Political Crisis in Haiti Deepens Over Rival Claims to Power


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The main concern right now, American officials argued, is establishing some kind of order and preventing clashes by armed factions over rival claims of authority. Elections to pick a new president are secondary, they said. There is widespread fear that the situation could quickly spiral out of control, especially given the gang violence, kidnappings, protests and social upheaval that have seized the country for months.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke on Wednesday with the interim prime minister, Mr. Joseph, offering to assist the country “in support of the Haitian people and democratic governance, peace and security,” the State Department said.

Mr. Joseph portrayed the conversation as having lasted more than 30 minutes, and used the opportunity to signal to his country that he had the support of its most important international backers, principally the United States.

In a public address on Wednesday, Mr. Joseph staked his legitimacy partly on what he called the “receptive” reaction he got from the Core Group, an unofficial coalition of ambassadors and officials from the United States, the United Nations, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, the European Union and the Organization of American States.

The group has long played a major role in shaping Haitian politics, both maneuvering privately and issuing public statements to back selected leaders and encouraging or critiquing specific policies. The group provided important support for Mr. Moïse’s seating as president in 2017, though it later turned critical of his government’s failure to adhere to democratic principles.

The president of what remains of the Haitian Senate, Joseph Lambert, also put out a news release on Thursday morning, saying that the Senate “reassures Haitians and the international community that everything will be managed by the national institutions, political forces and civil society to guarantee the continuity of the state and the republican order.”

The New York Times


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