Bureau Chief, Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean
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Mar 11, 2011

No Doomsday seen in recent quakes, just “bad luck”

MIAMI (Reuters) – Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, and now Japan.

Powerful killer earthquakes have rocked one corner of the globe to another in just over a year but scientists warn against looking for a Doomsday scenario in this recurring ripple of big earthshaking natural disasters.

“There’s nothing going on out of the ordinary,” Dr. Daniel McNamara, a research seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told Reuters.

Feb 15, 2011

U.S. aims Latam trade accords to Congress by mid-year

MIAMI (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s administration aims to send stalled free trade pacts with Colombia and Panama to Congress by the middle of this year after fresh analysis of the situation in both countries, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.

The administration is coming under increasing pressure from lawmakers, especially leading Republicans, and from U.S. farm and business groups to lay out a fast timetable for winning congressional approval of the free trade agreements (FTAs)with the two Latin American states.

Feb 7, 2011

Republican foreign policy “wolf” shows her teeth

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For years, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been busy lecturing world leaders over human rights abuses.

Now that she is the new Republican chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, she has a chance to try to back up her muscular rhetoric with action.

Jan 23, 2011

Haiti’s “Baby Doc” is back: but for love or money?

MIAMI, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Haiti’s ex-dictator Jean-Claude
“Baby Doc” Duvalier says “solidarity” led him to return to his
Caribbean homeland where his name is still reviled by many and
where he faces claims for retribution from alleged victims.

But some lawyers who track the world’s most egregious human
rights offenders think there may be more cold calculation than
homesickness in his Jan. 16 return to the poor, disaster-prone
nation from which he fled to gilded exile in France in 1986.

Jan 19, 2011

Trying “Baby Doc” can bolster Haiti state

MIAMI (Reuters) – Haiti must try former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier to uphold the rule of law and strengthen the government in the unstable, earthquake-battered Caribbean nation, said an international human rights lawyer who has pursued ex-despots.

Human Rights Watch counsel Reed Brody, who helped prosecute former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and has represented victims of Chad’s exiled ex-ruler Hissene Habre, said the chance to bring Duvalier to justice should be seized by Haiti’s government as an important confidence-building measure.

Jan 15, 2011

U.S. further eases travel, remittances to Cuba

WASHINGTON/MIAMI (Reuters) – President Barack Obama issued an executive order on Friday loosening more restrictions on U.S. travel and money remittances to Cuba, a further step in his efforts to reach out to the people of the communist-ruled country.

The latest measures, which stop short of lifting a ban on tourist travel to the island by Americans, are aimed at developing “people-to-people” contacts by allowing more travel for college professors and students, artists and church groups.

Dec 29, 2010

“Eat’em” stratagem for lionfish invasion in Florida

MIAMI (Reuters) – Florida marine conservationists have come up with a simple recipe for fighting the invading lionfish that is gobbling up local reef life — eat them.

The Key Largo-based REEF conservation organization has just released “The Lionfish Cookbook,” a collection of 45 recipes which is the group’s latest strategy to counter an invasion of the non-native reddish brown-striped fish in Florida waters.

Dec 28, 2010

Freeze hits Florida citrus, some fruit damage seen

MIAMI (Reuters) – An overnight freeze hit several central Florida citrus growing areas, icing up fruit and raising fears of damage to the leaves and small twigs of trees, growers said Tuesday.

It was the second significant hard freeze to maul orange and other citrus groves in Florida in two weeks, and farmers fretted over the early freezing temperatures.

Dec 24, 2010

Haiti urged to halt cholera anti-voodoo lynchings

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – The head of Haiti’s voodoo religion appealed to authorities Thursday to halt bloody lynchings of voodoo priests by people who blame them for causing the Caribbean country’s deadly cholera epidemic.

Since the epidemic started in mid-October, at least 45 male and female voodoo priests, known respectively as “houngan” and “manbo,” have been killed. Many of the victims were hacked to death and mutilated by machetes, Max Beauvoir, the “Ati” or supreme leader of Haitian voodoo, told Reuters.

Dec 22, 2010

U.S. diplomats were leery of Allen Stanford -cable

MIAMI, Dec 22 (Reuters) – U.S. diplomats in the Caribbean
were already wary of Texas financier Allen Stanford, who faces
trial for allegedly leading a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, years
before he was detained in 2009 on massive fraud charges, a
diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks shows.

The May 2006 confidential report from the U.S. Embassy in
Bridgetown, Barbados describes Stanford as a “controversial
Texan billionaire” and major investor in the Caribbean and
adds: “His companies are rumored to engage in bribery, money
laundering, and political manipulation.”

    • 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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