Filepiler ‘mattbr’ is journalist en vertrok deze week voor z’n werk naar Haïti. Tussendoor stuurt hij ook foto’s en verhalen naar FP.
Went up to Port Haitien yesterday.
Met with Guy Philippe, the commander in chief of the insurrection and Gilbert Dragon (yes, this is the guy’s real surname. It means the same in french.). They’re hanging out in an area hotel, giving interviews by the pool and patrolling the streets.
Compared to Port-Au-Prince, the situation seemed eerily relaxed. PAP was simply a complete zoo, with Chimeres (the pro-Aristide militia) having set up roadblocks, stealing cars and cellphones and being a generally dangerous bunch of kids with dope, alcohol and guns. Completely unpredictable, and simply wreaking havoc on an allready terrorised situation. The insurgent territory was quite different. The airport, the port and the police station have been looted in Port Haitien, but the streets were calm. We patrolled for a good half hour with Dragon and one of his men, and, although the looks on the faces of the population could have indicated mixed feelings about their presence, the atmosphere indicated control of the town more than anything else. Dragon is the kind of guy who’ll readily admit that a couple of thousand dead is a definite possibility to take Port au Prince, and that it’s part of the game. I’d also be scared out of my fucking mind if i’d fucked with one of that guy’s buddies and he came driving down my street with a loaded MP5 in his hand.
There are somewhere between 160 to 250 insurgents in Port Haitien, for a population that used to be under the control of 40 cops.
Got back to Port Au Prince this morning, the place had chilled down quite a bit – the atmosphere is eery, but the Chimeres had pulled the roadblocks, although they seem to be ready to come out of the woodworks.
The place is awash with drug money, probably on both sides – Philippe is the former police chief of a town where i’ve heard reports of people walking down the streets with suitcases full of money, probably not sourced from shaking down shoe cleaners. The chimeres that searched us on the way down from Saint Marc a few days ago were clearly high on some upper, i’d guess coke, amphetamines or both, or maybe crack. I can remember being in a resort in Dominican Republic as a kid and hearing reports of incoming ballots from Cali (at the time), and i’d be surprised if it’d changed…foto van onderweg, Miami/Florida: