The Battle for Haiti
For preview only. Get it at  #ad.

The Battle for Haiti

2011, Society  -   23 Comments
Ratings: 8.13/10 from 30 users.

In 2010 the earthquake hit Haiti. Quarter of a million people died. The world promised to help the Haitians rebuild a new and better country. Yet something happened that day that has left those promises and the future of Haiti hanging in the balance. On January the 12th, the day of the earthquake, the national penitentiary held 4,500 inmates - powerful gang leaders and hundreds of their foot soldiers, men accused of robbery, kidnapping and murder.

Terrified prisoners, packed 300 to a cell, tore open the gates with their bare hands facing them with the prison guards. As daylight faded the guards began to panic. Even prisoners crashed with falling masonry managed to crawl free. The escaped prisoners melted into the slums of the devastated capital, among them gangsters who'd once controlled much of Port au Prince. Their brutality and political power had turned Haiti into the epitome of a failed state. Now they had a chance to do so again.

Mario Andresol, Haiti's police chief, on the day of the earthquake he narrowly escaped death as his headquarters collapsed. Nine months later a mob had stormed the police station and hacked a policeman to death. Three years before the earthquake Andresol took part in a bloody military onslaught on the gangs. Backed by UN forces he put many of their leaders in jail.

The gangsters who'd escaped from the national penitentiary discovered new territory to conquer - improvised camps built by the survivors of the earthquake - wherever they found space. Tent by tent the gangsters took control over the camps. Thousands of earthquake survivors have been raped in the camps and every month hundreds more were raped. The police have largely abandoned nearly a million Haitians who live in 1200 tent camps in and around Port au Prince.

After the earthquake international aid focused on the camps, but a year on they have become the gangs' new power base. They have become a virgin territory for the gangs to go and conquer, and in many cases the gang leadership is actually spending more time in the camps than in the neighborhoods.

More great documentaries

23 Comments / User Reviews

  1. 31jetjet

    I had no problems viewing the movie however then content is a bit harsher than I expected. I will have to continue watching another time.

  2. Elizabeth Faraone

    The documentary starts with the false premise: "The world promised to help the Haitian's rebuild a new and better country, yet something happened that day that has left those promises and the future of Haiti hanging in the balance." The narrator scapegoats prisoners, blaming them for the lack in Haiti. Very sick indeed on the part of the documentarian. That kind of sickness is the problem.

    It is important to document the violence that is happening to victims, but not with this premise.

    1. dingane

      Ma'am I appreciate your stance. Within the first five minutes of this documentary, I began to wonder who the heck was financing the making of this propaganda this time. If one wants to understand the state of the people, look at the oppressors and not the oppressed.

  3. Toy Pupanbai

    Haiti/Dominican Republic.
    Both have similar populations in numbers.
    The GDP of the Dominican Republique is about 8 times that of Haiti.
    Problem? (Apart from U.S. interference.)
    The official language is French!

    1. Jess

      They have COMPELTELY different histories of colonization....

  4. Be Bright

    This is an important film to see. People need to follow what has happened to this island as it has fallen prey to many politic. The people have been the last considered.

    I hope the video streaming problem (spooling) can be resolved as it is almost impossible to focus on the content. I finished the second half on PPS Video's "FrontLinee It is posted there as well.

  5. Richard Neva

    This film spends most of it's time spoling to catch up and makes viewing hell!

  6. koch1no

    damn , the french took everything there... now they try to give us lessons about human rights

    1. anastasius

      What on earth was ever to take in Haiti?

    2. bringmeredwine

      The French wanted Haiti because it had a fresh water supply and room for plantations to supply the rest of Europe with goods and make France rich. They named their new colony St Domingue.
      African slaves were shipped in every year (because they died so quickly) and forced to produce cotton, indigo, coffee, spices, sugar and tobbacco on large plantations.
      France therefore sold most of Europe's coffee and sugar.

    3. anastasius

      So the French cleared the land and built plantations and developed agriculture?

      As for the slaves.... The slave trade was dominated by Dutch Jews. In fairness to the Dutch Jews that traded slaves, all the slaves were already taken as such by other blacks and their lifespan (as slaves in Africa) was a fraction of what it was in the holds of the slave traders ships or as property in the new world.

      Once the slave trade began it created a further incentive for Africans to capture more of their bretheren to trade to the slavers. That trade would never have begun had there been no slaves in the hands of other blacks in Africa when whites and others arrived.

    4. bringmeredwine

      I'll bet the slaves cleared the land, not the French.

  7. jakechavigny

    Totally Agree! This was very difficult to watch, because I am Haitian I was born there. In the capital. I was adopted by a Canadian family and since I left, the closet I went to Haiti was Dominican Republic my second country since I am both Haitian & Dominican. While I thought Dominican had it rough... looking at this video showed me that Haiti has it even worse. I would love to do something, I would love to go there and help. But to the price of dying because I wanted to help. No way! I am proud owner of a Sociology degree, psychology and administration. I have the skills and the will to help but to the price of my life No way. I am not alone. There was many of us at UQAM and UDM wanting to do something but we knew that the very day we'll set foot on this country was the beginning of the end, our end. And will our death would have bring anything different? Ask Toussaint L'Ouverture if he was alive today he would have indeed been extremely angry.

    Doing something, such as giving money, food, and temporary shelter doesn't fix the issue. Haitian needs jobs, need hope and so far the only hope I see is based on a ghostly being that did not prevent the earthquake or so many other atrocities that happened in Haiti since its independence in 1804. I would love to do something but like my colleagues and many other we're powerless.

    1. bringmeredwine

      It sounds as though adoption by the Canadians saved you from a horrible life. Did you move to the Dominican on your own to attend university?
      I witnessed blatant racism (and fear, I think) in the Dominican against Haitians. People with dark skins were suspected of sneaking over the border from Haiti.
      I've met delightful Haitians in the Dominican, and in Montreal.
      Once I learned how rampant the poverty was in Haiti, long before the earthquake; I was truly shocked.

    2. jakechavigny

      I did not move to Dominican republic lol... one of my biological parents was Dominican. I never lived there or went to school there. I have done most of my education in Canada & France :). Well the Dominican part of the island was created based on racial profiling (being the most reason) and that was coming from both sides. Haitian would insult those who have been mixed with Spanish, French or other light skin and Dominican knowing the economic situation of Haiti would take their revenge by giving the worst task to those haitians living in Dominican Republic (close to slavery). One of the greatest insult one can say to an Haitian is translated as such (the settler has F...ed your mom) so you realize this was immediately directed to dominicans. So yes economically speaking Dominican republic prevalent on haiti and they use it. Just lately the government of DR has decided to retire all double nationalities of all those Dominican/Haitian who were not born in DR. Which means as per the DR government I am not Dominican if I wasn't born in DR. Such a small island, such idiotic border battles.

    3. jakechavigny

      Diaspora Haitian and Dominican are good people as they are in the country... Santo Domingo may look better than Port-Au-Prince and may seems more welcoming... but there are place in Haiti that worth the tour. There's a small replica of cite soleil in the surroundings of Santo Domingo as well. The whole island and both countries depends on Tourism, Haiti had long lost its qualification of being the "pearl of the Caribbean" due to corruption and desolation and poverty of its Capital and other cities, but place such as petionville, Jeremie, Ile a vache and jacmel are extremely beautiful areas and I know that lately Haiti has come back into the Tourism market. Now if both countries would stop pissing on each other it would be one great place to visit. Because Haiti and Dominican Republic are in a paradise island. If our security wouldn't be such a threat there I choose them both over any other places in the caribbean islands.

    4. 1concept1

      On an island i would guess one either digs clams or owns the hotel -

      I don't know how do they create a sustainable economy on a relatively small island?

      I lived in Key West 3, months same there I had to leave or be a clam digger or a sex slave?

    5. bringmeredwine

      I haven't been to Key West since 1967! :D
      I wouldn't go to a hotel in Haiti even if somebody paid me. A lot!
      Apparently Haiti produces coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum and wood.
      There's also smuggling and drug trafficking.
      Foreign investors don't want to go there because of the corruption, the state of the judiciary system, the violence and political unrest.
      It's really sad. I feel awful for the people that are stuck there.

    6. 1concept1

      Wow sounds intense i knew there were problems but have never look into or had anyone brake it down like you did -

      In relation to Haiti this might be of some interest to you - While in basic training with the Army at Ft Jackson S. Carolina i was stationed there with another recruit he was from Haiti - yes - his father was the ambassador to Haiti - I forget his name but he look like that fellow "Wikileaks" and had the very same demeanor - he was an interesting fellow - he spoke three lang; French - English and an island lang. mixture it was really a tong twister - i forget what he called it - Now here's the interesting part - in accordance with how you described all the corruption etc. over there - his father was the perfect candidate for the job -

      The young man from Haiti in basic training with me disliked it so his father had the power bill from the American Embassy put in his son name so he could get a hardship discharge - he went home - (the 1%) - I went to Nam - (the 99%)

      This isn't a "he said she said" situation it came direct from the source.

      And you know how easy it was in that country for his father to walk across the street to Botswala and get that deal done

      So i guess the moral of the story is - A match made in Hell -

    7. 1concept1

      If somebody paid you a lot would you go to a hotel in Canada - Touche' :-)

    8. bringmeredwine

      I'm already packed, Lol!
      Seriously, The Dominican Republic is the most beautiful Island I've ever been to; I've been there three times; but I wouldn't dare cross over into Haiti.
      I wouldn't ever want to tangle with the Dominican authorities, either.

    9. bringmeredwine

      Just to give you an idea of their economy, their GDP is 12.9 million.
      Canada's is 1.5 trillion