Haitian politician & Bodyguard killed in apparent gang attack
Eric Jean Baptiste, lottery business magnate, and a bodyguard were killed in Laboule 12, a leafy hillside area in Port-au-Prince, after attackers opened fire on their vehicle, officials said. Jean Baptiste, 52, headed the center-left Assembly of Progressive National Democrats Party and once sought Haiti’s presidency.
Ricardo Nordain, a party official, said Jean Baptiste’s armored vehicle flipped over when it was ambushed.
“He represented a lot,” Nordain said. “His assassination shows we do not have leadership in this country.”
Gangs have long had a presence in Haiti, but their power has grown in recent years amid a broader deterioration of democratic institutions and security conditions. United Nations agencies said this month that gang violence in the capital has displaced some 96,000 people and that gangs have used rape to terrorize the local population.
Roberson Alphonse, a well-known Haitian journalist with the newspaper Le Nouvelliste, was attacked in his car this week by armed assailants. He is recovering. In one of his last tweets, Jean Baptiste mentioned the attempt on Alphonse’s life.
“The life expectancy of people in Haiti is 24 hours,” he said. “Who will be next? Will he have the same luck?”