Gas stations in Haiti reopen for 1st time in 2 months

Nov 12, 2022, 8:50 AM | Updated: 9:04 am
A moto-taxi driver gets a helping hand through a muddy street in the Cite Soleil district of Port-a...

A moto-taxi driver gets a helping hand through a muddy street in the Cite Soleil district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

(AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Whoops of excitement echoed through the streets of Port-au-Prince early Saturday as gas stations opened across Haiti for the first time in two months after a powerful gang lifted a crippling fuel blockade.

“There’s gas now! There’s gas now!,” people yelled as they honked their horns and motorcycles zoomed past as Haiti’s capital slowly returned to its familiar cacophony.

Sweat rolled down people’s brows as they pushed their cars and motorcycles to the nearest gas station and lined up next to colorful mini buses known as “tap taps” emblazoned with messages including “Thank you Jesus.”

“I would call this the day that life begins again,” said Davidson Jean-Pierre, 35, who owns a small house-painting business.

He and his employees could finally get around Haiti with ladders and other bulky equipment that couldn’t be easily transported on the handful of motorcycles that remained in circulation during the blockade.

“My team is going to get back on their feet,” Jean-Pierre said.

Ever since a gang federation known as G9 seized control of an area surrounding a key fuel terminal in mid-September, life in Haiti became paralyzed, leaving millions of people like Jean-Pierre temporarily out of work.

The move — aimed at trying to oust Prime Minister Ariel Henry after he announced a rise in gas prices — forced gas stations to close, hospitals to cut back on critical services and businesses including banks and grocery stores to limit their hours. It also worsened a cholera outbreak that has killed dozens and sickened thousands, with companies unable to distribute potable water.

Earlier this week, nearly 400 trucks lined up at the newly freed Varreux terminal in Port-au-Prince, filling up their tanks with fuel as a heavily armed police convoy escorted them to gas stations in the capital and beyond.

The truck drivers arrived after the G9 gang, led by former police officer Jimmy Cherizier — nicknamed “Barbecue” — announced a week ago that it was lifting the blockade days after clashing with police who sought to reassert control of the area.

While the truck drivers distributed 1.9 million gallons of diesel and 1.2 million gallons of gasoline, many on Saturday worried the fuel would soon run out as they waited for hours in line under a harsh sun.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to last,” said Arnel Fildor, 28, who also was concerned about high gas prices and a crushing economic crisis driven by double-digit inflation that has pushed this country of more than 11 million people into even deeper poverty. “Not everyone is equal. We don’t have the same ability to survive. We’re all dying slowly here.”

During the blockade, a rare gallon of gas on the black market was going for a minimum of 4,000 Haitian gourdes ($30), a price that Jean-Pierre refused to pay, worried it might have been mixed with other liquids.

On Saturday, he planned to buy gallons of water and fill up his propane gas tank, basic errands that were impossible during the blockade.

Meanwhile, tap tap drivers like Marc André, 40, said that while it was a relief gas stations reopened, they worried about high fuel prices and its impact on their livelihoods, with passengers unable to pay the full fare.

“They raised the gas at the wrong time, when the economy is not functioning,” he said. “It’s going to be pretty hard on the people who don’t have anything. The gasoline looks like a savior, but at the same time, it’s going to bring hardship for a lot of people.”

In mid-September, the prime minister announced that his administration could no longer afford to heavily subsidize fuel. As a result, a gallon of gasoline increased from 250 gourdes ($2) to 570 gourdes ($4.78), diesel from 353 gourdes ($3) to 670 gourdes ($5.60) and kerosene from 352 gourdes ($3) to 665 gourdes ($5.57) in a country where about 60% of the population earns less than $2 a day.

Tap tap driver Jean Joël Destin, 39, said the government doesn’t understand what he has to endure to make a living in Haiti.

“You don’t have anyone to turn to,” he said.


Associated Press writer Dánica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico contributed.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Capital murder defendant and former U.S. Border Patrol Juan David Ortiz looks around the cou...
Associated Press

Jurors hear ex-Border Patrol agent’s confession in killings

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Jurors in the capital murder trial of a former U.S. Border Patrol agent have heard a taped interview in which he confesses to the 2018 killings of four sex workers in South Texas. If convicted of capital murder, Juan David Ortiz, 39, faces life in prison without parole because prosecutors are […]
18 hours ago
FILE - A Twitter logo hangs outside the company's San Francisco offices on Nov. 1, 2022. A top Euro...
Associated Press

As Musk is learning, content moderation is a messy job

Now that he’s back on Twitter, neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin wants somebody to explain the rules. Anglin, the founder of an infamous neo-Nazi website, was reinstated Thursday, one of many previously banned users to benefit from an amnesty granted by Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk. The next day, Musk banished Ye, the rapper formerly known as […]
18 hours ago
FILE - In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by th...
Associated Press

Iran morality police status unclear after ‘closure’ comment

CAIRO (AP) — An Iranian lawmaker said Sunday that Iran’s government is “paying attention to the people’s real demands,” state media reported, a day after a top official suggested that the country’s morality police whose conduct helped trigger months of protests has been shut down. The role of the morality police, which enforces veiling laws, […]
18 hours ago
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the J Street National Conference at the Omni Shoreham H...
Associated Press

Blinken vows US support for Israel despite unease over gov’t

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday the U.S. will not shrink from its unwavering support for Israel despite stark differences with Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu and concerns the Biden administration may have about potential members of his incoming right-wing government. Speaking to a left-leaning group that some on the right accuse […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Farmer: Georgia dog injured saving sheep from coyote attack

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia sheepdog is recovering at home two days after killing a pack of coyotes that attacked his owner’s flock of sheep, farmer John Wierwiller said. Casper, a 20-month old Great Pyrenees from Decatur, fought off a pack of coyotes who were threatening Wierwiller’s sheep farm, he said. The fight lasted […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Report: Woman attacks 6 deputies at New Orleans airport

Officials say a woman bit, kicked and spat on six sheriff’s deputies while refusing to exit a plane at an airport in Louisiana early Thanksgiving Day, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported Saturday. Authorities said the 25-year-old woman attacked Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, according to local news reports. […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Gas stations in Haiti reopen for 1st time in 2 months