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How are Haitian Americans feeling about the political upheaval happening in Haiti?


Many Haitians in the U.S. are cheering the resignation of the country's de facto prime minister, Ariel Henry. But few seem to believe that his departure will end the current wave of violence besieging the country. Phillip Martin of member station GBH spoke with Haitians living in Boston.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Speaking Haitian Creole).


PHILLIP MARTIN, BYLINE: An estimated 25,000 Haitians live in the Boston area. Many still have family on the island, and fear is ricocheting through local communities here. At the popular Highland Creole Cuisine in Somerville, no comment were the words of the day. Charles is a man in his 60s who volunteered only his first name for fear of personal violence.

Have you been to Haiti lately?

CHARLES: Every year I've been there twice but not anymore.


CHARLES: Because it's not secure.

MARTIN: A few miles away, over the din of a television and a phone ringing off the hook at noontime, Rose-da-lee Gabriel says she's fearful for her relatives. She owns Sister's Caribbean Restaurant in Somerville, a hot spot for Haitian Creole cuisine.

ROSE-DA-LEE GABRIEL: I just call my family, ask them how they are. But nobody's safe. Nobody's safe. They don't have food. We send them money. Nobody can get the money. I never see that in my life.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: (Speaking Haitian Creole).

MARTIN: Wismic’s is a combination barber shop and money transfer store in Cambridge. Creole-speaking patrons are lined up to send cash to desperate relatives on the island. Wismic, the eponymously named owner of the shop, said many more people have been coming in recent months to wire money to their families in Haiti, even though they're aware that in the ongoing chaos, their cash may be stolen and often is.


MARTIN: Wismic, who also asked that we use only his first name for personal safety reasons, said until recently, he owned a barbershop in Port-au-Prince but shuttered it five months ago.

WISMIC: People try to kidnap my employee and when they kidnap one of them, they're going to call me, ask me for money. So I'm not going to pay the money for that. So it's better for me to close.

MARTIN: Massachusetts' congressional delegation is calling on President Biden and the international community to do more to end the violence in Haiti. Rose-da-lee Gabriel welcomes that.

GABRIEL: The gang everywhere, everywhere. So we need help.

MARTIN: Haitians and international aid groups in Boston say they anticipate that more desperate Haitians will try to make their way to the United States by land and sea, as the gangs' stranglehold in the country grows tighter.

For NPR News, I'm Phillip Martin in Boston.


MARTÍNEZ: A U.N. report has found, quote, "reasonable grounds to believe" that sexual violence took place during the October 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel, accusations Hamas denies. Later on All Things Considered, we learn about one first responder's experience and what it tells us about the challenges of investigating these claims. Listen on the radio or just ask your smart speaker to play NPR or your member station by name. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Phillip Martin
Phillip is the supervising senior editor for News & Notes with Ed Gordon. He also is executive producer of Lifted Veils Productions, Inc., a nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to exploring and investigating issues that divide society. He is former race relations correspondent for NPR. As such, he reported on the many ways that race intersects other social, political, and economic concerns. Phillip has contributed reports to the BBC, CBC radio and television, the VOA, On the Media, The World, Marketplace, and other outlets. He has written articles and essays on race, history, and film for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, and other publications.