Cite Soleil, Haiti vigilantes grabbed a thief, and a mob of people took him to the Police Station. I was lucky the other day; I was able to make a video when a special cultural moment happened here in Haiti. I have seen this in Africa, I was happy to see it in Haiti.
A mob of Haitian people took a thief to this police station, located in the center or Cite Soleil. I am told before it was a police station, it was the home of rich person who received money by kidnapping people, this was his business.
Theft or crime can have serious consequences in various countries on the planet. The locals will hunt down the person and kill them, this person was lucky; they took the person to the police station. My friend Chris wrote me from Panajachel, Guatemala a couple of weeks ago, saying something to the extent; the locals found a thief, tied him up and burned him.
I witness them chasing down a thief in West Africa, it makes me very happy to see this.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti --- Wednesday, December 30, 2009
By Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com Travel Gear
I was walking just about behind that truck, used for public transportation, called a TapTap. I started to record a video, whereby I could walk along this very clean stretch of highway, showing the foods sold. Then just as I turned on the camera, I change video to this one below.
If you do not see a video here it is because you are reading by email, click here to see video.
In the developed world, we have become like fat steers, in the pen, ready to be slaughtered. We are soft, weak, and believe the responsibility for our safety is the police. While in many countries, the local people know they are responsible. Who is responsible, this is easy, both the locals and the police, they are meant to be a team.
When a person from Haiti walks up and says,
“Give me money,”
I examine the person, feel his or her arms, give a good gaze up and down their body, then I say,
There are people who cannot take care of themselves, the mentally ill, the crippled, and the old. Sometimes people have malnutrition and are not aware of why, everyone around them only ate five foods, why did their baby die.
If you have read along with me for years, you know I harp on the need for retirement plans; this would slow the number of babies being born. Presently in many countries, every family needs to have many babies, in the hope that one takes care of the mother and father when they are old, it is self-preservation. I also talk about traffic; cars create many crippled or handicapped people.
Malnutrition is more difficult, they need to change 1000’s of years of habits, their parent ate this way, therefore they eat this way, and it is handed down.
What is the big problem in Haiti, they are sitting around waiting for the Whites to come back, the same as Africa, ever since colonization ended, the same story, but different.
What do I know today, I am responsible for me, you, my family, and my world. The world is not responsible for me.
OK, about the lynchings here (Linchiamentos), as they are called Internally:
In a recent 2 week period (Nov - Dec 2009) there were mob killings and burning of thieves in something like 5 cities in Guatemala. I count nearly 20 reported body burnings in that period and as many attempted of the living and very recently deceased.. This is known as "Justicia Maya" and itself is an ancient form of vigilantism with contemporary upgrades. Towns where other burnings had occurred sent "Experts" to educate the Maya populous ("don't forget to bring your water to the execution to counteract the Police's teargas"). The Experts and local liasons go door-to-door in some neighborhoods to assign mandatorily "Shifts" of watchers to follow the thieves and accomplices around-the-clock. In Panajachel where I live, the thieves were followed for 10 days before 'they dropped the hammer'.
The thief was beaten and kicked and after being dragged about town, was killed by the crowd throwing bottles and cobblestones at him, before attempting to burn him by the City Hall (MUNY). As you are well acquainted with this area Andy, at the head of Callejon Santa Elena the mob collected and gasoline doused the thief's 2 sisters and their pregnant friend and just as they were about to be put to the torch a group of Maya women interceded (because one was pregnant, I've been told) and marched the female accomplices to the Police station, past where their brother had been executed. The Police wouldn't release the women to the angry mob (estimates up to 2,000) who now just wanted to burn all 4 together, like in nearby Solola where 3 had been burned a week prior and in 3 other town the week before. The Panajachel Police (here considered corrupt, criminal and ineffective by the Maya - 60 of the pop. - in the majority), sped the 3 women to another undisclosed city and covered their prisoner transport by closing the roads leading in and out of Pana and placing teargas cannisters there and in sites of congregation. Meanwhile, the Mayan mob overturned 4 Police patrol pickup trucks and burned them and set fire to the Police station due to their intercession and as a Vote of NO Confidence. Over 36 years of Civil War here - ending 15 years ago) 230,000 Mayan were killed in Guatemala, so basically the disenfranchised have their own form of extra-governmental authority.
Oh, the Mayor here was encircled a few days later at the top of Calle Santander by a Mayan crowd but was rescued, then yesterday the President of the Republic sped through the town at high speed in a motorcade, not lingering hereabouts.
I love it here and with caveats find it safe here for Travelers and Expats.
All's quiet since, however petty theft against Traveler's occurs as before and is tacitly tolerated by the community. Much the same everywhere else in the developing World.