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The Charger Bulletin

Heritage Showcase

by Lesha Daley | December 12, 2012

This year, the Caribbean Student Association (CSA) hosted its second annual Heritage Showcase at Dodds Theatre on Friday, Dec. 8, 2012.

The winners of this year’s Heritage Showcase included Kyle (Mr. Jamaica) and Thasha (Ms. Haiti).

Countries represented included Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, The Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and America.

The Heritage Showcase is one of many activities sponsored by the CSA throughout the academic year. Although Caribbean culture is the platform for events, all countries are welcome and encouraged to participate. The Caribbean Student Association’s mission includes promoting the culture of the Caribbean Islands to UNH and to bring togetherness with different countries.

This year’s contest was composed of four segments including talent, beachwear, cultural wear and a formal wear segment where contestants answered trivia questions about their country.

Contestants broadcasted their creative abilities during the talent segment of the competition with poetry, singing, dancing and instrument playing. Each participant showcased talent that was inspired by the country they represented including dancing to dancehall music, bachata dancing and playing the Congo drums. In rounds two and three, participants showed off their best ethnic wear in the swimsuit and cultural wear portion of the showcase.

Members of CSA’s dance group, Monsoon, hyped up crowd members during the intermission with a choreographed hip-hop dance routine.

In the final round, contenders showed off their best formal wear in a last attempt to gain favor from judges and audience members. Participants also demonstrated their knowledge about their countries during the question and answer portion of the showcase.

The winners were selected by a panel of UNH judges from various backgrounds, Mr. Heritage 2011, as well as audience votes.

The winners of this year’s Heritage Showcase included Kyle (Mr. Jamaica) and Thasha (Mrs. Haiti). Contest winners received accolades for their new title as the new Mr. and Ms. Heritage, as well as cash prizes. Participation awards were given to all contestants to applaud their involvement in making the event a success.

Other nationalities are encouraged to enter next year to represent their heritage as a part of UNH’s diversified student body.

Crisis Response

by Matt DiGiovanni | March 23, 2011

Every time a large scale disaster occurs, for the most part, the rest of the world responds by offering aid in some way or another. Whether through funding, manpower to help with recovery, or the contribution of equipment and supplies, global aid can greatly help an ailing nation. However, with the short attention span of mainstream media and the general population, it is easy to forget what was happening a few days ago, let alone what was happening a few weeks or months ago. While it is inevitable that we will move on eventually, the question that arises in my head is when the proper time to move on actually is. As a first world country, I feel that our nation and others frequently fall short of promises to aid others in disasters.

A prime example of falling short in relief efforts came with the disastrous earthquake that happened in Haiti in January 2010. Initially the world was greatly concerned and for good reason; the country had been devastated, and there was an estimated death toll of over 200,000. In addition to many groups sending aid workers to Haiti, numerous countries compiled funds to send to pay for supplies, care, and infrastructure repair; however, almost across the board, these funds were held up in their respective countries by bureaucracy, and all of the pledged funds were not delivered.

Conversely, the aftermath of the February 2010 Chilean earthquake was handled in a much more organized and successful way. While Chile is a more stable country compared to Haiti and the overall impact of the quake was much smaller (confirmed fatalities were listed as 521), the pledges that countries made were largely upheld. While I know that the delivery of all pledged aid to Haiti would not have completely resolved the disaster without a hitch, I doubt that the aid would not have helped improved conditions faster.

To close, I want to touch on the current situation in Japan where three crises, an earthquake, a tsunami, and a damaged nuclear plant, are all issues simultaneously. Although all figures are currently preliminary as so many people are still missing, as of March 20, police in Japan estimate the death toll to be over 18,000. It is still too early to tell whether aid will fall off sooner than it should; however, Japan has said that 128 countries and 33 international organizations have offered assistance.

The greatest issue that I see potentially arising is distraction from Japan by the events in the Middle East and North Africa, Libya in particular. If outside involvement in Libya lasts longer than planned, down the road when Japan still needs aid, their request may fall on deaf ears if other countries are too tied up in a conflict in another country. I expect that since Japan is a more developed country, and since they provide many important products to the rest of the world ranging from automobiles to computer chips, they will have no shortage of aid.

Hopefully in the future, the world as a whole will look at disasters of all sizes and in all countries, whether developed or undeveloped, and be willing to not only help in the immediate aftermath, but deliver on all promises made throughout the recovery as well.

Haiti’s “Baby Doc” Surprise Return From Exile

by Vanessa Estime | January 26, 2011

After a tumultuous year of trying to rebuild Haiti from the ground up following the devastating January 12 earthquake, an on-going

Former dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier talks to the press at a rented guest house in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday Jan. 21, 2011. Duvalier returned Sunday to Haiti after nearly 25 years in exile, a move that comes as his country struggles with a political crisis and the stalled effort to recover from last year's devastating earthquake. Duvalier said Friday it was the earthquake that brought him back to Haiti and that he wants to help with the reconstruction. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

controversial general election, and a shocking cholera outbreak that left the nation scarred, the Caribbean island witnessed yet another unexpected event—the return of former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.

During his reign as President from 1971 to 1986, thousands of countrymen were tortured or killed and hundreds of thousands fled the country in fear. Despite the poverty that ravaged the land, Duvalier maintained an extravagant lifestyle by making millions of dollars in the drug trade and selling parts of cadavers. With pressure coming in from the Reagan Administration to renounce his title and give up his power, Duvalier self-exiled himself to France twenty-five years ago.

However, on Sunday, January 16, Duvalier flew in from Paris, France stating that, “I’m not here for politics. I’m here for the reconstruction of Haiti.” Despite his good intentions, his presence still sent bad reactions throughout the land. Many were and still are afraid that his return will only bring back the division and violence that were evident during his presidency.

Political analyst and former director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights, Jocelyn McCalla, said this according to the Associated Press: “Part of what he does by getting back into Haiti is bringing back the old battle lines. People are going to start talking about being pro- or anti-Duvalier…it intensifies the instability.”

Others, however, were taking on a much more positive approach to Duvalier’s return. Henry Robert Sterlin, former ambassador spoke on behalf of Duvalier and said that he was merely concerned and wanted to see the effects of the earthquake on his homeland. “He was deeply hurt in his soul after the earthquake,” Sterlin said according to the Associated Press. “He wanted to come back to see the actual Haitian situation of the people and the country.”

While current President Rene Preval made no immediate response to the situation, he did mention in 2007, that Duvalier would “face justice for the deaths of thousands of people and the theft of millions of dollars if he returned.” This is exactly what happened. After his return to Haiti, Duvalier was met with a flight ban preventing him from leaving the country because of the court order rising against him.

On January 18, Duvalier was charged with corruption, embezzlement of public funds, and criminal association. As of now, the charges are being investigated by a judge in Haiti who will determine whether a criminal case should commence for the stolen public funds and human rights abuses during Duvalier’s fifteen year reign.

Elections in Haiti Amid Cholera Epidemic and National Disarray

by Liz De La Torre | December 1, 2010

After the magnitude-7.0 earthquake destroyed Haiti earlier this year, the Nov. 28 Election Day for a new president, 99 deputies, and 20

With the death toll rising in Haiti, the bodies of cholera victims are carried to dumping grounds in Port-au-Prince.

senators never seemed so promising or necessary for the ravaged country that has been struggling to rebuild. But some people are wondering whether political interest is a smart, or rather realistic, strategy during a time of anarchy, hostility, and the recent cholera outbreak in the Caribbean country which has claimed the lives of 2,000 and left 70,000 others infected. Resident Johnny Freleng expressed his anger over the relief situation and said that elections would only lead to more strife: “We are living in shit and the UN does not do anything except give us cholera. Where is the aid America and everyone promised? But our politicians are no better; they are just a bunch of thieves. This election does not matter.”

The betrayal by Haiti’s own leaders is not felt by just Freleng. In fact, Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, called the entire political spectrum an “immoral system manipulated for fraud” in which corrupt leaders use fabricated stories and intimidation to achieve their goals. Casual laborer, Etienne Gilbert, concurs, “Of course, they will steal votes from those who have gone. Those who are living are selling their votes, but the votes of the dead are cheaper.” Despite the corrupt elections, Lut Fabert, head of the EU diplomatic mission in Haiti, explained that election deferral or cessation could give rising power and control to terrorist or criminal factions. “To not have elections now could jeopardize political stability in Haiti.”

Nevertheless, Haiti has been anything but stable. In recent weeks, anti-U.N. riots and protests in the form of open gunfire, arson, and assault by rocks, have been organized to retaliate against U.N. Nepalese peacekeepers whom natives of Haiti are blaming for bringing the cholera through discarded waste in Haiti’s waters. Although the origin of the disease is unknown, the claims by the people of Haiti are vehemently denied by the United Nations. With poor sanitary conditions and limited clean water supplies, the cholera has expanded too much of Haiti, leaving Sunday’s elections a dubious notion in the air. Regardless of a possible voting setback, the United States is offering $14 million for voting equipment and international observers responsible for supervising the elections.

Haitians Protest UN Base Over Cholera Claim

by The Associated Press | November 17, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Protesters who hold Nepalese U.N. peacekeepers responsible for a deadly outbreak of cholera that has killed 1,000 in three weeks threw stones and threatened to set fire to a base in the country’s second-largest city Monday, Haitian radio and eyewitnesses reported.

The protesters also blame the unit for the death of a Haitian youth at the base in August.

The demonstrations began in Cap-Haitien about 6 a.m. (6 a.m. EST; 1100 GMT) and have paralyzed much of the northern port city, national television reporter Johnny Joseph told The Associated Press by phone.

Demonstrators are also targeting other U.N. bases and Haitian national police stations in the city, he said. U.N. police spokesman Andre Leclerc said the demonstrators blocked traffic in the area.

Radio Kiskeya and Radio Caraibes reported that U.N. soldiers and Haitian police fired tear gas and projectiles to disperse at least 1,000 protesters at the Nepalese base. Joseph said at least three people were injured by Haitian police.

A case of cholera had never before been documented in Haiti, and fear and confusion is following its destructive path. President Rene Preval addressed the nation on Sunday to dispel myths and educate people on good sanitation and hygiene.

Cholera is transmitted by feces and can easily be prevented if people have access to safe drinking water and can regularly wash their hands.

But those conditions don’t exist in much of Haiti, and tens of thousands of people have been sickened as the disease has spread across the countryside and to nearly all the country’s major population centers, including the capital, Port-au-Prince. Doctors Without Borders and other medical aid groups have expressed concern that the outbreak could eventually sicken hundreds of thousands of people.

The suspicions surround a different Nepalese base located on the Artibonite River system where the outbreak started. The soldiers arrived there in October following outbreaks in their home country and about a week before Haiti’s epidemic began.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the strain now ravaging the country matched a strain specific to South Asia, but said they had not pinpointed the origin of the outbreak.

Following an Associated Press investigation, the U.N. acknowledged that there were sanitation problems at the base, but says its soldiers were not responsible for the outbreak. No formal or independent investigation has taken place despite calls from Haitian human-rights groups and U.S. health care experts.

Presidential candidates have seized on the suspicions to denounce the 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force ahead of Nov. 28 elections.

Haiti Official: Cholera Outbreak is Stabilizing

by The Associated Press | October 27, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A cholera outbreak that has killed more than 250 people in rural Haiti is stabilizing, health officials said Monday, as aid groups and the gov

A man jumps over a grave next to the coffin containing the remains of Tikont Dolamard, 36, who died of cholera in Dessalines, Haiti, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010. A spreading cholera outbreak in rural Haiti threatened to outpace aid groups as they stepped up efforts hoping to keep the disease from reaching the camps of earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince. Health officials said at least 250 people had died and there are over 3,000 sick. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

ernment race to prevent it from spreading to the capital’s squalid camps of earthquake survivors.

The outbreak was expected to continue spreading, but aid groups and the government said a drop in the death rate and the number of new cases suggested it could progress more gradually than feared.

“The situation is beginning to stabilize. Since yesterday we have registered only six new deaths,” Health Ministry Director Gabriel Timothee said at a news conference.

Officials said no cases have originated in the capital, Port-au-Prince, where authorities fear abysmal hygiene, poor sanitation and widespread poverty could rapidly spread the disease through the sprawling tent slums erected after the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Five patients were diagnosed with cholera here over the weekend, but officials said they got sick outside the capital.

As part of the effort to slow the spread of the disease, Timothee said the government has asked for garbage to be removed around the camps of homeless.

If efforts to keep cholera out of the camps fail, “The worst case would be that we have hundreds of thousands of people getting sick at the same time,” said Claude Surena, president of the Haiti Medical Association. Cholera can cause vomiting and diarrhea so severe it can kill from dehydration in hours.

Robyn Fieser, a spokeswoman for Catholic Relief Services, said she was confident that aid groups and the Haitian government will be prepared to respond to an outbreak should it occur in the camps. But she stressed that the challenge of preventing its spread is “immense.”

“There are proven methods to contain and treat cholera, so we know what we’re dealing with. The biggest challenge is logistics, that is, moving massive amounts of medicine, supplies and people into place to treat them and prevent the disease from spreading,” Fieser said from the neighboring Dominican Republic.

Doctors Without Borders issued a statement saying that some Port-au-Prince residents were suffering from watery diarrhea and were being treated at facilities in the capital city. Cholera infection among the patients had not been confirmed, however, and aid workers stressed that diarrhea has not been uncommon in Port-au-Prince since the earthquake.

“Medical teams have treated many people with watery diarrhea over the last several months,” Doctors Without Borders said.

Aid workers in the impoverished nation say the risk is magnified by the extreme poverty faced by people displaced by the quake, which killed as many as 300,000 people and destroyed much of the capital city. Haitians living in the camps risk disease by failing to wash their hands, or scooping up standing water and then proceeding to wash fruits and vegetables.

Timothee said the outbreak has killed 259 people and sickened 3,342.

“We are expecting a gradual spreading of cholera in the country, and the way it will do that is still unpredictable,” said Michel Thieren, an official with the Pan-American Health Organization in Haiti.

Aid workers are coaching thousands of impoverished families how best to avoid cholera. Various aid groups are providing soap and water purification tablets and educating people in Port-au-Prince’s camps about the importance of washing their hands.

Aid groups also began training more staff about cholera and where to direct people with symptoms. The disease had not been seen in Haiti for decades, and many people don’t know about it.

Members of one grassroots Haitian organization traveled around Port-au-Prince’s camps booming warnings about cholera from speakers in the bed of a pickup truck.

“Many people have become sick,” announced Etant Dupain, in front of the Champs de Mars camp by Haiti’s broken national palace. “If you have a family member that has diarrhea, bring them to the hospital immediately. Have them use separate latrines.”

In a promising development, aid group Partners in Health said hospital management was improving in the city at the center of the initial outbreak, St. Marc, which is about a 60-mile (95-kilometer) drive northwest of Haiti. Just 300 patients were hospitalized on Saturday, a number that has decreased by the end of each day.

A cholera treatment center in St. Marc is expected to be functional within the week, and efforts were ongoing to make clean water available in rural communities, especially those where rivers were the only source of water.

Some health experts were hopeful that they will be able to control the outbreak of cholera in impoverished Haiti.

“In a way, it couldn’t have happened at a better moment than now because everyone is on the field — lots of (non-governmental organizations), lots of money. We haven’t had any hurricanes so far this fall but people are here, and people are prepared,” said Marc Paquette, Haiti director for the Canadian branch of Medecins du Monde.

Legal Clause Thwarts Wyclef Jean’s Candidacy

by Liz De La Torre | August 25, 2010

Despite ample campaigning for president, it looks like hip hop star Wyclef Jean will not be the face that helps restore the “pearl of the Antille,” as he so affectionately calls his homeland, Haiti. After the earthquake that destroyed much of the country, Wyclef Jean spoke out about his desire to help Haiti, by running for president. But while his bid for presidency came with positive reaction from Haiti residents, winning over others proved much harder.

Actor Sean Penn, who has been active with his relief organization, questioned Jean’s motives: “I have to say I’m very suspicious of it, simply because he, as an ambassador at large, has been virtually silent. For those of us in Haiti, he has been a non-presence.” Ex-Fugees band mate, Pras, said he couldn’t see Jean managing all of Haiti’s problems: “The reality is this, we need a real leader. Not just a regular leader, but a transformative leader. Someone that’s gonna be able to galvanize the Haitians down on the field, the Haitian-Americans, the international community. It’s a collective support—to take this country to the 21st century. And I’m just not convinced Wyclef is the one for that.” As if answering claims mismanaging $400,000 in earthquake relief donations wasn’t enough, doubts from colleagues and even death threats put Jean under fire. Yet, he never took himself out of the run. Only after he was challenged by a constitutional condition did he have no choice.

According to the Haitian electoral board, legal conditions keep the star from running for president. As a prerequisite for contention, all candidates must reside in Haiti for at least five years before the election. While Jean was born in Haiti, he currently lives in New Jersey and pays taxes to the United States. So, what does Wyclef Jean have to say about losing this bid for candidacy? The star, who said he would proceed with efforts to improve the education of Haiti’s youth if plans fell through, asserted his commitment: “I’ll never quit. I’ll run in another five years.” As for Haiti, 34 candidates await the arrival of the November 28 election.

Chris Brown to Host Haiti Benefit Concert

by The Associated Press | April 21, 2010

NEW YORK – Chris Brown  will headline and host a benefit concert in Virginia next month.

FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2010 file photo, Chris Brown models at Naomi Campbell's Fashion For Relief - Haiti fashion benefit, shown during Fashion Week in New York. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson, file)

“Virginia Stand Up! A Call to Action” will be held May 15 at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Performers will include Trey Songz, Keri Hilson, T-Pain, Mario and Ryan Leslie.

The 20-year-old R&B singer said in a statement Monday he wanted to personally contribute to the Haitian relief effort and support an organization that helps people in his home state.

Proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross and the Central Virginia Foodbank.

Brown was sentenced last year to five years’ probation and six months of community labor after pleading guilty to felony assault. He was charged in an attack on his then-girlfriend Rihanna hours before the 2009 Grammys.

9th US missionary freed in Haiti, returns home

by Liz De La Torre | March 9, 2010

From The Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A U.S. missionary held for more than a month in Haiti on kidnapping charges flew back to the United States after being released from prison, while the leader of her Baptist group remained in custody.

Charisa Coulter and Laura Silsby were the last two missionaries still in custody of 10 that were arrested for trying to take 33 children out of Haiti after the earthquake. The other eight were released Feb. 17.

Coulter, 24, was freed Monday and whisked from her jail cell to the airport by U.S. Embassy staff.

Wearing a red tank top and sunglasses, she declined comment as she quickly got into an SUV that took her to the Haitian airport, where she caught a flight back to the United States.

Coulter’s father said his daughter arrived in Miami late Monday and went straight to a hotel.

Mel Coulter said her release brought a mix of joy and sorrow, because the leader of the Idaho-based missionary group, Silsby, was left spending the night alone in a Haitian jail.

“It is good news, but it’s tempered,” Coulter said. “We’re really happy to have our daughter back on American soil. But Laura is still there. So this is really only completing part of the journey for the two of them. My daughter has left her best friend behind.”

He did not say when his daughter would head to her home in Boise, Idaho.

Silsby, 40, said she was glad about Coulter’s release.

“I’m very happy that she left today, and for her freedom, and expect mine to come soon,” Silsby told The Associated Press as she left the courthouse where a judge held a closed hearing Monday. She was returned to her cell in a police station near Port-au-Prince airport.

Defense lawyer Louis Ricardo Chachoute said Coulter was released because there was no evidence to support the charges of kidnapping and criminal association. He predicted Silsby would be released soon as well.

“There are no prosecution witnesses to substantiate anything,” Chachoute said.

Coulter is a diabetic and had medical difficulties during her confinement. She was treated at least once, on Feb. 1, by American doctors after collapsing from what she said was either severe dehydration or the flu.

After the hearing Monday for Silsby, Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said he heard evidence from a police officer who said he stopped Silsby from loading a bus with children near the Dominican Republic consulate in Port-au-Prince on Jan. 26. That was three days before her group was arrested while trying to cross into the Dominican Republic with 33 children.

“I found inconsistencies in some of Laura’s statements,” Saint-Vil told reporters, saying he planned to visit the Dominican consulate to resolve them.

The Americans’ arrest came as Haitian authorities were trying to crack down on unauthorized adoptions to prevent child trafficking in the chaos following the catastrophic Jan. 12 earthquake.

Silsby initially said the children were orphaned in the quake that the government estimates has killed more than 230,000 people. But the AP found the children had been given away by still-living parents.

Chachoute said the Americans only came to Haiti to help the country. “Firstly, there was no criminal conspiracy; secondly, there was no child snatching,” he said.

The Baptist group planned to take the children to the neighboring Dominican Republic to an orphanage that Silsby was creating in a former hotel.

The judge released the first eight Americans after concluding parents voluntarily gave up their children in the belief that the Baptist group would give them a better life. But he decided he still had additional questions for Silsby and Coulter.

Missionaries freed by Haitian judge back in US

by Liz De La Torre | February 18, 2010

From The Associated Press

MIAMI – Eight American missionaries charged with child kidnapping in Haiti were back in the U.S. Thursday and looking forward to homecomings, even as two others remained in a Haitian jail in an ordeal sparked by the group’s attempt to take 33 children out of the earthquake-stricken country.

The missionaries arrived on a U.S. Air Force C-130 just after midnight at Miami International Airport, about 12 hours after a Haitian judge approved their release. They spent a night in soft hotel beds at the airport before some were seen heading to gates for morning domestic Delta flights.

Silas Thompson, 19, of Twin Falls, Idaho, said it was “great” to be back on U.S. soil. Asked to name the first thing he’ll do when he gets home, Thompson replied: “Hug my mom.” He spoke to reporters as he walked to the Delta terminal Thursday morning after emerging from the hotel with three other men, who all declined to identify themselves or answer questions.

Earlier, elated relatives expressed relief, including Sean Lankford of Meridian, Idaho, whose wife and daughter were among the eight released. When asked by The Associated Press how he felt late Wednesday, he offered two words: “Damn good.”

The group’s swift departure from Haiti began Wednesday when Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said eight of the 10 missionaries were free to leave without bail because parents of the children had testified they voluntarily gave their children to the missionaries believing the Americans would give them a better life.

“The parents gave their kids away voluntarily,” Saint-Vil said in explaining his decision.

He said, however, that he still wanted to question the group’s leader, Laura Silsby, and her former nanny, Charisa Coulter, because they had visited Haiti prior to the quake to inquire about obtaining orphans.

Just after dusk in Haiti, the bedraggled, sweat-stained group of eight walked out of the jail escorted by U.S. diplomats. They waited until they were safely inside a white embassy van before some flashed smiles and gave a thumbs up to reporters. Their plane took off from Port-au-Prince shortly thereafter as a group of reporters watched.

The missionaries were charged with child kidnapping for trying to take 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic on Jan. 29 without Haitian adoption certificates.

Their detentions came just as aid officials were urging a halt to short-cut adoptions in the wake of the earthquake. Before their release, Haiti’s No. 2 justice official, Claudy Gassent, informed them of the judge’s decision but said he also gave them a lecture.

“They know they broke the law,” he said.

The missionaries say they were on a do-it-youself “rescue mission” to take child quake victims to a hastily prepared orphanage in the Dominican Republic, denying the trafficking charge.

Silsby originally said they were taking only orphaned and abandoned children, but The Associated Press determined that at least 20 were handed over willingly by their parents, who said the Baptists had promised to educate them and let their parents visit.

Saint-Vil said he did not release Silsby, 47, or Coulter, 24, because of their previous activities in Haiti during a December visit. Silsby hastily enlisted the rest of the group after the quake. Coulter, of Boise, Idaho, is diabetic and the judge signed an order Wednesday afternoon authorizing her hospitalization.

He said he had planned to question both women Thursday but that Coulter’s health situation could prompt a delay. She had briefly been taken to a U.S. field hospital on Wednesday for treatment after feeling faint but was then taken back to jail.

Silsby’s sister in Idaho, Kim Barton, said learning that her sister could not leave Haiti was difficult.

“At this point I don’t have any comment. I don’t know any more than you do,” Barton said.

Gary Lissade, the Haitian attorney for freed detainee Jim Allen of Amarillo, Texas, said he expected the charges to be dropped against the eight.

“My faith means everything to me, and I knew this moment would come when the truth would set me free,” Allen said in a statement issued by the Liberty Legal Institute in Plano, Texas.

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