‘Banana Man’, president killed in Haiti faces protests even before taking office – 07/07/2021 – World

Killed at his home in the early hours of Wednesday (7), the President of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, had a career as a businessman, had no political experience before running for president and faced the torments even before starting his mandate.

Known in the country as “Banana Man” (“Nèg Bannann”, in Haitian Creole), Moïse earned his living by cultivating and exporting the fruit, which brought him closer to the powerful and the political class of the country.

Even without experience, he was chosen by the then president, Michel Joseph Martelly, as a candidate for succession in the 2015 elections. During this election, Moise (pronounced “Moise”, French version of the name of the biblical prophet Moïse ) was criticized for campaigning. without presenting concrete proposals, even if it was sold by Martelly as a large national producer capable of transforming Haiti.

After winning over the leadership in the first round of this election, he was the target of protesters, who alleged fraud at the ballot box and succeeded in suspending the last round of the election. A new vote was called for the following year, and in the meantime the country had a provisional government.

In November 2016, Moïse was once again in first place in the protest, this time with 55.6% of the vote, which earned him victory in the first round, while only 1.1 million of the 6.2 million d voters across the country stood for the ballot. polls – and less than 600,000 voted for president.

Unsupported by the majority of the population, his government has been marked by instability, with violent protests mainly after fuel prices hike by up to 50% in 2018.

With mass protests, the president suspended legislative elections in 2019 and, with the term of incumbent lawmakers ending, began to rule by decree, sparking even more discontent.

In February 2021, Moïse arrested more than 20 people, including a Supreme Court judge, on charges of an attempted coup. The opposition argued that the presidential term ended the same month, five years after the president should have taken office, in February 2016, if the 2015 elections had not been called off.

Moïse argued that his term would not end until 2022, since he took office in 2017 – a position championed by the Organization of American States and the United States.

Vanessa Braga Matijascic, researcher at USP and professor of international relations at Faap, who has studied UN operations in Haiti, recalls that Moïse joins a tradition of leaders who have not completed their term in the country. “We recently have a series of presidents who have successfully completed their tenure, but historically since independence there are several names who have been assassinated, committed suicide, died in office, fled the country, were killed by poisoning, with explosives, dismembered. or dismembered. This one. is unfortunately the history of the country. “

The origin of the unrest and mistrust of the president dates back to independence in 1804, she says, when part of the population felt betrayed by the new elite formed in the country, accused of enslavement to foreign groups. This is the case with Moïse, specifies Marcos Queiroz, professor at the IDP (Brazilian Institute of Education, Development and Research) and author of the book “Brazilian constitutionalism and the black Atlantic: the constitutive experience of 1823. facing the Haitian revolution. “.

“Moses came to power in an extremely contested manner and was accused of deepening relations of dependence, especially with the United States, given the proximity he had with the [ex-presidente americano Donald] Trump, ”Queiroz says. The professor draws attention to the proximity of the legislative elections scheduled for September. “There is a prospect of constitutional change, to take some powers away from the president, and maybe the assassination will help hinder that. . “

“You have to analyze his death both from an internal point of view, now that martial law has already been enacted, and from an external point of view, which can legitimize a new intervention,” he said.

It is because, says Queiroz, the international community has constructed a discourse that the turmoil in Haiti shows that it is a country which cannot govern alone, “where democracy does not work”, he says, which justifies the sequence of foreign interventions. In addition to UN peacekeeping missions, Haiti was occupied by the United States for two decades starting in 1915.

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