Friday, February 12, 2010

New Trouble For The American Missionaries, Afghanistan Offensive, Updating Previous Live Haiti Coverage, And Michelle Bennett's Haiti Robbery

Hi everyone. The broadcast continues to come at us live from Haiti, and we're beginning with the ever-increasing drama involving those American missionaries arrested for child kidnapping.

Karl Penhaul tells us that Salvadoran police believe that Jorge Puello, legal adviser for the American's, might actually be Jorge Torres Orellana, a man wanted in El Salvador for child trafficking. Holy Shocking Twist, Batman! So...yeah, that's bad. But it's important to point out that it has not yet been proven (fingerprints needed) that it's the same man.

We then go to Dan Simon for the response from the American's church. They're skeptical and seem to support Puello. Apparently, the guy cold called the church offering his services, and was then put in contact with Sean Lankford whose wife and daughter are in Haiti. And that's pretty much how the hiring took place.

For his part, Puello denies ever even being in El Salvador or even having a passport. But as Karl points out, one wonders how he got into Haiti (he's from the Dominican Republic) without a passport. Hm.

BREAKING NEWS! The real kind, I think. There's a new NATO offensive happening in Afghanistan against the Taliban stronghold in the city of Marjah. Atia Abawi joins us by phone and we learn this is the largest NATO operation since the war began in 2001. Sounds like it's going to be a pretty intense battle. Thoughts and prayers for our troops.

This news is a weird coincidence, in that just today I was thinking of how Afghanistan has once again become the forgotten war (don't even get me started on Iraq). I had even planned to mention it in this post. The other day I discovered that CNN has a blog dedicated to the country. It's definitely worth your time.

On now to an Anderson Cooper piece that takes us to the national day of mourning prayer service. It has been one month since the quake devastated Haiti. Today, a huge crowd assembled to remember, to pray, and to celebrate life. For us watching at home, the month has been like any other. For Haitians, their suffering has spanned greater than any increment of time, their recovery measured only in inches.

Our anchor takes the next piece as well, this one updating us on the situation at General Hospital. There is improvement, yes. But the tears of the workers show that things aren't close to being acceptable. We listen to a nurse practitioner cry as she tells us there is nothing she can do for a rape victim. The resources just don't exist.

There still aren't enough supplies. There still isn't enough help. The workers are frustrated and heartbroken. They deliver babies and are then forced to send the mother out onto the streets a few hours later. What will become of these people? For additional related reading, give this New York Times piece a click.

Moving on to a Sanjay Gupta piece that updates us on Kimberly, the 12-year-old girl who had cement in her brain. Sanjay operated on her on the USNS Comfort and she looks to be doing well. Both he and her rescuer reunited with her and brought her to her father. Sadly, her mother and sister are dead, her home destroyed. The report is below:

After Sanjay's piece, he talks with Anderson about how difficult things are for these children and how upended their lives are now. "I don't know how the story ends. I want to come back," says Sanjay. Hopefully he'll get the chance to report that ending.

INTERLUDE: Okay, so this is the part where a blogger's satellite goes out. But! Only CNN. It's like the forces are conspiring against me. So I flipped over to the Olympics, and O Canada, WTF? Television should always contain giant light up bears and a boy band member-looking Tinkerbell-wannabe flying through the air. Just sayin'.

Okay, never fear. I caught the rest during a repeat. Anderson and Sanjay have a lot more updates for us. They tracked down little Monley, who you might remember is staying with an uncle who can't really afford to care for him. There have been some snags regarding the aunt who wanted to take him in. Also, Monley has not been told his parents are dead. So sad.

Then there was 70-year-old Ana Zizi, who was rescued a week after the quake. She was initially taken to a clinic, then the USNS Comfort, and finally ended up in a rehab center in Font Parisienne where she is reportedly doing well.

We also met little Johnny, who had a broken leg. He was airlifted to an orphanage called Danita's Children and is in good condition. Johnny begins school next week. Currently, the orphanage is not processing any adoptions.

Finally, there is the case of the man allegedly pulled from the rubble just recently. Doctors say they believe it, and have been able to determine that he had access to muddy water. Apparently he lost 60 pounds. Wow.

From Anderson: " know, in movies the end of the story is they're pulled out of the rubble, and you know, in the United States they would get a book deal or a movie of the week or something. And here they're just one more person in the crowd." Sanjay then notes that the last man they talked about is now known worldwide, but he has no where to go. Sobering thoughts.

Next up, we have a piece from Abbie Boudreau that continues her investigation of how the Duvalier family robbed millions from Haiti. Previously, she focused on Jean-Claude, AKA Baby Doc. Tonight the spotlight is shown on his wife, Michelle Bennett, the real power behind the duo. Michelle only wanted the best in life, and she went so far as to steal from charities to achieve her goal.

Her wedding cost a record-breaking (seriously, it was in "The Guinness Book of World Records") three million dollars. Even her decorator had access to government accounts. It's estimated that Michelle and her husband stole at least $500 million from the Haitians. They got away with it because they had their own assassin squad who took out political opponents.

Michelle now lives in a Parisian penthouse, while Baby Doc keeps a much lower profile. Fun fact: at the time of their reign, 80 percent of Haitians were without clean drinking water. Investing $30 million probably could have resolved that problem. Again, they stole $500 million for a lavish lifestyle. Horrid, horrid people.

After Abbie's piece, Anderson tells us that he and his team might have actually seen Michelle at the Hotel Montana, but they can't be sure. Weird.

Finally tonight, we have a Reporter's Notebook from Anderson. The words are from his blog post, the photos from Getty Image's Jonathan Torgovnik. You can watch it below:

For some levity, take a look at this pic tweeted by cameraman Neil Hallsworth. It's nice that CNN doesn't discriminate against zombies when hiring their talent. (Aren't you glad we get to see the pretty version?)

The show was very good tonight. I'm assuming they're going home again--at least that's the vibe I got. Of course, it's very possible a final decision hasn't been made yet. After all, no one really said either way. I imagine at this point it might be hard to get the okay for more than one consecutive week, but hey, what do I know? The only thing I'm sure of is that the people we're watching on the ground are very committed to this story. And for that, I am thankful.

I forgot to mention this all week, but remember you can also find me on Twitter, as well as check out my Haiti Twitter list.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Anonymous Sammy said...

Rumor has it that AC is going to be a guest speaker at several events this weekend in LA. I guess he had to leave, but I really hope he will come back soon. There are too many stories left untold and I want to see CNN report it.

This had been an exceptional month for 360. I hope the quality of their show won't sink back to where it used to be.

Oh, is Candy Crowley an official member of 360 crew now? I like her banter with Anderson but when she mentioned flower and him getting some, I faced palm.

1:00 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Sammy: They really have had a great month. I guess only time will tell where they go from here.

Candy just started her own show, so I doubt she's going to be playing Erica's former role every night. My satellite was cutting out. I didn't see much of the banter. Flower? Like for Valentine's? No reason he can't get flowers.

5:13 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from