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Haiti, a small caribbean countryis today a battlefield between perfectly armed criminal gangs, which have caused hundreds of violent deaths in recent months, while the national authorities show indifference to the tearing apart of the population.
Security in that country (the poorest and smallest portion of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic) deteriorated alarmingly after the assassination in July of last year of President Jovenal Moïse, in a dark episode in which obvious interests appeared. local and foreign politicians.
So far it is unknown who or who ordered Moïse to be assassinated in his home in Port-au-Prince. The only thing that is clear is his execution by Colombian mercenaries supported by internal forces, including the president’s personal security guard. The truth, however, remains hidden.
The armed groups took the opportunity to grow and strengthen themselves in the face of the instability created by the assassination to expand their presence, latent for decades. Haiti ranks as the poorest in the Latin American and Caribbean region.
The figures show the seriousness of the widespread Haitian crisis. The clashes between April 24 and May 6 left at least 188 dead and more than 16,000 displaced in Port-au-Prince, the capital, where almost three million people live, a good part of them homeless.
The shootings that began on July 7, commemorating the first year of the attack against Moïse and lasted 10 days in the neighborhoods near Cité Soleil, killed at least 360 people and left 160 wounded. Fighting has recently intensified in the northern and northeastern districts of Port-au-Prince, in an attempt to isolate the capital from the rest of the country.
The lack of control and the inefficiency of the armed forces prevent them from being able to confront the gangs, which two months ago occupied the Court of First Instance of Port-au-Prince, without the National Police even trying to regain control of the building. The fear of the government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry is that the invasions of official bodies, including the National Parliament, will continue, even when there are no sessions due to lack of a quorum.
Henry, in office since Moïse’s death, is considered a decorative figure who only maintains, according to analysts, the face of the continuity of a system of political corruption, apparently immovable.
The so-called Montana Agreement, a coalition of more than 180 political parties and civil society organizations that decided to hold general elections, questions the premier’s mandate and proposes “a solution led by Haitians”, but so far without results.
This group proposed a two-year transitional government, made up of representatives from different social sectors, which fell into a vacuum.
Given the lack of a stable government and accused of corruption by its opponents, it is very difficult to stop the movement of criminal gangs, who kill, kidnap and extort money without resistance from the State.
Observers consider that these groups intend to consolidate their power in the most populated neighborhoods before, at some point, there is an election call. In this way they will be able to coerce residents and control their votes for certain candidates to ensure an eventual negotiation with politicians who favor them.
In Haiti, 200 paramilitary gangs operate, 95 of them identified in the capital’s metropolitan area, while a good part of the citizenry seeks emigration to save their lives.
As there is no urban planning in Haiti, the streets are narrow and unpaved, vehicles cannot travel. Therefore, the neighborhoods are easy to defend from other armed groups and from the state security forces, if they dare to enter, given the volume of fire from the criminals.
These gangs use ordinary people as human shields, if they are attacked by similar or the public forces that decide to confront them.
They even establish footholds in cities like Cap-Haïtien, Gonaïves, Les Cayes, Jérémie and Jacmel, all of which are densely populated ports and connected to major highways.
Two are dominant: the G9 an Fanmi e Alye, known as the G9, led by former police captain Jimmy Barbecue Chérizier, and the Gpèp, directed by Gabriel Jean Pierre, alias You Gabriel.
The G9 was officially created in June 2020, when the leaders of nine major Port-au-Prince gangs decided to ally themselves to ensure armed supremacy. After inviting Cité Soleil groups to join them, they launched a coordinated attack against those who refused. the following month, You Gabrielleader of the Nan Brooklyn gang, brought together all those who rejected the Gpèp invitation.
The old rivalries were replaced by a war between two sides. The G9 and the Gpèp are vying for power. The gangs publicly behead their opponents, burn bodies in the street, burn houses and resort to sexual violence to intimidate residents and prevent them from collaborating with their rivals. The effects of this violence are increasingly damaging. The blockade of Route 2, the highway that connects Port-au-Prince to the south, prevents the passage of humanitarian groups trying to reach victims of the earthquake that destroyed cities in that part of the country in August 2021.
Until last April, Port-au-Prince’s most powerful gang, 400 Mawozo, stood on the sidelines, but now they’re in the fray. This organization built its power around the municipality of Croix-de-Bouquets, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital, and achieved international notoriety when it kidnapped 17 Christian missionaries from the United States and Canada in 2021. The coordinated attacks of the Gpèp gangs in Cité Soleil and 400 Mawozo last April indicate that they have signed an alliance of convenience.
An abominable crime was committed by 400 Mawozo on the 20th when they killed a mother and her two daughters in the Cité Doudoune neighborhood of the capital.
The Je Klere Foundation (FJKL), of Haiti, denounced that Jossette Fils Desanclos (56 years old) and her two daughters, Sardjie Desanclos (24) and Sherwood Sondjie Desanclos (28) were traveling by car when the attackers killed them and burned their bodies almost at the entrance of the aforementioned town.
Sherwood Sondje Desanclos was studying law at the Faculty of Law and Economics in Port-au-Prince, while Sarhadje Desanclos, a law graduate, was majoring in Accounting at the University of Port-au-Prince. According to the FJKL, both sisters wanted to live in Haiti and refused to emigrate to flee the violence.
The late President Moïse reactivated in 2019 the disarmament of the gangs. The spokesman for the National Commission for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of the State acknowledged that after his murder the criminal groups have become stronger, although they do not act motivated by political considerations, despite their links with Haiti’s elites.
Observers point out that the interest of these violent alliances is based on an exchange of advantages: the rich use violence to crush political opposition, influence electoral results and secure economic monopolies.
Gang members use these connections to secure weapons and ammunition, as well as impunity for their crimes, although they currently also use ransoms from kidnappings, extortion of companies, and profits from arms and drug trafficking as a source of financing. They employ businessmen to obtain grants and politicians to protect themselves from investigations.
In the last month, the authorities intercepted four arms shipments in Port-au-Prince and Port of Peace, coming from the United States.
Meanwhile, the Haitian police are poorly equipped, with terrible working conditions and low pay. It has only 16,000 active agents, well below the number recommended by the United Nations for the national population.
To try to resolve the internal situation, the leader of the Haitian National Union for Integrity and Reconciliation party, Clarens Reonois, encouraged a process of dialogue that will lead the country out of the crisis and the wave of violence, after massive citizen mobilizations against the poverty, inflation and insecurity.
Haitians, faced with an unprecedented multidimensional crisis, are resentful of the aid promised, and never reached the country, by donor countries that would ensure the performance of agriculture and other sectors.
That small country has a long history of foreign interventions with little or no results. The animosity against the United States and the United Nations is visible. The so-called UN Blue Helmets abandoned hundreds of children and women sexually abused and left pregnant. One of the foreign soldiers introduced cholera, which caused thousands of deaths.
Haitian civil society organizations accused the Core Group (of which the UN, the ambassadors of Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the United States, France, the European Union and the Organization of American States are part) of perpetuating a corrupt regime with his support for Premier Henry.

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