2009.03.12: March 12, 2009: Headlines: COS - Madagascar: Safety: Blogs - Madagascar: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer Amie's Adventures Abroad writes: Because of the uncertainty of the situation Peace Corps gave everyone the option of closing service and leaving country if they did not feel safe in the country or did not want to stay. A number of volunteers took this option but the majority have stayed.

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Madagascar: Peace Corps Madagascar : Peace Corps Madagascar: Newest Stories: 2009.03.16: March 16, 2009: Headlines: COS - Madagascar: Safety: Peace Corps Press Release: Peace Corps Madagascar Program Suspended : 2009.03.09: March 9, 2009: Headlines: COS - Madagascar: Safety: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer Brendan's Mad. Adventure writes: From a still VERY safe part of the island : 2009.03.12: March 12, 2009: Headlines: COS - Madagascar: Safety: Blogs - Madagascar: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer Amie's Adventures Abroad writes: Because of the uncertainty of the situation Peace Corps gave everyone the option of closing service and leaving country if they did not feel safe in the country or did not want to stay. A number of volunteers took this option but the majority have stayed.

By Admin1 (admin) (151.196.46.155) on Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 6:07 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps Volunteer Amie's Adventures Abroad writes: Because of the uncertainty of the situation Peace Corps gave everyone the option of closing service and leaving country if they did not feel safe in the country or did not want to stay. A number of volunteers took this option but the majority have stayed.

Peace Corps Volunteer Amie's Adventures Abroad writes: Because of the uncertainty of the situation Peace Corps gave everyone the option of closing service and leaving country if they did not feel safe in the country or did not want to stay. A number of volunteers took this option but the majority have stayed.

None of us knows what is going to happen. There is still the possibility that things could get worse and Peace Corps could be evacuated. But we cannot live in a state of constant uncertainty so we are going about our lives and making plans and moving forward on those plans, with the idea in the backs of our minds that evacuation is still a possibility. Peace Corps has done an amazing job of keeping is all safe and informed, and doing everything they can in this very difficult situation to help each and everyone of us deal with our problems and make the decision that is best for us.

Peace Corps Volunteer Amie's Adventures Abroad writes: Because of the uncertainty of the situation Peace Corps gave everyone the option of closing service and leaving country if they did not feel safe in the country or did not want to stay. A number of volunteers took this option but the majority have stayed.

The current political situation in Madagascar

on March 12, 2009

Caption: Madagascan soldiers separate supporters of opposition leader Andry Rajoelina and President Marc Ravalomanana in the capital Antananarivo February 14, 2009. Photo: Reuters/Carl Hocquart/Files

This is a little out of date now, but I wanted to post it nonetheless. Internet access has been shoddy at best. I will be sure and update further once I have a chance.

The current political situation in Madagascar is extremely complicated and it will take years for people much smarter and with better resources then I to understand what exactly has been going on here for the last couple of months. There are huge underlying problems including poverty and corruption and misuse of government funds. Issues that it would take books to analyze.

But for those that have asked here is a quick and overly simplified recap of the current political situation in Madagascar and the situation of Peace Corps, as I understand it. In January 2008 there were mayoral elections here in Madagascar and the man that was elected as Mayor of the capitol (Tana) is a man named Andry who is not part of the Presidentís (Marc) political party TIM. Both Andry and Marc are consummate businessmen and very wealthy. Marc is the richest man in the country. He owns a company called Tiko, which has a virtual monopoly on essential food products like oil and all dairy products. He also owns the Hilton hotel in Tana and a large number of other businesses as well as TV and radio stations. Andry comes from a rich family and is a well known DJ. About 12 or 13 years ago (or possibly more) Andry was dating Marcís daughter and it is said that she got pregnant and Andryís family (being from old money) did not approve of her and refused to let Andry marry Marcís daughter. So, there is the family feud part of the story.

In December of last year Andry started running anti-Marc stuff on his TV station VIVA. So Marc closed VIVA. As soon as the station was closed Andry started calling for protests in the center of town. For a number of weeks running there were anti-Marc protests every Saturday in Tana. Then on Sunday, January 25th Marc got fed up with being protested so he put out an arrest warrant for Marc. This really pissed people off and set off large protests throughout the city. Which then led to even larger protests and rioting on Monday January 26th which involved looting and burning of stores and the national TV station and all the ware houses that stocked Tiko products. On Tuesday the rioting and looting spread from Tana to other cities including, Tamatave and Mahajanga. ON Tuesday afternoon Peace Corps decided to put all PCVs on high alert, telling us to prepare for consolidation and possible evacuation.

On Tuesday evening I left Anivorano with Mbolaís family as there had been threats against the family. The threats never came to anything but we wanted to be safe so we went to Brickaville and spent two days there. Everyone was scared and rumors were flying. All the radio and TV stations had been cut so there was no way to get news except by rumor. On Thursday Peace Corps called all volunteers to consolidate. Depending on your location in the country and the situation in each location volunteers were consolidated to a number of safe and secure locations. Most of the volunteers in my region, Tamatave, were consolidated to a small mission 6 km north of the city where another PCV worked. Because Peace Corps did not want us entering the city and because my site is one of the few south of Tamatave I was consolidated directly to Tana on Friday and moved to the Peace Corps training center on Saturday. The Training center is in a small town called Mantasoa about 70 km from Tana. It is a large compound with beds for over 80 volunteers and staff to keep us fed and clean for as long as necessary. The first couple of days at Mantasoa there were approximately 60 volunteers, by the time we deconsolidated there were 80 as Peace Corps continued to further consolidate volunteers to be on the safe side.

The 18 days that we were in Mantasoa were extremely challenging and heart rending. We never knew from one day to the next what was going to happen. If we would be returning to site or being evacuated. I didnít know when I would see Mbola again. Maybe it would be a couple of days, maybe not for a year. It was an emotional roller coaster.

During the time that we were in Mantasoa Andry declared himself president of Madagascar. He called for the people to march on the ministries and take over the government. Marc then declared that Andry was no longer Mayor of Tana and appointed a new major. On the same day Andry resigned as mayor and appointed another replacement. The worst was on February 7th when protesters marched on the presidential palace and the military opened fire on a crowed of unarmed civilians. Over 20 people were killed and hundreds injured. We though for sure at this point that we would all get evacuated. But ten days later Peace Corps had decided that it was safe enough for us to return to our sites. Things had calmed down and there were promises of negotiations.

Because of the uncertainty of the situation Peace Corps gave everyone the option of closing service and leaving country if they did not feel safe in the country or did not want to stay. A number of volunteers took this option but the majority have stayed.

The political situation is still extremely unstable. Talks between Marc and Andry have recently broken down leading to a resurgence of protest marches and minor violence in the capitol. On Friday February 27th Andry called for renewed protest marches and a general strike starting Monday and ending only when Madagascar has a new government. As of Wednesday Marc forbid any further protests and has closed the center of Tana. Using a large military presence and tear gas to disperse the crowds and prevent anyone from entering the center of town. This has caused the protests and violence to spread throughout the city instead of being concentrated in the center. As of Friday March 6th, there are continued clashes between protesters and police.

None of us knows what is going to happen. There is still the possibility that things could get worse and Peace Corps could be evacuated. But we cannot live in a state of constant uncertainty so we are going about our lives and making plans and moving forward on those plans, with the idea in the backs of our minds that evacuation is still a possibility.

Peace Corps has done an amazing job of keeping is all safe and informed, and doing everything they can in this very difficult situation to help each and everyone of us deal with our problems and make the decision that is best for us.



Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: March, 2009; Peace Corps Madagascar; Directory of Madagascar RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Madagascar RPCVs; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Blogs - Madagascar





When this story was posted in March 2009, this was on the front page of PCOL:




Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers RSS Feed

 Site Index Search PCOL with Google Contact PCOL Recent Posts Bulletin Board Open Discussion RPCV Directory Register

PCOL's Candidate for Peace Corps Director Date: December 2 2008 No: 1288 PCOL's Candidate for Peace Corps Director
Honduras RPCV Jon Carson, 33, presided over thousands of workers as national field director for the Obama campaign and said the biggest challenge -- and surprise -- was the volume of volunteer help, including more than 15,000 "super volunteers," who were a big part of what made Obama's campaign so successful. PCOL endorses Jon Carson as the man who can revitalize the Peace Corps, bring it into the internet age, and meet Obama's goal of doubling the size of the Peace Corps by 2011.

Director Ron Tschetter:  The PCOL Interview Date: December 9 2008 No: 1296 Director Ron Tschetter: The PCOL Interview
Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter sat down for an in-depth interview to discuss the evacuation from Bolivia, political appointees at Peace Corps headquarters, the five year rule, the Peace Corps Foundation, the internet and the Peace Corps, how the transition is going, and what the prospects are for doubling the size of the Peace Corps by 2011. Read the interview and you are sure to learn something new about the Peace Corps. PCOL previously did an interview with Director Gaddi Vasquez.

Feb 22, 2009: Return to Indonesia? Date: March 1 2009 No: 1333 Feb 22, 2009: Return to Indonesia?
Clinton says PC expects to resume in Indonesia 18 Feb
Indonesia still touchy about Peace Corps 17 Feb
PCVs Remain Safe in Madagascar 30 Jan
Dodd's Senate seat up for grabs? 21 Feb
Tony Hall Talks About Poverty and Hunger 18 Feb
Pro Football Player Aaron Merz to serve in Zambia 17 Feb
Moyers could be new Murrow for US Public Diplomacy 17 Feb
Obituary for Nigeria CD Francis Underhill Macy 10 Feb
George Packer writes: Parties argue government role 10 Feb
James Rupert writes: Missile Strikes Counterproductive? 10 Feb
Danny Hevrol in Madagascar amidst fighting 6 Feb
Reed Hastings writes: Please Raise My Taxes 6 Feb
Obama overrides Hillary on Chris Hill appointment 6 Feb
Joseph Acaba has "The Right Stuff" 4 Feb
Maureen Orth writes: A New Start 2 Feb
Henry Rayburn could make art out of anything 1 Feb
Obama out to marry military power with diplomacy 30 Jan
Mike Fay honored by the San Diego Zoo 30 Jan
Charles Stroh writes: Karzai seen as impediment to change 29 Jan
Madeleine Meek writes: The market and the bath 26 Jan
NPCA gets new Web Site 22 Jan
Read more stories from January and February 2009.

Some PCVs return to Bolivia on their own Date: October 23 2008 No: 1279 Some PCVs return to Bolivia on their own
Peace Corps has withdrawn all volunteers from Bolivia because of "growing instability" and the expulsion of US Ambassador Philip Goldberg after Bolivian President Evo Morales accused the American government of inciting violence in the country. This is not the first controversy surrounding Goldberg's tenure as US ambassador to Bolivia. Latest: Some volunteers have returned to Bolivia on their own to complete their projects.



Read the stories and leave your comments.








Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Madagascar; Safety; Blogs - Madagascar

PCOL43038
98


Add a Message


This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.
Username:  
Password:
E-mail: