Connect with us

World News

Haiti: Violence and politics culminate in presidential assassination

Thaiger

Published

 on 

Haiti: Violence and politics culminate in presidential assassination

Haiti has become “a country in a state of shock” following the murder of President Jovenel Moise, Radio Metropole broadcaster Richard Widmaier told listeners as they tuned in to his news program from the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The newscaster and station director later told DW that following the killing: “it’s like the streets of the capital have been swept clean.” Wednesday’s murder, he added, took locals accustomed to crises and violence by complete surprise.

“We are puzzled as to who could be behind [the attack]. Was it a coup? What role did foreign countries play?,” political scientist Roland Joseph queried, summing up the general state of confusion across the nation.

Jovenel Moise ruled the Caribbean country for four years. The self-proclaimed banana exporter and ambitious political outsider soon came under fire for a series of corruption scandals: The ongoing economic crisis, the handling of the COVID pandemic, an increasingly authoritarian style of governing and, most recently, rampant violence which plagued Haiti.

Experts describe the situation in the country as “fragile.” “The longer the uncertainty lasts, the greater the risk of unrest and looting,” said Anne-Rose Schön, a German entrepreneur who has lived in Haiti for several decades, and who has experienced many coups and crises during her time in the Caribbean nation.

Professional assassination squad

Observers agree a professional assassination team was responsible for the murder. “I drove past the president’s house at 8:30 p.m. and saw only one patrol unit,” radio personality Widmaier said. Usually, the president has an entire squad of heavily armed bodyguards to protect him.

Neighbors first heard gunshots around 1 a.m., followed by heavy explosions and a deadly, hour-long battle involving semi-automatic weapons. After that, it became clear the president was dead and his wife, Martine, seriously injured. The Haitian first lady was flown to the US state of Florida on Wednesday for medical treatment. There were no other reports of casualties. The couple’s daughter, who had reportedly locked herself in her room, remained unharmed, local media said.

The question remains, however, what role foreign mercenaries played in the killing. Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said some of the killers are believed to have spoken Spanish, Voice recordings circulating online suggest the men identified themselves to Moise’s bodyguards as being members of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The US government maintained close ties with the Haitian leader, but denied any involvement in the incident.

Following an hours-long chase near the scene of the murder, four suspects were gunned down and a further two were arrested and taken into police custody.

A president with many enemies

The motive for the killing remains unclear. Only recently did the president himself say that corrupt oligarchs were trying to kill him — he did not name names.

Opponents have been demonstrating against him during his entire time in office. The protests were said to be fueled by Venezuela. The socialist government there — which had expanded its influence in Haiti by giving millions of dollars in aid following the 2010 earthquake — saw US-friendly Moise as a traitor. Only recently, Moise railed influential opposition senators with a proposal to amend the constitution and abolish the Senate.

Widmaier doubts whether the murder was a politically motivated coup. The opposition had been caught out and had no plan going forward. The journalist believes the killers could not have found a more unfavorable time for a change in leadership. The country has not had an elected parliament for over a year, the chief justice died recently of COVID and Prime Minister Joseph, who took over as interim head following Wednesday’s murder, had actually already resigned from the post, but his designated successor had not officially been sworn in.

A country swept up by violence and the mafia

In additional to any political opponents, criminal gangs may also have played a part in the murder. The groups have been making Port-au-Prince unsafe since the beginning of the year as incidences of gang-related violence continue to rise.

Jimmy Cherizier, also known as Barbeque, is deemed to be the city’s most important gang leader. It is thought he has ties to the presidential palace, he even recently threatened to take power. His enemies are said to be on opposition politician’s payrolls.

Violence is part and parcel of politics in Haiti. The Duvalier family of dictators had a feared death squad. In recent weeks, gang warfare has escalated — more than 150 people died in June alone, and some 14,000 fled clashes. “It is possible the gangs were out of control,” political scientist Joseph speculates. “No one feels safe anymore.”

A third hypothesis suggests maybe the mafia is behind the killing. Initial autopsy results suggest Moise was executed with over 12 bullets, broadcaster Radio Haiti Amerique reported. Additionally, the station said, Moise’s hands and arms had been broken and is eyes gouged out, citing remarks made by Justice of the Peace Carly Henry Destin.

“Moise had many enemies,” Widmaier contends. Among them were entrepreneurs like the Vorbe family, whose energy business had been seized by the government.

Other upper-class businessmen had also been targeted by the judiciary for corruption and embezzlement, Widmaier added. Moise, himself, was suspected of being involved in money laundering.

“This spiral of violence must eventually stop,” said Roland Joseph from the Caribbean Center for Nonviolence and Sustainable Development, expressing his concern about Haiti becoming a mafia state. “We must learn to resolve our own conflicts peacefully.”

This article has been translated from the original German.

SOURCE: DW News

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand4 mins ago

Phuket Car rental business says gang rented cars and then sold them off

Guides8 mins ago

A guide to Doi Inthanon National Park

Bangkok20 mins ago

Curfew shortened, Bangkok spas, gyms, cinemas can re-open from October

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Tourism46 mins ago

TAT pushes for Indonesia, Malaysia to be added to approved list for Phuket sandbox

World1 hour ago

Powerful earthquake strikes near the Phillippines main island

Guides1 hour ago

Top business and investment opportunities in Thailand

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand2 hours ago

OnlyFans arrest sparks calls for reform of prostitution and pornography laws

Phuket2 hours ago

DSI says land documents were illegally issued for the Phuket “Sri Panwa” resort

Thailand2 hours ago

More than 3,000 houses affected by severe flooding in Chaiyaphum

Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand Top Stories | Abuse allegations at Temple Rehab centre | Sep 27

Thailand3 hours ago

12 Burmese migrant workers arrested in Kanchanaburi

Thailand3 hours ago

Investigation on land encroachment and Ambergris worth 1 mil $ | Good Morning Thailand | Ep. 96

World3 hours ago

Australian PM unsure about appearing at UN climate summit

Thailand4 hours ago

CCSA to review curfew hours and allowing more businesses and venues to reopen

Guides4 hours ago

Best of Bangkok attractions that cost next to nothing

Thailand2 weeks ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending