Portada » Night of chaos in Haiti: shootings near the National Palace in a new escalation of violence

Night of chaos in Haiti: shootings near the National Palace in a new escalation of violence

by Isabella Walker
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The surroundings of the National Palace of Haiti, in Port-au-Prince, were the scene of a new escalation of violence this Friday night, as the Efe agency confirmed on the spot. A succession of shootings has raised tension in a large area of ​​the capital’s center as confusion grows over what happened. The last week has been one of the most chaotic in memory since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. In just a few days there have been mass escapes of more than 3,000 prisoners from several prisons, attacks on the country’s main airport and clashes between military, police and members of organized crime gangs, led by former police officer Jimmy Chérizier, aka barbecue, who threatened civil war if the head of the interim government, Ariel Henry, who is in Puerto Rico, does not resign.

In the midst of contradictory versions of the shootings in a country closed and prostrate in the face of violence, some theses do not exclude that the objective of the armed gangs is the seizure of the National Palace. The images spread on social media also show large holes in the walls of Port-au-Prince airport.

The day passed in apparent calm in the metropolitan area of ​​the city and sporadic shots were fired only in the afternoon. In the early hours of the night, however, chaos broke out. Tension increased exponentially in Haiti after it emerged on February 28 that Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry had pledged to hold elections by the end of August 2025. Violence reached its peak last Saturday, when gangs moved in in the two main prisons of the capital, which facilitated the escape of over 3,000 prisoners. Henry, persecuted by armed gangs after Moïse’s assassination, was unable to return to the country, which this week closed air links from Miami and Santo Domingo.

The prime minister is now under both internal and external pressure to push for a transition that will help stop the terrible crisis and uncontrolled violence that is suffocating Haitians and unleashed an unprecedented flow of migration. Haiti awaits the deployment of an international security support mission led by Kenya, approved by the United Nations last October and which has not yet materialized.

Adding to those pressures is Guy Philippe, who led a coup in Haiti in 2004 and returned to Port-au-Prince last year after serving in the United States. This former coup police chief called on Friday for the government’s resignation. “I should resign,” Philippe said in statements to the Reuters agency. “I think he should stay where he is now… And let the Haitians decide his fate.”

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