Haiti’s gang leader declares “revolution” as violence spreads Coronavirus pandemic news

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Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer suspected of a massacre, launches a revolution against the establishment amid unrest.

One of the most powerful in Haiti gang leaders warned this week that it would launch a revolution against the country’s political and business elites, indicating a likely escalation of violence in the poor Caribbean nation.

Violence has increased in the Haitian capital in recent weeks, to what the United Nations has called “unprecedented levels,” as rival groups fight among themselves or with police for control of the streets, displacing thousands and worsening the country’s humanitarian crisis .

Jimmy Cherizier, alias Barbecue, a former police officer, leads the so-called nine-gang federation “G9” formed last year.

A man looks out of a window as people fleeing violence after the murder of a local gang leader camped in the courtyard of Cite Soleil City Hall in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on December 7. of 2019 [File: Valerie Baeriswyl/Reuters]

Surrounded by gang members using machetes and weapons, he made a statement to local media in the La Saline neighborhood on Wednesday, saying the G9 had become a revolutionary force to rid Haiti of the opposition, the government and the Haitian bourgeoisie.

Human rights activists say Cherizier is not aimed at the government but at the opposition.

The government has not made public comments on its statements and has not been immediately available for comment.

Suspicious of several massacres of citizens in recent years, among other crimes for which he was sanctioned late last year by the United States, Cherizier represents himself as a community leader who fills the void left by weak institutions.

Cherizier said his glue members last week it caused looting in several shops in Port-al-Príncipe and the wider population followed suit because they were hungry.

“It’s your money that’s in banks, shops, supermarkets and dealerships, so you’re going to get what’s rightfully yours,” he said in comments that went viral on social media in Haiti.

Armed groups have become increasingly powerful in Haiti in recent years due to political unrest, growing poverty and a sense of impunity, said rights organizations such as the Nonprofit Center for Human Rights Analysis and Research.

Presidential and legislative elections scheduled for later this year could be a factor in the recent rise in violence perpetrated by gangs often linked to local politicians, they said.

Haitian police are not equipped to deal with gang members who have acquired increasingly sophisticated weapons, funded in part by rescue kidnappings.

Many officers have been killed in clashes with armed bandits in recent months, including one in a fight with Cherizier last weekend, according to police.

Violence exacerbates the humanitarian crisis in a country where nearly half the population faces “acute” food insecurity, according to the United Nations, and coronavirus infections are on the rise.

The President of the Supreme Court of Haiti died of COVID-19 on Wednesday, although the country has not yet begun its vaccination campaign.

He A The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said earlier this month the displacements they were “creating a lot of secondary problems, such as disruption of social functioning at the community level … forced school closures, loss of livelihood and a general fear among the affected populations.”





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