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FRANCE 24 spoke to former Haitian prime minister Claude Joseph, who is now head of the opposition party “Les Engagés pour le Développement”. He denounced interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s decision to remain in power beyond February 7, the date on which he had pledged to step down. Joseph said Henry’s argument that the security situation prevents elections from being held is simply a pretext to stay in power.
“Ariel Henry is inciting in Haiti a civil war that the population is trying to avoid,” Joseph told FRANCE 24 from the capital Port-au-Prince.
“It’s a critical situation where we have a prime minister who is a former prime minister who is trying to stay despite the fact that he is rejected by the whole population,” the former premier added.
Henry had promised that elections would take place and that he would leave power on February 7, 2024. He later announced that he would not step down, saying the security situation did not allow for elections to be held.
“It is his responsibility to actually provide security in Haiti,” Joseph said when asked about the security situation. “So you cannot blame the situation on others while you are the main person in charge. So the only motivation of Mr Ariel Henry is to stay in power as long as possible.”
‘We are asking the people to peacefully protest’
Asked what his goal was, Joseph said: “We are calling for a general mobilisation in Haiti to force Ariel Henry to leave the space that he occupied illegally. So we are asking the people to peacefully protest so Ariel Henry can leave.” He also said he was not in favour of a multinational force being sent to Haiti.
Joseph went on to react to a police report describing ties between Henry and the assassins of President Jovenel Mose in 2021.
Moïse was shot dead by an armed commando on the night of July 6-7, 2021, in his private residence in Port-au-Prince, without his bodyguards intervening.
Joseph said he believes Henry is “trying to reverse the accusation and trying to put it on those who were close to Jovenel Moise; in other words, to weaponise the justice system”.
He continued: “But that will not work. Everyone knows, every single report says that there is [a] close link between Ariel Henry and Felix Baggio, the man in charge of the operation. Therefore, we believe that when we have good justice in Haiti, justice will be served,” he concluded.
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