The Battle for Haiti
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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.

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9 years ago

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.

Elizabeth Faraone
9 years ago

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.

Toy Pupanbai
9 years ago

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!

Be Bright
9 years ago

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.

Richard Neva
9 years ago

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

9 years ago

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

9 years ago

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.