SOUTH YARMOUTH, Massachusetts – The children were absolutely adorable and appeared healthy, happy, with some skipping around in front of the hotel office, despite their long day. The adults seemed a bit shy, subdued and maybe even a bit leery about me being there. The moms, some apparently pregnant – and all with very young kids in tow – appeared weary, possibly worn out from carrying their toddlers all day.
But as you will see and hear in the following HN Video, one congenial migrant mom took a moment to have a friendly, yet brief, discourse with HN. I learned she spoke a little English, but “not too much,” according to her. I learned her group was from Haiti, a country with a recent history of political chaos, oppression and violence… along with recent catastrophic natural disasters, including deadly storms and earthquakes.
Beginning in 1957, many in Haiti were victimized under President François Duvalier, also known as “Papa Doc.” In order to control the populace, Papa Doc unleashed a brutal secret police force known as the Tontons Macoutes. It is well documented that many Haitians were terrorized, tortured and murdered by the Tontons. Duvalier also controlled the populace by creating a “personality cult” image of himself, where he had “Haitian Vudou” powers and the ability to turn the spirits against his enemies. Citizens of “mixed-race” were especially targeted and publicly executed under Duvalier.
According to Wikipedia excerpts:
“In 1971 Duvalier died, and he was succeeded by his son Jean-Claude Duvalier, nicknamed ‘Baby Doc’, who ruled until 1986. He largely continued his father’s policies, though curbed some of the worst excesses in order to court international respectability. Tourism, which had nosedived in Papa Doc’s time, again became a growing industry. However, as the economy continued to decline, Baby Doc’s grip on power began to weaken…”
“In total, roughly 40,000 to 60,000 Haitians are estimated to have been killed during the reign of the Duvaliers. Through the use of his intimidation tactics and executions, many intellectual Haitians had fled, leaving the country with a massive brain-drain from which it has yet to recover…”
“On 12 January 2010, at 4:53 pm local time, Haiti was struck by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake. This was the country’s most severe earthquake in over 200 years. The earthquake was reported to have left between 160,000 and 300,000 people dead and up to 1.6 million homeless, making it one of the deadliest natural disaster ever recorded. It is one of the deadliest earthquake[s] ever recorded. The situation was exacerbated by a subsequent massive cholera outbreak that was triggered when cholera-infected waste from a United Nations peacekeeping station contaminated the country’s main river, the Artibonite. In 2017, it was reported that roughly 10,000 Haitians had died and nearly a million had been made ill. After years of denial the United Nations apologized in 2016, but as of 2017, they have refused to acknowledge fault, thus avoiding financial responsibility…”
“On 7 July 2021, President Moïse was assassinated in an attack on his private residence, and First Lady Martine Moïse was hospitalized. Amid the political crisis, the government of Haiti installed Ariel Henry as both the Prime Minister and the President on 20 July 2021. On 14 August 2021, Haiti suffered another huge earthquake, with many casualties. The earthquake has also damaged Haiti’s economic conditions and led to a rise in gang violence and other violent crimes. As of March 2022, Haiti still had no president, no parliamentary quorum, and a dysfunctional high court due to a lack of judges. In 2022, protests against the government and rising fuel prices intensified…”
Violent gangs, killings, unrest and political turmoil plague the Haitian people to this day.
The official languages of Haiti are French and Haitian Creole. CLICK HERE to learn more about Haiti.
According to a Mass.gov media statement, on August 8, 2023, Governor Maura T. Healey “declared that a state of emergency exists in Massachusetts due to rapidly rising numbers of migrant families arriving in Massachusetts in need of shelter and services and a severe lack of shelter availability in the state. The declaration serves as a notice to the federal government and the Commonwealth that the state’s shelter system is rapidly expanding capacity in an unsustainable manner, and that further assistance is urgently needed. There are currently nearly 5,600 families or more than 20,000 individuals in state shelter, including children and women.”
The number has now risen from 5600 families to 6297 families since August 8, 2023, according to the housing department, as reported in Saturday’s Boston Herald.
Saturday’s Boston Herald report began with alarming numbers, “The Healey Administration is projecting about 1,000 families, including locals who are experiencing homelessness and newly-arrived migrants, to enter Massachusetts’ emergency shelter system each month, according to state senators who attended a Thursday briefing.”
Sunday’s Boston Herald article regarding the ongoing migrant crisis begins as follows, “Gov. Maura Healey insists the feds speed up migrant work authorization approvals, as she says employment will get them out of shelters sooner… In a Thursday letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Healey asked for a handful of regulatory changes that she said would help migrants quickly and immediately apply for work authorizations.”
This is an ongoing nationwide crisis, according to numerous online news sources. But in Massachusetts, it’s also an extremely expensive crisis. According to a recent Boston Herald report, the Healey administration admits that the state is spending “roughly $45 million a month on sheltering and providing basic necessities to displaced and migrant families.”
The following HN Video shows Haitian migrants arriving at the Harborside Suites, located at 961 Route 28 in South Yarmouth. The bus carrying the migrant families arrived shortly before 9p.m. Adults and young children exited the bus carrying luggage and takeout pizza boxes. They were greeted and checked-in by front desk personnel at the hotel.
[HN VIDEO – PRESS PLAY]
P.S. – Today’s Hytown Vignette is a brought to you by Jazz Jamaica All Stars… [CLICK IT/CRANK IT! HEADPHONES ABSOlUTELY OBLIGATORY!]
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