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Gangs have virtually taken over Haiti and have created a Humanitarian Disaster

By Donna
November 27, 2022 10:33 am
Category: News

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From the NYTimes:

You probably don't know anything about this because there has been a virtual blackout in the US mainstream media. Kudos to the NYT for covering it. From the NYTimes:

Haiti is in the middle of a humanitarian disaster. Gang warfare has deepened since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in the summer of 2021.

[Did you even know about that? - Donna]

Hunger has intensified. Cholera is spreading, as it has before, partly because armed groups are preventing doctors from providing care.

I spoke to Natalie Kitroeff, The Times’s bureau chief for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean who recently reported from Haiti, about the crisis.

Claire: Criminal organizations seem to control much of Haiti. How did they take over?

Natalie: Gangs have been around in Haiti for decades. But they became particularly brazen under Moïse. After his assassination, a new prime minister, Ariel Henry, took over, but he was never confirmed by the Parliament, and a lot of people viewed him as illegitimate. The institutions of the country were gutted. The gangs stepped into that power vacuum, and the state has lost its ability to secure the most basic arteries in the country.

Can you explain how life in Haiti has deteriorated since these gangs took over?

To understand the current situation, we can look at two major events. In July, rival gangs fought over control of Cité Soleil, the largest slum in Haiti, where about 300,000 people live. A war broke out between them that lasted for about a week and resulted in hundreds of deaths. Gang members burned down entire neighborhoods. Women were raped as a tool of war. It was horrific. Thousands of people fled the slum, and many of them have been living as refugees elsewhere in Port-au-Prince, the capital.

Then, a few months later, Henry, the prime minister, raised the price of fuel, which sparked protests that plunged Haiti in near anarchy, and one of the gangs blocked the port through which most of the fuel comes into the country. That turned a bad situation into a crisis. Haiti doesn’t have a functional electrical grid, so everything runs on diesel generators. When there’s no fuel, it impacts almost everything. Gas stations were closed. There was no trash collection in much of the capital, so it piled up in the slums. The water utility lost its ability to pump enough water and aid workers couldn’t bring in water to areas blocked by gangs, which medical experts believe was a major contributor in the cholera outbreak.


Cited and related links:

  1. nytimes.com

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Comments on "Gangs have virtually taken over Haiti and have created a Humanitarian Disaster ":

  1. by Donna on November 27, 2022 10:36 am

    Can you explain how life in Haiti has deteriorated since these gangs took over?

    To understand the current situation, we can look at two major events. In July, rival gangs fought over control of Cité Soleil, the largest slum in Haiti, where about 300,000 people live. A war broke out between them that lasted for about a week and resulted in hundreds of deaths. Gang members burned down entire neighborhoods. Women were raped as a tool of war. It was horrific. Thousands of people fled the slum, and many of them have been living as refugees elsewhere in Port-au-Prince, the capital.

    Then, a few months later, Henry, the prime minister, raised the price of fuel, which sparked protests that plunged Haiti in near anarchy, and one of the gangs blocked the port through which most of the fuel comes into the country. That turned a bad situation into a crisis. Haiti doesn’t have a functional electrical grid, so everything runs on diesel generators. When there’s no fuel, it impacts almost everything. Gas stations were closed. There was no trash collection in much of the capital, so it piled up in the slums. The water utility lost its ability to pump enough water and aid workers couldn’t bring in water to areas blocked by gangs, which medical experts believe was a major contributor in the cholera outbreak.


  2. by Curt_Anderson on November 27, 2022 11:06 am
    Terrible. I did read about that. The NY Times and the Washington Post (see link) have been raising the alarm about the plight of the Haitians. I have a lot of sympathy for immigrants, and especially people seeking to escape that sort of chaos.
    google.com


  3. by islander on November 27, 2022 12:14 pm

    Those are the people we designate as refugees and asylum seekers. I know that I wouldn’t hesitate to take my family and do everything I could to flee across a border to another country where I could raise my family in relative safety.

    Is there anyone here who wouldn't?


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