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Issue 43
 An online magazine about investing, living, working and relocating to the Caribbean.
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 Caribbean Destination : Anguilla Does It Their Way
 Caribbean Culture : Crops, Caribbean Style, Pt 2
 Caribbean Living : Femur Follies In Belize
 Caribbean Expat : Realizing Dreams in Nicaragua  Part 2
 Caribbean Focus  : Tourism And Travel (series)  
 Caribbean Heart : Remembering Haiti (a series)
 Caribbean Gems : The Sybarite Guide to DR Beaches, Part 3
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HAITI

Wyclef Jean To Run For President of Haiti….His Vision…His Words  Musician and humanitarian, Wyclef Jean, will run for office…as president of his troubled homeland of Haiti.

Before campaigning can begin, Jean must be cleared to run by Haiti's eight-member provisional electoral council. Among the requirements he must fulfill are proving he has never renounced his Haitian citizenship by holding another — namely, U.S. — passport; and that he has been a resident of Haiti for the last five years — which by most accounts he has not.

The campaign will argue that Jean's status as a Haitian ambassador-at-large, a post he was awarded in 2007, exempts him from having not spent more time in the country of late.  If approval comes, Haiti's particular brand of Byzantine and often brutal politics will really begin. Jean's charisma and popularity in Port-au-Prince's vast slums could draw comparisons — some favorable, others not — to the popular but divisive former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was flown into African exile aboard a U.S. plane during a bloody 2004 rebellion.

Wildly popular with Haitian people, he is certain to be considered a potential front-runner in Haiti's November 28 election. In recent interviews with the AP  Mr. Jean indicated that he supports the U.S. and U.N. vision for rebuilding Haiti's economy after its magnitude-7 earthquake. That plan encourages private investment in factories, agriculture and other areas.

He also took time to hit back at critics of his own personal finances, including allegations over his use of post-quake charity funds and the revelation he personally owes $2.1 million in back taxes to the United States.

The Haitian-born, Brooklyn-raised singer is attempting a difficult and potentially risky makeover from multimillionaire international musician to leader of one of the world's poorest and most dysfunctional countries — and hopes to do so through a pivotal and difficult election.

Among the best known figures in his native country, Jean — who left as a child — speaks American-accented Creole to crowds and New York-accented English at home. His estimated annual income of up to $18 million is more than 13,000 times more than the average Haitian sees in a year — assuming that person even has a job.

Jean's leap from entertainer to prospective head-of-state is also leading to some interesting transitional moments. After previously listing his age as 37, as a candidate he suddenly jumped to 40 years old. On Thursday he traded his urban hip-hop style for a dark suit, better to hide the rubble dust and handprints as he crowd-surfed to open his rally.

If he wins the presidency, Jean said he would encourage donors to invest heavily in education. "We can provide a way to get (Haitians) out of the mess they're in. And the way that that's going to happen (is) education, job creation and investment for Haiti," Jean said in the wide-ranging interview Thursday evening.

Jean endorses the economic vision promoted by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the U.N. special envoy who is in Haiti this week. Those plans include creating jobs in the garment export industry, boosting tourism and building the capacity of Haitian farmers to reduce the nation's chronic dependence on imports.

"President Clinton is focusing on the garment industry and all that. I think that's great. But also agriculture is involved," Jean said. "We can work both components at the same time."
Wyclef Jean
Among other potential investment targets he mentioned is mining, an industry whose ramping up amid the rising price of gold and other minerals has sparked controversy in the neighboring Dominican Republic.
The worldwide attention that his presidential bid attracts also means scrutiny and criticism — turning the campaign into what Jean called a "combat sport." He responded directly Thursday to a revelation published this week on the U.S.-based website The Smoking Gun concerning his unpaid U.S. taxes.

"First of all, owing $2.1 million to the IRS shows you how much money Wyclef Jean makes a year," he said, pledging to publish an accounting of his finances online and to repay the money he owes.

The singer also fumed when aides told him that actor Sean Penn, who has been managing an earthquake-survivor camp in the Haitian capital since the spring, had accused Jean of not spending enough time in Haiti after the quake and misappropriating $400,000 of the $9 million his charity, Yele Haiti, raised after the disaster.

"I just want Sean Penn to fully understand I am a Haitian, born in Haiti and I've been coming to my country ever since (I was) a child," he said. "He might just want to pick up the phone and meet, so he fully understands the man."

Jean stepped down from his chairmanship of Yele on Thursday ahead of his run for office. The organization has been accused of pre-quake financial improprieties that benefited the singer. The singer ultimately sees himself as an advocate for Haiti's struggling youth. Officially running under the banner of the Viv Ansanm party — whose name means "live together" — Jean is more heavily promoting his youth movement called "Fas a Fas," meaning face-to-face.  "Even if I lose, I win," he said. "It gives us an opportunity to be a voice to speak to government about what happens."


CUBA

Fidel Castro Makes First Official Government Appearance In 4 Years

Well contrary to rumor, Fidel Castro is still alive and kicking!  A lively and healthy-looking Fidel made an appeal to U.S. President Barack Obama to stave off global nuclear war in an emphatic address to parliament that marked his first official government appearance since emergency surgery four years ago.

Castro, who turns 84 this month wore olive-green fatigues devoid of any military insignia and arrived on the arm of a subordinate who steadied him as he walked. The approximately 600 lawmakers present sprang to their feet and applauded, as the gray-bearded revolutionary stepped to a podium that had been set up for him, grinning broadly and waving.

Castro has been warning in written opinion columns for months that the U.S. and Israel will launch a nuclear attack on Iran and that Washington could also target North Korea — predicting Armageddon-like devastation and fighting he expected to have already begun by now.

"Eight weeks ago, I thought that the imminent danger of war didn't have a possible solution. So dramatic was the problem that I didn't see another way out," Castro told the legislature. "I am sure that it won't be like that and, instead ... one man will make the decision alone, the president of the United States." He added of Obama, "Surely with his multiple worries, he hasn't realized this yet, but his advisers have." Castro didn't mention domestic Cuban politics or the foundering economy — instead sticking to the threat of war, the issue for which he convened Saturday's special session of parliament.

Still, his attendance, along with a slew of recent public appearances following a nearly four-year absence from public view, is sure to raise more questions about how much of a leadership role Castro is ready to reassume. Is he itching to retake his position as Cuba's "maximum leader" — or simply well enough to warn lawmakers in person that the end of the world could be near?

Castro's speech lasted barely 11 minutes — possibly a record for the man who became famous for his hours long discourses during 49 years in power — and was largely devoid of his usual America bashing. He referred to the United States as "the empire" only a few times — though he did say that if President Obama didn't intervene he would "be ordering the instantaneous death ... of hundreds of millions of people, among them an incalculable number of inhabitants of his own homeland."

In Washington, there was no immediate response from the White House. It was Castro's first appearance in parliament or at a government act since shortly before a health crisis in July 2006 that forced him to cede power to his younger brother Raul — first temporarily, then permanently. He underwent emergency intestinal surgery prompted by an illness whose exact nature has been kept a state secret, and spent years recovering in an undisclosed location.

Lawmakers have always left an empty chair to the right of Raul. It was in its usual spot Saturday — but Fidel did not sit in it. Instead, he sat next to Parliament head Ricardo Alarcon. The two consulted and cracked jokes during the assembly's one-hour-and-40-minute session. Raul Castro sat nearby, though on another part of the stage, listening intensely to the proceedings and taking notes when Fidel delivered his speech.

While it was the first time the brothers have appeared together publicly since Fidel fell ill, neither made any effort to approach the other, and they never even seemed to make eye contact. Lawmakers followed Fidel Castro's speech with enthusiastic remarks about how fully recovered and healthy he appeared. They also commented on the possibility of war.

Asked by one parliamentarian if Obama would be capable of starting a nuclear conflict, Castro replied, "No, not if we persuade him not to."  There was an uncomfortable pause as the room waited for him to continue in his trademark long-winded style. Instead, Castro patted his hand on the desk for emphasis, and then fell silent, drawing surprised applause from the crowd.
Fidel Castro
Even before Castro appeared before parliament Saturday, lawmakers and other top leaders had joined state media in calling him "commander in chief," a title he had largely shunned since relinquishing power.

Castro's message did not go over well with everyone, however. Maite Delgado, 50, started watching Castro on TV — then turned away. "This is surreal. It seems like something that's detached from reality," she said. "I'm looking for an explanation to Fidel's warning about war and I can't find one. I can't find any explanation for what he's talking about and ask myself, 'How is it possible that he doesn't speak about all of Cuba's internal problems?'"

A sudden media blitz by Castro has seen him make near-daily appearances around Havana in recent weeks. He has addressed groups of Cuban intellectuals and Communist Youth meetings, and even made a trip to the Havana aquarium for a dolphin show.  Alarcon abruptly called Saturday's session to an end, saying it was not the only "revolutionary duty" Castro had scheduled for the day. Castro responded rather sheepishly that, these days, he has "more time than I know what to do with."

COLOMBIA

Juan Santos becomes Colombia's 59th president


Juan Manuel Santos, sworn in Saturday as Colombia's 59th president, vowed to cement security gains but declared himself open to dialogue with rebels in hopes of ending the Western Hemisphere's only armed conflict. Although he was invited, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was not among the 14 Latin American and Caribbean leaders, including Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, attending Saturday's ceremony on the carpeted cobblestones of Bogota's central plaza. Also absent was Chavez's close ally President Evo Morales of Bolivia.

Chavez broke diplomatic ties with neighboring Colombia two weeks ago after outgoing hard-line President Alvaro Uribe's government presented the Organization of American States with video of alleged Colombian rebel camps in Venezuela. Chavez did, however, send his foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, who struck a conciliatory tone. "We want to extend our affectionate hand, of friendship and as brothers to all the Colombian people," he said after arriving.

Also attending was President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, which severed ties with Uribe's government in 2008 after the Colombian military raided a guerrilla camp a mile inside its territory, killing a rebel chief and 25 others.

Those ties have been on the mend, however, and Correa's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, said he planned to meet Sunday with his Colombian counterpart "to renew dialogue to establish relations between the two countries."
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 Santos indicated in his inaugural address that he would be less rigid than Uribe in dealing with Venezuela and other leftist neighbors. "When governments fight, it's their people who suffer," he said. Santos, a 58-year-old economist, also indicated his presidency would take a broader approach to ending Colombia's nearly half-century conflict — focusing for one on attacking the nation's deep-seated inequalities at their roots through social programs and job creation.

He signaled an unwillingness to talk peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, until it frees its hostages, halts "terrorist acts" and stops recruiting child soldiers and planting land mines. "But at the same time I want to reiterate: The door to dialogue is not locked," Santos said.

"It is possible to have a Colombia at peace, a Colombia without guerrillas, and we're going to prove it! By reason or by force!" A Cabinet minister in three previous governments and the great grandnephew of a president, Santos held the defense portfolio in 2006-2009 under Uribe, who remains immensely popular among Colombians for sharply diminishing murders and kidnappings and badly battering the rebels. Santos won election with 69 percent of the vote June 20.

Before his official inauguration, Santos, his wife, Maria Clemencia Rodriguez, and three children began the day high in Caribbean coastal mountains at an unorthodox "passing of the baton" ritual presided over by indigenous people from four nations. Dressed entirely in white linen and barefoot, Santos received a wooden staff, a necklace of polished stones and two string bracelets, one for each wrist. The stones represent the earth, water, nature and the government, whose job Santos said later in his inaugural speech is to protect them. The bracelets represent equilibrium.

Colombia is Washington's staunchest ally in Latin America. Representing the United States at the afternoon inauguration was Jim Jones, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, and a congressional delegation led by Rep. Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York who chairs the House subcommittee on Western Hemisphere affairs

VENEZUELA

Chavez to meet with Colombia's new president

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his new Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, will meet this week as the first step toward restoring diplomatic relations between the South American neighbors, officials said Sunday. Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin announced that the two leaders would meet in Colombia on Tuesday.

They will attempt to smooth over a diplomatic conflict that boiled over last month when Chavez severed diplomatic ties with the U.S.-allied Colombia after its outgoing president, Alvaro Uribe, accused the socialist leader of permitting Colombian rebels to find refuge within Venezuelan territory.

"We've taken this first step ... with the objective being the reestablishment of relations between the two countries," Holguin said at a joint appearance with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro. Chavez denies he has given haven to Colombian rebels, and the former paratroop commander says he has instructed his military to confront members of any illegal armed group that slips into his country.

Chavez reiterated Sunday that he wants to forge friendly relations with Colombia following Santos' inauguration Saturday. "We have much hope that the new government will begin to construct all that Uribe's government destroyed," Chavez said. Diplomatic relations between Caracas and Bogota were particularly rocky during Uribe's last year in office. Chavez completely broke relations after Uribe's government presented the Organization of American States with video of alleged Colombian rebel camps in Venezuela and demanded that Venezuela investigate the allegations.

Chavez refused to investigate, but the self-proclaimed Marxist vehemently denied aiding the left-leaning Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the smaller National Liberation Army. Earlier Sunday, Chavez urged Colombia's rebels to release their hostages as a means of kick-starting negotiations with Santos on ending the nation's decades-long armed conflict. His comments appeared to be a show of support for Santos.

"Just as one proposes that Colombia's government seek the path to peace, the guerrillas also must do it," said Chavez, speaking during his weekly radio and television program. Then he called on the rebels to release dozens of hostages held in camps located deep within Colombia's jungles. "Why do the guerrillas have people held hostage?" Chavez asked, suggesting they should not be using kidnapped Colombians to try to negotiate the release of imprisoned rebels.

Santos says he is unwilling to discuss peace with the FARC until it frees hostages, halts what he calls "terrorist acts" and stops recruiting child soldiers. Uribe opposed a swap of imprisoned rebels for hostages unless any guerrillas who were freed agreed to abandon the FARC. Chavez repeatedly criticized Uribe for focusing on weakening the rebels through increased military action — a strategy that won the two-term president strong public support — instead of trying to negotiate with the guerrillas.
Chavez said the rebels are mistaken in thinking they can seize power in Colombia through armed struggle. "The Colombian guerrillas don't have a future through the armed struggle," he said

NICARAGUA

Nicaragua: Detainees match photos of US suspects


Two foreigners detained in Nicaragua have been identified as the American couple wanted in Panama in the death of a U.S. woman, and police said Tuesday they would hand the couple over to Panamanian authorities.

The pair matched photographs provided by Panamanian authorities of William Adolfo Cortez of Texas and his wife Jane, who are being sought in the death of Lynn Hughes, Nicaraguan army spokesman Juan Ramon Morales said.

"These are the people who are being sought by police in Panama, and they will be handed over to the authorities of that country," National Police official Glenda Zavala said at a news conference. Zavala said police had not yet questioned the couple, who were detained by the Nicaraguan army Monday at the border with Costa Rica. The two identified themselves as an American man and Dutch woman and gave names that did not coincide with the Panama suspects. Nicaraguan and Panamanian authorities believe they were traveling under false names. "The photographs that we have coincided with those arrested yesterday," Morales told The Associated Press.

Panama has been informed of the identification and has begun proceedings to seek the couple's extradition, said Javier Carillo, the head of Panama's investigative police. Panamanian police found Hughes's body last week buried in the back patio of a hotel owned by Cortez in western Bocas del Toro province. She had been missing since March. Acquaintances said Hughes was from St. Louis, but the U.S. embassy in Panama refused to confirm that. Panamanian authorities said they also found the skeletal remains of a man who also might be a U.S. citizen. Panamanian police suspect Cortez killed the two in a bid to grab their property. Police said Hughes once owned the hotel where her body was found. They said records show the other victim also once owned property now under Cortez's name. Police are investigating whether the property transfers were legal.
Nicaragua
Carrillo said police believe Cortez and his wife used false names to buy property in Panama. Meanwhile out of Panama it is learned that the jailed U.S. man has admitted killing five other Americans so he could take over their businesses and other properties in a Panamanian resort area, a government prosecutor said Saturday.

The man's wife refused to talk with investigators and asked for legal assistance from the U.S. Embassy, the official said. The embassy was closed Saturday and U.S. officials could not be located for comment. The couple, William Dathan Holbert and Laura Michelle Reese, were arrested earlier this week when they tried to enter Nicaragua from Costa Rica and were sent back to Panama in shackles for questioning in the slayings of two Americans and the disappearances of three other U.S. citizens and two Panamanians.

In testimony Friday, Holbert "acknowledged that he killed five people" — the five missing American citizens, Assistant Prosecutor Angel Calderon said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "He has explained what he did, how he did it and why he did it," said Calderon, who added that Holbert denied killing the two missing Panamanians. Local media reported that a public defender was present for Holbert's questioning, but didn't report the lawyer's name, so no independent comment was available on Calderon's description of the prisoner's statements.

The case began when authorities found the bodies of a woman and a man buried behind a hostel run by Holbert in an area of small islands in Bocas del Toro, a Caribbean archipelago popular with tourists. The woman was identified as Cheryl Lynn Hughes, 53, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, who had lived in Panama 10 years and was reported missing by friends and relatives in late March. The man was Bo Icelar, who disappeared in late November and was described by a friend as the former owner of a gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Authorities in North Carolina say Holbert had owned a landscaping business in that U.S. state until six years ago, when he divorced his wife, sold the company and filed for bankruptcy. Holbert disappeared soon after and allegedly sold a house he didn't own and a car he had stolen. Police say he used aliases to elude authorities in at least six states. Calderon quoted Holbert as saying he established friendships with Icelar and Hughes by posing as a potential investor, then shot each in the head, buried them and took over their money and other properties.

But Holbert said his first killings in Panama occurred about three years ago, when he fatally shot a U.S. citizen named Mike Brown, his wife and small son in the head, the prosecutor said. Holbert said he also had developed a friendship with Brown, describing him as a fugitive sought American authorities on drug trafficking charges who was living under an assumed name, Calderon said. "Seeing that he had a lot of money and bank accounts, he shot him in the head," the prosecutor said. Calderon said Holbert told investigators about two spots on his property in Bocas del Toro where he buried the Browns and experts would examine the site next week to verify the information and exhume the bodies.

Holbert and his wife used false names and citizenship papers while living in Panama. Holbert posted as a Dutch citizen, William Cortez-Reese, and his wife went by the names Jane or Jeane Cortez. When Holbert and his wife arrived Thursday at Panama's Judicial Investigation Department, they refused to answer questions from journalists. Holbert said he would talk only to Panamanian authorities. "The people in Panama are very friendly and I like living here," he said.

YUCATAN, MEXICO

NEW “LIBERATION TREATMENT” FOR MS PATIENTS VIA CANADIAN- U.S. MEDICAL FACILITATORS IN YUCATAN

American Director Alan Graham of Medical Traveler Yucatan (MTY) announces that his medical tourism service has teamed with Dra. Elena Solis, cardiologist and a pioneer in performing the new Liberation Procedure for Multiple Sclerosis patients in Merida, Yucatan.  While still controversial in Canada and the U.S., the procedure has proven successful for nearly all MS patients who are now flocking to countries that embrace the treatment.  MTY works with Dra. Solis and Star Medica Hospital of Merida, Yucatan in making both medical and travel arrangements for American and Canadian MS patients.  www.MedicalTravelerYucatan,com

medical tourism
Graham states, “It is vital for MS patients in Canada and the U.S. to have access to this procedure.  While their home countries are still debating, patients who have undergone Liberation Treatment are reporting immediate and sustained improvement.”

And the research backs up patient testimonials.  Liberation Treatment was first undertaken by Dr. Paolo Zamboni of the University of Ferrara, Italy whose wife has multiple sclerosis.  Zamboni discovered the role of blocked veins in causing the debilitation in MS patients.  His research and subsequent treatment showed that MS afflictions could be lessened with a relatively simple - and low risk - angioplasty procedure. 

MTY Director Graham’s interviews with post-procedure MS patients in Merida further reinforce the findings first-hand, “Patients from Canada who are leaving Merida this week are reporting amazing results - movement and mobility where none existed before the procedure.  This is a sound alternative solution.” 

MTY is now offering new specially priced all-inclusive packages for Canadians and Americans to Merida, Yucatan for this procedure.  The special packages include all medical and non-medical arrangements, excluding airfare, and range between $9200 - $9500U.S. 

For more information contact:
Alan Graham
Founder & Director
Medical Traveler Yucatan (MTY)
Calle 26, No. 199 x 15 y7
Altabrisa, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
504.655.0236 (US – CAN - MEX) / 999.143.3432 (MEX)
info@medicaltraveleryucatan.com
www.MedicalTravelerYucatan.com

Alan Graham is an ex-pat living and working in Merida, Yucatan as Founder and Director of MEDICAL TRAVELER YUCATAN (MTY). As a principal researcher and project manager at Tulane University, he created and was executive director of a non-profit organization focusing on alternative solutions. Prior to that he spent years as a high school principal and teacher in Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. As a native New Orleanian, he authored a guidebook to the city for many years and has been active in hurricane relief efforts on both the U.S. Gulf Coast and Yucatan Gulf Coast.  He has benefited from 100% of his medical care in Merida for the past 5 years.

 

Ocean View Condos Dominican Republic
Sosua, Dominican Republic

A secure gated community that offers luxurious beachfront condominiums, Infiniti Blu stylishly incorporates living space with lush tropical gardens and a charming semi-private beach.

The first class ocean front development of 20,000 square meters (approximately 5 acres) combines spectacular views with a hi tech sophisticated infrastructure contained within European standard architectural detail.
Infiniti Blu, Dominican Republic

The spacious Caribbean condos range from 159m2 (1711ft2) to 355m2 (3821ft2).

Each one is carefully positioned so there is no need to cross a street while you walk through the tropical gardens to either of the two pools or to the beach, and is just a short five minute walk to town.
For more information:
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Last Updated On : 23 Feb 2014