MARTISSANT - "This is where I realise my days are numbered" Joselia, an old lady, confides. In her neighbourhood, one of Port-au-Prince's slums, gangs are fighting for control of the few economic assets the city still has to offer. Haiti, the eternal worry child of the Caribbean, is now truly a "failed state".

Julien Deroy and Alex Van Steenbergen document life in the shadow of the baz, Port-au-Prince's armed gangs.A student, a police officer, an activist and a family of three generations of women testify about their experience of the degrading, arbitrary violence that is now the reality for millions of Haitians.

They also expose the processes behind the failure of the Haitian state. Recent history and the international community's double game pass the review. Using recent scholarly insights, the role of the Haitian oligarchs is explored. Who are these people, the millionaires from the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere? Does the key to the solution to Haiti's failure lie with them?

Photo: Edris Fortuné

Julien Deroy

Julien Deroy is an agricultural engineer and development specialist.

Alex Van Steenbergen

Alex Van Steenbergen is a freelance journalist specialising in Central Europe.
Alex Van Steenbergen