The Battle For Haiti
On January 12, 2010 an earthquake with a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale shook the very core of Haiti and devastated this small Caribbean country to the point of near total destruction. While the talking heads of the world speculated on the causes of the quake’s overwhelming effect, many world leaders were touched by the unimaginable suffering and were led to make bold promises of restoration and solidarity. Haiti was going to receive billions of dollars in aid that would give this failed state a fresh start.
Before the earthquake, Haiti’s National Penitentiary held approximately 4,500 prisoners, most of who were locked up due to their involvement in violent criminal activities that had been terrorizing the country for years. According to police chief, a few years before the earthquake, things had started to improve, which was a strong indication that the right people are behind bars.
But on the day of the earthquake that rocked Haiti, the prisoners escaped and along with the millions who lost their homes in the earthquake sought shelter in the close to 1,200 makeshift camps. The escaped gangsters turned these camps into their new powerbase, wreaking havoc and planting terror in the hearts of women and children. Thousands were raped and murdered, and virtually nothing could be done to protect the innocent and vulnerable. The criminals were now getting a second chance to destroy the country once again.
The local police desperately tried to round up the escaped gangsters, relying mostly on the help of informants. Due to the lack of records, they are unable to clearly identify who the gang leaders and their soldiers really are. So with the aid of the United Nations Violence Reduction Team, the slums are patrolled in search of escaped convicts.
This BAFTA-winning documentary is about the challenge of rebuilding Haiti in the face of gang violence and corruption.