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Like Nigeria, US wants new Haitian leader with drug charges, say Caribbean diplomatic gossips

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Guy Philippe, the man who recently asked Ariel Henry, Haiti’s prime minister to resign and stay on in exile is a drug lord convicted in US.

It wouldn’t have mattered to diplomatic gossip circle, DDM has access to in the Caribbean if Philippe hadn’t indicated intention to rule the troubled country.

Philippe says that he intends to go into politics and rule Haiti, his conviction notwithstanding.

But the confession has stirred a different interpretation within diplomatic circle on what the power game in the troubled country is all about.

“Anybody, including people with drug charges can be made president or PM in developing country these days so far they were convicted in US,” said a Caribbean diplomat in the gossip group.

The comment not only exposes a worry for people in that part of the world, it also traces back to Africa.

It’s a veiled reference to Nigeria where a convicted drug trafficking offender in US emerged president in the West African country.

Interestingly, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Henry, the embattled Haiti PM on Thursday to support a political transition for the country, where the healthcare system is near collapse, children are unable to attend school, and thousands have been killed, kidnapped or driven from their homes.

There have been widespread reports of rape and torture by the gangs in Haiti.

Philippe helped lead a coup in Haiti in 2004 and returned to the Caribbean island last year after serving a prison sentence in the U.S.

In 2004, Philippe was one of the main leaders in the successful overthrow of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

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He had a failed run for president in 2006, before winning a senate seat in 2016, though he was arrested and extradited to the United States before he could be sworn in.

Philippe was deported from the U.S. to Haiti in November after serving six years of a prison sentence for money laundering derived from drug trafficking.

On Friday, Philippe told the country’s prime minister to  resign and said he wanted to become president.

Months of violence have pushed the government in Haiti to the brink of collapse, with increasingly powerful gangs demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Henry who remains outside the country, seemingly unable or unwilling to return.

“He should resign,” Philippe, a 56-year-old former police chief, said in an interview.

“I think he should stay where he is now … and let Haitians decide their fate.”

Henry left Haiti last week to secure Kenya’s leadership for a long-delayed U.N.-backed security mission he first requested in 2022 to help fight the gangs.

He is believed to still be in Puerto Rico, where he arrived on Tuesday.

Philippe said his conviction would not get in the way of his political future, citing the experiences of former South African leader Nelson Mandela, former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

In a February report, the Geneva-based Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime named Philippe as an important figure among Haiti’s “strongmen who straddle the line between vigilante leaders and political bosses, accumulating considerable power.”

Philippe said his recent return to the country meant he did not have deep connections to the gangs and he was not behind the gang violence.

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Asked if he wanted to be president, Philippe said: “Yes! I’m going into politics.

I was a senator, I’ve been elected by my people, I will go again in elections.

“Mandela was in prison, Hugo Chavez was in prison, Lula was in prison … and so if my people believe and trust me, I will be their leader,” he said.

 


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