Haiti’s Streets Slowly Return to Life as Gangs Ease Fuel Blockade

Cars and people crowd around a petrol station after a group of Haitian gangs temporarily lifted a blockade leading to fuel shortages, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti November 14, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol
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By Gessika Thomas

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Nov 15 (Reuters) – Haitian businesses began opening their doors and activities were resuming on the country’s streets as the G9 gang coalition eased a blockade on fuel deliveries that caused crippling shortages for nearly a month.

The G9 gang federation that controls key parts of western Port-au-Prince over the weekend allowed trucks to access the Varreux fuel terminal, leading to long lines at filling stations.

Banks were operating normal hours after limiting operations due to the lack of diesel for generators, which are crucial for ensuring electricity in a country where the national grid only provide intermittent power.

Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, leader of the federation, on Friday said the group would allow fuel trucks to get access to the Varreux fuel terminal for one week. He warned the blockade would resume if Prime Minister Ariel Henry did not resign. read more

G9 has blocked fuel deliveries since last month demanding the resignation of the prime minister. Henry has said the government will not negotiate with criminals, and that Haitian National Police had created security cordons to help ensure the delivery of fuel.

Despite the reopening of the terminal, many drivers on Monday were still struggling to buy fuel, with some buying it in plastic containers on the black market.

“I spent the whole day yesterday looking for gas but without success,” said Oscar Julien, 41, a truck driver who delivers construction material. “I have not yet managed to fill up at a pump, I had to buy on the street because I had to get home.”

Reporting by Gessika Thomas and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Aurora Ellis
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