Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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Crisis in Haiti
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Image by cliff1066™
1995 Pulitzer Prize, Spot News Photography, Carol Guzy, Washington Post

"Some say I became obsessed, but I’d rather call it a mission." Carol Guzy has covered Haiti since the early 1980s, returning on her own when she cannot convince an editor to send her. "I felt like I had to make people see what was going on there." says Guzy. "The country is so small no one in the U.S. is aware of it."

On Dec. 16, 1990, Jean-Bertrand Aristide wins Haiti's first free presidential elections. Less than a year later, he is deposed and sent into exile. The United States imposes a trade embargo; thousands of Haitians flee. "I had gotten to the point that even I had lost all hope," says Guzy. "I thought nothing would get better. The military government was entrenched." In September 1994, U.S. troops land in Haiti to help return Aristide to power. "There were still a lot of problems," says Guzy. "But for the first time in a long time I saw hope and even jubilation in people's eyes."

In Port-au-Prince, Guzy photographs a "very- joyous democracy march." Then someone throws a grenade into the crowd. "People were killed and wounded. There was shooting, nobody could figure out where it was coming from. I hit the ground with everybody else. I turned and saw the (U.S.) soldier. The guy- on the ground with his arm raised up, the crowd thought he had thrown the grenade and they were trying to tear him apart. The U.S. troops were trying to protect him."