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25165: Hermantin (News)Haitian Group Enjoys Visit to the White House (fwd)
From: leonie hermantin <email@example.com>
HAITIAN FLAG DAY
HAITIAN GROUP ENJOYS VISIT TO WHITE HOUSE
To celebrate Haitian Flag Day, among Haitians' most revered holidays, the
Bush administration invited about 150 Haitians from across the United States
and Haiti to a two-hour reception Wednesday in the Indian Treaty Room.
At least 20 of the invitees were from Florida, said Marie Florence Bell, a
Miami-Dade Public Schools employee and recent chairwoman of Gov. Jeb Bush's
Haiti Task Force.
Bell said the group didn't get to chat with the president -- but they did
catch a glimpse.
''He left as we were walking in. He had to go to a briefing because
something happened with Iraq,'' she said.
South Florida's contingent included Daniel Fils-Aime, owner of Miami Mini
Bus Transportation Service. Fils-Aime is director of the Miami-based
Haitian-American Historical Society, which is seeking to build a statue in
Savannah, Ga., honoring Haitian soldiers.
Following a brunch at the Haitian Embassy in Washington, the group dined on
wine and cheese at the White House and talked about Haiti with top Bush
aides, including Andrew S. Natsios, administrator for the U.S. Agency for
Others included Paul Latortue, brother of Haitian interim Prime Minister
Gerard Latortue, and Dumarsais ''Dumas'' Siméus, a Texas businessman.
''It was really cool,'' Bell said. ``It was more a reception versus a
sit-down and chair briefing . . . very much unstructured, social, a lot of
exchanges of business cards.''
-- JACQUELINE CHARLES