Haiti: “If a president is killed in his house, who is exempt?” Œ œ Human Rights News

Port-au-Prince, Haiti – Following the news of the Haitian The assassination of President Jovenel Moise in the early hours of July 7, a state of collective shock took over the country.

The streets of Port-au-Prince – usually animated by vendors, taxi traffic, and more than a month of fierce fighting between armed gangs that thousands displaced through the capital – he was silent.

U deadly attack – which also injured Martine Moise, the wife of the late president – ha aggravated instability in a country that was already struggling with deep political divisions, many state institutions disappeared, and a level of violence which has produced more than a dozen massacres since 2018.

Moise’s presidency, which took office in 2017 after he won about 590,000 votes in the nation of 11 million, he was immediately marked by a stiff opposition that followed accusations of corruption which he denied.

Moise ruled by decree from January 2020 after parliamentary terms were allowed to expire, and he faced mass protests demanding his resignation as opposition leaders, human rights defenders and legal experts said their term expired in February.

Now, as questions continue to revolve around who was behind his assassination despite a series of arrest, Haiti a new prime minister was sworn in on Tuesday, Ariel Henry, who had been chosen by Moses a few days before the president’s funeral.

He encountered an international push to hold general elections later this year firm criticism by civil society leaders, however, who demand a Haitian-led solution to the ongoing crisis.

With preparations underway to put Moise to rest in his hometown of Cap-Haitien in the north on Friday, Al Jazeera spoke to four people in Port-au-Prince about his thoughts after the killing. – and where Haiti is headed.

Emmelio, 61, a mason originally from Grand-Anse

Emmelio is a bricklayer and a player who came to Porto-Vecchio 41 years ago at the age of 20 [Jessica Obert/Al Jazeera]

“I’ve lived in Porto-Vecchio for 41 years … There have always been difficult times, but not like today. Life was not so expensive then. I arrived in Porto-Vecchio under the [Jean-Claude] Duvalier regime.

“There were a lot of people who died and a lot of disorder when‘ Baby Doc ’(a nickname for Jean-Claude Duvalier) was removed, but still not as it is today.

“It’s about what happened [to Moise]. Anyone can die, but the way President Jovenel Moise does [did] shows that no one is exempt; if a president is killed in his house, who is exempt from the same fate? That’s why everyone is so scared. It makes you feel like you are not human.

“You don’t have to like it to make you feel bad, it’s not human. The president is supposed to be the first citizen of the country. What does this mean for nameless people on the street?

“I think there should be reform in the country. Killing people and replacing them with the same people does nothing; it should be through dialogue.”

Keziah, 36, a documentary filmmaker and original photographer for Jacmel

Keziah says it is only through education that the corrupt system in Haiti can change [Jessica Obert/Al Jazeera]

“[Moise] he was a president who was very contradictory. He came up with some good ideas but he was corrupt and would take from what he gave.

“It simply came to our notice then. We had a lot of social problems, a lot of class problems. We have lost all social values.

“I want people to know that we are a people who draw on many resources. If more people could have access to a good education in the country … then the next generation can be taught.

“Our current system isn’t currently set up to do it justice. The same people are going through it. We can’t really believe it.”

Savanel, 35, motorcyclist originally from Aux Cayes

Savanel does not mourn Moses’ death but says it makes everyone else more dangerous [Jessica Obert/Al Jazeera]

“If he had it.” abandoned February 7th I don’t think this would have happened to him. I woke up at four in the morning to the news of his death. But honestly, Jovenel’s government took everything from me, it’s not easy for me to believe he’s gone.

“The way he was killed is not something that brings me joy, I can’t take joy in his death. I don’t mind him leaving because he was part of the corruption. However, I can’t help but think that if he can die like that, the fate of the rest of us is bad.

“Insecurity has become so bad under Jovenel. I went to the beach, I went to programs on the street at night. Now, I have to get into my house [before] dark. If I had hope, I would stay in Haiti, but I want to leave to live somewhere else because I don’t see how any of this can improve.

“The other day I had to go to Carrefour to find gas because there was a shortage of gas in the village. As I was passing by Martissant (a district of Portsmouth) I saw a group of young people standing on the side of the road with weapons in hand. “

Naline, 31, college student

Naline says there have been problems with how Moses handled the government but he should not have been killed [Jessica Obert/Al Jazeera]

“To kill a president who is our head of state, even if he didn’t manage the government or country well and destroyed our institutions, we didn’t want him to be killed.

“There have been problems with the way he manages the government and he has been seen as a de facto president because he has been even if his term or mandate ended in February. great opposition to him, but he’s still a living person – you can’t kill him just because you have problems with him.

“We are tired of trying to predict when or when we will not be able to leave our homes to go to work, to go to school. We have developed a resistance to dysfunction but some days it is still difficult to manage or treat.

“Our greatest sense of pride is our successful revolution against slavery and the French, but I wish our country did not live in the past, to move forward and bring real change. We are people with many challenges, but we are also unique and special ”.

* Al Jazeera protects the identities of respondents amid fears of retaliation

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