‘Lawless’ Haiti plagued by corruption, and deadly gang violence fuels humanitarian crisis

The situation in Haiti has become so dire that the United States, Canada and the United Nations have once again turned their attention to the Caribbean nation. Gang violence reaches new extremes Violent deaths are rising.

Haitian gangs have turned to extreme measures with atrocities similar to those reported during the Rwandan genocide, according to a Haitian doctor interviewed from his home in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Anarchy, torture, civil war, and “cleansing” have been used to describe what reality looks like for people living within the western borders of the island of Hispaniola.

A man walks past a burning barricade during a protest against Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henri in Port-au-Prince, Haiti October 10, 2022.

A man walks past a burning barricade during a protest against Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henri in Port-au-Prince, Haiti October 10, 2022. (Richard Perrin/AFP via Getty Images)

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“Even staying in your house, you don’t feel safe. What you see are people walking down the street with big guns. Guns are like a war scene, they have M-16s, AK-47s, Galils. They have hand grenades,” said the doctor, who wished to remain anonymous. Because of security concerns, according to Fox News Digital, “They smoke, they have everything.”

A series of natural disasters since 2010, a crippled economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent assassination of then-President Jovenel Moise have pushed Haiti into chaos and, as a result, it is now the poorest country in the West. hemisphere – and Gangs took over.

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians have flocked to the US border in desperate attempts to flee poverty and violence in Haiti, but the level of danger in the Caribbean nation continues to rise to unprecedented levels.

“The gang controls everyone,” said Jacques Brewer, founder of a global foundation that has been in Haiti since the devastating 2010 earthquake. “Kidnapping, drug trafficking, human trafficking – that’s their business.”

In a move to assert control over the Haitian people, the gangs have resorted to extreme violence against the public and those they see as their main threat: the police.

Armed police officers protest after a gang attack on a police station left six officers dead in Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 26, 2023.

Armed police officers protest after a gang attack on a police station left six officers dead in Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 26, 2023. (Richard Perrin/AFP via Getty Images)

Kidnappings didn’t just become high earners As for the gangs, they have perpetuated a constant escalation of the state of terror for Haitian citizens.

“It’s taking it to another level,” said the doctor. “Before, they would kidnap people in the street. Now they are entering people’s homes.”

The doctor explained that initially people with well-paying jobs in their businesses were targeted for ransom, but as kidnappings became more common, people stopped leaving their homes.

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Instead, gangs began sending letters containing a threatening shot, or even breaking into people’s homes to demand big money—and when families or individuals could not pay, gangs would resort to torture, burning, and murder, often right in front of the family. members.

“They kill you, they torture you,” said the doctor in detail. “There was a video of a man being kidnapped. He couldn’t find the money, and they started burning plastic in his hand. Can you imagine the torture?”

Police officers found themselves at the top of the list when it came to gang abuse.

A woman cries near coffins during the funeral of three police officers at the National Police School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on January 31, 2023.

A woman cries near coffins during the funeral of three police officers at the National Police School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on January 31, 2023. (Richard Perrin/AFP via Getty Images)

Fox News Digital has reviewed several photos and videos purporting to depict police officers being stripped, beaten, killed, and then apparently dragged through the streets before being left to find the public. Due to the highly graphic nature of the shots and images, they have been omitted from this report.

Fox News Digital has not been able to independently verify the individual identities of the men in the videos or photos.

Targeted assassinations It resulted in the near total loss of the police force in Port-au-Prince, the doctor explained.

“There is no police presence. There is no police,” the doctor added. “This is completely out of the law. If you call the police they won’t come.”

Another major problem with targeting police officers is that their uniforms, cars and weapons are taken by gang members who disguise themselves as officers to pull people off and set up checkpoints where people are then kidnapped or extorted for money.

Police officers patrol the street during a vigil in memory of three police officers killed by armed gangs, January 30, 2023, in Pétion-Ville, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Police officers patrol the street during a vigil in memory of three police officers killed by armed gangs, January 30, 2023, in Pétion-Ville, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Richard Perrin/AFP via Getty Images)

The Haitian requests foreign military assistance to confront the fuel port gangs

Corruption played a major role in the loss of police power and the loss of confidence in the Haitian government.

The United Nations estimated earlier this year that 70 percent of Port-au-Brice was under Haitian control, but the doctor said he believed it was more than that.

“It’s 99 percent,” said the doctor. “Even if you don’t see them armed on the streets, they have spies, they put people on motorbikes to watch what’s going on on your street, in your neighborhood, to inform them. They’re everywhere.”

The doctor explained that their massive presence was due to ancient methods allegedly used by gangs in ghettos to influence elections and prevent people from voting – a strategy that the doctor said also indicated the level of political corruption Haiti had suffered for years.

When pressed by Fox News Digital about which politicians they were referring to, the doctor responded, “The question is can you find a politician who is not corrupt?”

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A man helps an injured woman during a protest against Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henri, calling for his resignation, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti October 10, 2022.

A man helps an injured woman during a protest against Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henri, calling for his resignation, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti October 10, 2022.

Fox News Digital has not been able to verify accusations of corruption across the board in Haiti, although as of December, the The US Treasury was You approve it At least four are “corrupt Haitian politicians for their involvement in drug trafficking”.

But drugs are not the only illegal contraband goods trafficked across international borders.

A United Nations report released earlier this month found just that Haitian gangs are largely armed Through weapons smuggled in from the United States – directly supplying gang members with the “high-powered rifles” that the Doctor mentioned, such as AK-47s, AR-15s, and Galils.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that “a network of criminal actors, including members of the Haitian diaspora, often acquired firearms from across the United States.” “Guns are frequently purchased through straw man purchases in US states with relaxed gun laws and fewer purchase restrictions.”

“Once the firearms and ammunition are obtained, they are then transported to Florida, where they are stashed and shipped to Haiti,” the report added.

When pressed by Fox News Digital about how these weapons were able to reach Haiti at such alarming levels, Brewer explained that it was too easy.

“They clear customs,” Brewer said. It is clear that the customs officers are in the pockets of the gangsters – everyone is there.

He added, “The gang controls everyone, and the politicians control the gangs,” echoing the accusations made by the doctor.

In 2022, more than 55 security officers have been killed in Haiti, which is dealing with gang violence, kidnappings, robbery, rape, food, water and fuel shortages, and an outbreak of cholera.

In 2022, more than 55 security officers have been killed in Haiti, which is dealing with gang violence, kidnappings, robbery, rape, food, water and fuel shortages, and an outbreak of cholera. (Guerinault Louis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Jamaica is ready to send soldiers and police to Haiti as the chaos continues

The United Nations called last week The international community should send A specialized, time-bound support force[s]To help control the escalating situation.

In the first two weeks of March alone, the United Nations said, at least 208 people were killed in Haiti, 164 wounded and 101 kidnapped — but the doctor suspected this was on the low end of what the numbers actually looked like.

Despite the UN’s urging, the Biden administration has been reticent when it comes to putting boots on the ground in Haiti — a move the US has made in the past that some Haitians have already condemned, according to Local reports last year.

The United Nations first proposed sending armed forces to control the situation in October – something the United States said at the time it supported as long as another partner country was in the lead.

Demonstrators carry a coffin draped with American, Canadian and French flags and portraits of politicians as they protest on Jean-Jacques Desalegn Day in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 17, 2022.

Demonstrators carry a coffin draped with American, Canadian and French flags and portraits of politicians as they protest on Jean-Jacques Desalegn Day in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 17, 2022. (Richard Perrin/AFP via Getty Images)

In the October proposal, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said that “a limited, carefully considered, non-UN mission led by a partner country with the deep and necessary expertise [was] required for such an effort to be effective.”

But on his latest trip to Canada last week, President Joe Biden did not appear to have succeeded in persuading Ottawa to lead the charge.

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“We need specialized forces coming from the states… to destroy all the gangs,” the doctor said, in response to some Haitian opposition to foreign forces on the island.

The doctor also said Haiti needed outside help to “screen” those in the government to determine who and who did not engage in illegal and corrupt activities.

“We don’t know how to play this game. We don’t know what democracy is. We can’t lead ourselves,” the doctor added. “The direction is, ‘I’m leaving Haiti, or I’m going to die.'” “

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