Just a few days after the Canadian government announced sanctions against notable politicians, including former President Michel Martelly, and former Prime Ministers Laurent Lamothe and Jean Henry Céant, the US government stated their support of the Canadian position. In a statement by the US undersecretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, Brian Nichols, the US is grateful for Canada’s leadership through sanctions which further leads to urging the international community to help the people of Haiti. Without mentioning the politicians targeted by name, the US declared that they support their partner Canada which has imposed sanctions on individuals who incite violence and unrest in the country. Earlier this month, both Canada and the United States announced sanctions against Senate president Joseph Lambert, former senator Youri Latortue and gang leader Jimmy Chérizier, popularly known as Barbeque. The sanctions include travel restrictions and asset freezes, according to Canadian authorities. At a workshop last week, the Minister of Justice, Emmelie Prophet Milcé, was questioned about these sanctions, and she indicated that the Haitian government would eventually gain access to the details of the sanctions.
Meanwhile as the sanctions targeting the political elite continue to stir public debate, prominent figures are beginning to be pushed aside from political negotiations. On November 25, the Political Concertation for a Compromise, la Concertation politique pour un compromise, which brings together several political party leaders and former parliamentarians, released a statement announcing the end of all political negotiations and collaboration with those sanctioned by Canada and the US. According to the statement, the group does not want to jeopardize its credibility with the public and wants to suspend any collaboration with the named politicians until all legal issues are resolved by the courts. The group will not join in the condemnation of those accused before they have had their day in court. Furthermore, the right to defend oneself against accusations is a basic principle of the presumption of innocence which must be respected. The group, however, stated that it is committed to continuing the talks centered around finding a consensus on issues such as strengthening the interim governance, negotiating with the international community for military cooperation in support of the security forces to permanently solve the security problem, provide rapid responses to the misery facing the people and tackle major structural problems. To that end, the group invites the various organizations across the country and the diaspora, women, young people, peasants, and all advocating constructive dialogue, to join this national movement and become more involved in work of the nation.
One other politician happy about the sanctions is former Colonel Himmler Rébu, who took to the airwaves to argue that the sanctions can help clear the way for the political class and expressed his wish to see sanctions imposed to other politicians and to other sectors of the national life. According to the leader of GREH, the sanctions are not enough and not only should they be expanded but those targeted by the sanctions must be brought before the courts to answer for their actions and if found guilty must be made to face the consequences. According to the former Secretary of State for Public Safety, the Colonel is critical of the US Treasury Department’s position which declared that it does not want to punish the politicians being sanctioned but rather wants to bring them to change their behavior. It appears that the Americans are planning something for Haiti. The sanctioned seemed like an obstacle to the materialization of what they want to undertake. So, they want them to change their behavior, in essence making the sanctions more political than anything else. But the reign of impunity has lasted too long and has been one of the main causes of the security crisis plaguing the country for more than a decade. Mr. Rébu regrets that today, some individuals have the right to murder publicly, without any constraint, and no provision of the State put in place to strengthen the National Police in the daily fight against gangs,
Talking about provisions to support the police, divisional police commissioner Harington Rigaud, who is also the director of the national police academy was assassinated last Friday afternoon (November 25), on the road to Frères, as he was preparing for the graduation of the 5th promotion of the PNH. His death came as a shock to many who knew him. He was a respected teacher who taught for years at the academy, according to PNH spokesperson Gary Desrossiers, who declined to provide details of the assassination. Independent sources confirmed that he was shot in the back of the head and his car stolen and driver kidnapped by gangs. Harington was shot inside an official police vehicle as he was about to enter the police academy. Video circulating on social media Friday showed Harington’s body stretched out on the ground. The police union, Syndicat national des policiers haïtiens (SYNAPOHA) has condemned the passivity and callousness with which the government has taken the security situation especially having no provision for controlling the notorious gangs that control the area where the police academy is located. The union urges the higher ups in the PMH to take the necessary and adequate measures to avoid a repeat of such cruel acts that go unpunished in the country, all the while denouncing the irresponsibility of the senior staff of the National Police of Haiti, which did not take into consideration the multiple alerts, in order to prevent the police and several other people from continuing to be victims.
Finally, the US is joining England as the two teams from group B to advance to the next stage of the World Cup 2022 in Qatar, after a 1-0 win against Iran in a match that was highly politically charged. Though the match didn’t live up to the political hype that it was supposed to be, the US struggled to eke out a win from the Chelsea player Christian Pulisic. The US needed a win to advance, and were happy to be handed one by the Iranians, though at a cost to Pulisic who suffered an abdominal concussion and had to be substituted at the half time. England beat Wales to top the group. Earlier in the day, the Lions de la Teranga, as the Senegalese national team is known, dampened the hopes of the Ecuadorian team with a 2-1 win over the South Americans that started their campaign with a spectacular win over the host country Qatar. As of today, the US, England, Senegal and the Netherlands have joined France in advancing to the next stage.