Transcript: The Battle for Haiti

Dan Reed

ANNOUNCER: Tonight on FRONTLINEthe day the quake hit Haiti, the jails broke open.

EDMOND MULET, U.N. Mission Chief, Haiti: All of the hard-core gang leaders escaped.

ANNOUNCER: One year later

WILLIAM GARDNER, U.N. Violence Reduction Team: The tent camps represented virgin territory for the gangs.

ANNOUNCER: A seven-man police unit is hunting them down.

Tonight, on the anniversary of the quake, FRONTLINE takes you inside the battle for Haiti's future.

EDMOND MULET: Unless we address the issue of rule of law in Haiti, all the efforts on reconstruction, on development, on peacekeeping will be in vain.

[Tonight's program contains descriptions of sexual violence and graphic imagery. Viewer discretion is advised.]

NARRATOR: On the day of the earthquake, the National Penitentiary held 4,500 inmates, powerful gang leaders and hundreds of their foot soldiers, men accused of robbery, kidnapping and murder. At 10 to 5:00, they were finishing their evening meal.

GRIMO, Escaped Prisoner: [subtitles] It started with a little shudder. Then we heard─

ROODY LAFONT, Escaped Prisoner: [subtitles] I thought a huge bulldozer had entered the prison. Then my cellmates dropped to their knees, crying, ``Jesus!''

GRIMO: [subtitles] Everyone called, ``Jesus!'' Because Jesus worked this miracle.

MORALM, Escaped Prisoner: [subtitles] The four guys next to me were killed outright. They died before my eyes.

GRIMO: [subtitles] The building was shaking. Someone said, ``The national palace has collapsed!''

NARRATOR: Terrified prisoners, packed 300 to a cell, tore down the gates with their bare hands. Facing them were the prison guards.

COULEUR, Guard: [subtitles] We were 17 to 20 guards facing 4,000 prisoners.

RIGAL, Guard: [subtitles] We had three or four bullets each. How could we hold back 4,000 prisoners?

NARRATOR: As daylight faded, the guards began to panic.

COULEUR: [subtitles] It was dark. We couldn't see a thing. All we could hear was screams, people crying out.

NARRATOR: Even prisoners crushed by falling masonry managed to crawl free.

MORALM: [subtitles] God got me out. I was free. Free! Free!

GRIMO: [subtitles] Everybody escaped. Except the dead.

NARRATOR: The escaped prisoners melted into the slums of the devastated capital. Among them, gangsters who'd once controlled much of Port Au Prince. Now the earthquake gave them the chance to do so again.

The world promised to help the Haitians rebuild a new and better country. With the escaped gangsters still on the loose, those efforts, and the very future of Haiti, hang in the balance.

Mario Andresol, Haiti's police chief. On the day of the earthquake, he narrowly escaped death as his headquarters collapsed. Nine months later, a mob has stormed the police station and hacked a policeman to death.

MARIO ANDRESOL, Chief of Police: [through interpreter] It's chaos right now. There's a state of fear, a psychosis. Because the escapees are robbing banks, murdering, kidnapping, it has created a psychosis.

NARRATOR: Backed by U.N. forces, Andresol played a key role in the bloody military onslaught that three years ago subdued the gangs and put many of their leaders in jail.

Chief MARIO ANDRESOL: [through interpreter] Before the earthquake, we didn't have so many problems because all those prisoners and kidnappers were behind bars. That just proves we'd arrested the right people. There was calm. People felt safe on the streets. Now we have to start again.

NARRATOR: The gangsters who escaped from the national penitentiary discovered new territory to conquerimprovised camps built by the survivors of the earthquake wherever they found space.

CASSANDRE SAINT-VIL: [subtitles] Sorry to cry. It hurts so much. Every time I think about it, it tears me apart.

NARRATOR: Tent by tent, the gangsters took control of the camps.

CASSANDRE SAINT-VIL: [subtitles] There are so many rapes in the camp where I live. Many, many rapes.

NARRATOR: Cassandre Saint-Vil lost her father and her home in the earthquake.

CASSANDRE SAINT-VIL: [subtitles] The escaped prisoners came to my tent. It was a Friday night, about 2:00 AM. My mother woke up and asked what was happening. They said, ``We haven't come for you. We've come for the girl.''

The gangsters beat my mother, my grandmother, my little brother. Then all four of them raped me. They rape women, and even boys.

NARRATOR: Before the earthquake, Cassandre was studying to be an accountant.

CASSANDRE SAINT-VIL: [subtitles] My dream was to finish my studies and get a job. My life is shattered.

NARRATOR: Thousands of earthquake survivors have been raped in the camps. Every month, there are hundreds more.

Cherlie Christophe is 19. The earthquake wrecked her home and killed her mother. She lives alone in a tent.

CHERLIE CHRISTOPHE: [subtitles] I have no hope, only God. I have no family to care for me. A man asked me if he could stay in my tent until it stopped raining. After raping me, he kicked me, down there. I bled for 22 days. Then my periods stopped and haven't come back. The police said, ``When you catch the gangster who raped you, call us.''

NARRATOR: The police have largely abandoned the million Haitians who live in 1,200 tent camps in and around Port-au-Prince.

Chief MARIO ANDRESOL: [through interpreter] How do we make the camps safer? It's a real headache. We weren't set up to patrol these camps full of temporary shelters. They provide hiding places for the escapees. I don't have enough men. I can't put a cop in every tent.

NARRATOR: After the earthquake, international aid focused on the tent camps. Now they are the gangs' new power base.

The senior U.N. official who monitors gang violence is William Gardner.

WILLIAM GARDNER, U.N. Violence Reduction Team: The tent camps represented virgin territory for the gangs to go and conquer. And what we see now is that in very many cases, the gang leadership is actually spending more time in the camps than in the neighborhoods because it's in the camps that it's safer for them to be in there than outside.

NARRATOR: La Saline, a slum neighborhood near the container port. The police are hunting a gang of escaped prisoners, who are known to be heavily armed. They are supported by a hundred U.N. troops, part of a force of 12,000 peacekeepers from 57 countries.

In the decades before the earthquake, Haiti, a country of 10 million people, was already a failing state.

EDMOND MULET, U.N. Mission Chief, Haiti: We have to put this country into the context of a nation that has committed collective suicide. They had institutions and courts and the rule of law and ministries and hospitals and schools, and that doesn't exist anymore. If we left, the whole country would just fall apart.

NARRATOR: Inspector Jean-Frenel Beauvoir of the Haitian police leads the operation. Beauvoir has brought an informer in heavy disguise.

JEAN-FRENEL BEAUVOIR, Inspector, Haitian Police: [subtitles] Where did he go?

BYSTANDER: [subtitles] That way.

NARRATOR: Beauvoir gets news he's been waiting for.

JEAN-FRENEL BEAUVOIR: They've just arrested an escaped prisoner. He's a bit of a catch, called ``Grimo.''

NARRATOR: He knows gang leader Jean-Marc Juste, alias ``Grimo.'' He'd arrested him two years ago. Grimo escaped in the earthquake. Grimo and his followers have been terrorizing the neighborhood. Beauvoir hopes the gang's weapons are still in Grimo's house.

The weapons have gone. Grimo insists he's kept out of trouble since escaping from the Penitentiary.

MAGISTRATE [subtitles] What were you arrested for the first time?

GRIMO: [subtitles] This inspector arrested me. Ask him.

JEAN-FRENEL BEAUVOIR: [subtitles] Didn't the judge tell you what the charges were?

GRIMO: I went to court twice. They never told me what I was accused of.

NARRATOR: Beauvoir and the U.N. withdraw, leaving the neighborhood to the gangs.

Besides Grimo, the masked informer has pointed out five other men, but the names they give aren't on the list of escaped prisoners. The lack of records in Haiti makes it hard for the police to establish anyone's identity. The men are taken for questioning.

After the earthquake foreign governments pledged almost $10 billion in aid, inspiring hopes that Haiti could have a fresh start. But those hopes can't be fulfilled while so much of the country remains lawless.

EDMOND MULET, U.N. Mission Chief, Haiti: Unless we address the issue of rule of law in Haiti, all the efforts that the international community is doing now on reconstruction, on rebuilding, on development, the U.N. peacekeeping mission here on the groundif we do not address the issue of rule of law, everything else will be in vain.

NARRATOR: Cite Soleil, the largest slum in Port-au-Prince. Its people survive on less than a dollar a day.

ROODY LAFONT: [subtitles] I'm an escaped prisoner. I escaped on January 12th. The police are after me and all the other guys who escaped from prison.

NARRATOR: Hundreds of escaped prisoners are hiding here. Roody Lafont is one of them.

ROODY LAFONT: [showing tattoo] [subtitles] It's Psalm 35. Eternal Lord, protect me from my enemies. Contend with those who contend with me.

I'm a bad boy. I like to fight.

NARRATOR: The police say Roody is a violent gangster who has returned to his old ways.

ROODY LAFONT: [subtitles] When I got out, I tried to go straight, but I couldn't. This is my little boy's name. Having it on my arm made prison bearable. Prison life is no good. You're truly alive only when you're free.

NARRATOR: Even before the earthquake, police had few of the photographic and fingerprint records that forces in other countries rely on.

INFORMER: [on the phone] [subtitles] This morning, did you see the guys? Did they come?

NARRATOR: An escaped gangster is willing to lead the police to a gang hideout if his sentence is reduced.

POLICE OFFICER: [subtitles] Depending on who you give us, we'll talk to the judge on your behalf.

INFORMER: [subtitles] Boss, I can give you three guys.

NARRATOR: At the heart of almost every police operation is an informer, whose motives are often suspect. From inside the vehicle, the informer begins pointing out people to arrest. The main target, an escaped prisoner named Alfred, has vanished. His sister is taken for questioning.

MIMOSE: [subtitles] I've got kids in the house. I can't leave them.

1st OFFICER: [subtitles] I'm arresting you.

MIMOSE: [subtitles] My kids─

2nd OFFICER: [subtitles] Where's Alfred?

NARRATOR: When an informer can't be found, the police seal off entire neighborhoods and arrest anyone who appears suspicious.

OFFICER HIPPOLITE: [subtitles] This area is a gang stronghold. The gang leaders hand out guns here every morning to their soldiers, who go out and kidnap or murder people.

OFFICER CIVIL: [subtitles] Where's your dad?

BOY: [subtitles] He's dead

OFFICER CIVIL: Do you go to school?

BOY: [subtitles] The Salesien.

OFFICER CIVIL: [subtitles] Learn a good trade so you turn out well, not like these hoodlums. Behave yourself.

OFFICER HIPPOLITE: [subtitles] We're not sure they're all gang members, so we're going to screen them so we can sort the gangsters from the innocents.

NARRATOR: The men arrested in the sweep are taken to a police station for screening.

NEIGHBORHOOD MAN: [subtitles] Hold him. Hold him. He's not from around here.

NARRATOR: Watching from the chief's office are three men from the neighborhood. They've been told to look for unfamiliar faces.

NEIGHBORHOOD MAN: [subtitles] Lock him up.

WILLIAM GARDNER, U.N. Violence Reduction Team: The pointing out of an individual by a community does not mean that then the individual community members are willing to stand and bear witness in a trial. They never will. So it really is a sort of popular justice.

NARRATOR: In the end, there's little to show for the combined efforts of 450 U.N. peacekeepers and Haitian police.

OFFICER HIPPOLITE: [subtitles] We arrested 55. We released 52. We're keeping these three. We think they're gangsters.

RENEL DEA: [subtitles] I am a carpenter. They picked me up with my tools. Look at these hands. Do they look like a criminal's hands? I have never been in prison in my life.

NARRATOR: The only evidence against the men is that they're from outside the neighborhood.

RENEL DEA: [subtitles] I'm a carpenter. I'm not an escapee. I've got nothing to do with that.

NARRATOR: As the police stumble through a fog of dubious information, the battle for the rule of law in Haiti is being lost.

Police Chief Andresol has called senior officers to an emergency meeting. Crime is surging, and Andresol feels they're losing control. A senior officer's wife has just been assassinated. A gang of escapees is kidnapping wealthy Haitians.

Chief MARIO ANDRESOL: [subtitles] This group got together in prison. Some are ex-cops. And even though they're not doing the kidnapping themselves, they plan the hit because they know how we work.

NARRATOR: Another kidnap gang has adopted a disturbing tactic.

Chief MARIO ANDRESOL: [subtitles] They're wearing police uniforms and riding police bikes. So who's to say they aren't real cops?

NARRATOR: Andresol has been trying to root out rogue cops for years, but he also fears that corrupt politicians are in league with the resurgent gangs.

Chief MARIO ANDRESOL: [through interpreter] Honest people don't go into politics in Haiti. That's our great tragedy. To be in politics, you have to belong to a closed circle of men who think only of themselves and who at times can resort to killing.

NARRATOR: Andresol knows this from experience. Before becoming police chief five years ago, he survived two assassination attempts organized by politicians linked to gangs, and had to flee into exile in New York.

Chief MARIO ANDRESOL: [through interpreter] Someone can lose his life for making a decision that goes against a certain group within the system. The system is organized like a gang.

NARRATOR: Until last month, Ray Baysden headed the U.N.'s intelligence center in Haiti.

RAY BAYSDEN, Former U.N. Official: There's not a natural divide between politics and gangsterism. They know that in order to succeed, they must depend on each other. The politician knows that he needs that gangster to survive, that he needs that gangster to get elected, to stay elected, and to carry out his or her mandate.

NARRATOR: Half the Haitians of voting age are illiterate. Gang leaders control vast numbers of votes in the slums. The introduction of democracy in the last 20 years has driven politicians and gangsters into a tight embrace.

RAY BAYSDEN: The Haitian police know what's going on. In fact, the executive-level leadership, they know what's going on. The problem is a lack of political will to act and bring to justice these people. If they move against these criminal elements, they themselves are at risk.

[ Baysden on Haitian politics and crime]

NARRATOR: To speed the recapture of escaped prisoners, the Haitian police have set up a special unit of seven detectives who worked in the penitentiary. They at least know what many of the escaped prisoners look like.

NARRATOR: The number two in the squad is Wilson Lamartiniere.

WILSON LAMARTINIERE, Police Detective: [subtitles] There were about 220 minors in here. It was a prison for children.

NARRATOR: Lamartiniere lives in the ruins of the juvenile prison. He was made homeless by the earthquake, but the tent cities are too dangerous for him.

WILSON LAMARTINIERE: [subtitles] I have to live here because of my job. The escapees are violent. They want to kill me, so I've taken shelter here to be safe. They're hunting me and I'm hunting them. We're fighting a battle. It may take two or three years, but we must win. We have a mission. The escapees must go back where they belong.

NARRATOR: An informer has spotted escaped prisoners in a nearby town.

RONALD GAY, Unit Leader: [subtitles] We are the only unit whose sole task is to find and capture escapees and send them back to prison.

NARRATOR: Even before the earthquake, the unit leader, Ronald Gay, specialized in recapturing escaped prisoners. The gangsters know who the detectives are. They often receive death threats.

RONALD GAY: [subtitles] A mission like ours is sensitivedangerous and very sensitive.

NARRATOR: Three of the detectives are on the street with the informer. They've located an escaped prisoner.

JEAN EDDY: [subtitles] I'm not an escapee! Why are you arresting me?

DETECTIVE: Why are you making so much noise? Shut it!

JEAN EDDY: [subtitles] I'm no escaped prisoner!

NARRATOR: Jean Eddy insists he was released months before the earthquake. No one believes him.

JEAN EDDY: [subtitles] I don't understand.

DETECTIVE: [subtitles] You'll understand soon enough. You'll give us all the information we need, all kinds of information.

NARRATOR: A confession is needed. Detective Peterson sets to work.

DETECTIVE: [subtitles] I'm going to shave your head, too.

JEAN EDDY: [subtitles] Chief, please don't do that. Please.

[ How this film was made]

NARRATOR: An hour after the first arrest, they spot a second escaped prisoner.

DETECTIVE: [subtitles] Do you know why we've arrested you?

JEAN PIERRE: [subtitles] I drive a motorbike taxi─

DETECTIVE: [subtitles] That's not what I asked. Why did we arrest you? Did you escape from prison?

JEAN PIERRE: [subtitles] I escaped January 12th. I drive a motorbike taxi. Two guys raped a girl and I got the blame.

DETECTIVE: [subtitles] You escaped on January 12th? Which prison?

JEAN PIERRE: [subtitles] The National Penitentiary.

DETECTIVE: [subtitles] I'm going to beat the crap out of you!

NARRATOR: Two more arrests, and the team heads back to the city to hand over the prisoners. The prospect of years in prison terrifies them all.

PRISONER: [subtitles] I don't blame you guys. You're just doing your job. It's just that in prison, there's no one who will visit me.

JEAN EDDY: [weeping] [subtitles] Please God end my life now! Why are you making me go through this?

NARRATOR: The U.N. has financed emergency repairs to the penitentiary, but the prison still embodies much of what's wrong with the Haitian state.

PRISONER: [subtitles] I've never been to court! Most of us are innocent!

PRISONER: [subtitles] I'm not a murderer.

PRISONERS: [subtitles] There's no justice! I'm not a criminal!

NARRATOR: Grimo is being returned to the prison. He knows what awaits him.

GRIMO: [subtitles] Your legs swell up because you never get to lie down. If I lend you my space for a little sleep, another guy will come along two minutes later and want his turn.

EDMOND MULET, U.N. Mission Chief, Haiti: They have 58 centimeters per inmate, and they can't even sit down or lie down and they have to stand up like sardines in those cells. And they have to take turns in order for them to sit.

GRIMO: [subtitles] It's so crowded that when a guy dies, you drag him into a corner, then lie down in his spot where he drooled his last. You put him in a corner. You wedge him tight. He's past caring. He's dead. Then you take his spot. That's how crowded the prison is.

NARRATOR: Haiti's criminal code allows prisoners to be held while they're being investigated, but the courts are so dysfunctional that prisoners can spend five or six years awaiting trial.

EDMOND MULET: One big concern, of course, is the issue of the pre-trial detention. Eighty percent of inmates have never seen a judge.

PRISONER: [subtitles] We want to go to court!

JEAN-CHRISTO EXAMEAU, Detective: [subtitles] Most of these men are in pre-trial detention, prolonged pre-trial detention.

NARRATOR: Detective Exameau belongs to the seven-man unit which hunts escaped prisoners. He recruits informers inside the penitentiary.

Det. JEAN-CHRISTO EXAMEAU: [subtitles] A prisoner doesn't know when he'll be released or when he's going to trial. It's pretty tough. They get more and more violent.

GRIMO: [subtitles] There's no justice in Haiti. You get sent down for years without knowing what for. There's no justice.

NARRATOR: For major criminals with the right connections, the justice system offers a swift way out.

WILLIAM GARDNER, U.N. Violence Reduction Team: Unfortunately, in most cases where the person truly is a criminal, because he's a criminal, he has disposable cash. He will buy his way out of this dysfunctional system. The person who perhaps has been arrested wrongly, not having the money, will not be able to buy his way out. So they end up in the jail and stay there for years.

EDMOND MULET: And someone who stole a chicken four years ago is now in the same cell as a murderer, and the one who stole the chicken will be in jail probably longer than the one who killed someone.

NARRATOR: The gangs corrode the rule of law in Haiti, but the corrupt justice system undermines it even more. Jean-Joseph Exume is a former minister of justice.

JEAN-JOSEPH EXUME: Impunity! Impunity! Corruption is not only in the justice system. In Haiti, corruption is everywhere. You have corruption in the customs, you have corruption in the tax office, because the person does something wrong but he knows in advance it's OK. ``No one will fire me.'' Impunity is the key question in Haiti. You have to act, you have to work very hard to change that.

NARRATOR: Jean Eddy still insists he was let out of prison before the earthquake. The unit's leader, Ronald Gay, has called headquarters to see if there's any record of his release.

RONALD Gay: [on the phone] [subtitles] Chief?

NARRATOR: Gay gets news from headquarters.

RONALD GAY: [subtitles] OK. I know what I'm going to do for him now.

NARRATOR: Jean Eddy's name is not on the list of prisoners who escaped in the earthquake. Gay has to let him go.

RONALD GAY: [subtitles] Sing for us. Sing something.

JEAN EDDY: [subtitles] I can sing Gospel.

RONALD GAY: [subtitles] We're loving that! Sing for us. Are you going to sing or not?

JEAN EDDY: [subtitles] I'm a little stressed right now.

RONALD GAY: [subtitles] Just a little song. [sings] Being a cop is a killer job. There's nothing like it in the world. [speaking] Come on, guys, join in!

NARRATOR: Jean Eddy is released after a five-hour ordeal, 30 miles from home.

RONALD GAY: [subtitles] I'm happy because every escapee we catch is like saving five or six lives. Those guys are violent when they get out. But we just catch them. The courts will decide the rest.

NARRATOR: Gay's seven-man team may be small, but they're a vital part of the battle for the rule of law in Haiti. Yet he's had to spend half his paycheck on fuel for the trip.

RONALD GAY: [subtitles] I paid $40 of my own money so that we could go and arrest the escapees. We get nothing. But we're already fighting this war. We can't stop. All the gangsters know us. It's too late to back out.

NARRATOR: One year after the earthquake, of the 4,500 prisoners who escaped from the national penitentiary, less than 700 have been recaptured.

Opposite the palace which houses Haiti's paralyzed government lives Jean Osee and his family. Three months before the earthquake, a gang of robbers attacked Mrs. Osee at her street stall. She was eight months pregnant.

JEAN OSEE: [subtitles] My wife was in so much pain, the baby was born, but it died right away.

Mrs. OSEE: [subtitles] In October.

NARRATOR: The robbers were jailed but escaped in the earthquake. Now the Osees worry they'll return.

JEAN OSEE: [subtitles] Can we count on them?

RESIDENTS: [subtitles] No!

JEAN OSEE: [subtitles] Do we want to carry on suffering?

RESIDENTS: [subtitles] No!

NARRATOR: Led by Mr. Osee, the residents are holding a meeting.

JEAN OSEE: [subtitles] The Red Cross, USAID, World Visionthose people care. They want to help us. But our leaders won't sit down with us!

NARRATOR: They fear the camp leadership has been infiltrated by gangsters. New tents from the aid agencies are being sold for profit.

JEAN OSEE: [subtitles] It's economic power which makes you an adult. It's not your age, it's your economic power. In Haiti, the system is so rotten that whatever your age, you always remain a child.

NARRATOR: After the earthquake, the Osees spent their last few dollars to set up their food stall again.

JEAN OSEE: [subtitles] After the earthquake, all the thieves escaped. Everything we'd replaced, they stole again. Our home was looted. We were left with nothing.

RESIDENT: [subtitles] We have to stop those thieves making money off us!

NARRATOR: The early focus on giving aid to the tent cities has had unforeseen consequences.

WILLIAM GARDNER: People in the slums very quickly realized, ``If we stay here, we're not going to get anything. Let's go into a camp quickly.''

NARRATOR: The prospect of aid flowing into the tent camps, and the hope of being given a house, drew hundreds of thousands of Haitians from the slums into the camps.

WILLIAM GARDNER: Figures began to emerge which indicated that possibly up to 30 percent of people in camps truly had no reason to be there other than wanting to be on a list to benefit from aid. And the huge danger now is that these camps will evolve into the new generation of slums.

NARRATOR: Nicole Orelus sells plates of food from her shop in Cite Soleil. Over the decades, she has watched her community become dependent on aid.

NICOLE ORELUS: [subtitles] They shouldn't constantly give handouts. ``Here.'' ``Thanks.'' ``Here.'' ``Thanks.'' That's no way for a nation to be. We have to learn to work. We must give people work because people are lazy. They wait, they beg with hands outstretched, even the kids. We want to end this dependency!

NARRATOR: There are 10,000 non-governmental organizations, NGOs, delivering aid in Haiti. Over the past 30 years, as the NGOs have grown, the Haitian state has shrunk.

EDMOND MULET, U.N. Mission Chief, Haiti: All of us, all of us, have been co-responsible for the weakness of the Haitian state. Because we didn't like the ideology of one government, we didn't like the ideology of another government, because we thought there was corruption, et cetera, we have been building parallel structures and institutions in Haiti. Instead of working with the state or through the state, we have created those parallel structures. This is the republic of NGOs.

NARRATOR: To end dependency, Haitians need jobs. There aren't many factories left in Haiti, but the ones that somehow survive can flourish.

RICHARD COLES, Businessman: We are T-shirt experts. We manufacture millions of T-shirts on a weekly basis that we export to the United States.

NARRATOR: Richard Coles, a Haitian businessman, employs 3,000 people making T-shirts.

RICHARD COLES: We're very, very efficient. The U.S. market loves our products. They are all made in Haiti. People don't know it. And we're doing a good job.

I don't have survivors. I mean, all of them, they are consumers. They go out there, they buy their food, they send their kids to school. They have a home. Some don't have a home yet, but they have a place to live, they have a yard, they have a big tent. That's the future.

NARRATOR: To get to the future, the country needs policies that work.

RICHARD COLES: So you hear bits and bits of people saying that, ``Yeah, manufacturing is great,'' like you've seen here, maybe tourism, maybe agriculture. But there's no plan. There's no leadership. No one is saying, ``This is the way to go, this is where we're going.'' And you know what is sad is that I know what I'm talking about because I hire thousands of them Haitian people, the only thing they wantdon't hand food or money to them, give them a job.

NARRATOR: Being part of Haiti's business elite can make you a target. Many have chosen to leave the country. Those like Daniel Rousier who stay and work can pay a terrible price.

DANIEL ROUSIER: Kidnappings are rampant everywhere in society. My wife was a victim of kidnapping. Five years ago, she was kidnapped for 10 days. She was blindfolded and released after we paid a ransom. Actually, we paid three ransoms before she was released. She was traumatized. She had to leave the country With my kids. They're now living in the U.S.

NARRATOR: Rousier has resolved to stay.

DANIEL ROUSIER: I was born and raised here. I'm still very committed to living here.

NARRATOR: Rousier is building a power plant for the textile factories he hopes will come to Haiti if investment begins to flow.

DANIEL ROUSIER: We have about eight big generators that will produce about 36 megawatts, really. And this represents 15 percent of the production needed for Port-au-Prince. The hope is that by bringing in more investment, both local and foreign, we'll get everyone to work, properly occupied, living with dignity and not thinking about fighting each other.

At times, coming from Haiti feels like a burden. It feels like a heavy cannonball tied to your ankles. It feels like a curse, really. I used to really feel that, until it came to me that living in Haiti was a blessing. It's the opportunity to touch Christ every day, in the person that can't feed himself, in the men in the prison, in the kid that contracted AIDS and doesn't have access to his medicine.

[ Watch the film again on line]

NARRATOR: Insecurity undermines everything Haitians and outsiders do to help the country. It drives away each successive generation of talent. Of Haitians who've completed secondary education, more than three quarters now live abroad.

In Grand Ravine, a slum in the south of Port-au-Prince, the gangs are at war again. When the gunfire dies down, the police venture into the slum, guarded by U.N. soldiers. They can do little more than pick up the bodies.

A man has been gunned down next to his house, in front of his daughters.

OFFICER CALERBE: [subtitles] What happened?

NEIGHBOR: [subtitles] She was hit by a stray bullet.

OFFICER CALERBE: [subtitles] He was the notorious gangster Black Africa.

NARRATOR: Black Africa was wanted for murder. The number of murders recorded at the city morgue is many times the official U.N. statistic. No one in Haiti really knows how many killings there are.

OFFICER CALERBE: [subtitles] He got his wages. The wages of sin is death.

NARRATOR: Building a new Haiti is about far more than repairing earthquake damage.

WILLIAM GARDNER: If the mistake is made to state or to assume that the problem of Haiti is one of the earthquake and that all that is needed is to fix that damage and then everything will be OK, that will be a huge disservice to the Haitian population. The problem in Haiti is not to provide temporary shelters or homes to those affected by the earthquake, it's a problem of assisting Haiti to fix its chronic problems. The rule of law is fundamental for making this work.

NARRATOR: Haitians have been voting for a new president. Whoever takes charge will be expected to transform Haiti using the money promised by international donors. Without a functioning state, this will be impossible.

EDMOND MULET: I think this is the time, the moment for us, the international community, to work in a different way and work with the state through Haitian institutions in order to strengthen them. Of course, it's going to take more time. It's going to be more complicated. But we have to break this vicious circle where we have been involved in for the last 30 years.

NARRATOR: International aid is paying for the training of more police recruits, yet the man who will lead these recruits believes the political system is beyond repair.

Chief MARIO ANDRESOL: [through interpreter] We've got to change things. For that, we need a revolution. Nothing will change if we keep on talking about democracy and being held to the standards of the great democracies. All we need are the right men, the right leaders to go forward.

NARRATOR: Haiti's national hero, Toussaint L'Ouverture. Two hundred years ago, he led the slaves of Haiti in a war of liberation.

JEAN OSEE: [subtitles] The statue is just here, Toussaint L'Ouverture. He's got his back to the palace. People say that's a bad sign. Toussaint would be furious if he saw the country now. He believed that all the blood spilt on the ground would act like fertilizer to make a new country. We see now that the blood was wasted.


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There was a before 9/11 and there was an after 9/11.

Technologies of mass surveillance─

Everybody is subject to investigation.

Buildings four stories high, but they go down two stories.

Fingerprint database, DNA database─

This has gotten so big, it's impossible to manage.

Are we safer?

Are we safe enough?

ANNOUNCER: One of three new stories next time on FRONTLINE.

This report continues on line, offering deeper background on what's being done to solve Haiti's chronic problems, and read the filmmaker's reflections. And there's much more on FRONTLINE's Web site. Watch nearly 100 programs from our archive, explore interactive timelines and maps, and follow ongoing FRONTLINE investigations. Then join the discussion at

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Posted January 11, 2011

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