As Haiti’s Police Retreat, Gangs Take Over Much of the Capital – The New York Times

Andre Paultre and 

Andre Paultre reported from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Chris Cameron reported from Washington.


“One by one, schools and hospitals have closed. Kidnappings are an everyday risk and gang warfare rages openly on the streets. But now, the chaos that has long consumed many parts of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, has spread: The national police, outgunned, outnumbered, underpaid and demoralized, have ceded control of most of the city to gangs.

Almost no one is safe anymore, analysts and residents say. Even the wealthy who have long looked down at the gang-ridden city from their homes in the mountains above Port-au-Prince are no longer immune.

Gangs operate with impunity across Port-au-Prince and increasingly in wealthy enclaves above the city, analysts say, tightening their grip by attacking police officers and destroying police stations.

“Today, security in Haiti is not a matter of means,’’ said Youri Mevs, the managing partner of an industrial park who lives in the mountains overlooking the city. “It is a matter of avoiding the wrong place at the wrong time. And, the wrong place is almost everywhere, just as the wrong time is literally all the time.” “

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT       NYT Comment: 

Where to start. Doesn’t Spain and France have a major role to play in Haiti? It became a colony for Spain, then of France. “From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia “. . . . Prior to the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763), the economy of Saint-Domingue gradually expanded, with sugar and, later, coffee becoming important export crops. After the war which had disrupted maritime commerce, the colony underwent rapid expansion. In 1767, it exported indigo, cotton and 72 million pounds of raw sugar. By the end of the century, the colony encompassed a third of the entire Atlantic slave trade. In 1791, slaves staged a revolt which led to the Haitian Revolution. André Rigaud, leader of the revolution, forced the British to withdraw. When Toussaint Louverture declared independence in 1802, Napoleon sent an invasion force to coerce the Haitians. After the death of Toussaint while in imprisonment by the French, the Generals Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Henri Christophe, and Alexandre Pétion laid heavy battle against Charles Leclerc, the leader of the French invasion. As the tide of the war turned in favor of the former slaves, Napoleon abandoned the invasion, which led to Dessalines declaring the independence of Haiti in 1804. However, the nation struggled economically due to indemnity concerns.” How to break the stalemate. Perhaps all the Nato countries should each send 1000 troops, and re-establish order.

David blogs at

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