Battle for Haiti

Battle for Haiti

On the night of the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010, 4,500 of the country's most violent criminals escaped from the overcrowded National Penitentiary in Port au Prince. Award- winning director Dan Reed’s film looks at the effects of their presence in a society desperately trying to rebuild itself.

The escapees included many of the hardcore criminals, kidnappers and gang bosses who had reduced Haiti to a state of anarchy from 2004 to 2007 before being effectively subdued by an all-out military onslaught by the police and heavily-armed UN peacekeepers.

Now they were free to regain control of the slums and the tent cities where most Haitians live, using murder and rape to enforce their rule, with Haiti more vulnerable and less well-policed than ever before. At the forefront of the battle against the escaped gangsters is police chief Mario Andresol, who played a key role in the United Nations offensive that smashed the power of the gangs.

Now, four years later, he has to do it all again. His force is riddled with corruption and many of his officers are without homes and living in tent camps. Edmond Mulet, head of the UN mission, admits that unless the gangsters are put back behind bars the international community’s reconstruction and rebuilding work will be doomed to failure.

For the innocent victims, many of whom are still living in the most appalling conditions, the future has never looked more bleak.

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