(from the French “chimères”)
These were extralegal, armed groups carrying out both delinquent or criminal activities, and political action. Composed of disenfranchised individuals from Haitian shantytowns, and presenting themselves as people’s organizations (oganizasyon populè) representing the masses, the Chimè were instrumentalized under Aristide's rule to instill fear among opponents of the regime and occasionally to destroy their property. On January 17, 2002, following an attack against the presidential palace, the Chimè looted the headquarters of opposition political parties, as well as the homes of several of their members, and set them on fire. The outsourcing of political objectives to extralegal armed groups by the executive constituted a recurrent trend in 20th-century Haiti (Dahomay, 2001). In doing so, the executive branch destroyed and “desymbolized” the government (Hurbon, 2001).