Conflicts & War

Disturbances mar funeral of Haiti’s slain president

By Maria Montecelos

Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Jul 23 (EFE).- The sound of gunfire and the smell of tear gas formed part of the backdrop here Friday as family members and dignitaries bid a final farewell to murdered Haitian President Jovenel Moise.

While the roughly 1,000 people attending the funeral at the Moise family compound on the outskirts of Cap-Haitien were not in danger, the disturbances were a stark reminder of heightened tensions following the assassination of the 53-year-old head of state.

Haiti’s new prime minister, Ariel Henry, predecessor Claude Joseph and other prominent politicians joined widow Martine Moise and the couple’s three children at the funeral.

The United States was represented by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations.

The head of Haiti’s National Police, Leon Charles, received a hostile reception and some in the crowd even shouted “murderer,” reflecting widespread suspicion that he was complicit in Moise’s murder.

Opposition leader Moise Jean Charles, conversely, was applauded when he arrived and took his place in the section reserved for notables, where more than a score of men in military garb with assault weapons stood guard.

The religious service was followed by eulogies from the late president’s sister and son before the widow spoke.

Martine Moise, her bandaged right arm in a sling as a result of the wounds she suffered in the attack that claimed her husband’s life, said that the “birds of prey” behind the killing continued to stalk Haiti.

“They don’t even hide. They are there watching us and listening to us,” the widow said as police clashed with protesters on the street outside the compound.

At the conclusion, police discharged their weapons to clear a path for attendees to leave.

The US delegation made a safe departure from Haiti “in light of the reported shootings outside of the funeral” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

“They’re on their way back to the United States. We are deeply concerned about unrest in Haiti,” she said on behalf of the administration of President Joe Biden.

Jovenel Moise was brutally beaten and shot a dozen times by the 26 gunmen who stormed the couple’s private residence in the exclusive Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Pelerin 5 in the wee hours of July 7.

Moise’s security detail offered no resistance to the assailants.

Eighteen of the 26 suspects Haiti is holding in connection with the crime are Colombians, most of them veterans of their country’s armed forces.

The eight Haitians in custody include two police officers and a number of individuals who are citizens of both Haiti and the United States.

Three other Colombian nationals died in gun battles with police following the assassination.

The man Haiti accuses of organizing the assassination, Christian Emmanuel Sanon, is behind bars in Port-au-Prince.

Sanon, a 62-year-old evangelical pastor and doctor who has long lived in South Florida, said in a YouTube video that he aspired to lead the country of his birth.

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