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Need to Know, April 8, 2011: Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Medicare, Edwidge Danticat

This week on Need to Know, we visit the island of Hispaniola, where the Dominican Republic is beginning to deport Haitians that had fled across the border following last year’s devastating earthquake. Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat follows up with a conversation about the American perception of Haiti and Haitian immigrants.

Also, a look at the Republican proposals for changes to Medicare and Medicaid, and essay from Jon Meacham and the return of Peter Sagal.

Watch the individual segments:

Hispaniola: Divided island

The Dominican Republic resumes mass deportations of Haitians after a one-year moratorium since the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Need to Know investigates reports that Haitians are being wrongfully removed from the country. Human rights activists say race plays a role in the treatment of Haitians in the Dominican Republic.

Interview with Edwidge Danticat

Correspondent Rafael Pi Roman interviews award-winning Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat about the immigrant struggle for a sense of belonging and why Americans don’t get a chance to hear about the Haiti that exists beyond the stereotypes and traumas of big news stories.

The battle over Medicare and Medicaid

What would the Republicans’ newly proposed changes to Medicare and Medicaid mean to Americans? With interviews and animation, Need to Know delves into the details.

An actor’s life: Juliano Mer-Khamis of the Jenin Freedom Theatre

Need to Know looks at the life and work of Juliano Mer-Khamis, the Israeli-Palestinian actor and the director of the Jenin Freedom Theatre. He was killed earlier this week in the Jenin refugee camp by unknown gunmen. He was a controversial figure who believed that art and theater could be used for social change and justice.

Kinect hacks launch new digital future

The Microsoft Kinect has launched a revolution in gaming technology by turning the game player into the controller. Now, hackers have repurposed the Kinect to allow people to control computers and the digital world using just their body movements. Known as gesture technology, this innovation will change the way we live, from how we cook in the kitchen to the way doctors perform surgery.

In Perspective: A Jon Meacham essay

Jon Meacham offers a comparison between President Kennedy’s mistakes during the Bay of Pigs with the difficulties President Obama faces in the current political climate.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.

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    We explore the inner workings of a military organization's $17 billion effort to combat IEDs, and Jami Floyd discusses the ramifications of the Supreme Court's decision on the Wal-Mart case. Also: The science of what makes a good marriage.


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  • Indignant Dude

    How does Thirteen dare to critize the Dominican Republic with racism and the treatment of Haitians? When americans are doing the same things with illegal Mexicans; deporting them based on the color of their skin. It makes me so indignant to see this reporting when worst things are happening here in American soil against dark Latinos. I don’t hear raids done against illegal Canadians or Irish. Do I hear double standard?

  • Codejam

    No double standard. In fact, the situations are different. Illegal immigration in the United States is a direct failure of the Mexican Government for not doing all that’s possible to encourage innovation, attract companies to build their factories, techo centers there, etc. The Domininicans Republic had an active compaign ridding the country of all dark-skinned people. A national campaign does not go away cause the founder is dead! We the economy, in any country, goes south all of the prejudices come to the surface and are acted out.

  • Anonymous

    You can’t pin everything on failures of the Mexican government.

    NAFTA, the WTO and IMF structural adjustment regimes have crippled Mexico’s economy and caused massive unemployment and poverty. In particular, the stripping away of protections for rural farmers and forcing them to compete with heavily subsidized U.S. agricultural exports has been a disaster, leading many to enter the U.S. illegally or to turn to the drug trade.

    “Attracting investment” typically means gutting enforcement of regulations and putting the needs of rapacious corporations and speculators above that of the people. The ballyhooed bailout of Mexico in 1995 was really a bailout of Goldman-Sachs and its ilk.

  • Brand1

    as soon as i first heard of these “immigration raids” i knew there was something sinister. they obviously won’t come out and say it, but it is their motivation.
    it is so much easier to target people by their looks or skin color, just like it is here in the United States.
    Strange world we live in: Here latinos with darker skins than whites are targeted, while down there latinos target blacks with darker skins than their’s.
    it is a sick world we live in, but those things do happen. i’ve seen and witnessed them myself in a few environments around here, and i know that’s what’s exactly going on. as a black i’ve been treated well by most latinos i know, and at other times i’ve noticed that some treat me with contempt, just like i notice with some caucasians
    and its not just haiti and the DR. its all over the caribbean. i remember visiting the area for the first time, and i noticed that the people in power and most of those with the wealth were ‘blacks” of a lighter skin color. my explanation is that those were mostly the ones who were closer to the former slave masters, the “house slaves,” so to write.
    at independence they inherited most of their former masters’ estates, while the darker skinned ones, the “field slaves” got mostly ripped off. today when you visit the caribbean, you notice that many of the politicians and leaders, and those with the land, which is very scarce in the islands, tend to be the lighter colored “blacks.”
    the whole region is, it seems to me, under a sort of curse from the legacy of slavery and racism. it runs deep in this region, in the rest of latin america, and the americas as a whole. it is almost inescapable, unfortunately.

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    I agree with the poster above about the mexican Govt is to blame with the US immigration problem

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