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Haiti sinks into new political crisis after armed coup against prime minister

Haiti finds itself once again in a deep military, political and humanitarian crisis, after armed gangs took over the country's capital Port-au-Prince, and released thousands of prisoners from the country's main penitentiary. Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who was on a trip to Kenya, was prevented from returning to the country and announced that he would resign from his post on March 11.

International bodies denounce that the civil war in the country has resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries, in addition to several reports of collective rapes and cannibalism on the streets of the capital. Since the incident, Haiti has been in a state of emergency and there is a curfew in Port-au-Prince.

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Current crisis

The current political crisis that Haiti has been experiencing began in 2021 after the assassination of then Prime Minister Jovenel Moïse, with the perpetrators of the crime still being investigated. After his death, Ariel Henry took over the government, who was removed from power by armed gangs on March 11.

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The largest leader of these groups, Jimmy Barbecue, claims that Ariel was not legitimate for the position, as he is one of those being investigated for Moïse's murder. He defends new elections for the post of Prime Minister of Haiti.

In a speech distributed by Whatsapp last week, Jimmy states in seven minutes that he does not intend to become leader of the country and threatens politicians and their families if they do not govern in an integral manner. He further states that the deposition of Ariel Henry was only the first step in the battle that began.

Who is Jimmy Barbecue

Jimmy Barbecue or in free translation, Jimmy Churrasco is a former police officer who was born in the capital Port-au-Prince and experienced several humanitarian and political crises in the country up close. According to him, his nickname is given because his mother sold fried chicken and barbecue when he was little, but among the population the nickname is given because of the violence in which Jimmy treats his opponents, burning their bodies as a form of punishment.

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With the death of Jovenel Moïse in 2021, he becomes a central figure in a group that calls itself revolutionaries against the corrupt political elite, which uses social media to spread its ideals and gain more followers for the armed cause. He has already recognized the importance of social media as it helps him defend himself against false accusations and get closer to the public.

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Embed from Getty Images

Armed gangs attack politicians in Haiti (Photo: reproduction/ Richard Pierrin / Getty Images Embed)


History

Haiti is a Caribbean country that has been in crisis since its independence from France in 1804. The fight for freedom is a reference to the slave revolt that defeated Napoleon Bonaparte's army, which until then ruled the French. On January 1, 1804, Haiti was proclaimed independent, being considered the first black republic in the world and the first country in the West to completely abolish slavery.

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Since then, the country has been going through several political and humanitarian crises. The first government in 1804 by Jean-Jacques Dessalines lasted only two years, as he proclaimed himself president for life and emperor and concentrated power around himself, as a result of which several groups that supported him became opposition and killed him in 1806, triggering the country's first civil war.

In the 19th century, several rulers came to power, but without fulfilling the five-year term imposed in the Haitian constitution. Many of them were elected and tried to stay in power, causing the people to revolt and overthrow, kill or exile them outside the country.

20th century

In the early years of the 20th century, the USA invaded the island and only left in 1943 after a new constitution was approved. The reason for the American incursion was due to Haiti's rapprochement with Nazi Germany. This constitution was very favorable to the interests of the United States, mainly because it allowed their companies to be installed in the country to take advantage of cheap labor.

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After the departure of the USA, several dictators considered bloodthirsty governed the country, most notably François “Papa Doc” Duvalier and his son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc”. This dictatorship lasted for 29 years and there were around 30 thousand deaths and thousands of others missing.

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21st century

In the 21st century, Haiti continued to face several political crises, but the humanitarian crisis, with the increase in poverty, worsened even further. In 2004, after 14 years of Jean-Bertrand Aristide's dictatorship, a new government was democratically elected, but after allegations of fraud and violent deaths, the government was deposed. The UN sent troops to pacify the country and call new elections in 2006. These troops spent 13 years in the country, with the aim of pacifying the country, but when they left the country returned to chaos.

In 2010, a terrible earthquake hit the country and left thousands dead and injured, people homeless and the problems worsened even further. Even with the help of the United Nations, UN, with the sending of humanitarian aid and troops, including Brazilian ones, the blue helmets, it was not possible to maintain order in the country. In 2016 Jovenel Moïse won the elections and stayed until he was killed in 2021. His government was also accused of corruption and treating opponents with violence.

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Featured Photo: Haiti is facing one of the worst political crises in recent years (Reproduction/ Luckenson Jean/ AFP/ Getty Images Embed)

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Haiti sinks into new political crisis after armed coup against prime minister

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