Monday March 27th, 2023 4:13PM

Haiti gang leader to lift fuel blockade amid shortages

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A powerful gang leader announced Sunday that he was lifting a blockade at a key fuel terminal that has strangled Haiti's capital for nearly two months.

The announcement by Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer nicknamed “Barbecue,” followed government claims of at least some success in efforts to reclaim the terminal, as well as a United Nations resolution targeting Cherizier with sanctions. But it remained unclear who actually controls the terminal and the surrounding area, and there had been no evidence that any fuel had been able to leave.

In a speech posted on social media, Cherizier called on truck drivers to come and fill their tanks.

“Drivers can come to the terminal without any fear,” he said.

If fuel can leave, that would ease a crisis that began when Cherizier's G9 gang federation seized control of the area surrounding a fuel depot in Port-au-Prince on Sept. 12 to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

The gang's blockade cut off access to about 10 millions gallons of diesel and gasoline and more than 800,000 gallons of kerosene, forcing gas stations to close, hospitals to cut back on critical services and banks and grocery stores to operate on a limited schedule.

It also hindered efforts to cope with a cholera outbreak that has killed dozens and sickened thousands. Clinics have warned they were running out of fuel and had difficulty accessing potable water.

Gunfire echoed from the area around the terminal on Thursday as Haiti's National Police fought to reassert control. Police Chief Frantz Elbé said in a voicemail shared with The Associated Press on Friday: “We won a fight, but it is not over."

Official police social media accounts posted a video on Sunday with no sound stating officers were still “busy” at the terminal and saying “an important provision is taken to secure the perimeters.”

Cherizier stressed that neither the gang nor anyone working on its behalf has negotiated anything with the prime minister, despite claims by some politicians to have done so.

“This is a fight for a better life,” he said of the gang’s actions. “The situation has worsened. ... We are not responsible for what happened to the country.”

Cherizier then asked whether Haitians are happy with their living conditions, whether they feel safe, whether their children can go to school without being kidnapped and whether they have food and medical care.

Many in the country of more than 11 million people are living in even deeper poverty at a time of double-digit inflation. Meanwhile, kidnappings and gang violence has increased following the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.

Spokespeople for Haiti’s National Police and the office of the prime minister could not be immediately reached for comment following Cherizier’s announcement.

But some people on social media celebrated Cherizier's announcement, referring to him as “Father” or “Mr. President.”

In early September, Henry announced his administration could no longer afford to subsidize petroleum, leading to sharp increases in prices that unleashed large protests.

On Oct. 7, almost a month after the blockade began, Henry requested the immediate deployment of foreign troops. The U.N. Security Council has yet to vote on the request, though it voted to impose sanctions on the gang leader himself.


Associated Press writer Dánica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2023
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
No. 1 Georgia boasts more balance thanks to offensive surge
Georgia leaned on its defense in winning its first national championship since 1980 last season
2:08PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Haiti gang leader to lift fuel blockade amid shortages
A powerful gang leader says he is lifting a blockade at a key fuel terminal that has strangled Haiti’s capital for nearly two months
2:02PM ( 11 minutes ago )
AP Top 25: Georgia has No. 1 on lock, 'Bama drops to No. 10
Georgia has tightened its hold on No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll
1:56PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Ship refuses to leave Italy port until all migrants are off
The captain of a charity-operated migrant rescue ship has refused Italian orders to leave a Sicilian port after authorities refused to let 35 migrants disembark
12:44PM ( 1 hour ago )
Monitors say 10 killed in Syria shelling of tent settlements
First responders and opposition war monitors say Syrian government forces have shelled tent settlements housing families displaced by the country’s conflict in the rebel-held northwest, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens
12:30PM ( 1 hour ago )
Tanzania: Plane crashes into Lake Victoria; 19 dead
A plane has crashed into Lake Victoria on approach to an airport in Tanzania
12:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Cesspool or civility? Elon Musk's Twitter at a crossroads
The discourse was never all that civil on Twitter
12:48PM ( 1 hour ago )
Will voters stick with Biden outlook or take US another way?
With his party’s control over Congress teetering on the brink, President Joe Biden has traveled the country this fall trying to turn the midterm elections into a choice between two visions for America
12:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
GOP predicts midterm wins; Biden warns of democracy threats
Republicans are eyeing major gains in Tuesday’s elections and appealing to supporters over the final weekend of the 2022 campaign to sideline Democrats
12:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
At global summits, Biden aims to assert America's leadership
President Joe Biden will aim to assert America’s global leadership during his upcoming visit to Southeast Asia for meetings with world leaders
8:24AM ( 5 hours ago )
Ukraine warns of Russian 'brutality' in eastern region
Ukrainian authorities say Russian forces are stepping up their strikes in a fiercely contested region of eastern Ukraine
5:51AM ( 8 hours ago )
Power blackouts hit Ukraine amid heavy Russian shelling
Ukraine’s state electricity operator has announced regular scheduled blackouts in Kyiv and seven other regions of the country in the aftermath of Russia’s devastating strikes on energy infrastructure
4:57PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Germany's Scholz urges Xi to exert influence on Russia
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for peace talks over Ukraine and warned against the conflict going nuclear in a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who urged China to exert its influence on Russia
2:33PM ( 2 days ago )
China's Xi meets Germany's Scholz, urges Ukraine peace talks
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for peace talks over Ukraine and warned against the conflict going nuclear in a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
6:30AM ( 2 days ago )
World shares rise on hopes China's zero-COVID policy easing
World shares have advanced, led by gains in Chinese markets as investors grasped at hopes for an easing of the country's stringent pandemic controls
5:26AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Arsenal looks a genuine title contender after Chelsea win
Mikel Arteta is making believers out of Arsenal doubters while his predecessor Unai Emery has unfinished business in the Premier League
1:37PM ( 37 minutes ago )
'Plan for chaos': Roster upheaval dominates college hoops
College basketball coaches face a major challenge in managing rosters amid the changes of the transfer portal era
1:22PM ( 51 minutes ago )
Nicaragua's ruling party hopes to expand in local elections
It's been an electoral campaign without rallies, demonstrations or even real opposition
1:17PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Nick Carter remembers his 'baby brother' Aaron Carter
Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter says on Instagram that he's heartbroken over the death of his “baby brother,” 34-year-old singer Aaron Carter
1:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
Miami coach Katie Meier suspended for 1st 3 games of season
Miami women’s basketball coach Katie Meier has been suspended for the first three games of the season while the school cooperates with an NCAA probe
1:00PM ( 1 hour ago )