Haiti: April 4, 2005


It's estimated that there are at least 13,000 rifles and pistols in the hands of Haitian civilians. Most of these are held by criminals, organized former soldiers and groups that back the return of exiled former president Aristide. Peacekeeper efforts are only taking a few dozen of these weapons out of circulation every week, while a larger number appear to be smuggled into the country and sold in a thriving illegal arms trade.

Remissainthes Ravix, the leader of the former soldiers demanding restoration of the army, continues to be one of the prime causes of disorder in the country. He has now proclaimed "guerrilla warfare" against the Haitian government, and also, presumably, against the UN peacekeeping forces in the country. It also appears that Dominican military intelligence has been meddling in of the fighting. Haitians are not well liked in the Dominican Republic (which was controlled by Haiti for a generation in the nineteenth century), and this meddling may merely be a form of revenge, or may mask criminal activity on the part of elements in the Dominican security apparatus.


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