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Archive for Friday, September 15, 1995

KU PROF HEADS BACK TO HAITI

September 15, 1995

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A KU expert on Haiti leaves Saturday for his third trip to that country in two years as a U.N. adviser.

Kansas University's expert on Haiti is returning next week to that country, where he will advise the U.S. Army General in charge of 6,000 U.N. peacekeeping troops.

Bryant Freeman, professor of African and African-American studies and director of KU's Institute for Haitian Studies, will serve as adviser to Gen. Joseph Kinzer, who directs the U.N. mission in Haiti.

"Things are infinitely better than a year ago," said Freeman, who last returned from Haiti in June after a three-month stay as advisor to Kinzer this spring.

He shared the platform with President Clinton then, when Clinton proclaimed that the U.S. helped move Haiti from "a dark night a fear to a new day of freedom."

Freeman also trained U.N. observers in the country from May to October 1993.

Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned to power with the help of a U.S.-brokered agreement and military force in October 1994.

Freeman said the biggest problems now facing Haiti are poverty and crime.

"For the average Haitian, their lives haven't changed that much. They still need jobs, jobs, jobs." he said.

The unemployment rate is about 70 percent.

The county also is suffering from a large "brain drain," Freeman said, in which many educated Haitians left the country for the United States, Canada or Europe.

Those who stayed and served in the military government during Aristide's exodus expended their political capital and now won't be hired by the Aristide government, he said.

Freeman said his stay could be as long as six months.

He will produce radio and television news spots in Haitian Creole as well as advising the U.N. peace keepers.

"The U.N., contrary to the the impression that a lot of people seem to have, will not be involved in nation-building," he said. "That is up to the Haitians. The U.N.'s only role is to keep law and order."

Freeman will stay in a Catholic orphanage in Port-au-Prince.

"There is a headquarters, but if I stayed there I'd be out of contact with a lot of Haitians," he said.

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