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Some of Haiti's Upper Class Spared Earthquake's Worst

Natural disasters may not discriminate, but some members of Haiti’s upper class managed to avoid the worst of last week’s earthquake simply by virtue of geography, as many of them live outside Port-au-Prince in the suburban enclave of nearby Petionville, which The Washington Post describes as “Beverly Hills, but with razor wire.” –KA

The Washington Post:

Although Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake destroyed many buildings in Port-au-Prince, it mostly spared homes and businesses up the mountain in the cool, green suburb of Petionville, home to former presidents and senators.

A palace built atop a mountain by the man who runs one of Haiti’s biggest lottery games is still standing. New-car dealers, the big importers, the families that control the port — they all drove through town with their drivers and security men this past weekend. Only a few homes here were destroyed.

“All the nation is feeling this earthquake — the poor, the middle class and the richest ones,” said Erwin Berthold, owner of the Big Star Market in Petionville. “But we did okay here. We have everything cleaned up inside. We are ready to open. We just need some security. So send in the Marines, okay?”

As Berthold stood outside his two-story market, stocked with fine wines and imported food from Miami and Paris, his customers cruised by and asked when he would reopen. “Maybe Monday!” he shouted, then held up his hand to his ear, for customers to call his cellphone.

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