—or so I’m told—
And Sara and I are glad to be back on Planet Port-au-Prince, where a routine of strange and absurd leaves predictability-addicted ex-pats like us whip-lashed and dizzied.
Remember the epigraph that inspired “reinventing the event horizon”——
Haiti is not simply one more of those tropical dictatorships where to rule is to steal, and headless bodies are found by the road. Haiti contorts time: It convolutes reason if you are lucky–and obliterates it if you are not. Haiti is to this hemisphere what black holes are to outer space. Venture there and you cross an event horizon. (T. D. Allman, After Baby Doc, 1989)
From a much-too-short weekend in Miami, Sara and I have crossed that event horizon, come home to Haiti, where the streets are rocking with protesters—
Stone-throwing, tire-burning Haitians took to the streets on Monday, calling for the removal of unpopular President Preval, whose term ended yesterday, or should have, had he not decided to extend it by three months.
So it seems—————Preval is staying, Baby-Doc has settled in, and Aristide is on his way.
As journalist Emily Troutman tweeted yesterday, the only thing that would be weirder is if “Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines came back too.” (Both were Haitian revolutionary heroes who fought for freedom against the French more than 200 years ago.)
In the unfortunate (but sanity-maintaining) event that you are new to Planet Port-au-Prince here’s a recap of recent events:
–On January 12, 2011 an earthquake leveled Haiti’s capital, killing nearly a quarter of million, and leaving one and a half million homeless and still living in tents a year later.
–In October Hurricane Tomas hit Haiti, further complicating relief efforts.
–Also in October, a cholera epidemic took hold, and by now, 3 months later, has needlessly killed more than 4 thousand.
–On November 28, 2011 Haiti held a fraudulent presidential election, during which ballot boxes arrived at poling places stuffed with votes for the ruling political party’s candidate, Jude Celestine.
–After election results were announced on December 8, 2010 (identifying Mirlande Manigat and Jude Celestine as the top two vote-getters who would run-off in a final round on January 16, 2011 and excluding popular, musician candidate Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly from the second round), protesters took to the streets, rioting for an annulment of the election and leaving Port-au-Prince in a virtual lock-down that even closed the international airport for four days.
–In January 2011 the OAS (Organization of American States) reviewed election results and determined that they were indeed fraudulent and that Jude Celestine should be eliminated from a second round run-off.
–On January 16, 2011, the scheduled day of the original run-off, the delayed event was nearly forgotten when the former Haitian dictator (exiled in France since 1986) Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier arrived unexpectedly in Port-au-Prince.
–Two days later Baby Doc was arrested and released on charges of corruption.
–Also in January, when members of President Preval’s Unity Party refused to follow the recommendation of the OAS that their candidate Jude Celestine be disqualified, the US State Department revoked the visas of 12 top officials in an effort to force the issue.
–On February 3, 2011 the Haitian Provisional Electoral Council, following the recommendation of the OAS, announced the revised results of November’s election, determining by a vote of 5 to 3, that the two candidates to run-off in a March 20th final round would be Mirlande Manigat and Michel Martelly.
–Though this announcement too was expected to result in rioting, the exclusion of unpopular Celestine left Port-au-Prince relatively quiet and calm.
–(In the midst of this, Sara and I left Port-au-Prince on Friday, February 4th for a long weekend on the beach in South Florida.)
–Monday, February 7th, the Haitian government issued a sting of its own to Duvalier supports, when it announced it had printed a diplomatic passport for the still-wildly-popular and first-democratically-elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who has lived in exile in South Africa since 2004. (So he can return home, Aristide has been requesting a passport for more than a month.)
–(As Haitians await the imminent return of Aristide, Sara and I snuck back into Haiti on a nearly empty American Airlines flight (because few folks are stupid enough to return to Port-au-Prince during this time of political unrest with arch rivals Duvalier and Aristide waiting in the wings.)
So readers of my blog should be assured—I’m back on the job.
This week I’ll be formally accepting “awards” I’ve received during my holiday—the “Memetastic Award” (from Clouded Marbles) and “The Stylish Blogger Award” (from Wendy over at Herding Cats in Hammond River). And I’ll pass along the “prizes” to other deserving bloggers in the next couple of days.
So I’m back at my desk—
Blogging from my home-sweet Haitian home on Planet Port-au-Prince.
Come play with me. You too can have time-contorted and reason-obliterated!
Come wait for Aristide with me———————-
(I look forward to catching up with all of your blogs, as well.)