Haiti: coup enforcer’s son murdered in Honduras

Jean-Michel François, the son of exiled former Haitian police chief Joseph Michel François, was killed the night of Feb. 3 in the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula. The younger François, a law student, was thrown from a moving vehicle in front of his father’s electronic appliance store in the Medina neighborhood; he died hours later at a nearby hospital. According to some sources he died of bullet wounds, while others say he was badly beaten and died from his injuries. No motive had been given as of Feb. 5.

The elder François, then a lieutenant colonel, was part of a triumvirate of military officers that overthrew then-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in a bloody September 1991 coup and ran a ruthless dictatorship until a US military intervention restored Aristide to office in the fall of 1994. François was allowed to leave for the Dominican Republic but was expelled in 1996. He then moved to Honduras. The US indicted him for drug trafficking in 1997, but the Honduran Supreme Court rejected the US extradition request. The other coup leaders, Gen. Raoul Cédras and Gen. Philippe Biamby, both moved to Panama, where Biamby died of cancer in 2008.

“Crime isn’t just in Honduras,” François said after his son’s murder, according to the Honduran daily La Prensa. “It’s in all countries…. [T]here’s a saying that ‘everything that happens in the life of a believer is for the good,’ because God is sovereign.” (La Prensa, Feb. 4; Latin American Herald Tribune, Feb. 4, from EFE; Radio Kiskeya, Haiti, Feb. 4, Dec. 15, 2008)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Feb. 6.

See our last post on Haiti.