Haiti: Gang Rule


December9, 2006: While there's still a lot of gang violence, and crime in general, donor countries are satisfied with progress in reducing government corruption. This is especially true when it comes to foreign aid, which in the past was heavily plundered by government officials, and rarely reached the Haitians who needed it most. However, the lack of law and order makes it difficult to attract foreign investment, or even encourage Haitians to start new businesses.

December 8, 2006: Gang violence in the capital left eight dead. The street violence is largely a result of the government strategy of trying to negotiate with the gangs. Warlords and private armies are an old Haitian tradition. Your armed followers were the core of your political, and economic strength. Many Haitians feel comfortable aligning themselves with a gang, and dying in defense of their crew. The government doesn't want to take on the gangs with force, if only because the gangs have more firepower. Even with the UN peacekeepers, the gangs, as a whole, still have an edge. Although the gangs are divided by politics, business interests, and personal animosities, they will form a loose coalition to oppose any government attempt to put all gangs out of business.

December 3, 2006: Local elections (for mayors and the like) had a light turnout, and some violence. At least four Haitians have died so far.

December 1, 2006: The UN is taking more media heat because of charges that peacekeepers are abusing local women and girls. Peacekeepers almost always encounter prostitutes, and sometimes commit rape (but rarely, because the local girls are inexpensive, and rape causes more hostility from the locals.) The UN is in a predicament here. Peacekeepers are hard to get, and if the UN tries to prevent the peacekeepers from doing business with the prostitutes, it will be harder to get peacekeeping troops. Same thing with corrupt peacekeepers, who go into business for themselves (ranging from somewhat legit, to banditry).

November 23, 2006: About a hundred university students demonstrated against the UN peacekeeping force. A bank security guard opened fire, and wounded two students. Many high school and university students are radicalized, and keen to carry on the Haitian tradition of political violence. A large faction of the student population has aligned itself with gangs violent political organizations.

November 22, 2006: Another American missionary was kidnapped and held for ransom. He was released after negotiations. The missionary was part of an organization that had been supplying medical and educational volunteers to Haiti for 25 years. In the past year, at least fifty foreigners have been kidnapped for ransom.


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