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As I am writing this, seven members of Occupy Miami and Occupy FIU (Florida International University) sit in Miami Dade County Jail.  Their crime was a severe one.  They were attempting to set up a concert at Florida International University to remember the victims of Haiti’s earthquake.  In the minds of members of Occupy FIU, they were given prior verbal approval for the event by the ombudsman.  In the eyes of the FIU police and Miami Dade Police, they were not.
There are others in the criminal justice world that are better suited to decide whether the newly named “FIU 7” deserve to be in jail or not.  But in the early morning hours, as I remember the original images of Haiti’s earthquake, as I remember the look on my friends faces as they were desperately trying to contact family members, as I remember wondering the fate of a few of my friends in Haiti at the time (they ended up being fine), I keep asking myself, “who really deserves to be in jail two years after the earthquake?”
On this week’s show, we interviewed lawyer and researcher Amber Ramanauskas and community leader Marleine Bastien about their thoughts on the anniversary.  This is what they had to say:
Amber, along with esteemed human rights lawyer (and Hurricane Katrina survivor) Bill Quigley wrote an enlightening and angering essay on where the money meant to help post-earthquake Haiti really went.  To read it is to gain perspective on who really deserves to be in jail. 
In the aftermath of the earthquake, the two most shocking things were how much the earthquake devastated Haiti and how much Americans wanted to help.  Within days, the majority of Americans either donated or wanted to donate to the relief effort.    Even more significant, Americans from all walks of life supported our government playing an active role in helping rebuild the proud island nation.  What did Americans get for their good will and Haitians for their epic suffering?  Nothing short of betrayal.
Within a year of the earthquake, most of the money for Haiti sat unspent in bank accounts.  Two years later, the money that has been spent raises even more questions.  Just consider that according to Quigley and Ramanauskas:
*The largest recipient of earthquake money was the US government,  and a third of that money went to the Department of Defense.  Many have said that the some of that aid funneled through the Department of Agriculture even helped cripple Haiti’s own rice industry.
*Only a small percentage of money went to Haitian companies, non-profits, or Haiti’s government.  This is even as Haitians have hit the streets demanding more jobs.  On our show, Marleine explained how Haitian American non-profits saw their funding cut and had to layoff workers as they were increasing their services to earthquake victims. 
*Some money went to for-profit disaster companies like Florida-based Ashbritt.
Even now, a lot of the money needed to rebuild Haiti’s infrastructure still hasn’t been spent.  Yet two years after Haiti’s tragedy, both Marleine and Amber recount that Haiti looks like the earthquake happened two weeks ago.  On this day, two years after Haiti finally captured our hearts 200 years after it should have, someone deserves to be in jail.  But is it really the FIU 7?

Wednesday, Dec. 21 @ 7pm EST

How to have happy holidays when you are broke…
As part of our ongoing “when you are broke” series, we will talk with Bill Losey, formerly of CNBC, about spending, saving, avoiding debt, and all of that during Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, Solstice, and just “give me presents” day.

But first… Keeping houses occupied as homes over the holidays
Our governments and banks have down about as much to stem the tide of people getting kicked out of their homes as they have finding life on Planet Pandora (if you have to look, it doesn’t exist).  But that hasn’t stopped everyone from the Occupy movement, to community organizations, to everyday people from taking things into their own hands and taking back their own land.  Well that trend started right here is Miami, with “Take Back The Land” founder Max Rameau.  We will speak to folks that are fighting foreclosures the hard way now.  And we will have a sort of homecoming interview with Max about whether Occupying homes will be the new occupation for 99%-ers (check our first interview with him a year and a half ago here).

But first first…Egypt democracy redux…again
We were one of the first radio shows to bring you the fight for democracy in Egypt as it was just beginning.  But it seems like the current temporary/wannabe permanent rulers of the largest country in the Middle East (and Africa’s second largest) keep confusing their “d” words (democracy, dictatorship, despotism, doubling down on dissent).  We will talk to Egyptian American activists about the today and tomorrow of the ongoing struggle for democracy.

plus check our last last show here…