Graffiti. Les Cayes, Haiti. January 6, 2006
Friday afternoon. The streets in Les Cayes were buzzing with talk of the upcoming general election. It had been delayed four times and was finally underway, with the election date set for early February. Les Cayes has often challenged the pattern of centralized regime change in Port Au Prince, and this election was no exception. Scribbled on these walls were reminders of 1914, when US warships had floated in Haitian waters, ostensibly to stabilize Haitian politics, but in reality, to ensure that American corporate interests and agenda were protected from a government that prioritized Haitian interests over foreign ones (!). The 1914 flotilla led to a full-blown US invasion in 1915, and the establishment of a puppet government. The USA occupied Haiti for another 30 years.
I was standing outside the Bishop Tharpe Institute (a vocational training school established by the Episcopal Church), where there was anxious talk of the possibly political killing of the school’s director. This young man was about to join the conversation, and not too pleased to see my camera. It all worked out afterwards, once he knew I was ‘with’ the faculty there.
Leica M6, 35mm Summilux lens, Fuji P400 film.