Volontaire, Volontaires de la Securite Nationale, Republic of Haiti, 1963

Haiti was never a dull country with many struggles, not least those for overall power. Successive regimes used the army, police and a local militia to seize and control the government. During the Duvalier years the militia was the Volunteers of National Security (or ‘makout’).

Whilst the police and army were generally well catered for with uniforms and equipment, the militia were not. This did not stop them being feared by the general population.

This ‘soldier’ wears a simple uniform of blue drill material. The cap seems like the contemporary American army style, with a soft crown and peak. The shirt and trousers are very simple items, easily produced in the country. Apart they are not a uniform at all, but together they give that impression.

His only equipment is a leather waist belt, but he has received a Springfield rifle.

Brown leather boots complete the uniform.

Below are two photographs from Corbis showing volunteers on parade.