Haiti: Police Take Control of Fuel Terminal

Haiti's government announced Thursday that police ended a gang-led blockade and have taken control of the Varreux fuel terminal. Haitian officials said that fuel distribution will continue on Monday.

Haiti: Police Take Control of Fuel Terminal
Image credit: Reuters [via BBC]

Facts

  • Haiti's government announced Thursday that police ended a gang-led blockade and have taken control of the Varreux fuel terminal. Haitian officials said that fuel distribution will continue on Monday.
  • On Friday, local radio stations reported that the area around the fuel terminal was quiet and the Associate Press shared a reported voicemail in which Police Chief Frantz Elbé praised officers involved in the operation. It remains unclear if anyone was killed or if the blockade was fully lifted.
  • This comes after reports that the government negotiated for two weeks with "G9" gang coalition leader Jimmy Cherizier, also known as "Barbecue," to give up control of the main gas terminal in the capital city Port-au-Prince. The government, however, denies dealing with gangs.
  • The delivery of imported fuel has been blocked since the seizure of the terminal in September, forcing businesses to close. It also hindered efforts to distribute drinking water and petrol amid a worsening cholera outbreak.
  • Haitian gangs have grown increasingly powerful since the July 2021 killing of Pres. Jovenel Moïse, prompting Prime Minister Ariel Henry to urge international help a month ago. Foreign governments have sent equipment to Haiti's National Police but haven't heeded Henry's call for foreign troops so far.
  • Meanwhile, the US and Canada have imposed coordinated sanctions against Joseph Lambert and Youri Latortue, the current and the former presidents of Haiti's Senate, respectively. They're accused of abusing their official positions to back Haitian gangs.

Sources: Reuters, ABC, CNN, BBC News, and Al Jazeera.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Dominican Today. Haiti's police have freed the Varreux terminal, and it's evident that the government took the right decision not to negotiate with criminals. These gangs were asking for the prime minister's resignation, amnesty for its members, and a place in government. This operation sends a clear signal that there's no room for negotiating with gangs.
  • Narrative B, as provided by CNN. This development was only possible due to a weeks-long negotiation between the government and the G9 federation of gangs. A deal was struck to end the siege that paralyzed Haiti and disrupted schooling nationwide. Regardless of the statements of Haitian officials, negotiations between all parties were key to this outcome.

Predictions