The news from Ukraine is terrifying. Russian troops continue their advance, shelling the cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv, and seizing lands to the south along the Black Sea coast. Negotiations to end the war have not gone well, though Ukraine and Russia's governments did agree to create a “humanitarian” corridor to allow civilians to leave conflict zones and seek refuge. The number of refugees has already topped 1 million, with at least another million people internally displaced.
Workers in Haiti's free trade zones are protesting for better wages and improved work conditions. The latest demonstrations began in the CARACOL industrial park near Cap Haitien, but shifted to the industrial zones near the airport in Port au Prince over the last two weeks.
For our last installation of this year's Black History Month series, we are highlighting the life and work of Honduran Garifuna activist Miriam Miranda.
"We are looking for a way to get out of Chiapas because in Chiapas there is no way to live because people are treating you like animals, your rights are being violated. So if we are refugees we are fighting so that we can get out and looking for a way to live so that we can eat.” —Haitian migrant statement to the Colectivo de Observación y Monitoreo de Derechos Humanos en el Sureste Méxicano, August 2021.
For this week's Black History Month series at the Quixote Center, our board member Serge Hyacinthe explains the cultural and historical significance of Haitian vodou, and how it is often misrepresented.
Biden has deported nearly as many Haitians in his first year as the last three presidents - combined
Biden has expelled nearly as many Haitians in 12 months (20,200+) as were deported during the previous 20 years (22,000-23,000)*** under three different presidents. Indeed, Biden’s administration has likely expelled far more: In addition to these official removal numbers, another estimated 8,000 Haitians were expelled back into Mexico in September of 2021, voluntarily according to DHS Secretary Mayorkas, but in circumstances that make that characterization suspect.
February 7th was the day a new government should have been inaugurated in Haiti. The day came and went without a new president, or a new agreement on a process to elect one. It also passed without any significant protests or conflict. Given the security situation, that last bit is not really surprising.
In celebration of Black History Month, the Quixote Center is launching a weekly series to highlight the history, leaders, and cultures of Afro-descendant communities in Central America, Mexico, and Haiti.
The Biden Administration deported more than 16,000 Haitian refugees between September 19, 2021 and January 25, 2022. A large portion of these expulsions are family groups; nearly 20% of those expelled are children. The obscenity of expelling refugee children, some as young as 15 days old, would seem to require no complicated exegesis to demonstrate. It is quite obviously the wrong thing to do. Yet, Biden persists.
[caption id="attachment_10129" align="aligncenter" width="821"] Dancers in Diriamba wear painted, wooden masks. Image Courtesy of Ruta Virtual del Güegüense, Archivo Luvy Rappaccioli[/caption]