Dispatches > The Buzz

The buzz

"The buzz" Continued...

Issue: "Remaking the family," March 6, 2004

A convicted drug lord, meanwhile, provided damning testimony against Mr. Aristide in a Miami courtroom Feb. 25. Beaudoin "Jacques" Ketant testified that Mr. Aristide profited from cocaine trafficking, allowing Colombian drug cartels to funnel over 40 tons of drugs through Haiti to the United States. "He turned the country into a narco-country," said Mr. Ketant, who is being sentenced to 27 years for money laundering and trafficking.

Sudan A senior State Department official announced an American initiative to bring together Sudanese officials and western Sudan rebel leaders to end what he called "the largest humanitarian crisis in the world today."

Roger Winter, assistant administrator for the State Department's bureau for democracy, conflict, and humanitarian assistance, returned on Feb. 25 from a trip to Sudan's western Darfur province, where he said he flew over burning villages and visited displaced camps in Sudan where tens of thousands have no food or medical supplies.

At a State Department briefing the next day, he told reporters he believed 3 million people-half the population of Darfur-are affected by the crisis, which began with fighting between rebels and government-armed militias.

Mr. Winter, however, emphasized that victims of the crisis say rebels are not initiating the violence, only the Khartoum-inspired militias. They enter villages on camels and horseback, defeat the underarmed villagers, and ignite their homes and farms-a tactic used before in predominantly Christian areas of Sudan. Mr. Winter described these attacks as "ethnic cleansing."

Bush administration officials, who have placed peace negotiations between Khartoum and southern rebels on the front burner for two years, now must address the Darfur conflict, even though Sudanese President Omar Bashir says he is not ready to come to the table with Darfur leaders. "We have an American initiative," Mr. Winter said. "But we have no solution."

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