Plain English Version – October 28, 2021
In Haiti, gangs block ports. Fuel shipments cannot get through. Hospitals are shutting down. Cellphones are losing power. Hunger is growing.
In recent months, assassins killed the president. An earthquake shook a part of the country. The nation is on the brink of collapse.
Gangs now rule about half the capital of Haiti. Workers are afraid to drive their fuel trucks. A gang kidnapped missionaries. It is demanding a ransom of $1 million for each of the seventeen captives. The police know where the hostages are. But the police can’t enter the neighborhood because the gangs outgun them.
Observers accuse government ministers of working with the gangs. This example shows how things have gone down. A gang raped women, burned homes, and killed dozens, including children. These events took place three years ago. The massacre had the support of some Haitian officials who gave weapons and vehicles to gang members. Why? To punish people in a poor area who were protesting corruption.
One man is watching his child breathe through a machine running out of fuel. He said, “I hope for a better Haiti, but I know it will not get better. Haiti only goes backward. The only gear we have is reverse.”
One gang leader says his goal is to change the government. His method is to choke the country to death. Everywhere, from hotels to food stores, the lack of energy and supplies is bringing Haiti to its knees.
Doctors and nurses cannot get to work because of the high cost of gas. Ambulances are bringing them to work. They sleep on the floor in the hospital.
What are the politics? One gang leader says he is trying to get fuel to hospitals. He called on Haitians to turn on the business and political elite, calling them “hoodlums.”
The Haitian institutions that keep the country running get their power from generators. A man said without fuel, “everything just shuts down.”
The gangs get their power because the politicians are corrupt. Politicians often look the other way or make deals.
The gangs have more guns than the police. The police also often do not get paid. There is not much they can do about the kidnappings, which give the gangs money.
The Haitian government is trying to get the country back to work. Observers say officials must get control of the neighborhoods and the ports where the gangs are most powerful. The gangs have access to guns, motorcycles, and fuel. The police do not.
More than one out of three Haitians are hungry. No matter where you look, Haiti is falling apart.
Source: The New York Times October 27, 2021