Haiti premier to resign as gang violence "spirals" out of control

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/03/12/haiti-premier-to-resign-as-gang-violence-spirals-out-of-control.html


Looks that way.

Mr Pierre said the gangs were now pushing to be part of any new power-sharing deal, adding that such a political settlement was impossible without the “support” of an international armed force.


I’m still wondering about using the term “gangs” here, given it’s often racist history. Cherizier is under sanction from the UN for his role in the violence, but he’s also been an official capacity before all this started (policing). He was an ally of Moise prior to his assassination (which was also carried out by “gangs” who might have been aligned/hired by Henry, it seems).

So, I question calling him a “gang” leader when he might possibly be a guerrilla fighting against a specific political power. Several news outlets have referred to his plans to deal with the current situation, but have not given any details, other than he has a plan, which is frustrating.

TL,DR, I have little faith in anything said about Haiti in the western media, because the language used around Haiti is often deeply racist and ignores the ongoing role of the US/Europe in fucking that country up in the first place.


IMO, it looks like his group is a militia, or guerilla fighting, as you said.

I know the situation is really messy there, so some of the groups originated as “street gangs”, but they don’t all have the same goals or reasons for their actions.

A gang is one that is involved in illicit crime with the goal of controlling that activity in an area, make money, and protect itself and its interests. A militia is one whose goals are political or at least ideological. I suppose there are examples in history where groups have political ends, but also engaged in criminal activity, like FARC, but their stated over arching goal is still political.


Yeah… it’s really time to stop calling these gangs and start calling them guerrillas or something else…


But calling them Gangs help feed the narrative that they are scary brown people, uneducated, unsafe, and only out to rape and pillage. Once that narrative is fully set, then we can take political actions that continue to ruin Haiti, and blame the people who live there for everything.


If only someone else in this thread had said it’s racist… sadly, no one did. :roll_eyes:



On the subject of “gangs”, there’s a long history of politically-connected armed groups.

Haiti has been here before, repeatedly, in the turbulent decades since the 1986 fall of the Duvalier dictatorship. There have been coups, transitional governments (sometimes military), ineffectual leaders and politicians who have cynically employed criminal gangs to pursue power.

The leftwing president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former parish priest and anti-poverty champion, employed armed gangs known as “chimères” – ghosts – and established a template for political violence when conflict flared up.

Henry’s predecessor, Jovenel Moïse, who was assassinated by Colombian mercenaries in 2021, reportedly was allied with the G9 gang alliance, which in turn played a key role in Henry’s removal. Figures seen as potentially influential in the country’s next chapter are said to have their own gang links.

The situation isn’t helped by lethal weapons being consumer products in the Land of the Free.

There is also a long history of using “gangs” to make Black people look like they’re natural inclined to criminal behavior. There are plenty of examples of armed groups, engaging in violent activities that aren’t gangs. It seems at this point that Cherizier has more ambitions than making money via a criminal enterprise… not that you’d know that from the US/European media, who keep saying “he has political plans” and then steadfastly refusing to go into any details, despite having those details.

I really have no reason to trust much reporting on Haiti from much of the US/European media, quite frankly. It’s often just framed by a failed state narrative that ignores the reason for that failure, leading the uninformed viewer/reader to conclude the racist conclusion rather than looking deeper at the history of the country, which includes literally centuries of undermining Haiti. :woman_shrugging:

We really need to start demanding better from our media, because far too many of us are just ignorant of a whole lot of the reality of the world, thanks in part to how the media far too often leans into the safe, capitalist, colonial, racist narratives that prop up our systems.


Maybe not so much here:

It is seven years since Haiti held an election, almost three since the president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated, and more than a year since the last elected officials left office – and the return of democracy to Port-au-Prince still appears to be distant.

Haiti’s crisis can be traced directly to Moïse’s assassination, but the roots go much deeper to the economic catastrophe caused by the 2010 earthquake, the 29-year dictatorial rule of “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc” Duvalier, and even to the grotesque impact of the vast “reparations” Haiti was forced to pay to France for generations after independence in 1804, which severely hampered economic development.

“The consistent meddling of the international community over the past 220 years has made Haiti a failed state because the people have no say in their lives, they have no say in their future, because the internationals have made it a puppet state,” says Daniel Foote, the former US special envoy to Haiti.

1 Like

The Guardian getting shit slightly better than the rest of the media doesn’t fix that overall problem, though. :woman_shrugging: Unfortunately, they are one outlet that is mostly read by a leftist, liberal audience, many of whom probably know this information to some degree. Good for them, at least.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.