‘Rape has become a weapon’ for Haiti gangs, says UN
As US and UN troops arrived to secure the impoverished island’s capital, the prospect for a long-term solution to the nation’s most intractable problem arose.
“A lot of this is going to be political and it is going to be long term,” said a French diplomat on the grounds of the US embassy in Port-au-Prince.
“A lot of Haitians who are now in the country and are not going to return home do not know what their future is. In the past, they have never had a chance. They never had a chance to get on the right side of history,” he said.
After nearly 800 days of violence, the death toll now stands at more than 1,300, including the loss of more than 350 US military personnel.
For six months, the US sent hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra aid for victims of the earthquake which also left 4,000 people dead. Some of this money has helped prevent new atrocities.
The US ambassador in Port-au-Prince, Gregory D. Thompson, said on the night before the US-led military offensive began: “We’re not the only ones who have a problem with this earthquake”.
But the US military, which is already assisting Haiti with food distributions, said: “We support this humanitarian effort.”
Haiti is a US-controlled protectorate since 1976, when the US occupation was lifted with the end of the so-called “Vietnam War”.
The US is responsible for nearly 90 percent of the country’s economy and has long been the main source of foreign aid for the impoverished, and the Caribbean’s poorest country.
Despite the devastation, Haiti is not known for widespread gang violence.
In recent months the death toll has reached epidemic proportions as the UN warned that gangs were controlling many of the country’s large cities.
In June, the US began distributing food aid to the more than 400,000 people