I have had three trips scheduled for Haiti in my time here at Holy Redeemer. I have not made it there and it doesn’t look like it is in my future for a long time. Here’s why.

On the night of Wednesday, July 7th, the Haitian president, Jovenel Moïse, was shot and killed at his private residence in the hills above the capital, Port-au-Prince, during an attack in which his wife, Martine, was also severely injured. Although the official ac- count of the attack places it at about 1 am, even that timeline has been questioned.

According to reports, about two dozen mer- cenaries stormed Moïse’s villa, claiming to be DEA agents from the United States. Moïse was shot 12 times and his wife was severely injured. Oddly enough, none of his security forces were killed or harmed. (Uh, thanks but no thanks guys)

Well nature abhors a vacuum. So who is in charge of Haiti now? Great question! Var- ious political figures are locked in a struggle over who is actually running the country (including two interim prime ministers, Claude Joseph and Ariel Henry), while a group of legislators has also recognized Jo- seph Lambert, the head of Haiti’s dismantled senate, as provisional president. So take your pick. Meanwhile, there has been in- creased gang activity in Port-au-Prince which leads to paralyzing its fragile economy, clos- es schools and disrupts efforts to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the big lead- ers of the gangs is a former police officer named (not making it up) Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier. Jimmy’s gang is called G9. Other gangs have more colorful names: 5 Seconds (the length of time to commit a crime) and 400 Mawozo which is roughly translated into 400 lame men. So it appears that chaos is in charge of Haiti now.

So who is behind the assassination? An- other great question!  And not an easy one to answer. There have been a number of people arrested in the assault, many of them Columbian nationals but a few US-Haiti citi- zens. And they all have different stories.

James Solages, one of two US-Haitian citi- zens arrested, has told investigators that he and Joseph Vincent thought they had been hired as translators for a job found on the internet which they believed involved the ar- rest of Moïse, not his killing. The sister of Duberney Capador, a Colombian killed by se- curity forces after Moïse’s assassination, also said he told her he had gone to Haiti after receiving a job offer to protect a “very im- portant person” and had sent her pictures of himself training at a country house. Five suspects are still at large.

The focus of inquiry, as of this writing, (things change rapidly) is a man named Christian Emmanuel Sanon, who apparently flew into Haiti in a private jet in June from Miami. He has a video on YouTube where he presents himself as a potential leader of Hai- ti. He calls himself a doctor, but he filed for bankruptcy in 2013. He also is listed as a church pastor. (wouldn’t you know!). After the assassination, Sanon was the first person one of the alleged assassins called, according to police. You never know, but he sounds guilty…and not all that bright.

Needless to say, all of this is going to ad- versely affect this already beleaguered coun- try. The last thing they needed was more chaos. So keep that land in your pray- ers, especially the wonderful people of our twin parish, St. Jean du Sud.

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