Suddenly, the blind has become one-eyed. In an interesting twist the friends of Haiti, as the club of diplomats in the country like to call themselves; usually I would think Haitians should be the first ones to call them “friends”, as I was saying, the friends of Haiti have suddenly realized that armed groups devoted to crime and political control of areas in the country are out of control. It’s interesting that they realize that this problem is serious now and choose to challenge the government to do something.
This attitude is noble and we might even applaud their gesture if we did not see through it. At best, it’s a case of cynical finger pointing, while the finger should be pointed at them; at worst and probably closer to the truth it’s an attempt to deflect blame from their own involvement in contributing to the proliferation of gangs in Haiti. First, the UN through the BINUH, the new name for them in the country, claims to be concerned and demands that the authorities dismantle the gangs and put their leaders behind bars. A good attitude and a strong message some will say. But those gangs really grew strong the past ten years when the UN had troops and a police force with a few hundred cops riding around “training” the Haitian National Police. During that time before the MNUSTAH left, guns started pouring in the getho and young thugs started to form gangs. After the earthquake of 2010, gangs established a presence at both Portail Leogane and Portail St Joseph, the entrances to Port-au-Prince with no reactions from the police and the UN. By the time the MINUSTAH packed up and left weapons were flowing in and politicians associated with former President Martelly started to build their own gangs.
Michel Martelly became president in an election where the results were handed to the Haitian people not from the ballot boxes, but from the Core Group of diplomats in Haiti and the UN Chief of Mission. They wanted Martelly in power because they had a mission for him. Other politicians who “won” or paid for seats in parliament or local posts used gangs to steal the election. So, with control of logistics in the election, the Core Group was directly responsible in putting gangs in a position of power by helping candidates tied to gangs and drugs to steal the elections. After all, the Core Group threw a lot of money to organize these selections.
With the power grab by Jovenel Moise, and PHTK with their allies and associates, the Core Group, with the U.S. in the lead, sponsored, advised, and paid to have an indicted man elected president with a parliament filled with gang sponsors. The friends of Haiti cannot claim to suddenly realize that gangs are a problem in the country now. What about years ago when they were “stabilizing” Haiti, providing insecurity while prostituting thousand of young boys and girls. Surely our “friends” must realize that they bear a lot of responsibility in the situation the country is in. From 2010 to the present the UN and the U.S. have trained the HNP, and provided much of their equipment. Most of the special units have received a lot of attention from the Core Group in terms of equipment and specialized training. So, we must ask them why their assistance has produced such paltry results. Nowadays, it seems like the police is powerless, watching the gangs take over all the highways leading to Port-au-Prince, as they leave the population to its own once darkness sets in.
With Kamala Harris chosen as a running mate and possibly becoming Vice President, will she look into the gang problem in Jamaica, which is fueled by hard core criminals deported straight from U.S. jails, just like the situation in Haiti? Will she see the problem this policy creates in both countries? In Haiti, as in Jamaica, guns and ammunition mainly come from the U.S. with hardened criminals following. U.S. policy is detrimental to both Haiti and Jamaica. Kamala needs to see that just like things cannot remain the same in the U.S. the same holds for Haiti and Jamaica. The same thirst for justice which is driving people to stand up and demand change in Portland, Oregon is also present in the Caribbean basin, ready to erupt. As people in New York and Seattle begin to realize the helplessness they face, so do their brothers and sisters in Haiti, Jamaica, Dominica, Grenada and the rest of the islands.
As we look at how people are living in Haiti, in constant fear, with robberies and shootings a daily occurrence, the stress is incredible. People live as if nothing really matters, save for having enough to eat that day. In Cite Soleil, a gang fight between factions is raging, many people have been killed, but there is no bodies shown. Gunshots are heard non stop, while the police has stayed away and avoided talking about that. The so called G 9, a coalition of gangs, has taken over the police station in Cite Soleil where the UDMO, a special unit, used to be stationed, without a shot fired. Like a pass from one team to another, as the so called G 9 is headed by a former member of that same unit. All trained by the Core Group and the UN. A job well done.