August 5, 2021

in Port-au-Prince, “the chaos is total, the gangs are everywhere, over-armed and of an out of control violence”

He lives in Fontamara 27, and this is neither a movie nor a fantasy novel. For a long time, he thought he was going to get by, modestly continue his studies as a laboratory assistant avoiding the daily violence of his neighborhood with the funny name, one of those too many slums of Port-au-Prince where the inhabitants try, day after day, to save their skin from the macabre embrace.

On several occasions, he saw blood flow, corpses in the middle of the street of victims of settling of scores. Often, he spent nights without sleep, fear in his stomach, surrounded by his cousin and his aunt, staring into the dark, enumerating, in a low voice, the names of the gangs, their leaders, their neighborhoods and shifting territories all around. of their frail household: Martissant, Bicentenaire, Bizoton 53, Village de Dieu, Delma 6… and their sicariums, the Krisla, Burgundy, Ti-Lapli, Grand Ravine, Izo 5 seconds or Barbecue. So many names to make you dizzy and nauseous, in a city that has continued to rise in recent years to its boiling point. And then, one day, it was too much.

At 28 years old, his gaze hampered by the scraps of fear, Darwin Dady filled two suitcases on June 17 to hastily flee his small home and settle far from the capital, in Cap-Haitien, the second city of ‘Haiti, one of the poorest and also chaotic, but infinitely less suffocating and deadly than its big sister in the south. “The explosion of violence began in Martissant on the 15th, between two rival gangs, it spread everywhere, to the point that it was impossible to stay”, he breathes.

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Like Darwin, nearly 10,000 people left their brick and tin houses within hours. Some were burned, others looted. Like him, the fleeing residents had to pay 250 to 500 gourdes (between 2.25 and 4.50 euros, about the salary of a working day) to pass the checkpoints manned by the young armed men. ” A nightmarehe said. We still can not come back, it fires every day and not only at home, the blaze is total. “ Even the police did not return to their Martissant police station, nor a little further north, to Portail-Saint-Joseph, or to Cité Soleil. He adds : “With the assassination last night of President Moïse Jovenel, things will not get better, things will even get worse. “

“The president sent the gangs to sow terror”

Today, Port-au-Prince, maybe that’s it: a sinking capital with a foretaste of civil war. An infernal spiral pointed out for the incredible violence inflicted on its inhabitants and an equally incredible absence of public authorities. Nearly 90 gangs have been identified in the city. An equivalent number in the provinces. Some with connections to the highest levels of power. “The president did not want the neighborhoods to rise up and demonstrate against the dire situation in the country, so he sent the gangs to sow terror”, Darwin blurted out.

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