Conflicts & War

Haiti’s top gang boss threatens violent ouster of P.M.

Port-au-Prince, Nov 3 (EFE).- Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, who leads the powerful G9 gang federation, said Wednesday he is prepared to remove Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry “at the cost of blood.”

Cherizier convened a press conference in Port-au-Prince’s La Saline neighborhood to demand the “immediate resignation” of Henry, “above all because he is suspected of participating in the odious and vile assassination” of President Jovenel Moise on July 7.

Once the interim prime is out of the way, the G9 boss said, “the key to the country will be given to a new class of men and women of civil society.”

Cherizier, a long-time collaborator with the ruling PHTK party who was close to Moise, called Haiti a country that had been “abandoned to its fate.”

“The country doesn’t have a prime minister, the president was assassinated. The country has no leader. That is why we, as patriots, struggle to rectify the situation,” the 44-year-old former police officer said.

Despite his demand for the prime minister to step down, Cherizier said that the battle was not against Henry, but rather “against the 5 percent (of the population) who keep 95 percent of the country’s wealth.”

“It’s a battle against the system, against the corrupt oligarchs,” he said.

Haiti’s current desperate state is the responsibility of “Syrian-Lebanese” oligarchs and politicians who have inflicted “more than 50 years of bad government” on the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, Cherizier said.

The 5 percent of Haiti’s population who are not black includes an estimated 257,000 people of Arab descent.

It is members of the economic and political elite who distribute guns “in working class neighborhoods to advance their personal interests. To control the system,” Cherizier said.

“Today, we chose to take them (the guns), use them against those who gave them to us in order to liberate the country,” he said.

After months of worsening violence, G9 and the other gangs observed a truce of sorts following Moise’s murder and the powerful earthquake that struck the southwestern part of the country on Aug. 14.

But the mayhem returned in September and intensified over the course of last month.

G9 recently began blocking access to Haiti’s main fuel depots in Port-au-Prince harbor and the resulting shortages forced many hospitals and most businesses to shut down.

Because the Haitian power grid is so unreliable, most establishments rely for electricity on generators powered by gasoline and cannot operate without fuel.

Gangs are also blamed for the nearly 750 kidnappings reported in Haiti so far this year, including 119 in the last two weeks alone.

The victims are usually Haitians, but on Oct. 16, the 400 Mawozo gang abducted 17 North American missionaries and their families.

The 16 United States citizens and one Canadian are affiliated with Christian Aid Ministries, based in the US state of Ohio. EFE mmv-mm/dr

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