Living in the Yellow Zone: The Political Geography of Intervention in Haiti

Political Geography

Author/s (editor/s):

Nicolas Lemay-Hébert

Publication year:

2018

Publication type:

Journal article

Find this publication at:
Elsevier

Nicolas Lemay-Hébert, ‘Living in the Yellow Zone: The Political Geography of Intervention in Haiti’, Political Geography, 67: 88-99.

Every international intervention comes with its own security regulations, which contribute in turn to structure the political geography of the intervention, delimiting areas of interaction between interveners and local population and shaping the political economy of intervention. The securitisation of the everyday in Haiti took the form of colour-coded security zones (green, yellow and red), with distinct security regulations for each. This article will analyse the specific everyday ramifications of the security mapping in Haiti, focusing particularly on the vast yellow zone that covers residential areas in Port-au-Prince and the downtown area in dire need of investment after the earthquake. Based on interviews conducted in Port-au-Prince in 2017 and 2018, the article will make three distinct arguments, underscoring the ramifications of mapping as a spatial practice of securitisation. First, by channelling expatriates to specific locations in the capital, and by preventing them from occupying other zones in Port-au-Prince, the securitisation practices contribute to the gentrification process around the Pétion-Ville area, contributing in their own way to the deep-rooted social segregation process in play in Port-au-Prince. Second, it will analyse how these logics of securitisation are linked to an ‘imagined geography’ of the capital, where actual security risks matter less than logics of disassociation from areas perceived as having no interest for international actors. Finally, the article will look at how security mapping is reappropriated and resisted by local actors, displaying a mix of resilience and self-help strategies. This article makes a distinct contribution by linking critical cartography and international relations, especially the colour-coding and security mapping discussion with the securitisation and intervention literature.

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