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COVID In Florida Prisons, Haiti Politics, The Daily And Hemingway Days

Cat Gloria/ WUFT News

A new investigation finds alarming spread of COVID-19 in Florida correctional facilities. An update on the investigation into the assassination of Haiti's President. The NYT Daily podcast comes to WLRN and a trip down to Key West for Hemingway Days.

On this Thursday, July 29, episode of Sundial

Florida is once again a hotspot for new coronavirus infections and the problem is even worse for our incarcerated population. The death rate for those with COVID at Florida correctional facilities is more than one-and-a-half times that of the general public in the state.

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An Orlando Sentinel investigation compiled a comprehensive list of the people who died of the virus while serving a felony sentence including details about their last days. Grace Toohey is with the Sentinel’s justice and safety team. She explained that, for families who lost loved ones to the virus, getting information was a challenge.

“We heard from a lot of families, they were just left in the dark. Prison officials weren’t giving them phone calls, weren’t giving them updates. We know how scary COVID is on the outside, it’s a completely different experience for those on the inside,” Toohey said.

The Sentinel compiled data gathered by the COVID Prison Project and found that 30% of the inmates that died of COVID-19 were eligible for parole. Kathryn Nowotny is an associate professor in the University of Miami’s department of sociology and the co-founder of the COVID Prison Project.

“Prisons and jails are incubators of infectious disease. Due to close living quarters, due to not having full access to sanitary supplies like soap for washing your hands and hand sanitizer. So we wanted to track and get a comprehensive national view of what was the course of COVID-19 within the United States,” Nowotny said.

07-29-2021 SUNDIAL SEG A COVID In Prisons.mp3

Haiti Politics and Investigation

Federal law enforcement officers were in South Florida earlier this week — serving the first search warrants in the investigation into the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. The focus of the investigation has been on a private security company in Doral, which reportedly contracted ex-Colombian military officers to conduct the assassination. WLRN Americas Editor Tim Padgett explained that authorities are focused on two suspects.

“The Venezuelan expat’s name is Antonio Entriago, he owns a private security firm in Doral known as CTU. The other person they’re looking at is the Ecuadorian expat named Walter Veintemilla," said Padgett. "He owns a loan brokerage company in Broward County. He apparently loaned money to the effort [to assassinate the Haitian President.]."

Meanwhile, the new Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry addressed the nation yesterday in his first public address, vowing to make Democratic elections happen “quickly and smoothly.” Nixon Boumba is part of the American Jewish World Service in Haiti, working on social justice issues and workers' rights. He remains skeptical of Henry’s ability to facilitate change inside of the country.

“Before the assassination of Jovenel Moise, no Haitian believed that we could have an election. We can’t organize an election where 60 percent of the territory is controlled by gangs. We can’t organize an election where a political leader can campaign for a position in government. We need time and a process and mechanism to restore Democratic order,” Boumba said.

07-29-2021 SUNDIAL SEG B Haitian Assassination.mp3

The Daily

The New York Times podcast the Daily is coming to WLRN beginning weeknights at 6:30 p.m. The show, hosted by Michael Barbaro, features interviews with New York Times reporters and subject matter experts from around the globe.

“There are so many stories that deserve a rich, highly produced, really thoughtful way of understanding the world,” Barbaro said in an interview with Sundial. Listen to old episodes of the podcast here.

07-29-2021 SUNDIAL SEG C The Daily.mp3

Hemingway Days

Mark Hedden
Sundial Host Luis Hernandez at the 40th annual Hemingway look-alike contest in Key West Florida.

Every year, thousands of Hemingway fans make their way down to the nation’s southernmost point for a weekly festival known as Hemingway Days.

The 40th annual Hemingway look alike contest took place last weekend at the iconic Sloppy Joe’s bar, where men from across the U.S. don their white beards and best impressions of Old Papa. Sundial host Luis Hernandez took a trip down to Key West, as both reporter and contestant.

HemingwayDays Final.mp3

Stay Connected
Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.