''Jean's Cine,'' where he plays Haitian movies on a television set powered by a Delco generator. Last week the hand-painted marquee announced Friday's offer: Love Has Limits. Destin charges the equivalent of 25 cents per person, and goud by goud is trying to make an honest living.

''I'm in my country, I'm not starving,'' he said. ``But there's nothing like the U.S.''

That's right...not only is Destin not starving, but he attempts to make an honest living. Try doing that in Cuba.

Here's the grand finale:

Few seriously challenge the right of the United States to deport another country's criminals, but it's naive to think that the consequences of that decision affect only Haiti.

The idea of a world divided into neat, autonomous nation-states is for children and maps. Reality offers few flat comforts. The streets of Port-au-Prince point to all the ways countries interconnect, the way a decision in Washington ricochets in a Port-au-Prince slum.

And the way America's failure in its own inner cities echoes back into even more desperate places where castaways from the dream struggle to survive with whatever rough skills experience lent them.

That's right folks, it's America's fault. It always is for people like Menendez. And while we're at it, let's forget about things such as sovereign nations and borders, and things that, you know, ensure a country's identity and independence.

My oh my.

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Blogger Rick said...

Besides the continual hard-on that you and other CA bloggers have for Ana Menendez's writing, I'm not sure what you're upset about here, Robert.

Are you, a Cuban-American, really going to argue that being deported back to a life of oppression and suffering under a lawless government is fair and just and something that the US should be engaged in?

Boy, that's rich.


12:26 PM, April 15, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...


I'm not really upset. Not even over moronic comments regarding hard-ons for a far-left Herald journalist.

Do you want to open our borders up to anyone and everyone? Because when you break it down, that what it eventually comes down to. Is that what you want?

If Haitians (or anyone else) can prove that they will be systematically persecuted upon their return, then the U.S. should consider granting them asylum, like they do to Cubans. This crap about white foot/black foot (not mentioned in this article but I'll bet you a quarter it's in the back of Ana's head) really misses the mark and prevents potential solutions from being worked out.

Until then, guys like Navarin will never receive my sympathy, and Ana's continued pleas for open borders and fair treatment of Haitians will continue to sound like whiney demagougery.

12:52 PM, April 15, 2007  
Blogger Rick said...

Robert, Ana could say that the sky is blue and you and others would trip over each other in order to somehow point out how wrong she was. It's been that way and it will always be that way.

Do you want to open our borders up to anyone and everyone?

No, but let's say we start with giving special consideration to those people who come from countries whose governments are oppressive and whose civil and human rights are tenuous at best.

It's a basic humanitarian issue, Robert. If it weren't then the wet foot/dry foot policy wouldn't even exist and all Cubans whether they were discovered at sea or on Elliott Key would be shipped back home.

It steams me to no end when CA's who have been granted a generous exemption when it comes to immigration exhibit such a high and mighty attitude toward other immigrants.

Do you want to open our borders up to anyone and everyone?

No. Just Cubans. Right, Robert?

Rich, indeed.


3:24 PM, April 15, 2007  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Now Robert, you heard what the man said. Don't be getting all uppity or the forces of political correctness will have to administer a whipping.

That Menendez column is a riot. Immigrants know they can be deported if they break the law. Some of them break the law and get deported. And this is America's fault? Of course!

Anti-Americanism is like anti-Semitism for people with graduate degrees.

9:23 PM, April 15, 2007  
Blogger Rick said...

Immigrants know they can be deported if they break the law.

...unless, of course, your name is Luis Posada Carriles.

10:07 PM, April 15, 2007  
Blogger ziva said...

Last I checked he's being held by immigration with a pending deportation order. A judge, (you know, the rule of law) ruled that he cannot be deported to Cuba or Venezuela, the only two countries willing to take him. But you know all that I'm sure, so what was your point?

11:40 PM, April 15, 2007  
Blogger Rick said...

Aw, c'mon, Ziva...like that's really going to happen. He'll make bond with assets furnished by some CA hardliner and he'll disappear....again. He's a hero, a patriot to many.

While Haitians are just another one of those millions of immigrants we can't let into the country. Throw them back into the mix of Cité Soleil!

It's called a double standard, Ziva. Look it up.

8:46 AM, April 16, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

OK, when Cuba becomes a democracy once again, I'm all in favor of Cubans losing their special immigrant status. But until Cuban immigrants stop being systematically persecuted upon being returned to Cuba, there should be no such thing as wet foot/dry foot. They get to stay, regardless.

In Haiti (and most other countries), similar conditions do not exist despite rampant poverty. Guys like the ones illustrated in the column can go back and hold jobs and try to make an honest living. They can also apply for visas to emigrate legally. I'm also for an evaluation of undocumented entry cases on an individual basis.

However, there is no systematic oppression as far as I know for Haitian immigrants that return to Haiti.

If this sounds high and mighty, then well, so be it.

And, no. The Posada case is not a double standard.

12:25 PM, April 16, 2007  
Blogger Rick said...

Robert: Have you ever been to Haiti? Have you ever read anything on Haiti?


Their report titled Human rights abuse and other criminal violations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti: a random survey of households, found that:

* 8000 individuals were murdered in the greater Port-au-Prince area during the 22-month period assessed.
* Almost half of the identified perpetrators were government forces or outside political actors.
* Sexual assault of women and girls was common, with findings suggesting that 35,000 women were victimized in the area; more than half of all female victims were younger than 18 years.
* Criminals were the most identified perpetrators, but officers from the Haitian National Police accounted for 13.8% and armed anti-Lavalas groups accounted for 10.6% of identified perpetrators of sexual assault.
* Kidnappings and extrajudicial detentions, physical assaults, death threats, physical threats, and threats of sexual violence were also common.

Cubans don't have the corner on human suffering in this hemisphere, Robert.

You might do well to listen to Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balarts who wrote a letter to Chertoff saying:

''These Haitians left their homeland in a desperate attempt to escape the horrendous political, social and economic conditions in Haiti.''

Human rights are for everyone, Robert. Not just Cubans.


9:53 PM, April 16, 2007  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Rick, I think your straw man is on fire.

10:57 PM, April 16, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

Thanks for the moral spanking Rick, but I'm not buying.

As I said in the last comment, if Haitian immigrants can prove a SYSTEMATIC persecution of returned immigrants, then I'm all for letting them all in similar to the Cubans. Otherwise, the sad stats you just mentioned are not a world apart from the rampant governmental corruption and crime seen in virtually all third-world countries.

8:06 AM, April 17, 2007  
Blogger Rick said...

I never thought you would "buy" it, Robert. Not in a million years, considering.....

But tell me, just so I don't ever mischaracterize your position, you don't believe those 101 Haitians that landed on Hollywood Beach deserve or are entitled to anything, including temporary protected status, and should be shipped back to Haiti immediately.

Is that right?

11:13 PM, April 17, 2007  
Blogger Rick said...

Thanks, Robert.

I didn't think you would be able to say it.


9:55 PM, April 19, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

This comment thread is dead, Rick.

I haven't checked it in several days.

If the 101 Haitians that landed can prove that they will receive undue and systematic persecution upon returning to Haiti, then let them stay. Otherwise, they can try to enter legally. Didn't I already say this at least once before?

3:27 PM, April 20, 2007  
Blogger Rick said...

Sure, Robert, they have to meet the "Cuban standard" to get in, right? If you can prove that you are treated as badly as a Cuban, you too can have freedom!

Until then...back to your country!

That is just so wrong on so many levels, Robert.


10:08 PM, April 24, 2007  

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