Bureau Chief, Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean
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Feb 1, 2012

“Sit-tight” rulers risk African Spring: Nobel Laureate Soyinka

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Aging African presidents who try to cling to power by manipulating constitutions and judiciaries risk the same popular rebellions that toppled rulers in last year’s Arab Spring, Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka said Wednesday.

Citing as examples Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, who are both well in their eighties, Soyinka criticized “sit-tight rulers” who sought to hang on in office despite being “obviously beyond their prime.”

Jan 8, 2012

On uneasy ANC centenary, a call for cleansing

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa (Reuters) – A black bull bellows and snorts in its death throes, sacrificed with a ceremonial spear in an age-old African cleansing ritual to ward off evil spirits and appease the souls of ancestors.

South African President Jacob Zuma led the purification ceremony at the weekend at the site where the ruling party he leads, the African National Congress, was born 100 years ago. The birth launched decades of exile, protest and armed struggle that finally ended apartheid white-minority rule in 1994, when elections ushered in a multi-racial democracy.

Jan 8, 2012

Insight: On uneasy ANC centenary, a call for cleansing

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa (Reuters) – A black bull bellows and snorts in its death throes, sacrificed with a ceremonial spear in an age-old African cleansing ritual to ward off evil spirits and appease the souls of ancestors.

South African President Jacob Zuma led the purification ceremony at the weekend at the site where the ruling party he leads, the African National Congress (ANC), was born 100 years ago. The birth launched decades of exile, protest and armed struggle that finally ended apartheid white-minority rule In 1994, when elections ushered in a multi-racial democracy.

Dec 1, 2011

World Bank grants $255 million for Haiti’s recovery

MIAMI, Dec 1 (Reuters) – The World Bank is allocating $255
million for Haiti’s post-earthquake reconstruction over the
next 12 months, including support for education, agriculture
and disaster risk management, the bank said on Thursday.

The announcement of the grants came in the same week as
President Michel Martelly’s government hosted hundreds of
foreign investors and declared itself “open for business” in an
ambitious strategy to boost rebuilding of the Western
Hemisphere’s poorest economy after last year’s earthquake.

Nov 18, 2011

IMF, World Bank should bring Cuba “in from cold:” report

MIAMI (Reuters) – The international development community, especially financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank, and the United States should reach out to communist Cuba as it pursues economic reforms and bring it “in from the cold,” a new think tank report says.

The report published by the Brookings Institution in Washington says incipient economic reforms set in motion by Cuban President Raul Castro should be encouraged by the world’s economic policy makers because history suggests that such reforms can foster political pluralism.

Nov 17, 2011

Analysis: Haitian army: ghost of bloody past set for revival

PORT-AU-PRINCE/MIAMI (Reuters) – No one disputes that Haiti needs battalions of builders, developers and investors to help it rise from the ruins of last year’s earthquake.

But does it need a gun-toting Haitian army?

With debris from the catastrophe still clogging Haiti’s capital and nearby towns, a plan by President Michel Martelly to bring back to life an armed forces disbanded 16 years ago is triggering potentially divisive political and social tremors.

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.

    • 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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