Haiti: armed ex-soldiers disrupt Parliament session

The Chamber of Deputies of the Haitian Parliament abruptly ended its session on April 17 when a group of armed men in uniforms entered the legislature’s grounds in two vans. The men claimed to be former soldiers from the Armed Forces of Haiti (FAd’H), which was officially disbanded in 1995 during the first administration of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide (1991-1996, 2001-2004). Chamber president Levaillant Louis Jeune refused to meet with the men and suspended the session. “It’s a serious issue when a working parliament is besieged by armed bandits,” he said. Groups of former soldiers have been seen since the beginning of the year carrying out exercises in various parts of the country, sometimes using old military bases and training camps; apparently the government has done nothing to interfere.

Before the interruption, the Chamber of Deputies was meeting to start the confirmation process for Laurent Lamothe, President Michel Martelly’s nominee for prime minister. Lamothe, currently the foreign minister, would replace Garry Conille, who submitted his resignation on Feb. 24, just four months after taking office. (AlterPresse, Haiti; AlterPresse, April 17, April 18) Meanwhile, President Martelly left the country on April 16 in his third visit to Florida for medical treatment since October. The president’s office said the first two trips were for a shoulder problem, but this time the doctors diagnosed a pulmonary embolism. “I’m doing better presently, and I’m in contact with the government team and the members of my cabinet so that everything will continue to function normally,” Martelly said in a communiqué. (AlterPresse, April 18)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, April 29.

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