- The Washington Times - Monday, April 12, 2004

HAITI

U.S. intervention brief, on the cheap

PORT-AU-PRINCE — They pick up trash, patrol streets and search for weapons, all the while counting the days before their tour ends.

Six weeks into a mission to stabilize Haiti for the second time in a decade, U.S. troops are hampered by a 90-day mandate that leaves little time to accomplish real change and by hostility that is a far cry from the joyous welcome the Americans received in 1994.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell dropped in April 5 and pledged U.S. support, but said the administration will not spend more than the $55 million earmarked for Haiti — about $20 million less than the amount given last year and a fraction of the $235 million after the 1994 intervention.



Less money means less chance of getting guns off the street, though everyone agrees that is the only way to secure the Caribbean country. Since the first U.S. Marines arrived Feb. 29, fewer than 150 weapons have been collected and rival street gangs and rebel groups remain armed.

BRAZIL

Police quell drug gang warfare

RIO DE JANEIRO — Nearly 1,000 military and civilian police began patrolling the Rocinha slum in the southern part of this seaside city yesterday, after a weekend of shootouts that left eight dead.

Not all those killed had been involved in the gunbattles that erupted Friday morning. Jornal do Brasil reported that the latest victim of the flare-up was killed by a stray bullet while sitting on his porch.

Authorities say they have arrested a key leader in a Rio drug trafficking ring. Pedro Arthur de Faria was captured Sunday. He said about 60 members of his gang from a nearby slum were battling it out in Rocinha with another drug gang for control of the territory.

PERU

Andean mudslides strand tourists

LIMA — Authorities used helicopters to evacuate about 500 stranded tourists from the famed Inca ruins at Machu Picchu, as rescue teams searched during the weekend for 10 persons missing in landslides. One was confirmed dead.

Peruvians and foreigners were trapped in Machu Picchu when two mudslides early Saturday blocked the rail line that links the site to the city of Cuzco.

The mudslides, after intense rain, also destroyed 15 homes in Aguas Calientes, the nearest community, where at least six persons were injured. Buses drove as close to the Machu Picchu ruins as possible to collect tourists, who walked about a mile to get to their ride. Helicopters then ferried them to Ollantaytambo, the nearest town, from where they were bused to Cuzco, 90 miles away.

Weekly notes

Colombian troops fatally shot five civilians, including two children, local news sources reported yesterday. The troops mistook passengers on a truck for rebels. It was the second time in less than a month that soldiers had opened fire on people mistaken for guerrillas, El Espectador said. On March 19, seven police and four civilians were killed by soldiers in an unexplained incident. … Money lost by the Canadian government in a spending scandal that rocked the ruling Liberal Party this year is far less than the $75 million estimated by the auditor general, a Cabinet minister said Sunday. Treasury Board chief Reg Alcock told CTV’s “Question Period” that a follow-up audit by accounting firm Ernst & Young will reveal that the money misspent was closer to $18 million. Mr. Alcock blamed “lousy” government management systems for making it impossible to track government spending.

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