Posted by: ivetteromero | October 29, 2014

France threatens to close St Martin-St Maarten border

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Tensions between St Martin and St Maarten rise as a French parliamentary committee point out unequal development between the two parts of the island. As committee chairman René Dosière puts it, “The Dutch and the French side are two completely different economies, without a border or customs.” According to a French parliamentary committee, the Dutch part in the south is enriching itself at the cost of the French part in the north. The French part of the Caribbean island of St Martin-St Maarten is impoverished; the Dutch part is just getting richer. According to the article, French politicians are angry and they want to do something about the discrepancies.  

Purchasing power: The island was divided in two in 1648 in the Treaty of Concordia. There was free movement of people and goods. And the French want to break that now. “All the money that France invests in the French part of the island, ends up in the southern part, which is the Dutch kingdom,” explained Dosière.

The French side is part of the EU; the Dutch part not. “In the Dutch St Maarten the rules are more flexible, wages and taxes are lower and the products are cheaper.” The French part uses the euro and the Dutch dollars.

French officials exchange their salary, which is paid in euros, immediately at favourable exchange rates in the south. According to Dosière, thousands of French do that every month. Thus they gain 30 percent of their purchasing power. They spend their money also in the Dutch part, because everything is much cheaper there. More and more French business owners leave for the Dutch part to earn money. So the money from the French state goes to the Dutch part, the parliamentary committee concluded, and France thereby subsidizes the development of the Netherlands in St Maarten.

Migrants: Another problem is that the French part is unwillingly saddled with migrants. “The migrants enter through the Dutch part because there is little monitoring,” said Dosière. “The Dutch agents know that the migrants still travel to the French part, because they can get education, health and social benefits easier.”

According to Dosière, the Dutch government doesn’t care and is uncooperative to change. [. . .]

For full articles, see http://caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-France-threatens-to-close-St-Martin-St-Maarten-border-23402.html and http://sxmgovernment.com/2014/10/27/english-translation-french-to-tighten-borders-between-french-and-dutch-st-maarten/

hyatt_1Hyatt Regency Trinidad, located in downtown Port of Spain, is sporting a new color this month – pink. From pink spotlights and flags displayed on the exterior of the hotel to pink ties and pins worn by staff, Hyatt Regency Trinidad is showing its support for cancer survivors and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“October is a very dear month to Hyatt Regency Trinidad. Along with supporting the efforts of Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society to raise awareness within our community, the hotel is offering a series of internal events to educate our staff about breast cancer and preventative care,” said General Manager Russell George.

Here are a few ways the hotel is raising awareness during this special month:

  • Hyatt Regency Trinidad hosted the sixth annual Survivors’ Breakfast on October 3.

In partnership with Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society, the event celebrated 50 breast cancer survivors with a musical performance by H2O Phlo & Lugo, a presentation by Ms. Brafit Ltd., and a motivational speech by Don La Foucade.

  • The hotel will host a series of events to promote wellness amongst Hyatt Regency Trinidad team members.  On October 27, the hotel will be the temporary home of a mobile cancer screening unit, where both male and female employees can seek preventative health testing. A cancer awareness lecture will follow on October 29.
  • Throughout the month of October, guests can enjoy afternoon tea at Cinnamon, and 50 percent of sales will be donated to the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society. Tea is served on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m., along with sweet treats and desserts decorated in pink. Reservations can be made by calling 868-821-6550.

For more information on Hyatt Regency Trinidad, please visit www.trinidad.hyatt.com or call 868-821-6550.

Also see http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2011/10/06/hyatt-goes-pink-cancer-awareness

Posted by: lisaparavisini | October 27, 2014

The Adventures of Seepersad Naipaul

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This tribute to pioneering Indo-Trini reporter Seepersad Naipaul by Shereen Ali, appeared in Trinidad’s Guardian.

Many of us ma y know of characters like the mysterious Bogart, the posturing “tough guy” who hardly says a word; or Popo the carpenter, who is always “making the thing without a name,” yet rarely building anything—just two of the characters brought vividly to life by the artistry of Trinidad-born novelist VS Naipaul in his 1959 memoir of childhood, Miguel Street.

VS Naipaul in these short stories created memorable characters through his deft way of setting up a scene, his use of creole dialogue, and his clear plots, evoking characters poignant in their colourful, flawed, tragicomic details.

But how many of us have ever heard of the writing of another older, more sympathetic Naipaul—VS’s own father, Seepersad? Seepersad used these same elements, a generation before his son did, to tell his own good stories, using the more compact (and ephemeral) vehicle of newspapers, not novels. Some of his best stories were printed in the T&T Guardian in the 1930s.

Seepersad Naipaul was the centre of attention on the evening of October 9 when the Friends of Mr Biswas and the National Library hosted a talk by American professor Aaron Eastley on the elder Naipaul’s newspaper writing career.

Eastley is the director of graduate studies at Brigham Young University in Utah. His talk was part of a series of events planned by the Friends of Mr Biswas to focus on the role of T&T journalists. The next in the series, later this month, will be a talk by former T&T Guardian editor-in-chief Lennox Grant on Patrick Chokolingo.

The Central correspondent

Naipaul (1906 – 1953) was the T&T Guardian’s “Central correspondent” in the early 1930s. He worked for the paper for three periods, from 1929 up to just before his death in 1953.

At the time, said Eastley, the Guardian was conservative and exclusive; it wrote for the white urban elite in Port-of-Spain. But led by a new editor, Galt MacGowan, the paper decided, from 1929 to the early 1930s, to modernise, and liven up its menu by appealing to a wider audience, with more local content. Seepersad Naipaul was hired as the paper’s very first East Indian reporter.

It was a collaboration which paid off, said Eastley, at least for a few short years—a time when Seepersad Naipaul discovered a whole new expressive profession—one which not only let him write stories, but editorialise through them, and sometimes even take part in them. Guardian sales rose; and readers in remoter parts of the island had something different to read.

Amazingly, Seepersad was largely self-taught. Eastley sketched for the audience Seepersad’s “harsh home life”—coming from a broken home, he was farmed out to relatives; he helped raise cows and goats in the mornings before going to school every day barefoot.

In all likelihood, this Naipaul would have faced a future of rural obscurity. Yet in school, and out of it, he taught himself to read, write, and understand more of the world around him. Literacy was the key to his escape from the canefields.

That Seepersad became a writer at all was incredible, said Eastley: “The story of Seepersad the journalist is a story of perseverance and luck, audacity, delusion and resilience,” he said, as he shared with the audience his admiration for a man who may have been quirky and over-the-top, but who persisted, despite various setbacks, to make his own mark in the world.

Seepersad loved a lively, unusual story. This not only delighted his editor MacGowan; it tickled T&T audiences, giving truth to the idea that sometimes, people want more than just the facts.

Seepersad loved to write engaging stories about ordinary people—often very short stories, yet well told, conjuring up vivid scenes with economy and effective sensory detail.

Eastley introduced Seepersad’s writing style with quotes from his work, including this one, the start of a story about an old man: “Alone, uncared and unlooked for, save for the sentinel presence of a faithful dog that seldom leaves his master’s bedside, a man crippled with age lies convalescing from a long illness in a tiny, palm-thatched cabin that he’s built with his own hands among the lone coconut palms on the Caroni coast.”

Right away, Seepersad gets the reader involved in this old man’s plight—despite his derelict, lonesome circumstances, the old man soldiers on in the tiny cabin he’s bravely built for himself.

Another quote, this time from a crime story, showed Seepersad’s love of active, emotive language—the kind that uses screaming headlines, urgent verbs and sensational details to sell newspapers: “Green-eyed jealousy made this man kill the only woman he loved, hack a man to death, sever the right hand of another and deprive a 16-year-old youth of an ear.” It was a lively story about domestic violence.

In some stories, Eastley said Seepersad entertained people with enthusiastic tales of personal adventures—including, once, staking out a haunted house to try to capture ghosts. Another time, Seepersad wrote about spending the night with frogs in a tree—after being knocked off his bike.

Prof Ken Ramchand, head of the Friends of Mr Biswas, in a 1987 Guardian article, wrote that Seepersad’s stories “included news of…quarrels, woundings, beatings, village feuds and family vendettas…Seepersad was interested in odd or extraordinary characters: a woman 112 years old who had seen slaves being lashed and shipped; a Hindu doing penance by the river; and a man they called Robinson Crusoe”—who set out from Chaguanas to discover an overland route to Tobago.

It wasn’t all fun and games for Seepersad, though. Eastley emphasised that Seepersad also wrote serious stories, covering religion, politics, natural disasters and other issues of the day professionally, while getting important interviews, following up on stories and showing intelligent initiative in helping to report on and shape the news.

Seepersad’s journalism also recorded the “changes taking place in the Indian community; the errors and confusions into which it was falling in its ignorance about itself and its past, and its inability or unwillingness to propel or project itself into the future,” wrote Ramchand in 1987, referring to the fragmentation of traditional Indian culture in Trinidad in the 1930s, as a new creolising world emerged—a world “without ritual, custom or ceremony.” These changes dismayed Seepersad, whose response was often to make a joke of things.

“For a frightened man, he was brave,” commented Ramchand: “His journalism and his short stories remain an accurate and despairing representation of a community in crisis.”

Seepersad’s conversational, accessible newspaper story style, his sometimes bizarre, macabre humour, and his professional curiosity were a part of his media persona. He seemed to possess a keen, intuitive sense of media as a kind of theatre, where any story can get a chance to play itself out on the stage of the page. And he used the vehicle of newspapers to not only “play himself,” but to comment on and investigate his society.

Eastley described how Seepersad re-imagined the staid island journalism at the time to carve out a bold, unique voice all his own; a voice that was creative, often sensational, and certainly dramatic.

Seepersad’s stories spoke (without contempt or condescension) to ordinary folk. He wrote not just for businessmen in boardrooms, but for villagers and housewives and the common man. He expanded the narrow range of newspaper writing at the time.

Seepersad’s legacy

Eastley suggested that behind the scenes, the very act of writing for a daily newspaper quietly inspired Seepersad’s own two sons, Vidiadhar and Shiva, to imagine writing careers they might never otherwise have pursued.

Eastley quoted this reflection, written by VS Naipaul: “There was a big ledger in which my father had pasted his early writings…This ledger became one of the books of my childhood. It was there, in the old-fashioned Guardian type and layout…that I got to love the idea of newspapers and the idea of print.”

Eastley’s talk showed that in important, perhaps largely unacknowledged ways, Seepersad helped pave the way for local voices to express themselves, and to be heard.

“He courageously refused to be controlled by public opinion,” said Eastley, “…and he never devolved into bitterness. Throughout his life and throughout his journalistic career, there were absolutely moments of utter desolation, of utter disillusionment. It’s true that his opportunities were severely limited, but within that, we still see his genius…And he ultimately never gave up on life…He never ceased, as a writer, to try to connect with people.”

Who are the Friends of Mr Biswas?

The Friends of Mr Biswas began in 2000 to develop the Naipaul House at 26 Nepal Street, St James, as a museum and a library for research on the writings of the Naipaul and Capildeo families, and as a form of cultural tourism.

The Naipaul house is immortalised in VS Naipaul’s 1961 novel A House for Mr Biswas, a classic work of West Indian fiction based on the struggles and triumphs of Naipaul’s father Seepersad. The Naipaul House was the family home of Seepersad and Droapatie Naipaul, who lived there from 1946 until Droapatie died in 1991. The house was bought from the Naipauls in late 1996 and is now a national heritage building.

At last week Thursday’s talk by Prof Aaron Eastley on the newspaper writing of Seepersad Naipaul, Ramchand announced a plan for a conference next year on the work of all three Naipaul writers (Seepersad, and his sons Vidiadhar and Shiva), pending support from the Sport and Culture Fund.

Ramchand also announced Eastley’s generous donation to the Friends of Mr Biswas of digital scanned copies of many of Seepersad Naipaul’s Guardian newspaper stories, previously unavailable.

For the original report go to http://www.guardian.co.tt/lifestyle/2014-10-16/adventures-seepersad-naipaul

Posted by: lisaparavisini | October 27, 2014

Rebekah Bowman: Portrait of the Cuban Ballet School

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An exhibition, Portrait of the Cuban Ballet School, by the American photographer Rebekah Bowman and curator Roberto Chile will be inaugurated this Monday at José Martí Memorial, as part of the side events of 24th International Ballet Festival of Havana, Cuban Headlines reports.

The photographs that Bowman will exhibit these days in Havana contain a high testimonial value. The artist shares more than twenty pictures in medium and large format describing different times of classes and rehearsals in the National Ballet School.
About this photographic series Doctor Miguel Cabrera, Historian of the National Ballet of Cuba referred in the Cuban digital media Cubadebate “she captures many aspects of the daily ritual of the class, both taking place in the ballet bar as in the center of the room with a clever eye”.

Cabrera also outlined that the pictures show “the close student-teacher bond in the correction of ballet poses and the giving of an expressive sense, a feeling, to every physical challenge, without which it would be impossible to achieve a true art”.

For this Ballet Festival are also scheduled the photographic exhibitions Choreography and Shakespeare and his masks, of the authors Pere Artal and Javier NC. Mezzanine, respectively.

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Posted by: lisaparavisini | October 27, 2014

Laurent Dubois: How Will Haiti Reckon with the Duvalier Years?

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This piece by Laurent Dubois appeared in The New Yorker.

In January, 2011, one year after an earthquake killed tens of thousands of people (by some estimates, hundreds of thousands), Jean-Claude Duvalier landed unannounced in Haiti following twenty-five years of exile in France. In the years between his return to the country and his death on Saturday at the age of sixty-three, he circulated freely about Port-au-Prince, meeting with old friends, dining at fancy restaurants, and occasionally accepting invitations to government events. For Haitians who had suffered imprisonment or torture under his regime, or who had been forced into exile themselves, Duvalier’s unapologetic presence in the country was shocking. A group of twenty-two plaintiffs, the Collectif contre l’impunité (the Collective Against Impunity) had been pushing for a trial against him, and had been gathering evidence to present in court. This February, they won a victory when a Haitian appellate court ruled that Duvalier could be charged with crimes against humanity under international law. The next step never came, and now it is too late. According to the Human Rights Watch lawyer Reed Brody, who worked on the case, “Duvalier’s death robs Haiti of what could have been the most important human-rights trial in its history.”

Instead of a trial, we’ll have a funeral. What will it look like? Who will speak, and what will they say? In a tweet, Haiti’s President, Michel Martelly, made clear the tone he would seek to set: “Despite our quarrels and differences, let us salute the departure of an authentic son of Haiti.” But how we remember Duvalier is much more than a matter of “quarrels and differences”; it is a question of how, decades on, we should remember and confront a haunting and traumatic history of political repression.

Jean-Claude Duvalier was the grandson of Duval Duvalier, an immigrant from the French Caribbean colony of Martinique. He was also, in crucial ways, the son of a U.S. occupation of Haiti. That occupation, which lasted from 1915 to 1934, gave Jean-Claude’s father, François, his major professional and political opportunities. François studied in a medical school set up by the United States, which had closed down the existing Haitian medical school because its professors opposed the occupation, and he spent a year at the University of Michigan. He absorbed and became a part of the major cultural currents generated by the U.S. occupation, notably the teachings of the great Haitian thinker Jean-Price Mars, and wrote historical and ethnological studies.

Out of these influences, François Duvalier—who was elected President in 1957—crafted a twisted interpretation of Haitian history and politics that formed the ideological basis for his authoritarian regime. Haiti, he argued, drawing upon the racist theories of the French theorist Arthur de Gobineau, was best suited not for European-style democracy but for leadership of a despotic “African” kind. Given that the Haitian Revolution of 1791 to 1804 had been central to the development of modern universal human rights, Duvalier’s interpretation was both historically suspect and deeply cynical. But it served his purposes, and those of many outside the country, well. A 1967 State Department study concluded that while Duvalier “approached psychotic proportions at times” he was a fitting President for Haitians, who were a “paranoid” group as a whole, burdened by a generalized belief in “animism.”

Jean-Claude was born in 1951 and grew up in Haiti’s National Palace, which doubled as a fortress and an arsenal. Elected in a murky and violent political campaign that began in 1956, his father responded to threats against his regime by expanding and perfecting his use of political repression and violence. He gradually eliminated or coöpted all potential sites of opposition within the country: labor unions and student groups, the Catholic Church, and the military, which he supplemented with a group of loyal paramilitaries that became known as the Tontons Macoutes.

On April 26, 1963, armed men attempted to kidnap Jean-Claude as he was driven to school. No one was harmed in the attack, but François Duvalier responded with a series of indiscriminate reprisals against military officers he suspected of scheming against him. His forces first attacked the house of a military officer, François Benoit, killing his family members and setting his house on fire while his seven-month-old baby was inside.

“Duvalierist violence appeared limitless,” the Haitian scholar Michel-Rolph Trouillot wrote in his classic 1990 study “State Against Nation.” “And because it seemed limitless, it has been called irrational.” In fact, however, there was a broader strategy: violence was “a daily sign of the omnipotence of a state that obeyed no logic besides its own…. A tally of its causalities would count more scapegoats, more victims of sheer arbitrariness, of accidents of birth, or of presence at inopportune times and places than opponents who represented any real menace.”

Some U.S. leaders, notably President John F. Kennedy, offered lukewarm support to Duvalier’s opponents. But ultimately the regime was considered a necessary counterpoint to communist Cuba. Starting in the mid-nineteen-sixties, one U.S. President after another funnelled aid to Duvalier, even as waves of Haitian immigrants fleeing poverty and political oppression arrived in the U.S..

When François died in 1971, Jean-Claude inherited this carefully crafted form of centralized violence. To make sure the transfer of power went smoothly, the U.S. dispatched warships to the coast of Haiti. In his first speech, Jean-Claude declared, “The United States will always find Haiti on its side against Communism.”

Bolstered by the U.S., the regime operated with impunity. Government funds were embezzled and siphoned out of the country, which later enabled Duvalier to live well in exile. Poverty, environmental decline, and poor health conditions in much of the country went unaddressed. Those suspected of political opposition were imprisoned, tortured, or forced into exile. The notorious Fort Dimanche prison, where many prisoners were held, was the most vivid symbol of Duvalier’s repression.

In order to boost the economy, Duvalier offered incentives to foreign companies to set up factories in Haiti. Boosters claimed the country would become the “Taiwan of the Caribbean.” The factories came, and they did offer employment to some. (At one point, every ball used in Major League Baseball was manufactured in Haiti.) But the idea that such investment would provide a stepping stone to broader economic development proved false: without sustained support for the agricultural sector, which had always been the central economic engine in Haiti, and without broader investments in education and infrastructure, these initiatives mostly benefitted the companies that ran them. Worse, they contributed to the steady and unplanned expansion of Port-au-Prince. The major monument to this economic experiment is Cité Soleil, the sprawling slum that expanded around one of the industrial zones and housed far more people than could ever been employed by the factories.

Duvalier’s years in power triggered a vast wave of emigration, beginning in the nineteen-sixties and expanding in the seventies to include a diverse array of Haitians from all classes. They travelled however they could—by plane if they were lucky, more often on precarious boat journeys. The emigration created a Haitian diaspora in New York, Miami, Boston, and Montreal. Remittances became the major source of foreign aid to Haiti, comprising up to a third of the money flowing into the country by the early nineteen-eighties.

In these diasporic communities, sometimes referred to as the “liberated territory” of Haiti, intellectuals, artists, and activists criticized the Duvalier regime and protested U.S. policies that simultaneously sustained the dictatorship and turned away its fleeing victims. The Carter Administration’s emphasis on human rights led to an easing of political repression in the late seventies, during which journalists—notably those at Radio Haiti—began criticizing the government from within. With the election of Ronald Reagan, Duvalier’s regime once again lashed out against its political opponents, but the seeds of opposition had been planted, and by the early eighties resistance in both rural areas and cities expanded. After several high-school students were killed by police during a protest in Gonaïves, a national uprising broke out and forced Duvalier into exile. During the following decade, the country was haunted by what Trouillot called “Duvalierism after Duvalier,” as democratic advances were met with military coups carried out by members of the old regime. These political upheavals brought more suffering to Haiti’s people, and sent new waves of migrants towards the United States throughout the late eighties and early nineties.

When Duvalier is buried, there will be many conversations in the streets and homes of Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, and Gonaïves, but also in those of Brooklyn, Miami, Montreal, Cayenne, the Bahamas, Guadeloupe, and Paris. The memories of those who suffered under the Duvalier regime have been passed on quietly within families inside and outside of the country, and more openly through such writers as Marie Vieux-Chauvet, Frankétienne, and Edwidge Danticat. But many have inherited a hesitation to speak about what happened during those years. The deep desire for closure, redemption, and reparation is still shadowed by a legacy of impunity and forgetting. Haiti’s future depends on a serious reckoning with the inheritance of the Duvalier regime. Now that Jean-Claude is gone, what shape will that reckoning take?

For the original report go to http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/will-haiti-reckon-duvalier-years

Posted by: lisaparavisini | October 27, 2014

Haiti’s Citadel a symbol of hope

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Once one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Caribbean, Haiti is now one of the region’s least-visited destinations due to its political instability and a poor tourism infrastructure, ioltravel.com.au reports.

One of the country’s bright spots however is the imposing Citadelle Laferriere in the north of the country near the border with the Dominican Republic. The largest fortress in the Americas, it still draws visitors looking to explore.

The ruined Sans-Souci Palace is at the start of the trail to the Citadel, where tourists can buy souvenirs, hire a guide or rent a horse for the 90-minute uphill trek to the summit of the 910 metre Bonnet a L’Eveque mountain.

Now considered a symbol of Haiti, the fortress was commissioned by Henri Christophe a year after the country gained independence from France in 1804. Christophe, a key leader during the Haitian slave rebellion, was also responsible for the Sans-Souci Palace, which was built in the same style as its namesake in Potsdam near Berlin but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1843.

Wooden huts and banana trees line the trail to the fortress and it is clear to see that the people here are significantly poorer and more subdued than other parts of the Caribbean.

The Citadel offers many of the villagers a living, including Charles, who offers his services as a tour guide.

“I speak English,” says the 13-year-old.

Charles names all the trees and plants in the area, as well as explaining why so much deforestation has taken place in Haiti.

“Many of us live without electricity or gas so have to cook using wood fires,” he says.

Cap Haitien and the Atlantic coast where Christopher Columbus’ ship Santa Maria sank in 1492 are visible from the gun battery of the fortress.

The Citadel with its four-metre thick walls was built between 1805 and 1816 by over 20 000 workers to keep the newly independent nation of Haiti safe from French attacks. Today, it still houses more than 200 cannons and 15 000 cannon balls.

Taxi driver Augustin Gilles warns that darkness is about to fall so it is time to drive the 17 kilometres back to Cap Haitien. The road is full of potholes and many Haitians travel at night without any lights on their cars.

The 43-year-old walked with his customers to the fortress and charged 80 dollars for the seven-hour round trip that also included a tour of the local villages.

“It’s very safe here in the north,” he says.

Violence is much more prevalent in Port-au-Prince where much of the population continues to live in deplorable conditions four years after the devastating earthquake that shook the country.

For the original report go to http://www.iol.co.za/travel/haiten-citadel-a-symbol-of-hope-1.1771138#.VE8F6UuWGAQ

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Puerto Rican pop singer Ricky Martin says he is disappointed, after a district judge broke with consensus to maintain a ban on equal marriage, pinkness.co.uk reports.
Judges across the US have almost uniformly agreed that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, after the Supreme Court struck down the Defence of Marriage Act last year.
However, District Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez dismissed a case against Puerto Rico’s same-sex marriage ban this week, becoming only the second to do so..
Out singer Ricky Martin – who has previously called for equal marriage in Puerto Rico – said: “”I regret the decision in Puerto Rico about [equal marriage], but I know that we will win the appeal. All the rights for all the love.”
In his ruling, Judge Perez-Gimenez cited a ruling from 1972 against same-sex marriage – which almost all other judges in the country agreed had been rendered obsolete by subsequent case law – and claimed: “Recent affirmances of same-gender marriage seem to suffer from a peculiar inability to recall the principles embodied in existing marriage law.”
However, the ruling is expected to be overturned on appeal, as it is considered extremely unlikely to stand up to scrutiny.
The Human Rights Campaign said: “[This] rogue ruling contradicts dozens of federal district and circuit court decisions over the last 15 months that have struck down discriminatory state marriage bans as unconstitutional – all based on Windsor.”
“Plain and simple, Judge Perez-Gimenez got it wrong. The US Constitution does not allow for such blatant discrimination as Puerto Rico’s law that keeps certain couples from marrying, just because they’re gay or lesbian.”

For the original report go to http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/10/25/us-ricky-martin-disappointed-after-puerto-rico-judge-upholds-ban-on-same-sex-marriage/

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 27, 2014

Lake Enriquillo recovers level, but still loses wildlife

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Last week, environmentalist José A. Matos said that Lake Enriquillo has lost five centimeters in the last 21 days; and, although the lake has been recovering and he observes more greenery recently, the fauna has declined, especially iguanas and birds, such as ravens, caos, flamingos, spoonbills, Florida ducks, grey doves, parrots, and yaguazas. Here are excerpts:

[. . .] He said the lake has dropped 94 centimeters thus far this year, which he affirms is noteworthy compared with recent levels, whereas a similar downturn occurs at nearby Azuei Lake –shared with Haiti- lower by 69cm thus far, “proving once again that the levels of both lakes behave independently, despite sharing rainfall figures.”

In a statement, Matos said it has been raining in the western part of Lake Enriquillo, and observed more greenery during his last visit to the area.

“Lake Enriquillo’s level recorded high growth from 2007 to 2013, as its salinity three times that of the sea has highly diminished and can be observed,” the researcher said.

He said the lake’s flora and fauna have declined, especially iguanas and bird populations, such as ravens, caos, flamingos, spoonbill, Florida ducks, grey doves, parrots, yaguazas and others.

For original article, see http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/tourism/2014/10/23/53110/Lake-Enriquillo-recovers-level-but-still-loses-wildlife

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 27, 2014

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Celebrate 36th Year of Independence

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Happy 36th anniversary of independence to all Vincentians! The country obtained its independence on October 27, 1979. Here is some basic information on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, courtesy of Soca News:

St. Vincent & the Grenadines is a nation of 32 islands located between St. Lucia and Grenada. St. Vincent – the main population centre – is mountainous and lush. Rainforests thrive in the interior and La Soufriere, a 4,000ft tall active volcano, dominates the north. On the south west coast is Kingstown, the nation’s capital. The remaining Grenadines lie to the south of St. Vincent. The largest and most populated are Bequia, Mustique, Canouan and Union Island.

St. Vincent was granted associate statehood status on October 27th 1969, giving it complete control over its internal affairs. Exactly 10 years later, on 27th October 1979, following a referendum under Milton Cato, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines became the last of the Windward Islands to gain full independence.

One of the features of St. Vincent’s Independence celebrations is an annual cycling competition, which has been taking place this weekend. Cycling is increasingly popular on the island. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.socanews.com/articles/article.php?St-Vincent-and-the-Grenadines-celebrate-36th-Year-of-Independence-990

Also see http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2014/10/27/st-vincent-and-grenadines-celebrates-35th-independence-day/

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 27, 2014

Poetry for a Cause: “Oscar—Hecho de poesía”

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“Oscar—Hecho de poesía” [Oscar—Made of Poetry] is an event in support of political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. The event entails 33 hours of poetry readings for López Rivera calling for his release and further bringing attention to this cause. “Oscar—Hecho de poesía” will run from Friday, November 14, at 10:00am until Saturday, November 15, at 7:00pm in front to the Federal Court, located on Chardón Avenue in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.

More than 100 poets have confirmed their participation in this marathon poetry happening sponsored by El Post Antillano, Radio Vieques, and Poetas en Marcha.

To confirm your attendance, write to wpv49@yahoo.com, nestylibre@gmail.com, and marioantoniorosa@hotmai.com

See previous posts: Open Letter to President Obama: A Pardon for Oscar López Rivera, Freedom for Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera: The “32 x Oscar” Project, and Book Review: Puerto Rican Independentista Oscar López Rivera’s 32 Years of Resistance to Torture

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