NIGHTLINE: Lifelines: A Haitian Diary Act 1

The next three posts– okay they’re not from Paris, though they were shot in a Francophone country. This was my first assignment for NIGHTLINE, hi-8 video cameras had just come out, the quality was still poor, but Ted Koppel was fascinated by the idea of being able to send a “reporter” someplace and let him/her bring back a journal, as it were.

I’d never been to Haiti and tried to read up before I went. The executive producer, Tom Bettag, said “don’t! Just go there and see what you find,” which is what I suggest to all of you. The assignment was simply spend a week in a village/town and see what life was like for a country surrounded by US and Canadian warships. That was the W — the idea, what I wanted to discover.

IN 1994 the United States surrounded Haiti and imposed an embargo trying to force out the military junta and return Father Arisitide  (who’d been elected by popular vote) to power. I was sent to Haiti with a simple assignment – spend a week in a Haitian village to see what life as like as the US tightened the embargo.


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