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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07PORTAUPRINCE523 2007-03-16 19:18:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Port Au Prince
Cable title:  

GANGS OF CITE SOLEIL: BACK TO BASICS

Tags:   PGOV KCRM ASEC PINR HA 
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1. (U) This message is sensitive but unclassified -- please
protect accordingly.



2. (SBU) Summary: Cite Soleil is rife with gang activity,
which continues even in light of the March 13 arrest of gang
leader Evans Jeune (reftel). The International Institute of
Migration (IOM) reported that working in Cite Soleil is still
surprisingly difficult and they face much interference from
gang members, despite MINUSTAH's military control of the
slum. Gangs continue to harass the population and are
attempting, albeit with minimal success, to regroup and
restart criminal activity. Despite improved overall
security, the everyday lives of residents are still
treacherous and the importance of MINUSTAH's strong presence
cannot be overstated. End Summary.



3. (SBU) Based on his recent personal experiences as well as
accounts from contractors and local leadership, Matt Huber
(strictly protect) of IOM, described to Poloff the current
conditions and gang activity in Cite Soleil. IOM is USAID's
principal implementing partner for development projects in
Port-au-Prince's poor neighborhoods. Huber stated that
MINUSTAH is clearly in control in Cite Soleil and he and his
contractors feel safe in the neighborhood. (Note: Huber has
a higher than average threshold for insecurity. For example,
he travels through the slums in the open bed of a truck
because he feels that being visible to the gangs protects him
from being attacked or kidnapped. End note.) However, he
reported that gangs have sabotaged recent attempts by IOM to
restart ongoing stabilization projects, including:
threatening a community leader for organizing the resumption
of a road paving project, accusing him of paving the way for
MINUSTAH to wage further attacks; hijacking a piece of heavy
equipment and using it to cut trenches in the roads; and
demanding payoffs or protection money before work can start.
Additionally, gang members are discouraging the population
from taking advantage of MINUSTAH humanitarian efforts, such
as water distribution and health clinics, with threats of
bodily harm.



4. (SBU) Huber cited a long list of dangerous gangsters who
are still at-large in Cite Soleil, including Blade, aka
Nason, currently the leader of Ti Ayiti. According to Huber,
Blade is trying to position himself as Cite Soleil's
preeminent gangster. Blade is not well liked in the
neighborhood, but people are afraid of him and so continue to
follow his orders. Huber compared him with Evans in terms of
his viciousness and lack of conscience. The week of March 12
Blade followed a group of IOM contractors around for an
entire day and demanded they pay him money in order to
continue with their projects.



5. (SBU) MINUSTAH political affairs deputy Lizbeth Cullity
(strictly protect) told Polcouns on March 14 that there is
chatter in Cite Soleil that someone will take Evans place as
the leader in Boston. Evans' brother Claude presented
himself for the position but was not a popular candidate.
Blade, aka Nason, is the front runner for the position, but
Cullity called the attempt laughable and doesn't think the
gang members dare confront MINUSTAH. She noted that the
gangs couldn't even organize themselves all in one place to
elect a new leader.



6. (SBU) On March 2, MINUSTAH officials presented an
optimistic picture of the situation in Cite Soleil in a
discussion with Polcouns. MINUSTAH intelligence, JMAC deputy
Mike Center (strictly protect), agreed that gangs continued
to intimidate the local populace, but asserted that gang
organizations no longer control Cite Soleil as they once did.




7. (SBU) Comment: MINUSTAH, by all accounts, does have
control of Cite Soleil. Nevertheless, that does not mean
that the average Cite Soleil resident has been liberated from
gangs and now feels safe to go about his or her daily life
free from extortion, harassment and threats of physical harm.
From a military perspective, the emerging gang leaders pose

PORT AU PR 00000523 002.2 OF 002


no threat, but on the community level they continue to harass
and terrorize the population. This emphasizes the need for
both continued MINUSTAH presence and increased presence and
visibility of local HNP who are capable of ongoing community
policing. If MINUSTAH eases up, the gangs will be prepared
to begin anew their criminal activities. End comment.
SANDERSON