Monday, August 08, 2005

Gangs Are On The Run; General Strike

A wave of vigilante justice swept the neighborhoods of Solino, Ti-Chéri, Carrefour-Feuilles, and Bel-Air in Port-au-Prince yesterday and today where the population, fed up with being taken hostage by gangs since the beginning of hostilities in September 2004, basically chased them out of the neighborhoods and killed several of them. There are unconfirmed reports of gang members who were beheaded near Sans-Fil and Poste-Marchand as well. This comes on the heels of police operations in those areas earlier this week which led to the arrests of two gang leaders as well as the deaths of several others.

The gangs on the run have sought refuge in Site Soley, where the situation is still a bit fluid. My sources in Site Soley tell me that the population in some pockets of that "commune" has started to cooperate the police so as to rid themselves of the criminals.

I expect more reporting from the Haitian press on this situation in the coming days, but I can tell you that Solino is a lot calmer now than it was two weeks ago.

I have no news yet from Carrefour, Martissant, Grande-Ravine, etc.

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On a separate note, public transportation was at a standstill today - and this will continue tomorrow - as tap-tap drivers are on strike against the recent increase in gasoline prices. They want the government to apply a subsidy to make public transportation more affordable. This is a no-win situation for the Latortue administration, which can ill afford to subsidize anything right now. Yet, the expected increase in the price of oil on international markets - the barrel hit US$ 63.00 today - will only make matters worse for the Haitian population.