Social movements in Haiti denounce president’s links to criminal gangs

Haiti has been plagued by a wave of violent murders of vocal members of the opposition, and gang violence in poor neighborhoods. Social movements say the president is an accomplice to these crimes

September 09, 2020 by Haitian Popular News Agency
Haitian students protested the murder of lawyer Monferrier Dorval and the increase in gang violence across the country.

On Monday August 31, 2020, the G9 gang, led by its chief Jimmy Chérizier, arrived heavily armed to the poor neighborhood of Bel-Air in Haiti’s capital Port-Au-Prince. They killed over a dozen people. Days after the massacre, there are still children that are looking for their mothers and fathers, as well as parents searching for their children. Many are yet to be found and the people of Bel-Air believe that there are several people disappeared from the August 31 tragedy.

Witnesses to the massacre said members of the criminal group killed people, burned homes, cars and motorcycles, and some members threw the bodies of victims into the fire.

Several dozen people were forced to flee to other areas due to the criminal attacks. Several people have been taking refuge in the Champs-de-Mars plaza and others in the Fort National plaza in the center of Port-au-Prince.

On the night of September 2, the criminal gang members returned to continue the massacre in Bel-Air.

The inhabitants of Bel-Air say that the National Police had three armored tanks to protect the actions of the gang members, and thus facilitate the massacre and the burning of several homes. The population criticized the very slow and non-existent response of the government authorities about the massacre perpetrated by the gang in Bel-Air, and alleged that “It is further evidence to show that the G9 gang works for the government.”

The Bel-Air massacre and several other massacres perpetrated in the city’s poor neighborhoods are very similar to the acts committed by the US troops in the country, during the time of occupation between 1915 and 1934. Similar acts were also committed during the terrorist regime of the Duvaliers (François and Jean Claude) from 1957-1986, and by the supporters of the coup d’état of 1991-1994. They are fascist practices that US troops passed off to Haitian soldiers, police officers, and members of gangs. It is a serious genocide and all of these criminals should be judged as crimes against humanity.

Assassination of lawyer Monferrier Dorval

In the week following the massacre, personalities, social organizations, political parties, human rights organizations, and students of the Law and Economic Sciences Faculty (FDCE), also denounced the assassination of the lawyer Monferrier Dorval on August 28. Students organized several mobilizations to protest against the assassination of Dorval who was also a professor of constitutional law at FDCE and the director of the Order of Lawyers of Port-au-Prince. Students believe that the government of Jovenel Moïse is responsible for the assassination of Dorval.

In their mobilizations, students demanded justice for the people massacred by the gangs in several poor neighborhoods. In response to the widespread condemnation of the Bel-Air massacre and the assassination of Dorval, Moïse decreed three days of mourning.

The assassination of Monferrier Dorval has raised many questions. How could the criminals have entered the Pélerin 5 area, an area not too far from the presidential palace, and kill Dorval? The area is one of the most monitored and watched in the country and usually has a heavy police presence. So where were they during the crime? Reports have also stated that there were loud noises like that of bomb explosions at the same time that Dorval was assassinated. There are many remaining questions that the government of Jovenel Moïse has to respond to about the death of Dorval.

On August 27, criminals on motorcycles assassinated Michel Saieh, the owner of Piyay Makét supermarket located close to the national palace. According to witnesses, unidentified men on motorcycles surrounded the area so the victim could not escape the siege. On the same night, Frantz Adrien Boni was assassinated by criminals when he was returning home. Boni was a radio broadcaster of a popular satirical radio show critical of the government.

The gangs have left countless bodies on the streets, and according to social movement representatives, “every day the gangs kill people all over the country, they have made Haiti into a republic of armed gangs.”

Jovenel Moïse’s relationship to G9 gang

According to the National Commission for Disarmament, Dismantling and Reintegration (CNDDR), there are 76 armed gangs in Haiti today. Jean Rebel Dorcena, one of the directors of CNDDR and a promoter of the process of the legalization and federation of the G9 gang, said in an interview to Radio Magik on September 2, “I continue to have a good relationship with the G9 gang.” For many, these comments reveal that the CNDDR is not really invested in disarming criminal groups.

In addition to the harmony between the gangs and the executive power, the role of the police has come under scrutiny. The National Police also serves as the strong arm of President Jovenel Moïse and many report that members of the police are part of these gangs.

Social movements have denounced the fact that the gangs have free reign to do what they want in the country, with no repercussions. Meanwhile, any sort of peaceful mobilization of the people is dispersed by the police with brutality, tear gas and live bullets. In a declaration, the director of the National Police, Normil Rameau, accused police of the Police Officers Union of Haiti, of being “terrorists” and of being from a criminal group. The leadership in the police persecutes police officers who are part of the police officers union, but they do not say anything about the G9 gang. Social movements say that Jimmy Chérizier is the “boss of the G9 gang, and has police officers working for him who guarantee and maintain his power.”

Jovenel Moïse is an accomplice to the massacres in poor neighborhoods that are carried out by gangs. They are being perpetrated across the country and are state crimes, crimes against humanity. Despite several denouncements of the social movements, the governments of big western countries, especially the US, continue supporting the criminal and corrupt actions committed by the government of Jovenel Moïse.

Article written in collaboration with the Internationalist Brigade Jean Jaques Dessalines.