As Haiti’s president, Jovenel Moïse, is killed in an attack on his private residence, we bring you this exclusive investigation into gangs in Haiti. Filmed in May 2021, it is a shocking look at the extent to which the country is being ruled by gangs.
Officially, there are 76 different gangs registered in Haiti. Ten people are abducted every day from the streets of Port-au-Prince. The most powerful gang leader in the country is nicknamed “Barbecue”. His speciality: burning people alive in their homes. We met him.
But in Haiti, violence and politics have long gone hand in hand and this gang war is also political. Between 1950 to 70, the dictator François Duvalier had his militias, the infamous Tonton Macoutes, who were inherited by his son, Jean-Claude, and active until his fall in 1986. In the early 2000s, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide recruited thugs, known as the Chimera, to terrorize the population.
For over half a century, the state has been bankrupt and the 2010 earthquake only made things worse. The billions in international aid have largely evaporated in corruption. New slums have been created on the heights of Port au Prince and, in poor neighborhoods, gangs have gradually replaced the state. There is no parliament and Moïse Jovenel ruled by decree. Much of the country considered his rule illegitimate. A country on the verge of chaos where gangs rule.
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