Gangs put Haiti on the brink of “civil war”

Gangs put Haiti on the brink of “civil war”

Haiti has entered another cycle of chaos and extreme violence. So much so that the Caribbean nation is on the brink of “civil war,” in the words of powerful gang leader Jimmy Scherizer, nicknamed BBQ, head of one of the many criminal gangs that de facto control the country. Now, they have all come together with the aim of overthrowing the government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has been in power since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021.

After Moïse's assassination, Prime Minister Henri became the absolute power with a term that ended in February, by which time elections were supposed to be called. The call was postponed until 2025 at the latest. This delay led to the explosion of armed gangs that were once rivals, and they united with the goal of the Prime Minister's resignation.

The airport, the police academy, and the prisons – from which thousands of criminals escaped – were the infrastructure chosen by the gangs to sow chaos, to the point that in the last week of February, the government declared a state of emergency and a curfew. All this in the absence of the Prime Minister, who traveled to Kenya at the beginning of the month and has not yet returned to the country, and who is in Puerto Rico. Several sources indicate that he did not land in Port-au-Prince due to insecurity at the airport.

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Death funeral

The number of deaths and injuries in this context of violence increases with each passing day. Organizations such as Doctors Without Borders warn that the number of wounded has risen dramatically, many of them women, children and the elderly. The stench of death, shooting, looting, clashes with the police, kidnappings and burnings was what hung over Tuesday, when hundreds of people were forced to leave displacement camps and their homes to avoid becoming victims of armed gangs practicing terrorism.

The city center smells of death. The surroundings of the civil prison smelled of rotting corpses, some charred and some eaten by dogs. In addition, on Tuesday, schools and universities were closed again, as well as some private and public institutions due to the prevailing violence especially in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, despite the state of emergency and curfew.

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