Haitian President Assassinated, Country Asks For US Troops

The place is in chaos.

Image Credit: YouTube screenshot

Since this story posted the situation has continued to develop. Haitian leadership, what there is of it, is requesting US military intervention to keep order. But there is a fight at the top of Haitian politics, as rival claimants for national power jostle in a vortex of shifting alliances.

Let’s hope we are not drawn into this quagmire, as we have been at least twice in the past. Humanitarian aid is fine. Anything past that is not in the American interest unless another power tries to exert pressure on the Caribbean trouble spot.

FNC: “An already struggling and chaotic Haiti stumbled into an uncertain future Thursday after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, followed by a gunfight in which authorities said police killed seven suspects, detained six others and freed three officers being held hostage. Officials pledged to find all those responsible for the pre-dawn raid on Moïse’s home early Wednesday in which the president was shot to death and his wife, Martine, critically wounded. She was flown to Miami for treatment.

On Thursday, Charles told reporters that six suspects had been arrested and seven killed and that police were still looking for more. Witnesses said two of the suspects were discovered hiding in bushes in Port-au-Prince on Thursday by a crowd, some of whom grabbed the men by their shirts and pants, pushing them and occasionally slapping them.

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Police arrived shortly afterward to arrest the men, who were sweating heavily and wearing clothes that seemed to be smeared with mud, an Associated Press journalist at the scene said. Officers placed them in the back of a pickup truck and drove away as the crowd ran after them to the nearby police station. Prime Minister Claude Joseph assumed leadership of Haiti with the backing of police and the military and on Thursday asked people to reopen businesses and go back to work as he ordered the reopening of the international airport.”

“The pursuit of the mercenaries continues,” Léon Charles, director of Haiti’s National Police, said in announcing the arrest of suspects. “Their fate is fixed.”

Marco Destin, 39, said, “Every one at home is sleeping with one eye open and one eye closed. If the head of state is not protected, I don’t have any protection whatsoever.”

“It’s a really explosive situation,” said Robert Fatton, a University of Virginia expert on Haitian politics, adding that US intervention wis a possibility. “Whether Claude Joseph manages to stay in power is a huge question. It will be very difficult to do so if he doesn’t create a government of national unity.” But that isn’t apparent yet, as several sides grapple for power. The US should help with humanitarian aid and absolutely nothing more. This is a Haitian problem for Haitians to deal with.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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