I nteresting reports from Haiti are starting to trickle in now that the non-invasion is underway. The Gecko overheard one speech delivered in the town of Cap Hatien by a Major Billy Swashbuckle from a second floor balcony to an eager if rather restless audience of Haitians standing down below. Maj Swashbuckle, in a stern voice, said:
"We come here as your friends. So, from now on please stop all criminal behaviour."
"There is no need for looting. We have brought a lot of food with us and we'll begin distributing it shortly. We think you will especially like our new and improved, ethno-sensitive MREs. These have been pre-tested on Haitian taxi drivers in New York City so we know you will like them as each turkey dinner and packet of beef stew now come with extra servings of Tabasco sauce."
"On another subject let me say that we are very concerned by reports of GI Joe Voodoo Doll sightings. As the presence of these dolls is not consistent with the road to democracy, we have ordered from today that all Voodoo Dolls must be turned in to the proper authorities immediately."
"Now I know some of you have expressed some concern as to just who the proper authorities are right now. And believe me, we are concerned too. When we find out we will let you know."
Well, at least everything's under control over there in the Carribbean. On the local front, rumor has it that some nutcase expat actually organized a pool for punters to gamble on when the invasion of Haiti was going to take place. At 1,000 riels a pop, the jackpot was reported to be over 30 grand, but with the invasion called off thanks to Clinton's Voodoo foreign policy, the guy seems to have disappeared with all the cash.
On a more mundane level, would-be denizens of the infamous Martini Bar should be alerted that the cops are now taxing those who decide to leave the establishment with one of the local gals. One Belgian said he'd been stopped four times recently, was asked for $100, but after some haggling managed to get the price down to $1.
Journalists seem to get it coming and going. Over a month ago Western embassies were complaining that all the media attention on the hostage situation was interferring with the negotiation process. Now that the press coverage has died down, one embassy involved is reported to have sent a cable to its home office complaining that the lack of coverage has let the issue drop from the front burner so that there was less incentive for the government to do anything.