Gangs in Haiti go as far back as the Tonton Makout of the Duvalier Regime. But with more guns available and less government checking them, today’s neighborhood-based gangs have outsized influence on not only their communities, but the entire country. In this special series, The Haitian Times explores their evolution and potential solutions.

Neighborhood groups for basic services where Haiti’s government has failed, gangs are empowered, filling a leadership vacuum and fueling the country’s long cycle of violence and repression.  

In Haiti, “gangs” reside where caring for community and corruption collide

From the Chimè to 400 Mawozo, neighborhood gangs often provide basics and protection, complicating efforts to abate violence

After Jameson Davilma’s mother died from an illness when he was 13, the boy often counted on neighbors near his Cité Soleil home to survive. Sometimes, usually late at night, a neighbor might send him on en errand to buy food. Only then would Davilma have a bite from what the neighbor shared. “Sometimes, I cried when I got hungry,” Davilma, now 30, recalls. “I’d wake up and couldn’t find even a piece of bread or a little coffee. I’d spent the whole morning with no food — couldn’t even buy a small marinad. Then…

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History & Current State

Taking Back Control