After Day of Bitter Unrest, Haitian President Is Honored at Funeral

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The New York Times 23 July, 2021 - 11:39am 25 views

How was Haitian president killed?

Jovenel Moïse, the president of Haiti, was assassinated on 7 July 2021 at 1 a.m. EDT (UTC−04:00) at his residence. A group of 28 foreign mercenaries was blamed for the killing. Later in the day, police killed three of the suspected assassins and arrested 20 more. ... wikipedia.orgAssassination of Jovenel Moïse

Angry protests before and during the funeral reflected the nation’s deep divisions, a backdrop to a moment many had hoped would help mend a fractured nation.

CAP-HAÏTIEN, Haiti — Heckled by protesters and surrounded by phalanxes of heavily armed guards, foreign diplomats and Haitian politicians attended the funeral of Haiti’s assassinated president on Friday at his family homestead, an event that laid bare a fractured nation’s problems instead of providing an opportunity for healing.

Less than a half-hour into the funeral, the American delegation, led by the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, departed. It was not immediately clear why but there were unconfirmed reports of shooting outside, raising additional security concerns.

As the flag-covered coffin of the president, Jovenel Moïse, was brought onto a central stage lined with white curtains, carried by men in military uniforms, a moment that many had hoped would help promote reconciliation was overshadowed by tensions that had exploded in the streets the day before.

A line of Mr. Moïse’s supporters stood by the entrance and yelled at arriving politicians, shouting “Justice for Jovenel!”

When Haiti’s national police chief, Leon Charles, arrived, the crowd surged around him and erupted into shouting and finger pointing. As he passed a grandstand of invited guests, many there also jumped to their feet to holler their displeasure.

“He killed the president!” shouted Marie Michelle Nelcifor, adding she believed Mr. Moïse had telephoned Mr. Charles while assassins attacked his home but that Mr. Charles had not sent police officers to defend him. “Where were the security guards?” she asked.

Others were angry that the president would be buried before the investigation into his assassination was completed. “They are burning him surrounded by his assassins!” shouted Kettie Compere, a mother of two looking up at the grandstand of diplomats and Haitian politicians where Mr. Charles had settled.

When Martine Moïse, the president’s widow, arrived dressed in black with a large black hat and a mask with a photo of her husband affixed to it, the crowd surged around her, singing “arrest them, arrest them.”

In remarks after the delegation’s arrival at Cap-Haïtien’s airport earlier Friday, Ms. Thomas-Greenfield said: “Our delegation is here to bring a message to the Haitian people: You deserve democracy, stability, security, and prosperity, and we stand with you in this time of crisis. So, we come here in solidarity with the Haitian people during this difficult time.”

The July 7 killing of Mr. Moïse, 53, in the bedroom of his home near Port-au-Prince, the capital, has plunged the Caribbean nation of 11 million into one of its deepest crises. Officials have blamed a group of Colombian mercenaries, but many questions remain unanswered, including who planned the assassination and why no members of his security detail were hurt. Several members of that security detail have been questioned and taken into custody.

Pressured by Western countries led by the United States, Haiti’s other political leaders, jostling for power, have pledged an orderly transition and a democratic process. But it was clear even before the funeral that deep divisions would shape and possibly subvert what many hoped would be a venue for reconciliation.

Just hours earlier, the northern city of Cap-Haïtien — 30 minutes from his family homestead — had burned with anger and frustration, exposing Haiti’s the distrust of the elite in the country’s less developed north.

On Thursday, the streets billowed with the black smoke of burning tires, a common form of protest in a country split by geography, wealth and power. Large crowds of demonstrators ran though the narrow colonial streets, chanting, “They killed Jovenel, and the police were there.”

“We sent them someone alive, they sent him back a cadaver,” screamed Frantz Atole, a 42-year-old mechanic, promising violence. “This country is not going to be silent.”

A new government was installed in the capital this week, and its leaders vowed to get to the bottom of the killing and to build consensus among the country’s political factions and its civic groups.

Yet the unrest on Thursday threatened to turn hopes of consensus into a naïve, unrealized dream.

“The bourgeoisie from Port-au-Prince are responsible. They are the reason for all of this,” said Emmanuella Joseph, a 20-year-old secondary school student, crying into a face cloth on the side of the road at the tail end of a running protest.

She added that the president’s killers were outsiders who had long meddled with the country’s destiny. “What kind of nation comes and kills a president?”

Cap-Haïtien was once the capital of the French colony of St. Domingue, which claimed one of the most brutal slave plantation economies in the world and was later overwhelmed by the world’s most successful slave rebellion. Banners strung across its roads read “Justice for President Jovenel” and “Thank you President Jovenel. You gave your life for the people’s fight and it will continue.”

Just off the city’s main stone square, where rebel leaders were executed more than two centuries ago, mourners lined up on Thursday to sign condolence books and light candles before a large photo of the president in a government building.

“We are living in a time that’s so fragile,” said Maxil Mompremier, standing outside the colonial-era Notre Dame de L’Assomption Cathedral, where Mr. Moïse’s supporters had gathered earlier for a service. “Nobody understands what happened. A lot of people are afraid.”

Hailing from the north of the country, Mr. Moïse was not well known in the country’s power center of Port-au-Prince when the governing party chose him as its candidate in the 2015 election. He was born in the town of Trou-du-Nord, and later began his entrepreneurial career from Port-de-Paix, where he became president of the Chamber of Commerce.

That he was killed far away in Port-au-Prince inflamed old divisions between the less developed north and the country’s capital and economic center. It also deepened the rifts between the country’s small elite and its destitute majority.

“It comes back incessantly in all the history of Haiti,” said Emile Eyma Jr., a historian based in Cap-Haïtien, speaking of the resentment felt by northerners.

Read full article at The New York Times

Haiti’s murdered president laid to rest as tensions flare

New York Post 23 July, 2021 - 10:00am

By Yaron Steinbuch

July 23, 2021 | 11:00am | Updated July 23, 2021 | 11:41am

The funeral for Haitian President Jovenel Moïse got underway Friday morning amid heavy security hours after demonstrations turned violent in the impoverished, politically volatile Caribbean nation.

Pallbearers in military attire carried Moïse’s body in a closed wooden coffin two weeks after he was gunned down — and his wife, Martine, was wounded — in an assassination still shrouded in mystery

His polished casket was placed on a dais garlanded with flowers while a Roman Catholic priest offered a blessing and a Haitian flag was unfurled, Reuters reported.

Foreign dignitaries, including President Biden’s top adviser for the Western Hemisphere, flew to the port city of Cap-Haitien to pay their respects to the slain leader.

A priest who presided over a Mass on Thursday at Cap-Haitian’s cathedral to honor Moïse warned there was too much bloodshed in the country and asked people to find peace.

On Thursday evening, the former first lady and her three children appeared at a small religious ceremony at a hotel in Cap-Haitien where newly installed Prime Minister Ariel Henry and other government officials offered their condolences.

“They took his life, but they can’t take his memories,” said a priest who presided over the ceremony. “They can’t take his brain. They can’t take his ideas. We are Jovenel Moïse.”

Before the funeral began Friday, a man wrapped himself in a large Haitian flag and approached the casket, crying out, “We need to fight and get justice for Jovenel!”

A man carrying a T-shirt commemorating Moïse joined in as he yelled, “Jovenel died big! He died for me and for the rest of the country … We’re not going to back down.”

Screens inside an auditorium broadcast images of the late statesman and his meetings with world leaders including Pope Francis, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Helen La Lime, special representative of the UN secretary-general for Haiti, was among the guests.

White T-shirts and caps emblazoned with Moïse’s image were distributed to supporters.

“This is something that will be engraved in our memory,” said Pedro Guilloume, a Cap-Haitien resident who hoped to attend the funeral. “Let all Haitians channel solidarity.”

Officials have said at least 26 suspects have been detained as part of the sweeping probe into the assassination, including 18 former Colombian soldiers and three Haitian police officers.

At least seven high-ranking police officials have been placed in isolation, but not formally arrested, Police Chief Léon Charles has said.

Haitian President’s Funeral Exposes Bitterness and Rifts

The New York Times 23 July, 2021 - 12:00am

Angry protests before and during the funeral reflected the nation’s deep divisions, a backdrop to a moment many had hoped would help mend a fractured nation.

CAP-HAÏTIEN, Haiti — Heckled by protesters and surrounded by phalanxes of heavily armed guards, foreign diplomats and Haitian politicians attended the funeral of Haiti’s assassinated president on Friday at his family homestead, an event that laid bare a fractured nation’s problems instead of providing an opportunity for healing.

Less than a half-hour into the funeral, the American delegation, led by the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, departed. It was not immediately clear why but there were unconfirmed reports of shooting outside, raising additional security concerns.

As the flag-covered coffin of the president, Jovenel Moïse, was brought onto a central stage lined with white curtains, carried by men in military uniforms, a moment that many had hoped would help promote reconciliation was overshadowed by tensions that had exploded in the streets the day before.

A line of Mr. Moïse’s supporters stood by the entrance and yelled at arriving politicians, shouting “Justice for Jovenel!”

When Haiti’s national police chief, Leon Charles, arrived, the crowd surged around him and erupted into shouting and finger pointing. As he passed a grandstand of invited guests, many there also jumped to their feet to holler their displeasure.

“He killed the president!” shouted Marie Michelle Nelcifor, adding she believed Mr. Moïse had telephoned Mr. Charles while assassins attacked his home but that Mr. Charles had not sent police officers to defend him. “Where were the security guards?” she asked.

Others were angry that the president would be buried before the investigation into his assassination was completed. “They are burning him surrounded by his assassins!” shouted Kettie Compere, a mother of two looking up at the grandstand of diplomats and Haitian politicians where Mr. Charles had settled.

When Martine Moïse, the president’s widow, arrived dressed in black with a large black hat and a mask with a photo of her husband affixed to it, the crowd surged around her, singing “arrest them, arrest them.”

In remarks after the delegation’s arrival at Cap-Haïtien’s airport earlier Friday, Ms. Thomas-Greenfield said: “Our delegation is here to bring a message to the Haitian people: You deserve democracy, stability, security, and prosperity, and we stand with you in this time of crisis. So, we come here in solidarity with the Haitian people during this difficult time.”

The July 7 killing of Mr. Moïse, 53, in the bedroom of his home near Port-au-Prince, the capital, has plunged the Caribbean nation of 11 million into one of its deepest crises. Officials have blamed a group of Colombian mercenaries, but many questions remain unanswered, including who planned the assassination and why no members of his security detail were hurt. Several members of that security detail have been questioned and taken into custody.

Pressured by Western countries led by the United States, Haiti’s other political leaders, jostling for power, have pledged an orderly transition and a democratic process. But it was clear even before the funeral that deep divisions would shape and possibly subvert what many hoped would be a venue for reconciliation.

Just hours earlier, the northern city of Cap-Haïtien — 30 minutes from his family homestead — had burned with anger and frustration, exposing Haiti’s the distrust of the elite in the country’s less developed north.

On Thursday, the streets billowed with the black smoke of burning tires, a common form of protest in a country split by geography, wealth and power. Large crowds of demonstrators ran though the narrow colonial streets, chanting, “They killed Jovenel, and the police were there.”

“We sent them someone alive, they sent him back a cadaver,” screamed Frantz Atole, a 42-year-old mechanic, promising violence. “This country is not going to be silent.”

A new government was installed in the capital this week, and its leaders vowed to get to the bottom of the killing and to build consensus among the country’s political factions and its civic groups.

Yet the unrest on Thursday threatened to turn hopes of consensus into a naïve, unrealized dream.

“The bourgeoisie from Port-au-Prince are responsible. They are the reason for all of this,” said Emmanuella Joseph, a 20-year-old secondary school student, crying into a face cloth on the side of the road at the tail end of a running protest.

She added that the president’s killers were outsiders who had long meddled with the country’s destiny. “What kind of nation comes and kills a president?”

Cap-Haïtien was once the capital of the French colony of St. Domingue, which claimed one of the most brutal slave plantation economies in the world and was later overwhelmed by the world’s most successful slave rebellion. Banners strung across its roads read “Justice for President Jovenel” and “Thank you President Jovenel. You gave your life for the people’s fight and it will continue.”

Just off the city’s main stone square, where rebel leaders were executed more than two centuries ago, mourners lined up on Thursday to sign condolence books and light candles before a large photo of the president in a government building.

“We are living in a time that’s so fragile,” said Maxil Mompremier, standing outside the colonial-era Notre Dame de L’Assomption Cathedral, where Mr. Moïse’s supporters had gathered earlier for a service. “Nobody understands what happened. A lot of people are afraid.”

Hailing from the north of the country, Mr. Moïse was not well known in the country’s power center of Port-au-Prince when the governing party chose him as its candidate in the 2015 election. He was born in the town of Trou-du-Nord, and later began his entrepreneurial career from Port-de-Paix, where he became president of the Chamber of Commerce.

That he was killed far away in Port-au-Prince inflamed old divisions between the less developed north and the country’s capital and economic center. It also deepened the rifts between the country’s small elite and its destitute majority.

“It comes back incessantly in all the history of Haiti,” said Emile Eyma Jr., a historian based in Cap-Haïtien, speaking of the resentment felt by northerners.

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