A year after the assassination of President Moïse, Haiti is still embroiled in political violence

Political violence rocked Haiti a year ago, when President Jovenel Moïse was shot at his residence in Port-au-Prince. The assassination on July 7, 2021, ousted Moïse after four and a half years in power. The hunt is still on for some of the gunmen and mastermind behind the attack.

Haitian immigrants in Boston said they felt anxious watching their home country struggle after the murder. Dr. Geralde Gabeau, the founder and executive director of the Immigrant Family Services Institute, a local nonprofit organization, told GBH News that there is anger among Haitians.

“After a whole year [since] a murder with no really clear path to justice – not just for the president but for the whole country, ”Gabeau said.

The country’s politics continue to be turbulent, with the president’s office still vacant and with Prime Minister Ariel Henry both acting president and prime minister.

For Gabeau, this political instability has added fuel to the raging fire, with widespread violence and crime in the country.

“When you can’t trust those in power, everyone is left to themselves,” Gabeau said. “We have cases where people are attacked on the street, they are kidnapped and when they call the police, they say, ‘We can’t do anything, because we don’t have the resources.'”

Some local advocates, such as Rev. Dieufort Fleurissaint, watched from afar as the country experienced turmoil. Fleurisaint has not returned to Haiti for more than three years. He still has ties to Haiti and continues to keep in touch with friends and family.

“Haiti is plagued by a lot of gang activity and a lot of kidnappings continue to take place in the country,” Fleurissaint said of the ground conditions. “The country has been plagued by a lot of bad situations.”

The effects of the killings were felt not only in Haiti, but also in parts of the United States that experienced large influxes of Haitian immigrants, including Boston.

“There are so many issues like kidnapping, gang violence and a lot of people leaving Haiti like crazy to find a place to go,” Gabeau said.

Gabeau, whose organization helps new immigrant families arriving in Boston, said the lack of jobs is causing many Haitians to leave their country.

“We have so many young professionals, people who are medical doctors, engineers, just to name a few who have to leave their job behind, all their opportunity, they have to leave to come here. Because they can’t work, they can’t work, ”Gabeau said.

Looking to the future, Fleurissaint hopes to return to his homeland. Even though about three years have passed, his intention to return remains firm.

“My dream is to return to Haiti, even though I have never traveled to Haiti. But I’ve been able to maintain a close relationship with the country, ”Fleurissaint said.“ I have a lot of pastors at home, we pray all week, three to four times a week with them through Zoom, for God to change conditions in Haiti. “

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