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Jovenel Moise was a successful entrepreneur before embarking on Haiti’s tumultuous politics, but his presidency of the impoverished Caribbean nation oversaw a spiral of instability and a wave of violence that included his own assassination.
Moise was a near unknown to the general public before becoming president in 2017, pledging to bring work to the people and fight corruption.
Instead, Haiti has seen a steady increase in kidnappings, gang violence and a political stalemate over the duration of his tenure – which ended early Wednesday when he was killed in his home by men. armed.
Moise, a 53-year-old former entrepreneur who started a series of businesses in the north of the country, burst onto the political scene with a chronically unstable island nation-building populist message.
His speech was supported by his background in business: his past activities included water treatment, the energy sector and agricultural production, the latter of which earned him his nickname “Neg Bannan nan” or “The Banana Man “in Creole.
He had been handpicked by former President Michel Martelly in 2015 as a PHTK candidate to succeed him.
In February 2016, as Martelly’s five-year term came to an end and his political succession was in limbo, the Haitian parliament elected Jocelerme Privert, then president of the Senate, interim president.
Moise’s focus on agriculture and his provincial residence became key campaign themes in the next election. Supported by a communication team more advanced than that of his rivals, Moise visited the 145 municipalities of Haiti.
Like the other candidates in the running, Moise did not flesh out the details of his platform. But once he arrived on the political scene, his words highlighted the idea of reviving, through agriculture, the deeply troubled Haitian economy.
– ‘Descent into hell’ –
A former auto parts executive, Moise founded the Agritrans company in 2012, which in cooperation with the Martelly government launched the country’s first agricultural free trade zone, in the Northeast department where he was born.
But his presidency quickly faced challenges and controversies.
A dispute over the end of the president’s term stems from Moise’s initial election: he was elected in a ballot later canceled for fraud, then re-elected a year later, in 2016.
After this contested election, protests demanding his resignation intensified in the summer of 2018.
The vote to elect MPs, senators, mayors and local officials should have taken place in 2018, but the polls were delayed, triggering the vacuum in which Moise said he was entitled to stay one more year .
Haitian authorities said in February they had foiled an attempt to assassinate Moise and overthrow the government, as the row raged over the end of his term.
Léon Charles, the director of Haiti’s national police force, said at the time that officers seized documents, money and several weapons, including assault rifles, an Uzi machine gun, pistols and guns. machetes.
In the early hours of Wednesday, armed men shot him dead – and injured his wife Martine – in their private residence.
Under Moses, kidnappings for ransom increased, reflecting the growing influence of armed gangs in the country, such as the April kidnapping targeting 10 people, including seven Catholic clergy.
An outraged Catholic Church criticized the government’s inability to act in the face of worsening unrest, denouncing Haiti’s “descent into hell”.
© 2021 AFP