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Audio Long Reads, from the New Statesman

‘It’s a state of terror’: inside Haiti’s descent into chaos

In May 2023, the UN reported that 600 people had been killed in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince in the previous month alone – victims of gang violence and the near total collapse of law and order. In April the UN secretary-general, António Guterres, warned that insecurity in the country had “reached levels comparable to countries in armed conflict” and called for the deployment of an international force.


In this powerful reported piece, freelance writer and former Haiti resident Pooja Bhatia talks to contacts on the ground, as well as historians and US State Department officials. She traces the origins of the current crisis through successive governments – from Papa and Baby Doc to Jovenel Moise - and through waves of US intervention. Between 2004 and 2017, UN peacekeeping forces brought cholera and 10,000 deaths to the country. Today cholera is back, with 40,000 suspected cases since October 2022. Against a backdrop of escalating violence and political corruption, many Haitians have come to see escape to the US (under Joe Biden’s “humanitarian parole programme”) or foreign intervention as the only way forward. But will any nation step up?

This article was originally published in the 12-18 May issue of the New Statesman magazine. You can read the text version here

Written by Pooja Bhatia and read by the New Statesman’s global affairs editor Katie Stallard.


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