- Instead of basking in tropical sun and sand, they witnessed firsthand a people in agony and were treated with thinly disguised contempt by the military dictator who has run the country since overthrowing the government in 1991.
Both were strong advocates of military intervention to restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide before they went to Port-au-Prince. They returned even more certain that armed force is the only way to help Haiti to achieve a stable society.
Hastings reported on his findings in Dec. at the Jewish Community Center in West Palm Beach. The first-term congressman and former federal judge couldn't contain his anger and passion as he described what he had seen.
"We Americans should be ashamed of what we have allowed to happen in Haiti," Hastings thundered. "Not only is the island itself in our own back yard, but its problems have come home to Florida in our schools, our hospitals and our roads."Hastings said the flight of Haitians has been a "megashock" for South Florida, with 19,000 refugees now living in Palm Beach County, 30,000 in Broward and 49,000 in Dade.
On his first day in Port-au-Prince, Hastings saw two bodies lying in the streets. "I don't know whether they had been shot or had starved to death, but people went about their business around the corpses as though it were an everyday occurrence. Then I visited the church where an Aristide supporter, Antoine Izmery, had recently been dragged into the street and shot like a dog. I had dinner with Justice Minister Guy Malary, who two days later was pulled from his car and murdered on the sidewalk."
Hastings and Graham were granted an interview with army chief Gen. Raoul Cedras, who runs the country along with police boss Michel Francois.
"Cedras was very patronizing and acted as if he was simply going through the motions of humoring these two fools from Washington for the sake of appearances," Hastings said.
Opposed the Iraq War
The following is a list of the 23 U.S. Senators voting "Nay" on the Iraq War resolution in October 2002. The vote was 77-23 in favor of the resolution.
Daniel Akaka (D - Hawaii), Jeff Bingaman (D - N.M.), Barbara Boxer (D - Calif.), Robert Byrd (D - W. Va.), Lincoln Chafee (R - R.I.), Kent Conrad (D - N.D.), Jon Corzine (D - N.J.), Mark Dayton (D - Minn.), Dick Durbin (D - Ill.), Russ Feingold (D - Wis.), Bob Graham (D - Fla.) [Retired, 2004], Daniel Inouye (D - Hawaii), Jim Jeffords (I - Vt.), Ted Kennedy (D - Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D - Vt.), Carl Levin (D - Mich.), Barbara Mikulski (D - Md.), Patty Murray (D - Wash.), Jack Reed (D - R.I.), Paul Sarbanes (D - Md.), Debbie Stabenow (D - Mich.), Paul Wellstone (D - Minn.) [Dec. 2002] and Ron Wyden (D - Ore.).
By 2008, Barack Obama was one of only a handful of candidates to get a personal contribution from George Soros. The others include Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Bob Graham (D-Fla.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, and former Vermont governor Howard Dean.