Amid a succession dispute for the government of Haiti following the assassination of the president, the country’s Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in an interview on Monday (19) that he would resign from his post.
Claude Joseph said in an interview with the US newspaper Washington Post that he would hand over the job to Ariel Henry, 71. Henry had been appointed Prime Minister and was to take office the same day that President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, the 7th death, the exchange of positions did not take place.
Joseph took command of the country and declared a state of siege for two weeks, a move that expanded the powers of the executive.
On Monday, he told the Washington Post he met with Henry last week to resolve the dispute and agreed to step down “for the good of the nation.” “Everyone who knows me knows that I am not interested in this battle or in any kind of power struggle,” the prime minister told the American newspaper. “The president was my friend. I am interested in seeing justice.”
According to the AFP news agency, the change of government should take place on Tuesday (20), and Joseph should serve as the new prime minister’s foreign minister.
Reports published last week by the Colombian press (more than 20 crime suspects are former Colombian soldiers) said Claude Joseph had been investigated as one of the masterminds of the crime. The idea would be to arrest Moses, the target of contestation for the authoritarian way in which he ruled, but, according to inquiries, the prime minister has changed his mind and decided to have him killed.
Haitian police, which report to the Joseph government, have denied the prime minister is under investigation.
At first, Joseph had the support of the UN and the United States to take command of the country, but on Saturday (17) the Core Group, which includes foreign ambassadors, changed their position and defended the formation of ‘a consensual and inclusive government, but without Joseph ahead.
“We strongly encourage Prime Minister-designate Ariel Henry to continue his mission of forming a government,” the group said in a statement on Saturday. The Core Group brings together ambassadors and other representatives from Brazil, Germany, Canada, Spain, United States, European Union, UN and OAS (Organization of American States ).
Jovenel Moïse was killed at his home in the early morning of the 7th. His wife, Martine Moïse, was seriously injured and was taken to Miami for treatment. She returned to Haiti on Saturday (17). The Moïse government was marked by instability, with violent protests, mainly after a rise in fuel prices in 2018. After his assassination, the country fell back into chaos, with armed gangs in the streets, a lack of gasoline at stations and risks of food shortage. .
So far, it is not known who ordered the murder or the reason for the crime. According to the Haitian government, the president was killed by a group of mercenaries, which included retired Colombian soldiers. More than 20 people have been arrested in connection with the case.
Haitian police accused Dr Christian Emmanuel Sanon, 63, of being the mastermind of the crime and arrested him. He lives in Florida, but is said to have traveled to Haiti with the intention of taking control of the country.
Colombian police chief Jorge Vargas said a former Haitian justice ministry official Joseph Felix Badio ordered two Colombian mercenaries to kill the president. But it’s unclear whether Badio, in turn, was following someone else’s orders.
Some of the suspected mercenaries testified that they were tasked with arresting Moses and taking him to the presidential palace, but upon arrival they found him dead.
A former employee of an anti-corruption unit at the Ministry of Justice, Badio is one of many wanted by the Haitian police, along with former opposition senator Joel John Joseph, accused of supplying weapons for the crime. Both are described as “armed and dangerous”.
The death of Moses exacerbated the political crisis in the country, which had at the heart of the dispute a discussion on the end of the mandate of Moses. He was elected in 2015 and was due to take office on February 7, 2016 for a five-year term. Amid accusations of fraud, however, the election was called off and had to be redone the following year. During this period, the country was ruled by an interim government.
Moïse won the new vote and took command of Haiti on February 7, 2017. As the country’s presidential term is five years, he said he should stay in office until February 2022, so – a claim supported by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United States. The opposition, however, argued that his term should have ended in February of this year.
In the midst of this discussion, the then president decided to suspend two-thirds of the Senate, the entire Chamber of Deputies and all mayors and began to rule the country by decree – which led to a wave of government protests and accusations. authoritarianism.