Port-au-Prince, Nov 12 (EFE).- The boss of Haiti’s most powerful federation of gangs said Friday that his group will halt for one week its campaign to force the resignation of interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
The gunmen are suspending the blockade of the Varreux oil terminal in the capital’s port and ceasing attacks on tanker trucks, G9 leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier said.
“Life must return to normal,” the 44-year-old former police officer told reporters at a press conference in one of the G9 strongholds in Port-au-Prince.
G9 began obstructing fuel deliveries in mid-September and progressively worsening shortages have crippled the already struggling Haitian economy.
Because the country’s power grid is so unreliable, most establishments rely for electricity on generators powered by gasoline or diesel and cannot operate without fuel.
Though the deployment of police escorts has allowed a resumption of deliveries to hospitals and some service stations, lack of fuel remains a problem across the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Cherizier said that G9 declared the truce with an eye to the upcoming 218th anniversary of the Battle of Vertieres, where Haitian forces defeated French troops sent by Napoleon to quell the rebellion that would lead ultimately to Haiti’s independence.
Barbecue urged his compatriots to “meditate” on the meaning of the events of Nov. 18, 1803.
“This truce-reflection is to demonstrate our good faith, our feeling and love for our brothers and sisters,” he said, reading from a three-page statement.
Haitians should also reflect on G9’s demand that Henry step down, Cherizier said.
The warlord repeated his accusation that Henry was involved in the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, slain inside his private residence in an affluent neighborhood of the capital despite the presence of a large security detail.
Nearly two months ago, Henry fired the prosecutor leading the probe of Moise’s murder after the lawyer asked a judge to formally designate the caretaker prime minister as a suspect.
The prosecutor took that step after Henry rebuffed a request to answer questions about telephone calls he made to the accused mastermind of the assassination in the hours following the crime.
The last week has seen armed clashes between G9 fighters and police in the vicinity of the National Palace, the official seat of Haiti’s government, which has been vacant since Moise’s murder. EFE