Most Haitians do not talk readily about their political views with people they don’t know well. Decades of dictatorship and political repression has made them wary. But on this visit, when people hear that we work with women’s organizations in the Middle East and around the world, they ask, “What’s happening in Egypt?”
We start a conversation about people rising up against dictatorship and they smile. “Just like here,” said one old man, nodding knowingly. As we pore over Internet photos of Egyptians marching in the streets, defying the army, defying the police, the young woman I’m with murmurs, “Very encouraging.”
A long-time Haitian human rights activist we meet with echoes these thoughts. "If you look at the situation here over the last 30 years, there’s a parallel. Port-au-Prince could become Cairo. The difference is that all of the foreign interference, or international presence, whatever you choose to call it, is keeping people in check. But there is real frustration here, real anger. Port-au-Prince is ripe to become Cairo."