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#1916: recent attacks on foreign nationals--some suggested safety measures (fwd)


Since I commute a lot for my work between Port-au-Prince and Jacmel as well 
as P-au-P and Cap Haitian, the recent attacks on foreign nationals has forced 
me to think about further precautions to take while driving on these roads. I 
thought I would share some of these thoughts with the list, since there are 
many foreigners and diaspora Haitians who when visiting Haiti use private or 
rental cars. I really hope this is not interpreted as cause for panic but 
simply as common sense measures to take for insuring security.

The impasse that the American woman was killed on on Monday I know well as I 
frequently use it as a short cut when driving to the north of Haiti. As a 
matter of fact, I was on the road at 4pm on the day the woman was killed, 
driving back from Cap Haitian. I don't plan on using it anymore. I urge 
others to avoid it as well. It's unfortunate since using the impasse cut off 
at least an hour of the drive from Port-au-Prince to Cap Haitian. The problem 
is not only the impasse but the drive through Cite Soleil. I heard from a 
photo-journalist that works with Michael Norton that a man on a motorcycle 
cut in front on the rental car and forced the vehicle to stop. I have noticed 
on the drive through Cite Soleil that I pass by a motorcycle taxi station. 
Many people assume that this is also a 'baz' for zenglando. It is possible 
that the rental car was spotted by someone in this area, followed, and then 
attacked on the less frequented impasse between Cite Soleil and Route 
National 1. I have been advised to take a much longer but safer route and 
urge others to do the same when heading north--to Montrouis, Gonaive, Cap 
Haitian, wherever, by going through Petionville to Route Frere, through 
Tabarre (Boulevard 15 Octobre) and out to Route National 1. I also noticed 
that Norton's article specified that the Americans were driving a Suzuki 
Samurai. Everybody in Haiti knows that the Suzuki is commonly used as a 
rental car by several agencies. I suggest that visitors to Haiti avoid using 
such easily recognized cars or travel with many others in the same car.

Drivers who haven't been to Haiti recently should also be advised that speed 
bumps have been placed all along Route National 1 and that you almost never 
see them until you are on top of them. Perhaps they reduce speeding and 
accidents but they are also dangerous. They are not painted and there are no 
warnings to alert drivers. They are also high and sharp. If you approach them 
at 40mph you are liable to have an accident; I saw one myself happen in 
exactly this way and have been alerted by others who have witnessed similar 
accidents. There is also the possibility that zenglando camp out near them 
since it is easier to attack an already slow moving vehicle. Be advised that 
the speed bumps have been placed at the entrance and exit of most major towns 
on this route--Cabaret, Archaie, Montrouis, St. Marc, Pont Sonde, L'Ester, 

I also heard the car was attacked at around 6pm. The French tourists are also 
said to have left where they were staying at 4am. If possible, drive only 
during daylight hours. If you have reason to be out at night make 
arrangements to stay wherever you are until daylight. Do not let people put 
pressure on you to leave earlier than full daylight.

I heard that the driver initially refused to hand over the keys to car. Give 
whatever they ask immediately. Do not resist, do not talk back. Keep copies 
of car papers in the car and originals at home.