The killing of Haiti’s president, François Duvalier, has led to fears that the country could become a new hub for gang violence in the Caribbean.
The haiti news today 2021 is a story about the killing of Haiti’s President. It is also a story about how this could lead to new gang violence in the Caribbean nation.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITIAN REPUBLIC— Jimmy Cherizier, the head of the G9, a strong coalition of gangs in Haiti, released an exhortation on YouTube days after the country’s president was murdered, calling on his followers to rise up against the country’s oligarchs and seek justice for the dead leader.
Mr. Cherizier, a former police officer clad in an olive drab military-style suit and a camouflage baseball hat, added, “We are ready for battle.” “We’re just getting started.”
Mr. Cherizier’s call to arms underscores a distinguishing aspect of contemporary Haitian politics: the connections between politicians and often-violent gangs that, according to the United Nations, human-rights organizations, and citizens, essentially rule large parts of the country.
Officials from the United Nations have warned that the assassination of President Jovenel Mose on July 7 risks exacerbating what they say is already the deadliest wave of gang violence in years, with killings and kidnappings becoming commonplace. At least 18,000 people have been displaced by violence, according to the United Nations children’s organization Unicef, the majority of whom have been relocated since the beginning of June.
“The situation was terrible before the epidemic, but it became worse during the pandemic, and it is now becoming much worse because of the political crisis and the increase in violence,” said Bruno Maes, a spokesman for Unicef in Haiti. “We’ve just scratched the surface. This scenario is rapidly deteriorating.”
Last Monday, Haitian police stood watch in Port-au-Prince.
Outside of Port-au-Prince, there is a camp for disabled persons.
Gangs have always existed in Haiti, but their power grew dramatically after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, with gang leaders claiming to be more successful at fulfilling people’s needs than official institutions.
“The government had no choice but to attempt to tap into them,” said Eduardo Gamarra, a Caribbean studies researcher at Florida International University. “You had to cooperate with the gang hierarchy in every area if you wanted to accomplish anything. You didn’t have any effective police officers who could get into the neighborhoods.”
The US Treasury sanctioned two top Mose administration officials in December for allegedly supplying weapons and funding to armed groups suspected of murdering 25 people in the capital’s La Saline slum to suppress anti-government protests. Mr. Cherizier, who goes by the nickname Barbecue and was also implicated by the Americans, was also sanctioned. Mr. Cherizier is accused of murder by Haitian and US authorities, but human rights organizations claim he continues to operate unhindered.
Mr. Cherizier did not return phone calls or reply to text messages received through WhatsApp.
Jimmy Cherizier, the head of the formidable G9 gang organization, is rallying his supporters to fight the country’s billionaires.
Reuters photo by raynald k. petit frere
Mr. Cherizier, who describes himself as the G9’s commander and spokesperson, depicts his group as part of a revolutionary movement against Haiti’s rich elite, which he refers to as the “stinky bourgeoisie.”
According to Louis-Henri Mars, director of the charity Lakou Lape, G9, the gang he leads, controls 1.2 million people in the congested slums of southern Port-au-Prince, accounting for more than 10% of the country’s population. In a continuous territorial conflict, G9 barricades highways and suffocates gasoline and humanitarian assistance supplies, according to Mr. Mars, whose organization has attempted to arrange peace negotiations between gangs, civil society organizations, and business leaders.
Their geographical dominance makes them appealing allies for politicians at times. Mr. Mars said that having military authority over an area allows them to influence how people vote.
The city is littered with the scars of the war. The word “justice” is spray painted on top of a bullet-riddled glass at the entrance to Port-au-courtroom. Prince’s It’s in an area controlled by a gang known as “Five Seconds,” after the time it takes its members to murder their opponents.
In Port-au-Prince, supporters of Jovenel Mose erected a monument to the murdered Haitian leader.
Last week, protests erupted in Port-au-Prince.
People familiar with the gangs claim the gangs earn the majority of their money via kidnappings and extortion, charging communities and street vendors fees in return for leaving them alone. The more land they own, the more money they make.
A manufacturing company owner described how gang members armed with assault weapons shot at his workplace and put barrels of excrement on his doorway, demanding that he pay monthly payments to keep his company operating. The merchant said that as a result of the resolution, he had to construct temporary toilets at the armed group’s slum, which lacked plumbing.
“You have to have a symbiotic relationship,” the entrepreneur said.
However, many impoverished Haitians who have been trapped between gangs and police have had no option but to escape to refugee camps where food and medication are running out.
Jucelene Jean, 57, said that gang members murdered her two sons after she refused to pay protection money in exchange for the right to operate a small grocery store in Cap-Hatien, a port city in northern Haiti. She refused to name the group that was involved. Then, she claims, cops set fire to her shantytown community last month because they suspected criminals had entered there.
Jucelene Jean, a resident of a burnt shantytown, stated, “There is no hope, no future.”
“There is no future, no hope.” Ms. Jean, who now sleeps on the floor of a school-turned-shelter with her seven grandchildren and 500 others, believes that only God can rescue them. She talked to a reporter last week while feeding wet bean purée to her 2-year-old grandson from a wash pail. “It’s all tears all day for me.”
Another center resident, Guerlens Dieu, who used to peddle motor oil on the streets, lost his prosthetic limb when he, his pregnant wife, and their 5-year-old daughter had to cross a ravine to escape gunshots while their neighborhood was set ablaze by cops in a gang-fighting operation.
Mr. Dieu, who was leaning on a crutch, remarked, “Everything we had is gone.” “If you’re a state government, go after the culprits instead of burning down the whole village.”
Requests for comment were not returned by a spokesperson for Haiti’s National Police.
Outside of Port-au-Prince, there are street vendors. Officials from the United Nations have warned that gang violence in Haiti is on the rise.
—This story was written with the help of Adrian Campo-Flores in Miami.
Kejal Vyas can be reached at [email protected]
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The violence in d.c. over the weekend is a recent event that has caused many people to be concerned about the state of America’s gang violence.
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