Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Update on the gas situation

It's not that there isn't any, it's just still not available to the general public. Ben and I have had to switch out the efficient and easy-to-get-around-on moto that we usually ride for a huge diesel truck. Driving it around town (especially past UN tanks and jeeps full of armed soldiers) makes me feel like an extra in a war movie.

The following article (courtesy of our friend Matt) is the only English news piece we've been able to find on the gas "shortage," which has been going on for more than two weeks now:

Haiti's Gas Gang
Port-Au-Prince is Grinding to a Halt


The streets of Port-au-Prince are empty. Public transportation is at a trickle. Students aren't going to school. The economy of Port-au-Prince has come to a grinding halt. Haiti's biggest gang, the Gang of Eleven, has struck. In essence, they're saying, "If we don't like the prices, no one gets gas".

For over a week now, the only gas you can buy is diesel fuel unless you buy black market gas in gallon containers at double price. Most shockingly, this isn't even front page news in the local press. The Miami Herald has yet to run a story. It will be interesting to see if anyone goes to jail for subverting a nation.

If it was the street gangs blocking the sale of gas, the UN troops would have a mandate to restore stability, they would have a mandate to restore public order, they would have a mandate to shoot if necessary. Unfortunately the UN doesn't have a mandate to address office gangs, the business elite, the economic monopolies.

When the population eventually rises up and puts an end to Haiti's archaic economic system, controlled by the Gang of Eleven, controlled by "Friends of the Embassy", people will scream that the poor are unjustly attacking the rich.

They will have forgotten how the Gang of Eleven decided to import rice and sugar, instead of producing it locally. They will have forgotten how, when their personal and economic interests were questioned, the Gang of Eleven used the Haitian army to wipe out thousands of less fortunate Haitians. They will have forgotten how in 2009, workers couldn't get to their jobs, children couldn't go to school, because the Gang of Eleven didn't like the lowering of the public gas price.

There were no complaints about windfall profits when the price went up, but the reversal of fortune is unacceptable to the Gang of Eleven.

Richard Morse runs the Oloffson Hotel Port-au-Prince Haiti and the leads the Haitian band RAM.


Karen said...
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Lexi said...
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