Bureau Chief, Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean
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Oct 21, 2011

Growing Cuban private sector spurs change: U.S. group

MIAMI (Reuters) – Cuban government reforms expanding the private sector are driving real change on the communist-ruled island, spurring hopes for economic growth and greater freedom, a U.S. pro-democracy group said on Friday.

Freedom House, often vilified by Cuban state commentators as a tool of U.S. efforts to topple communist rule in Cuba, offered the unusually positive assessment of the impact of President Raul Castro’s reforms in a report based on a field survey conducted on the island in June.

Oct 19, 2011

NGO proposes cholera vaccine plan for Haiti

MIAMI (Reuters) – A U.S. NGO plans to start a ground-breaking cholera vaccination campaign in Haiti in January, it said Wednesday, as experts warned that efforts to combat the year-old deadly epidemic were faltering badly.

Paul Farmer, co-founder of Boston-based Partners in Health (PIH), told a conference call that Haiti’s cholera epidemic was now the most serious in the world proportionate to the size of the poor earthquake-ravaged Caribbean nation.

Oct 5, 2011

Terms of Cuban spy release irritate U.S.-Cuba ties

MIAMI (Reuters) – A convicted Cuban spy who is required to remain on probation in the United States after his scheduled release on Friday may face threats to his safety and should be sent back to the communist island, his lawyer says.

Rene Gonzalez will be the first to be released out of the so-called “Cuban Five” group of jailed agents who were arrested in 1998 and convicted of spying in 2001 in a Miami court.

Sep 25, 2011

It hurts but do what we did, Africans tell Europeans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the world’s finance czars clamored this week for decisive action to clean up Europe’s debt crisis, ministers from the planet’s poorest region Africa were quietly saying “been there, done that”.

A weekend briefing by African finance ministers at IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington attracted modest media attention, but there was quiet pride in the way representatives from tiny states like Cape Verde and Gambia were able to claim concrete achievements in managing debt and public finances.

Sep 24, 2011

Ivory Coast seeks to assure Eurobond holders

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ivory Coast will resume regular repayments on its defaulted $2.3 billion Eurobond next year and will seek a formula to make good on missed coupon payments, Finance Minister Charles Koffi Diby said on Saturday.

The minister, who was in Washington attending IMF/World bank meetings, stressed that the world’s top cocoa grower intended to honor its debt obligations as it worked to get its economy back on course after a post-election conflict.

Sep 23, 2011

African “lions” can still rise-IMF/World Bank

WASHINGTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – A global downturn may tone
down the roar of Africa’s bounding “lion” economies, but they
can keep a spring in their step if governments deepen reforms
and maintain prudent policies, the World Bank and IMF say.

Even as World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned of a
“darkening outlook” for developing nations projected by
European and U.S. debt woes, top bank and fund officials sought
to preserve a guarded positive outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sep 21, 2011

IMF says ready to work with Malawi on restoring aid

WASHINGTON, Sept 21 (Reuters) – The International Monetary
Fund is ready to discuss working with Malawi to try to get its
stalled IMF program back on track, the fund’s vice-president
for Africa Antoinette Sayeh said on Wednesday.

The IMF had approved a 3-year $79.4 million facility for
the small southern African state in February last year but the
program was hit by the government’s initial failure to devalue
the Malawian kwacha and implement public finance management
reforms, among other issues.

Sep 21, 2011

Be ready for downturn, World Bank tells developing nations

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Developing countries can prepare for the threat of a global recession by improving policies to generate growth and jobs, diversifying economies, bolstering their banking sectors and readying social safety nets, the World Bank’s top economists said on Wednesday.

Bank chief economist and senior vice president Justin Yifu Lin told a round table in Washington that the sentiment in the international economic community had abruptly changed from a feeling of general confidence in global recovery six months ago to “alarming uncertainty” now facing policy-makers.

Sep 7, 2011

Obama urged to wield U.N. veto against Palestinians

MIAMI (Reuters) – President Barack Obama should say clearly and publicly the United States will use its veto on the U.N. Security Council to block any Palestinian bid to gain U.N. membership, a senior Republican lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a conservative who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, made the call as Obama’s administration made diplomatic moves to try to head off a Palestinian plan to gain statehood recognition at the U.N. General Assembly session that begins on September 19.

Sep 5, 2011

Katia ramps up power, but seen missing US East Coast

MIAMI, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Hurricane Katia powered up to a
major Category 3 storm on Monday, but was expected to veer away
from the U.S. East Coast later this week, avoiding a direct hit
on a seaboard already battered by earlier Hurricane Irene.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned however that U.S.
East Coast beaches should still watch out in the coming week
for large swells generated by Katia which could cause
life-threatening coastal surf and rip currents.

    • About Pascal

      "I am based in Miami, heading the editorial reporting team covering the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. This includes Cuba and Haiti and we are also in charge of covering the annual Atlantic hurricane season and Space missions from Cape Canaveral. Previously, I was Chief Correspondent for West and Central Africa, and chief correspondent, Venezuela, following earlier postings in Cuba, Brazil, southern Africa, Portugal and Spain."
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