Posts Tagged ‘Israel grossman attorney’

Specialty Food And Agriculture Startups Are Ripening In Greece

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 20 2014

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Ilias Smirlis (left) runs a small family farm in Kalamata, Greece. Before he met entrepreneur Sotiris Lymperopoulos, who runs the food service Radiki, he struggled to sell his produce outside Athens. “The demand for excellent products will always exist,” Smirlis says. “The challenge is to find a market.”

Joanna Kakissis/NPR


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Joanna Kakissis/NPR

Ilias Smirlis (left) runs a small family farm in Kalamata, Greece. Before he met entrepreneur Sotiris Lymperopoulos, who runs the food service Radiki, he struggled to sell his produce outside Athens. The demand for excellent products will always exist, Smirlis says. The challenge is to find a market.

Ilias Smirlis (left) runs a small family farm in Kalamata, Greece. Before he met entrepreneur Sotiris Lymperopoulos, who runs the food service Radiki, he struggled to sell his produce outside Athens. “The demand for excellent products will always exist,” Smirlis says. “The challenge is to find a market.”

Joanna Kakissis/NPR

Most mornings, Sotiris Lymperopoulos walks the craggy shoreline of the western Peloponnese, foraging for salty wild greens.

In his straw hat and shorts, snipping wild chicory, garlic and sea asparagus with a kitchen knife, he hardly looks like a poster boy for Greece’s nascent startup culture. But the 35-year-old Athenian, who trained as an economist, found a viable niche in the country’s post-crisis economy.

“For years, few people appreciated how valuable our own products are,” he says, cutting away a thick-leaved green called kritamos and placing it in a plastic bag. “I want to change that.”

Lymperopoulos grew up spending summers in his father’s ancestral home of Raches, a pinprick village encircled by olive trees. He saw that the produce everyone ate here — the sea greens, the aromatic oranges and lemons, the wild truffles — were far tastier than the fare at the fanciest restaurants in Athens.

“And I thought, this is irrational,” he says. “So, I thought, why don’t I take this food that is great and never goes to Athens and sell it to people who want to pay something more for their food?”

So he left Athens — and a good job in logistics — just before the crisis, and relocated to Raches. He connected with chefs in fine restaurants in Athens and started selling them wild sea greens.

Soon, he was getting flooded with orders for greens, then cultivated produce like carrots, beans and watermelons. He called the service Radiki, which means chicory in Greek.

A Rise In Startups

The high demand for the service didn’t surprise Haris Makryniotis, managing director of Endeavor Greece, which supports startups in the country. The number of startups in Greece has gone up ninefold since 2010, data from Endeavor Greece shows.

The most touted have been tech startups like TaxiBeat, which produces a smartphone application to hail and rate taxi drivers. But Makryniotis says many more sustainable jobs could come in specialty agriculture.

“It’s a sector that’s ripe for job creation,” he says.

For years, Makryniotis says, Greek food products failed to find good homes because of an uncompetitive and stagnant agriculture sector that relied on badly designed European Union subsidies.

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Food entrepreneur Sotiris Lymperopoulos spends many mornings foraging for wild greens such as kritamos, sea asparagus and wild garlic, which he sells to fine restaurants and gourmet shops in Athens.

Joanna Kakissis/NPR


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Joanna Kakissis/NPR

Food entrepreneur Sotiris Lymperopoulos spends many mornings foraging for wild greens such as kritamos, sea asparagus and wild garlic, which he sells to fine restaurants and gourmet shops in Athens.

Food entrepreneur Sotiris Lymperopoulos spends many mornings foraging for wild greens such as kritamos, sea asparagus and wild garlic, which he sells to fine restaurants and gourmet shops in Athens.

Joanna Kakissis/NPR

“Part of the [subsidy] money was supposed to go to modernization of techniques, new equipment, new ways of cultivating the land,” Makryniotis says. “Instead of making good use of this money, most of the money was wasted either on personal needs or consumption of farmers themselves.”

Many Greek farmers planted just a few crops that were subsidized.

“If olive oil was subsidized,” he says, “we just planted olive trees everywhere. And then we cut them out.”

An Innovative Approach

A few innovative farmers who ignored this mentality cultivated a variety of high-quality products that sold well in local markets. Lymperopoulos discovered one of those farmers, Ilias Smirlis, after trying one of Smirlis’ carrots at a farmers market in Kalamata.

“My parents used to cultivate two types of greens on our farm,” says Smirlis, as he waves to two women in straw hats harvesting red beans. “Now we cultivate 40 kinds of vegetables and fruits.”

Before Smirlis met Lymperopoulos, he only sold his products in local markets in Messinia, a prefecture in the western Peloponnese. Now he also sells them to top-shelf restaurants in Athens.

“The demand for good and high-quality products will always exist,” Smirlis says. “The challenge is to find the market for them.”

If that challenge is met, Makryniotis of Endeavor Greece says at least 300,000 new jobs could be created at a time when the country’s gross domestic product has shrunk by 25 percent in four years and unemployment is still at more than 27 percent — the highest in the eurozone.

But many of those new jobs won’t be in big cities, which means many citified Greeks will have to move to smaller towns and rural areas. That would reverse a longtime trend of rural-to-urban migration that defined Greece’s shift to a postwar service economy.

Only a handful of people have made the move, largely because of a lack of infrastructure, such as schools and housing, as well as amenities, says Alkmini Georgiadi, Lymperopoulos’ wife. She left a high-powered job as a lawyer in Thessaloniki and now teaches yoga and helps her husband with Radiki in Raches.

“There is this attitude that there are no jobs in rural areas, but we are trying to show [people] that you can find a way to work,” Georgiadi says. “People with knowledge and an appetite for work should bring their skills to areas thirsting for change.”

Lymperopoulos says Radiki is expanding its work outside of Greece: He now supplies produce from the Peloponnese to restaurants in Paris and London, and is also partnering with a Greek gourmet food company to sell sea greens to the U.S.

“In Greece, we have the best products, but we don’t have a strategy,” he says. So like many entrepreneurs in post-austerity Greece, he’s decided to write his own.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/08/19/341651496/specialty-food-and-agriculture-startups-are-ripening-in-greece?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Doctors Without Borders: What We Need To Contain Ebola

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 20 2014

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Dr. Joanne Liu (left), international president of Doctors Without Borders poses with a member of the MSF medical team at the organization’s Ebola treatment center in Kailahun, Sierra Leone.

P.K. Lee/Courtesy of Doctors Without Border


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Dr. Joanne Liu (left), international president of Doctors Without Borders poses with a member of the MSF medical team at the organization's Ebola treatment center in Kailahun, Sierra Leone.

Dr. Joanne Liu (left), international president of Doctors Without Borders poses with a member of the MSF medical team at the organization’s Ebola treatment center in Kailahun, Sierra Leone.

P.K. Lee/Courtesy of Doctors Without Border

With the continuous uptick in the number of cases and deaths in the current Ebola outbreak, the few agencies that are on ground are stretched thin.

That includes Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF. It’s one of the main health care providers in West Africa, where there are more than 2,000 cases of Ebola and 1,200 deaths. Even with roughly 1,000 volunteers spread among the three Ebola-stricken countries, the agency says that still isn’t enough.

In an interview on All Things Considered, MSF’s international president, Dr. Joanne Liu, tells NPR’s Audie Cornish that they opened a new Ebola care center in Monrovia, Liberia, this weekend. It was equipped with 120 beds, and “all the beds got filled in one day.”

“We’re thinking about expanding, “she says. “But the reality is, we don’t have a definitive picture of how many cases there are in the city right now.”

Curfew And Quarantine In Monrovia

Update at 8:50 p.m. ET

In an effort to combat the spread of Ebola, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called for a curfew in Monrovia from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning Wednesday. In a statement posted online by the news source AllAfrica, Sirleaf also said there would be a quarantine in two communities in the capital. “This means that there will be no movements in and out of those areas,” she said.

Liu says that caring for patients is only one of the three “pillars” for controlling the Ebola outbreak. The other two are tracing possible Ebola cases and educating the community.

“Right now the only thing we’re facing is fear,” she says. “Fear is normal when you don’t understand what is going on.”

To eliminate that fear, the agency not only needs more funding but also more volunteers to talk to the community. “We need people who are going to go and … talk to the elders, talk to the religious leaders and tell them about Ebola,” she says. “[To] mobilize the population and make them understand what is going on.”

She adds that MSF is also looking for volunteers to find out how many cases are in each village. “Right now we don’t have a full picture of the magnitude of the epidemic,” she says.

Enlisting help from the international community hasn’t been easy. “NGOs that I used to see in some other crises, like after the Haiti earthquake or even in [Central African Republic] or South Sudan, are not present right now in Western Africa.”

That’s why Liu’s on a tour, speaking to U.N. leaders and NGOs about how they can help. “There is some reluctance, I guess,” she says. “Everybody has to overcome their own fear before coming to the field.”

She says that MSF has been “ringing the alarm” since the beginning of the epidemic, but it’s been slow wake-up call for the other NGOs. That’s likely because past Ebola oubreaks were contained in a matter of weeks.

“But what is happening now is that we have cases in a highly dense, populated area like Monorovia, with 1.3 million,” she says. Without the involvement of other organizations, she says, “we will not be able to contain the Ebola epidemic.”

And it’s not only Ebola victims who suffer. With hospitals and care centers crowded, it’s also been difficult for people seeking other types of care like for malaria or for maternity issues — what Liu calls an “emergency within the emergency.”

“We were faced with the really hard reality of welcoming six women who were pregnant and who lost their children because they were walking around the city trying to find a place to deliver their babies,” she recalls. “By the time they got to our centers, the babies were not alive anymore.”

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/08/19/341639702/more-ngos-need-to-be-in-the-field-to-contain-ebola-outbreak?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Blocked At The Border, Gaza Man’s Hopes Of Escape Fade

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 20 2014

One man’s quest to get out of Gaza and into Egypt highlights Palestinian calls for more freedom of movement.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/08/19/341674563/blocked-at-the-border-gaza-mans-hopes-of-escape-fade?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

The Designs Behind Airstrikes — And The Damage They’ve Dealt

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 19 2014

As U.S. deputy commander in Iraq until January 2011, Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero oversaw targeting for airstrikes during 17 months of the troop surge there. He tells Robert Siegel that for such strikes to be effective, they must be one part of a larger, overarching strategy.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/08/18/341409774/the-designs-behind-airstrikes-and-the-damage-theyve-dealt?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Experimental Vaccine For Chikungunya Passes First Test

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 19 2014

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Marqui Ducarme is aided by his wife after catching chikungunya at his home in Port-au-Prince, May 23. The virus swept through Haiti this spring, infecting more than 40,000 people.

Marie Arago/Reuters/Landov


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Marqui Ducarme is aided by his wife after catching chikungunya at his home in Port-au-Prince, May 23. The virus swept through Haiti this spring, infecting more than 40,000 people.

Marqui Ducarme is aided by his wife after catching chikungunya at his home in Port-au-Prince, May 23. The virus swept through Haiti this spring, infecting more than 40,000 people.

Marie Arago/Reuters/Landov

Scientists have taken the first steps to developing a vaccine for chikungunya — an emerging mosquito-borne virus that has infected more than a half million people in the Western Hemisphere this year. About 600 Americans have brought the virus to 43 states.

The study was small. Only 25 people were given the experimental vaccine. But the findings are promising. They demonstrate that the vaccine is safe and that it triggers a strong response from the immune system, scientists reported Friday in the Lancet journal.

Until last year, chikungunya was found only in parts of Africa and Asia. Then in December, the virus started circulating on the island of St. Martin in the Caribbean.

From there, chikungunya spread like wildfire. It hopped from island to island in the Caribbean and spilled over into Central America and parts of South America. By July, chikungunya had found its way to Florida. At least four people have caught the virus in Florida. And the state has recorded 138 imported cases. New York state has the second largest number of imported cases, 96.

Chikungunya usually isn’t fatal. But it causes a high fever, headache, nausea and extreme joint pain — which can linger for months. And there’s no cure or vaccine.

To start filling in that second gap, a team of researchers at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda designed a vaccine using virus-like particles, a new technology. Synthetic particles carry proteins found on the virus’s outside shell.

The particles don’t contain any of chikungunya’s genes. So they’re not infectious. But the immune system doesn’t realize that. When Dr. Julie Ledgerwood and her colleagues injected the virus-like particles into the muscles of volunteers, their immune systems created antibodies that can stop the virus from infecting cells.

After three injections, the participants had chikungunya antibodies in their blood at concentrations similar to those found in people who had fought off the viral infection. And these antibodies stuck around in the volunteers’ blood for at least six months. Those findings suggest that the vaccine could give long-term protection.

But Ledgerwood and her team won’t know if that’s true until they test the vaccine in more people and see how effective it is at stopping an infection.

Overall, the experimental vaccine was well tolerated by the volunteers. Nine out of the 25 developed tenderness where the shot was given. And ten volunteers reported tiredness, nausea or headaches after the vaccine. But in general, the shot was safe.

This experimental vaccine isn’t the first for chikungunya. Back in the 1980s, a team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases created a vaccine with a live, weakened version of the virus. That vaccine completed a phase 2 clinical trial. But scientists halted its development because there wasn’t enough funding.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/08/18/341360645/experimental-vaccine-for-chikungunya-passes-first-test?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Cease-Fire In Gaza Reportedly Extended 24 Hours

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 19 2014

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Palestinians look out of a window frame in the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Hanun on Monday. Media reports say a cease-fire has been extended for 24 hours.

Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images


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Palestinians look out of a window frame in the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Hanun on Monday. Media reports say a cease-fire has been extended for 24 hours.

Palestinians look out of a window frame in the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Hanun on Monday. Media reports say a cease-fire has been extended for 24 hours.

Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

A cease-fire in Gaza has reportedly been extended 24 hours. Talks between the two sides have been going on for weeks with mediators in Egypt. The most recent cease-fire lasted five days.

The extension has been reported by Hamas media and Egyptian state media.

“Key issues include fishing rights and access of good and people in and out of Gaza,” says NPR’s Alice Fordham. She tells our Newscast Desk:

“Unlike on other, recent occasions when cease-fires have expired, there were no reports either of rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel, or of an Israeli response.”

More than 2,000 Palestinians have died in the recent conflict, The Associated Press reports, citing Gaza Health Ministry official Ashraf al-Kidra.

“Thousands of homes were destroyed, and tens of thousands of people remain huddled in U.N. shelters,” the AP says. “Israel lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.”

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/08/18/341472003/cease-fire-in-gaza-reportedly-extended-24-hours?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Israel, Palestinians Still Far Apart As Truce Nears End

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 18 2014

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Palestinians carry belongings from their homes, destroyed by Israeli airstrikes, in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday. The devastation could resume if a cease-fire is allowed to expire at midnight on Monday.

Sameh Rahmi/EPA/Landov


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Sameh Rahmi/EPA/Landov

Palestinians carry belongings from their homes, destroyed by Israeli airstrikes, in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday. The devastation could resume if a cease-fire is allowed to expire at midnight on Monday.

Palestinians carry belongings from their homes, destroyed by Israeli airstrikes, in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday. The devastation could resume if a cease-fire is allowed to expire at midnight on Monday.

Sameh Rahmi/EPA/Landov

With the clock ticking on the expiration of the latest cease-fire in Gaza, representatives of Israel and Hamas resumed talks in Cairo today but appeared divided over an Egyptian proposal to ease the closing of the territory.

As NPR’s Jackie Northam reports from Jerusalem, at the heart of the talks is the seven-year blockade of the Gaza Strip. “Hamas is demanding a full lifting of the blockade; Israel says it’s only willing to ease some restrictions, allowing easier passage of goods and people in and out of Gaza.”

The cease-fire, already extended by five days after its initial 72 hours, is set to expire at midnight Monday in Israel (5 p.m. ET).

The Associated Press says “a range of outcomes [remains] possible, including a return to fighting that has brought great devastation to Gaza, an unofficial understanding that falls short of a formal negotiated deal or yet another extension in negotiations.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday reiterated his country’s longstanding position of no long-term cease-fire unless security measures are met.

“The Israeli delegation in Cairo is acting with a very clear mandate to stand firmly on Israel’s security needs,” Netanyahu told ministers at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, according to Al-Jazeera.

Al-Jazeera writes:

“In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the Palestinians would not back down from their demands, central of which is a lifting of Israel’s seven-year blockade on the enclave, and that the outcome of the talks was in Israel’s hands.

” ‘We are committed to achieving the Palestinian demands, and there is no way back from this. All these demands are basic human rights that do not need this battle or these negotiations,’ Abu Zuhri told the AFP news agency.

” ‘The ball is in the Israeli occupation’s court.’ “

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/08/17/341155941/israel-palestinians-still-far-apart-as-truce-nears-end?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Fighting Escalates In Eastern Ukraine As Key Cities Contested

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 18 2014

Government forces and pro-Russian separatists are fighting for control. In Berlin, the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine met to try to figure out a way to stop the fighting.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/08/17/341164553/fighting-escalates-in-eastern-ukraine-as-key-cities-contested?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Yazidi Community In America Watches Events In Iraq With Horror

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 18 2014

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Lincoln, Neb., is home to a sizable community of Iraqi Yazidis — including Ismaeil Khalaf, shown here in his home watching the latest news about the Yazidi crisis in Iraq. Lincoln Yazidis petitioned for U.S. intervention to prevent the genocide of their friends and family.

Nati Harnik/AP


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Lincoln, Neb., is home to a sizable community of Iraqi Yazidis  including Ismaeil Khalaf, shown here in his home watching the latest news about the Yazidi crisis in Iraq. Lincoln Yazidis petitioned for U.S. intervention to prevent the genocide of their friends and family.

Lincoln, Neb., is home to a sizable community of Iraqi Yazidis — including Ismaeil Khalaf, shown here in his home watching the latest news about the Yazidi crisis in Iraq. Lincoln Yazidis petitioned for U.S. intervention to prevent the genocide of their friends and family.

Nati Harnik/AP

For the past week, American warplanes and drones have been attacking militants from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq. The U.S. is working to prevent the genocide of an ethnic and religious minority known as the Yazidis.

A sizable group of Iraqi Yazidis lives in Lincoln, Neb. Sulaiman Murad is among them; he grew up in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, which has been at the heart of recent Islamic State violence. Murad translated for the U.S. military after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and he moved to Lincoln in 2010.

Murad tells guest host Tess Vigeland on All Things Considered that the community of Yazidis in America has worked together to support each other as they watched their friends and family become trapped on Mount Sinjar, and threatened with genocide.

“I cannot imagine how this is happening in 2014,” Murad says, as he describes how his family has been persecuted, and the situation they face now that some of have escaped.

Interview Highlights

On what happened to his family members back home in northern Iraq

I talked this morning with my dad and my mom and some of my brothers. So actually I don’t know how they make it. … They were escaping from home to home, from roof to roof, hiding from the ISIS, and they were looking for them in each home in the village. But finally they could escape from the terrorists. But I still don’t have communication with some of my family, so I do not know what is going on.

But what I know, they captured one of my cousins and his dad, and just, they cut the head of my cousin in brutal way, and the videos were posted [online by ISIS]. And they took two of my cousins hostage.

On whether he knows anyone who is still stuck in the Mount Sinjar region

We still have some elderly [friends and family], and some of them, they cannot walk, they are left in the town. But the majority of them, they can make it out — right now they are in Kurdistan. But you know, they are homeless, and they still don’t have food, water and good conditions. So right now they need help.

On how Yazidis from Lincoln, Neb., traveled to D.C. to protest

We as the Yazidi community in Lincoln, we traveled to Washington, D.C., and were screaming in front of [the] White House, saying, “Obama, Obama, we need help right now.” … In the same day Mr. Obama decided to help the Yazidis … everyone screamed, and said, “God bless America.” And each one of us just hugged the others, and we were laughing, crying. It’s very hard to describe that moment.

On how the community came together for emotional support

During this crisis right now, I’ve never been in my apartment, because when I go to my apartment and when I am thinking what’s happened to our community, just — I cannot breathe. Because of that, each six, seven families just, we are living [together] in one of the home[s], and we barely sleep one hour a day or eat a bite of food. Everybody calms the other, and we talk about everything.

On the situation faced by refugees who have made it to Kurdistan

We cannot go back to the Sinjar. … It’s not safe anymore, and we cannot trust anyone anymore, because the peshmerga, the Kurdistan government, they promised us they [were] going to protect us — but when the ISIS came, they didn’t shoot one bullet. So thousands of the Yazidi they left behind with the ISIS, and they killed young boys, they slaughtered kids, they raped the women. So we cannot trust anybody anymore.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/08/17/341161873/yazidi-community-in-america-watches-events-in-iraq-with-horror?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Who’s A Citizen? The Question Dividing The Island Of Hispaniola

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Aug 17 2014

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Anderson Desir (second from left) jokes with his teammates at a baseball diamond in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. Anderson was born in Haiti, and he and his family are among those who can apply to regularize their status under the new laws.

Sarah Tilotta for NPR


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Sarah Tilotta for NPR

Anderson Desir (second from left) jokes with his teammates at a baseball diamond in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. Anderson was born in Haiti, and he and his family are among those who can apply to regularize their status under the new laws.

Anderson Desir (second from left) jokes with his teammates at a baseball diamond in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. Anderson was born in Haiti, and he and his family are among those who can apply to regularize their status under the new laws.

Sarah Tilotta for NPR

Related NPR Stories

Anderson Desir, 9, shares a dream with many boys his age in the Dominican Republic: He wants to grow up and play baseball in la liga grande, otherwise known as American Major League Baseball.

But there’s an important difference between Anderson and the 80 Dominican kids from his summer baseball league in San Pedro de Macoris: Anderson is Haitian.

In a controversial decision last year, the Dominican Constitutional Court ruled that those born in the country are not citizens unless at least one parent is a legal resident.

The decision could cause problems for Haitians living in the Dominican Republic, like Anderson, whose parents brought him here from Haiti shortly after he was born. However, the ruling especially affects an estimated 250,000 Haitian descendants born in the Dominican Republic, including Anderson’s two siblings — his sister Rosaura, 6, and his brother Mickael, 2.

The court’s judgment was criticized by the United States, other Latin countries and international human rights advocates, who said the move could create a significant stateless population in the Dominican Republic.

In response, Dominican President Danilo Medina signed a law in May that essentially creates two categories of people born in the Dominican Republic to foreign parents: those births that were officially entered into the Civil Registry, and those that were not.

The first of the two groups represents a minority of approximately 20,000, who in theory should become “regularized” automatically. However, the vast majority, 200,000 or more in the second group, will be subject to a discretionary application, and would have an uncertain future in the Dominican Republic.

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Anderson with his parents, Adrienne Jean Pierre and Roudy Desir, and sister, Rosaura Desir, in their home in San Pedro de Macoris. Under a new law, Anderson and his parents fall in one category because they were born in Haiti; his siblings fall in another category because they were born in the Dominican Republic.

Sarah Tilotta for NPR


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Sarah Tilotta for NPR

Anderson with his parents, Adrienne Jean Pierre and Roudy Desir, and sister, Rosaura Desir, in their home in San Pedro de Macoris. Under a new law, Anderson and his parents fall in one category because they were born in Haiti; his siblings fall in another category because they were born in the Dominican Republic.

Anderson with his parents, Adrienne Jean Pierre and Roudy Desir, and sister, Rosaura Desir, in their home in San Pedro de Macoris. Under a new law, Anderson and his parents fall in one category because they were born in Haiti; his siblings fall in another category because they were born in the Dominican Republic.

Sarah Tilotta for NPR

“For many years, there was a tacit acceptance of Haitian migration, and also the right of descendants to have Dominican nationality,” said Bridget Wooding, director of the Observatory of Caribbean Migrants, a think tank in Santo Domingo.

“In practice, there’s never been a very clear migration legislation, on the one hand. And on the other hand, the rights of descendants born in the Dominican Republic have been shrinking over the years,” she added.

Haitians traditionally moved to the eastern part of the shared island of Hispaniola to work in the sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic.

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A mother and child pass through Batey Bembe in the sugar-producing region near the town of Conseulo. Bateys are small, isolated communities made up of sugar cane workers and their families, often consisting of three or four generations.

Sarah Tilotta for NPR


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Sarah Tilotta for NPR

A mother and child pass through Batey Bembe in the sugar-producing region near the town of Conseulo. Bateys are small, isolated communities made up of sugar cane workers and their families, often consisting of three or four generations.

A mother and child pass through Batey Bembe in the sugar-producing region near the town of Conseulo. Bateys are small, isolated communities made up of sugar cane workers and their families, often consisting of three or four generations.

Sarah Tilotta for NPR

But as that industry has waned, Haitians have become ever more visible as they seek other jobs and opportunities. “This tends to inflame passions,” said Wooding.

Haitians born in the Dominican Republic have until late October to apply for citizenship under the government’s new plan. The first step for someone born in the Dominican Republic is to declare oneself as a foreigner.

“The irony here is that these people who are and should be Dominicans by right, due to their birth on the territory (but were not registered, often due to the discrimination of local authorities), will have to claim to be foreigners in the only country they’ve known,” writes Cassandre Theano, an associate legal officer with Open Society Justice Initiative in New York.

Applicants must then submit supporting documents of all kinds: pay stubs, letters of employment, rental agreements, proof of homeownership, bank statements, etc.

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Luis Jacque and Nene Benua of Batey Bembe work side by side in the cane fields near Conseulo. Both arrived in the Dominican Republic from Haiti as teenagers, and have cut cane for the past three decades.

Sarah Tilotta for NPR


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Sarah Tilotta for NPR

Luis Jacque and Nene Benua of Batey Bembe work side by side in the cane fields near Conseulo. Both arrived in the Dominican Republic from Haiti as teenagers, and have cut cane for the past three decades.

Luis Jacque and Nene Benua of Batey Bembe work side by side in the cane fields near Conseulo. Both arrived in the Dominican Republic from Haiti as teenagers, and have cut cane for the past three decades.

Sarah Tilotta for NPR

But, says Wooding, “we’re talking about people who have been undocumented, or have not had regular migration status; people who are in informal work, so they don’t have regular work receipts. They don’t have the right to own property or open bank accounts, so those kind of criteria are out. People are finding it very difficult.”

Those who make it this far through the process will be given a two-year temporary visa, after which period they will either be granted or denied regularization status.

Theano says the worry is that “once the process is finished and people either don’t complete their file or have completed their file and are rejected, then that could pave the way for mass deportation, which, politically is going to be difficult to carry out, but theoretically could happen.”

The Dominican ambassador to the United States, Aníbal de Castro, draws comparisons between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic in “grappling with the challenges of immigration reform and the complexities of addressing undocumented people living within its borders.”

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A crowd presses up to a document processing window at the Palace of Justice in San Pedro de Macoris. Many of those waiting in line are Haitian nationals requesting background checks, one of the steps required to “regularize” their status in the Dominican Republic.

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Sarah Tilotta for NPR

A crowd presses up to a document processing window at the Palace of Justice in San Pedro de Macoris. Many of those waiting in line are Haitian nationals requesting background checks, one of the steps required to regularize their status in the Dominican Republic.

A crowd presses up to a document processing window at the Palace of Justice in San Pedro de Macoris. Many of those waiting in line are Haitian nationals requesting background checks, one of the steps required to “regularize” their status in the Dominican Republic.

Sarah Tilotta for NPR

He even suggests that the Dominican Regularization plan “could serve as a road map for the United States and other countries that are facing similar issues.”

The United States is one of about 30 countries, many of them in the Americas and the Caribbean, that automatically grant citizenship to those born in the country, even if the parents are not legal residents.

However, the Dominican constitution of 2010 does not grant that right.

Back on the baseball diamond, Anderson’s team competes in a tournament on the dusty fields that spawned Sammy Sosa and Robinson Cano, to name only a couple of baseball greats from San Pedro de Macoris.

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Anderson Desir prepares to swing at a pitch during a tournament in San Pedro de Macoris.

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Sarah Tilotta for NPR

Anderson Desir prepares to swing at a pitch during a tournament in San Pedro de Macoris.

Anderson Desir prepares to swing at a pitch during a tournament in San Pedro de Macoris.

Sarah Tilotta for NPR

If his parents had never come to the Dominican Republic, he would most likely be speaking Haitian Creole and playing soccer somewhere in Haiti. Instead, Anderson’s coach calls out the batter’s count in quick Dominican Spanish, and the pitcher lobs the ball toward the plate. Anderson swings and makes contact good enough for a solid double, as if he’s been doing it his whole life.

And, in fact, he has. Although it’s only his second week on a team, he’s been playing street ball with Dominican neighborhood kids since he could walk. At this point in his baseball career, it’s safe to say that, as long as all the paperwork goes through, Anderson is just as likely as any other 9-year-old from San Pedro de Macoris to make it to la liga grande.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/08/16/340412191/whos-a-citizen-the-question-dividing-the-island-of-hispaniola?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world