On Wednesday night, strangers shot the Haitian President Jovenes Moïse. What’s behind it? An expert answers the most important questions.
The Haitian President Jovenes Moïse was killed on Wednesday night in his house on the outskirts of the capital Port-au-Prince. The background to the act is still unclear.
Prof. Dr. Günther Maihold, Deputy Director of the German Institute for International Politics and Security and Professor of Political Science at the Free University of Berlin, gives an initial assessment in an interview with t-online.
t-online: Mr. Maihold, who could be behind the attack on Moïse?
Günther Maihold: At the moment, all interpretations are open. The Prime Minister speaks of Spanish-speaking attackers. The statement cannot be taken off the table, but of course it is always easy to say that it was ‘the bad foreigners’.
But the statement also contains a lot of explosives, because relations with the Spanish-speaking neighboring country, the Dominican Republic, are difficult: the country recently erected a border fence with Haiti, the borders have now been closed and the military controls strengthened. Many Haitians feel rejected and mistreated. Should people from the Dominican Republic actually have anything to do with the attack, this would be interpreted as interference in internal affairs.
Much more likely, however, for the attack on the president are internal power conflicts in the country. In addition, Moïse exchanged the Prime Minister several times during his tenure – their ambitions for power also need to be taken into account.
What kind of president was Moïse?
Moïse was a president who was very keen to secure his own power. He was not a figure who was able to bring different parties together to enable joint action. The office of president was primarily for his own enrichment – there were several corruption proceedings against him.
What is the political situation like in the country?
The party landscape in Haiti is extremely fragmented, so that there are hardly any majority positions. Most parties are also personalistic associations and are formed around family clans, so a left-right assignment is not possible.
Armed gangs are dividing the areas in the city and in the country. There is a great deal of insecurity among the population, as armed clashes and kidnappings occur again and again. Then there is the high level of poverty, the corona crisis and the fact that no vaccine is available.
How does it go from here?
An orderly succession is not to be expected. There is great concern that the country will sink even more into chaos. Presumably, the de facto powers – that is, the military leadership, the rest of the political leadership and the armed gangs in the country – will divide control among themselves. The necessary national consensus to overcome the crisis has not yet been identified.