Conflicts & War

Hundreds of Haitians flock to US Embassy in pursuit of visas

Port-au-Prince, Jul 9 (EFE).- Passports in hand, hundreds of Haitians gathered here Friday outside the United States Embassy to apply for visas, desperate to flee their country amid the uncertainty created by this week’s assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

“After the president’s death it is not possible to live in Haiti,” Jeferson Javeus told Efe in front of the US mission in Port-au-Prince’s Tabarre neighborhood.

“Everyone is in danger in Haiti,” he said, asking how anyone can feel safe “if they killed the president.”

The US must do something for the Haitian people, “as we cannot continue living in this situation,” Javeus said.

Authorities are holding 17 Colombians and two Haitian-born US nationals in connection with the slaying of Moïse in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

Six other suspects remain at large and three of the ostensible assassins died in gunfights with the security forces.

Colombia’s government said that 15 of the 17 Colombians in custody in Haiti were army veterans and announced an investigation of four unnamed companies thought to have recruited mercenaries for the operation against Moïse.

Despite the scenes of desperation outside the US Embassy, shops and other businesses in Port-au-Prince reopened Friday, public employees went back to work and flights resumed at the capital’s international airport.

In September 2019, thousands took to the streets to call for Moïse’s resignation amid widespread corruption, fuel shortages, hunger and insecurity in the impoverished country.

His assassination came two months before presidential and legislative elections slated for Sept. 26.

The 53-year-old Moïse would have been ineligible to run, but authorities scheduled for the same day a referendum on a new constitution that would vastly increase the powers of the presidency at the expense of parliament and the courts. EFE mmv/dr

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