Tuesday, August 3

Jovenel Moïse: Stabilize Haiti | Opinion

Jovenel Moïse, during the conversation with EL PAÍS in February.
Jovenel Moïse, during the conversation with EL PAÍS in February.

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The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse has pushed Haiti to the brink. Added to the power vacuum and a horizon full of unknowns is a very long history of instability and political upheaval. The prime minister declared a state of siege and expanded the powers of the Army in the face of the assassination, which occurred less than three months before the presidential and legislative elections called for the end of September. The misery, the onslaught of the Covid-19 health emergency and the risk that the already dramatic spiral of violence will intensify are an explosive cocktail that threatens to plunge the Caribbean country into a bottomless pit. The international community must do everything possible to prevent this.

Haiti is the epitome of the misfortunes that a country with fragile institutions can suffer. The death of Moïse, who had been denouncing an attempted murder for months, is the latest shock that contributes to cloud the panorama. The uncertainty is enormous, no one is in a position to predict the outcome of this crisis, which goes from an unlikely coalition government to an electoral advance. The president had a long list of enemies: political rivals, a group of families seeking to gain control of the electricity sector, and increasingly powerful organized crime. Furthermore, the fact that, according to the US ambassador, the mercenaries who shot him dead early Wednesday morning posed as agents of the Washington anti-drug agency and spoke Spanish with each other during the attack contributed to speculation. Haitian authorities killed four of those allegedly responsible and detained two others, but there is still no clarity on the lines of investigation.

In any case, the urgent thing is to mark the roadmap so that a glimmer of stability is regained. If it is true that the increase in organized crime coincides with the end of the United Nations mission in the country, in 2017, we must also take into account the unpopularity of the blue helmets, accused of having imported a cholera epidemic after the devastating earthquake 2010 and other scandals. Other multilateral organizations that could play a role in the next stage are the Organization of American States (OAS) and, above all, the so-called Core Group, an alliance of countries that are friendly to Haiti, including the United States, Canada, Spain, France and Brazil. These countries advocated that Moïse end his term in 2022 and demanded the reestablishment of the different powers of the state. Accompanying the elections and defining a calendar can be a first step. The important thing is to conjure up a scenario of anarchy and chaos, and for this there is no time to lose.


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