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“The fact that she has returned could indicate that she intends to play a role,” said Laurent Dubois, a Haiti expert and professor at Duke University. “She can intervene one way or another.”
Martine Moïse arrived just hours after a prominent group of international diplomats made a statement that appeared to be avoiding Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who is currently ruling the country with police and military support.
Joseph’s name was never mentioned in the declaration of the core group, which is made up of ambassadors from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the USA, France, the European Union and representatives of the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
Calling for the creation of a “consensual and inclusive government,” the group added: “To this end, it strongly encourages Prime Minister-designate Ariel Henry to continue the mission entrusted to him to form such a government.”
Henry was named Prime Minister the day before Jovenel Moïse was assassinated. He did not respond to requests for comments.
The UN, the OAS and the US State Department did not offer any further explanations upon contact.
Given the current state of Haitian politics, Dubois believes the arrival of Martine Moïse could have an impact.
“She is obviously able to play a role … in the face of the openness of things,” he said, adding that the core group’s statement was conspicuous as it made no reference to Joseph. “You have to ask yourself whether the developments in the investigation have anything to do with it. It’s all these pieces of the puzzle that change from moment to moment. At the moment it seems to be very difficult to figure out how to put these together. “
At least 18 suspects directly related to the killing, most of them former Colombian soldiers, have been arrested, according to the authorities in Haiti and Colombia. At least three suspects have been killed and police say they are looking for numerous others. Colombian officials said the majority of the former soldiers were deceived and were unaware of the attack.
Police in Haiti on Sunday identified another suspect in the case: Pierre Joseph Ashkard. Online records show that he is a Canadian businessman who runs a medical business in Texas along with Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a Haitian doctor and pastor who was recently arrested by local authorities and who are the prime suspects.
A day after the assassination, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Joseph was the incumbent in office and had served as acting prime minister prior to the assassination: “We continue to work with Claude Joseph,” he said.
On July 11, a delegation of representatives from various US authorities traveled to Haiti to review critical infrastructures, speak to the Haitian National Police and meet with Joseph, Henry and Haitian Senate President Joseph Lambert for a joint meeting.
The deepening political unrest in the past few days has led dozen of Haitians to visit the US embassy in Port-au-Prince to apply for visas or political asylum.
“We can no longer stay in the country,” says Jim Kenneth, a 19-year-old who wants to study medicine in the United States. “We feel very insecure.”