HomeNewsA Faustian Bargain: The Cost of Restoring Haiti's Fuel Supply

Haiti’s gangs finally easing their grip on a blockade of the country’s fuel supply may only be temporary, serving to underscore yet again the levels of criminal governance these groups have amassed.

The country's largest oil terminal country, Terminal Varreux, has been able to resume delivering fuel for the first time in almost a month. On November 12, about 70 trucks lined up to load gasoline, which has been desperately needed to keep emergency services, healthcare and power running in Haiti.

The easing of the blockade follows the announcement of a truce made between the gang alliance, G9 an fanmi (G9 and family), and the local government in Cité Soleil, a district of the capital Port-au-Prince.

The details of concessions made to the gangs have not been released publicly, but leader Jimmy Chérizier, alias “Barbecue,” had previously demanded the withdrawal of state forces from the area and the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

SEE ALSO: Fuel, Water, International Aid: Haiti's Gangs Weaponize Essential Services

The negotiated end to the blockade comes after failed government attempts to reopen the facility, including a security corridor to protect fuel trucks from ambushes.

The blockade of Terminal Varreux was part of a coordinated effort by criminal groups to restrict access to fuel across Haiti in order to destabilize the government. The subsequent crisis proved life-threatening, as Haiti’s dysfunctional electricity grid relies on fuel generators to supplement the supply of electricity.

In a press conference on the day the facility reopened, Chérizier stressed that blockades would resume if Prime Minister Henry did not resign. The deal only extends until November 18.

InSight Crime Analysis

Despite being a welcome respite from a deadly shortage, the resumption of fuel deliveries orchestrated by Chérizier is a demonstration of his power in Haiti and could feed into his broader political ambitions.

In the aftermath of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, Chérizier began presenting himself and his men as part of a revolutionary movement, upholding the memory of the slain president against his enemies.

The blockades are an effective political tool in this respect, bending the will of Haiti's government. Chérizier has repeatedly demanded the resignation of Ariel Henry. Though that demand goes unmet, the blockades earn him comfortable payoffs.

SEE ALSO: Profile of G9 and Family

Haiti has seen repeated truces of this kind to several different gang-enforced blockades. None of them have signaled a shift away from the tactic of holding essential services hostage.

Following the devastating August 14 earthquake, Haiti’s gangs erected a blockade in Martissant that halted the supply of humanitarian aid – even using snipers to stop aid organizations. A similar agreement ended that blockade but did not prevent gangs from returning to the same tactic in the ongoing fuel crisis.

Terminal Varreux has also seen blockades eased and then returned, including several months ago when Chérizier allowed the terminal to reopen following negotiations with the government. The details of the deal were unclear, but the gang had demanded $100,000.  

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 15 MAR 2016

The cost of oil theft for Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex continues to increase year on year, suggesting rock-bottom prices…

BRAZIL / 20 JUN 2014

Authorities in Peru have identified seven human trafficking groups responsible for smuggling undocumented migrants through the country and into Brazil,…

MEXICO / 19 JUL 2012

According to Mexico's national association of gas businesses, criminal groups reportedly force gasoline vendors to buy stolen fuel, calling attention…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…