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Haiti’s rum industry hit as gangs burn sugarcane fields

Haiti’s famous rum has become the new victim of violent gangs vying to control a growing number of businesses and territories in the troubled Caribbean country.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Haiti’s famous rum has become the newest victim of violent gangs vying to control a growing number of businesses and territories in the troubled Caribbean country.

Rum is derived from sugar cane. The number of hectares burned would cover more than four football fields, but Barbancourt officials stressed that the lost land would not affect production.

Haitian rum is considered one of the country’s most popular exports.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, noted that more than 800 people were killed, injured or kidnapped across Haiti in January, more than three times the number compared to the same month in 2023. An estimated 300 other gang members were also killed or killed. injured last month, he said.

According to him, the recent intensity of clashes between gangs, which sometimes last for several hours, “may indicate that some gangs have recently received new ammunition.”

Haiti is also recovering from a recent wave of violent protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. Türk said at least 16 people were killed and nearly 30 others injured during the protests, mainly in clashes with police.

Meanwhile, gang violence continues unabated.

“With each passing day, new victims are being reported,” Türk said late last week, calling for the rapid deployment of a UN-backed Kenyan police force, which has been blocked in court.

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