Haiti: Chaos Persists, Voting Delayed


December 4, 2005: The police and UN peacekeepers continue their raids on gangs, trying to break them up. It's believed that the gangs are behind most of the kidnappings, either by doing the deed themselves, or sponsoring smaller teams that do it (and kick back some of the ransom to their gang patrons.) There are too many criminals and not enough police. Neither the government, nor the UN, knows how long it will take to restore public order.

December 1, 2005: Kidnappers seized a school bus, and 14 students on board, and demanded ransom from the parents. But the police responded quickly, and insist the children were released later in the day, without payment of ransom. No one is sure if money changed hands, but kidnapping has become a major problem in the capital, and some other towns as well. Over a thousand people have been grabbed so far this year, and it's getting worse.

November 26, 2005: For the third time, national elections have been postponed. Instead of December 27th, the voting will take place on January 8th. This is because preparations (printing ballots, distributing over 2.5 million voter identification cards and training 39,000 polling workers) are not complete, and too many areas of the country are in disorder. Peacekeepers and police continue to try and suppress criminal and political gangs. Originally, elections were to take place on November 20th. There are 35 candidates for president, and hundreds competing for the 129 seats in the legislature.


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