Seemingly Selfish, Lesbian Ex-Pats Seek Personal Peace (and some damn, good shopping) in South Florida

Sara and I are planning a weekend trip to Miami and hoping that Haitian streets remain quiet this week, ahead of our planned departure on Friday.  However, recent developments in the news, some even in the past several hours, hint that peace in Port-au-Prince could be short-lived.  Let’s keep all selfish, Lesbian fingers crossed that we gals get gone from Haiti before politics throw an exile-returning monkey wrench into our scheme for peace.

Over the weekend we learned specifically that the Haitian Electoral Council will announce on Wednesday the winners in Haiti’s first round of presidential elections—“winners” being the two candidates with the most votes, who will run-off on March 20th.

The American government, in an effort to persuade Haiti to accept the election outcome supported by the OAS (Organization of American States), revoked the US visas of 12 top political leaders from Haitian President Preval’s Inite party.  An OAS investigation found massive fraud in November 28th’s election and recommended that Preval’s hand-picked candidate, Jude Celestin, be eliminated from the run-off.  Bowing to this pressure late last week, Preval’s party withdrew its support of Celestin, but Celestin himself has refused to concede defeat and remove himself from the process.

However, any potential unrest from Wednesday’s electoral announcement could be complicated further by what Haitian President Preval and his council of ministers decided to do on Monday afternoon—grant former President Aristide a diplomatic passport, so he can return to Haiti.

Clearly, the Obama administration was concerned enough about Haiti’s ability to transfer power away from Preval, whose term ends on February 7th, that it sent US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Port-au-Prince on Sunday to meet with the current president and the three presidential candidates fighting for top spots on March 20th’s ballot.  I suspect the US is concerned that Haiti not devolve into the same kind of political unrest we’ve seen recently in Tunisia and Egypt.  US interests in the region depend on peace being maintained in its own hemisphere, especially in a place just 600 miles south of Miami and too close to Cuba for comfort, a goal that Aristide’s return could threaten.

Cuba also came into play on Monday afternoon, as rumors spread that Aristide had already left South Africa, where he’s lived in exile since 2004, and had returned in the Caribbean, in preparation for his arrival Port-au-Prince.  Some reports had him in Venezuela, others in Cuba.  However, Aristide’s attorney has since confirmed that the former president has not yet left South Africa.

Aristide maintains a huge following among Haiti’s poor, and his Lavalas party was not allowed to participate in November’s election.

Today’s New York Times has a story that nicely assesses the Aristide situation, outlining the potential complications.

Clearly, political tensions here in Haiti seem to be heating up   Selfish as it sounds (and admittedly it is selfish), Sara and I hope things don’t boil over before our weekend escape to South Florida.  Though not returning home to Kentucky, we’re looking forward to the comforts of American television (minus Super-Bowl Sunday), foods as heart attack-inducing as McDonald’s Big Mac and fries, and some quiet time to enjoy South Beach and play our part, as gratuitous American consumers, shopping till greed and guilt get the best of us or our wallets are emptied—a little retail therapy to lift our spirits and boost the lagging US economy.

Somebody’s got to do it; might as well be this pair of globe-trotting, dog-loving lesbians, who need a little personal peace, as well. 

(Apologies for the Super Bowl snub; we expats like our football better in the form of World Cup action.)

24 thoughts on “Seemingly Selfish, Lesbian Ex-Pats Seek Personal Peace (and some damn, good shopping) in South Florida

  1. It’s so interesting how things are unfolding there, and it all seems to happen so quickly. Or not at all.
    I hope you can get away and have a fabulous weekend retreat in South Florida – I can understand your need for it.
    Sunshine xx


  2. I prefer World Cup action over the Super Bowl too.

    What a tangled web Haitian politics seem to be! It’s a wonder anyone can keep up with it. I meant to mention, after Baby Doc came back, that I was watching the McLaughlin Group on PBS and it was said that the reason he returned to Haiti had to do with following the money. Swiss banks froze the money in “his” accounts and if he can show that he can freely move in and out of Haiti, they will unfreeze his account(s). It seemed as good a theory as any I’ve heard so far.

    I hope everything goes smoothly and that you’re able to have your weekend away.


  3. I suddenly feel like Piglet…”Oh dear, oh dear.” I hope you and Sara have safe travels both out of Haiti and back into Haiti this weekend. I can only imagine how political turmoil could potentially upset plans.

    And so what if you’re being selfish? Selfishness is not the horrible personality trait everyone thinks it is. (Well…maybe not “everyone.” Need to be careful with those generalizations–I just went over them in class, lol.) I actually think that sometimes in order to be the most effective, we have to take care of ourselves too. Obviously selfishness becomes a problem when you literally don’t give a crap about anybody else’s needs, but I’d say you and Sara are far from that mindset! Take a break, recharge your expat lesbian batteries, and enjoy yourselves! You are only effective when you are mentally, emotionally, and physically capable (according to whatever standards you yourself use to determine capability).


  4. “Let’s keep all selfish, Lesbian fingers crossed that we gals get gone from Haiti before politics throw an exile-returning monkey wrench into our scheme for peace.”- This sentence needs to win an award, seriously.
    Hope things stay calm, and you can get a little American down time!


    • Thanks, Tori! Glad you like the sentence! That’s very fun to hear. And I love it when people comment on writing style–thanks for that! How about the fun over at Mrs. H’s blog today! Way to go, girl! Love to be in such great company!


  5. I’m not so certain that the US government is overtly concerned about Haiti…if they had been…we would have seen greater support for the recovery process…not oil there I guess. ;-(


  6. Have a great weekend of well deserved r&r and retail therapy – a good strategy to shop during the SuperBowl!
    Haiti was getting a lot of news coverage in Canada up until the situation in Egypt. CBC radio ran an excellent documentary on Baby Doc’s return, and interviewed his acting lawyer, who had some divided loyalties on the topic. Loving your updates – so interesting.


    • Thanks, Deanna. Can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to some lazy lounging.

      But the Baby Doc documentary sounds interesting–wonder if it’s available online for listening.

      Stay warm up there this weekend!


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