Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer, is one of the most influential gang leaders. He declared that he would be launching a revolution against Haiti’s business and political elites, showing a likelihood of a further rapid increase in violence in the already weakened Caribbean country. Recently, there has been violence in Haiti capital to what the United Nations has referred to as “unprecedented levels.” Rival groups fight against one another or the police when they try to control the streets, leaving many Haitians displaced and deepening the Nation’s humanitarian chaos.
Jimmy, commonly known as Barbecue, leads the so-called “G9” federation that consists of nine gangs and was formed last year. He gave a statement to local media groups in the slum of La Saline while surrounded by his fellow gang members brandishing machetes and guns. Jimmy said the G9 federation had turned into a revolutionary force to save Haiti from the opposition from the Haitian “haves” and the government itself.
Human rights specialists say Jimmy’s group is not targeting the Haitian government but the opposition. The government has not given its view on his statements and is not ready to give its comment. Jimmy has been a suspect in different executions of Haitian people in recent years and other forms of crimes and was punished by the United States late last year. He describes himself as a society leader filling the void left by failed organizations.
Charizer said his fellow gangs planned for robbing at different stores in Porte-au-Prince, and other people followed them because they had nothing to eat. “It is your money which is in stores, banks, dealerships, and supermarkets, so go and grab what is rightfully yours,” he said in a comment that spread in social media in the Caribbean country. Due to the political instability, increasing poverty, and a sense of indemnity, armed groups have become more powerful in recent years. The observation was made by rights organizations such as the non-profit Center for Human rights Analysis and Research.
The presidential and legislative elections set to be held later this year could be the cause of the current rise in violence plotted by gangs as they often link the fights to local politicians. Police have not been able to deal with the violence as they are not well equipped like these gang members who have more sophisticated weapons, partly financed with kidnappings for ransom. Many police officers have been killed in confrontations with armed gangs in recent months, including one in a fight with Jimmy, as reported by the police.
The brutality is intensifying a humanitarian crisis in a nation in which almost half of the population is undergoing high acute food insecurity is stated by the United Nations, and the spread. The office of the UN Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the current family displacements were “creating a room for secondary issues like the interference of community-level social operations; schools are forced to close, there is loss of livelihoods, and a general fear among the affected people.