Haiti: The Situation is "Terrifying" According to a Witness

Source: FSSPX News

"'The situation is terrifying' Marcella Catozza, a Franciscan, who for years has been dedicated to pastoral and charitable activities in Haiti, tells Fides," Agenzia Fides reports.

Several thousand prisoners escaped from two of Haiti's largest prisons in Port-au-Prince, after attacks led by armed gangs. The government declared a state of emergency and implemented a curfew until Wednesday. 

"Over the weekend, gangs attacked Croix des Bouquets prison and the National Penitentiary," RFI reports. The National Penitentiary housed 3,696 prisoners, according to Arnel Rémy, general coordinator of the Collective of Lawyers for the Defense of Human Rights (CADDHO). 

According to information gained by CADDHO's visit to the scene, Rémy estimated that only around a hundred prisoners remain and that close to 3,600 of them escaped:  among others, "notorious bandits, [...] policemen who were arrested in the case of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, [...] gang leaders," Arnel Rémy explains. "Thus it's chaos, worry, danger which reign." 

"The gangs have taken over all the airports in the country to arrest Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who was returning from Nairobi, where he signed the agreement for the deployment of a Kenyan police force in Haiti. The gangs attacked several public buildings, including prisons, and private hospitals, among them the Catholic hospital 'St. Francis de Sales' in Port-au-Prince," Sr. Marcella Catozza explains.

Agenzia Fides gives an overview of the situation: "Ariel Henry has not yet been able to return to the country because the necessary security conditions do not exist. 

"'The fact that must be emphasized is that these gangs that until last Thursday were killing each other, on Friday united to attack the institutions,' says Sister Marcella. 'It was the leader of the G9 group, Jimmy Chérizier, known as "Barbecue" who launched the call for unity between the gangs', recalls the nun [...] 

"'But I don't think "Barbecue" is the brain of all this. There is a political mind, perhaps the same one that hired the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021,' says Sister Marcella. 

"'It must be taken into account that the gangs are equipped with weapons and sophisticated means, not to mention machetes; they even have drones to detect the movements of the police, who seem incapable of stopping them.' 

"Who could have an interest in destabilizing Haiti? 'We can only make hypotheses at the moment', says the nun. 'For some time now, there has been the presence of at least five Mexican drug cartels in the country. It is possible that they want to make Haiti a "no man's land" to better manage their cocaine trafficking to North America and Europe. 

"'Being in the center of the Caribbean, Haiti is an ideal place as a transit point for cocaine from Colombia and Mexico bound for the rich markets of the West,' says Sister Marcella. 

"'Finally, but it is just a rumor that I have heard, there is talk of the possible involvement of former President Aristide, who returned to Haiti in 2010. But I repeat that it is just a rumor', she concludes."