Caribbean Matters: Untenable political situation in Haiti worsens amid new assassination revelations

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The New York Times‘ Anatoly Kurmanaev broke the story on Monday.

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These revelations reported in the Times are based on conversations with Rodolphe Jaar, who is identified as “a Haitian businessman and former drug trafficker [who] admitted helping finance and plan the plot.”

The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July plunged an already troubled nation further into disarray, with many of its public institutions in tatters, a capital under siege by gangs, a collapsing economy and the few elected leaders left in the country sparring for control of the government.

Mr. Henry’s ascension to prime minister promised to smooth some of the rifts, earning pledges of support from overseas and potentially paving the way toward elections. He pledged to bring the assassins to justice, curb the violence and usher in a period of political unity.

But the investigation into the assassination stalled, and concerns about Mr. Henry’s commitment to solving the murder emerged soon after. They center on his connection to Joseph Felix Badio, a former justice ministry official wanted by the Haitian authorities on suspicion of organizing the attack that killed Mr. Moïse.

The Times report asserts that, according to Jaar, Badio was in contact with Henry both before and after the assassination. Jaar was just reportedly arrested in the Dominican Republic.

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AP:

An official not allowed to speak publicly about the case said Rodolphe Jaar was being handled as a U.S. prisoner and was arrested under instruction by U.S. authorities.

The official said Jaar was arrested Friday when he tried to enter the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

Jaar has not been formally charged. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney or would be extradited to another country.

U.S. officials declined to comment, saying the investigation is continuing. Haitian authorities could not be reached for comment.

The Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was waiting for authorization to speak on the case.

Daniel Foote was the former Biden-appointed United States special envoy for Haiti. He resigned in September, citing the Biden administration’s inhumane Haitian deportation policies, and has called out the administration for continuing to engage with Henry.

U.S. support for Henry irked many Haiti observers, including Foote, who saw in the move reflections of past instances of failed American diplomacy in the country.

“It became clear to me that the United States was just going to back Ariel Henry unless he died or something. That they were just behind him and they had put all their chips behind him,” Foote said.

“And so I was like, you know what, I am not going to change this from the inside. Nobody’s listening. The only way — and probably even this won’t change it — but I can keep the dream alive. The only way I can keep alive is if I just go nuclear. You know, make the world see what’s going on,” he added.

Foote makes some important points.

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Sadly, it does not look like the Biden administration has any plans to change its current toxic Haitian policy. This is not a surprise given the history of both parties when it comes to interference in Haiti.

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