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Dr. Larry Pierre Appointed As the interim Chair of the Democratic Haitian-American Caucus of Florida

September 18, 2012

By Dessalines Ferdinand

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith has appointed Dr. Larry Pierre as the interim chair of the Democratic Haitian-American Caucus of Florida (DHACF), which is being established in compliance with Democratic National Party regulations.

A statement exclusively obtained by Le Floridien also revealed that Pierre, who is the Executive Director of the Center for Haitian Studies, a not-for profit Little Haiti based organization, will serve that position until May 2013, when the organization will call for an official election.

Upon his appointment, a copy of the bylaws of the Florida Democratic Party was sent to Pierre, ensuring that he was aware that this appointment gives him a vote on the State Executive Committee. Official records and pertinent information of the organization were picked up from former president and founder, Evelyn Garcia of Palm Beach County, and brought to Tallahassee to be reviewed before they were turned over to Pierre, just to assure a smooth transition between the two.

Last month, Pierre made his first official appearance on a panel discussion at the "Caucus of Caucuses Meeting," where the panel discussed the details about the official meeting to be held the next day. The newly appointed interim chair helped choose members of Florida's 29 Electoral College to vote for President Obama at the Democratic National Convention held early this month in North Carolina, officially making him the Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party for the Nov. 6 election.

Dr. Pierre is a continuous supporter of the Democratic National Party. He has met on several occasions, with President Barack Obama and other high-ranking members of the oldest political party in the United States. His appointment came after Garcia's resignation on July 2, 2012. Garcia, the founder and former head of the organization, resigned from the DNC after she admitted to sending anti-Israeli emails to a legislative aide.

According to Rachel Hirshfeld of Arutz Sheva, a legislative aide to Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Miramar), Garcia accused Israel of running "mass concentration camps" and committing "crimes against humanity." Hirshfeld also reported that Garcia was "caught advocating for an end to the U.S.-Israel alliance."

According to John Lantigua of The Palm Beach Post, an anonymous sender exposed Garcia's biases by forwarding the incriminating emails to local Democratic leaders. Upon the receipt of these emails, party leaders harshly criticized Garcia for her remarks.

The legislative aide called Garcia "awful" and said that she might damage the Democratic Party, in particular Floridian DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. As word spread to other Democrats, they also condemned Garcia's remarks.

Fans of Garcia also spoke out. One group of supporters created a fan page on Twitter, thanking the former DNC member for "standing up for Palestinians." "Don't apologize for supporting the oppressed," said one fan - the sole commenter.

As the interim chairman, Pierre said that he aims to work in a way that will increase the number of members of the political organization by encouraging his fellow countrymen to get involved.

"It is time for Haitian-Americans to get involve in US politics," said Pierre, the President of the Greater Health Education & Training Center, a medical education company located in the Center for Haitian Studies Health & Human Services facility, which provides medical education and clinical training to medical students, residents and fellows from local, national and international universities.

Pierre believes that, if more Haitian-Americans join the organization, it will be seen as a valuable asset in local and state politics. Almost all of the 30 Haitian-Americans public officials (elected or appointed) are Democrats.

But some Haitian-Americans question the existence of this organization, saying that Democrats and Republicans are the same, as the economic situation of South Florida's Haitian community has remained the same for the last three decades, regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans were in power.

Pierre reminded those critics that the best way for a community to have its voice heard is to get involved, by getting to know the local and state party leaders and going to political committee meetings. These meetings are usually open to any member of the party and provide a great opportunity to get to know other people in the party and learn about the issues facing the community.

The interim chair also stressed the importance of contributing money to the campaign of local, county and state candidates, as well as the presidential level, as doing so will create what Pierre calls "a political culture in US Elections."

According to the book, The Buying of the President, written by Charles Lewis, "Over the years, money has become the dominant influence in US political system: Money dictates how lawmakers are elected, who has access to them, and the career paths they choose after leaving the government. As a result, ordinary citizens without connections or money just don't get heard."

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