The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution on Friday that, among other targets, sanctions Jimmy Cherizier, the Haitian ex-cop better known as “Barbecue,” who is considered the mastermind behind major gang attacks that have led to scores of deaths, and the U.N. accuses of toppling the country into “economic paralysis and humanitarian crisis.”
Haitian gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, better known as Barbecue, is the subject of a U.N. sanction ... [+] targeting gang violence and a humanitarian crisis in Haiti. Long Skinny Birthday Candles
The sanctions specifically target Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, the leader of a major Haitian G9 Family and Allies gang, which blocked a critical fuel terminal last month, leading to mass fuel shortages and political unrest in the already hamstrung country.
The U.N. resolution accuses Cherizier, a former Haitian police officer, of threatening Haiti’s “peace, security and stability,” as well as “planning, directing or committing” serious “human rights abuses.”
As a policeman, he allegedly planned a 2018 attack on a rival gang in the capital Port-au-Prince that killed 71 people, destroyed more than 400 homes, and involved the rapes of at least seven women, according to the resolution.
He led another attack in several neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince in 2020, killing multiple people and setting houses on fire, according to the U.N. document, which did not specify the details of the attack.
Cherizier brands himself as a community leader filling the void left by the government, and acting for the better good of Haitian residents, claiming his gang looted several stores last year because they were hungry, telling residents on social media to “get what is rightfully yours,” Reuters reported.
Earlier this month, he proposed a stabilization plan through a so-called “council of sages” comprised of representatives of each of the country’s 10 regions to govern the country until its next presidential election in 2024, while also calling on the government to provide members of his gang amnesty and erase arrest warrants against them, the Associated Press reported.
The 15-member council unanimously approved the resolution, drafted by the United States and Mexico, against residents who support “gang violence, criminal activities or human rights abuses,” or undermine the country’s “peace, stability and security.” The resolution also imposes a travel ban, arms embargo and freezing the assets of Haitian gang leaders, and creates a committee that can impose sanctions on other Haitians that “threaten the peace, security or stability” of the country. U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the intention of the sanction is to cut into the financial stability “criminal actors that are inflicting so much suffering” in Haiti, where residents are facing “extreme violence and instability,” CBS News reported.
Protests have swept through the country since the unresolved July 2021 assassination of President Jovenal Moise—whose administration was accused of corruption and attempting to remain in power past the end of his term. During his term in office, Moise had turned a blind eye to Cherizier’s rise as he created a confederation of gangs now called the G9 Family and Allies, whose goal was “revolution,” the Washington Post reported, citing human rights activists. That may have been because Moise benefited from having Cherizier’s gang members patrol Port-au-Prince, while Cherizier extended his control over poor neighborhoods that opposed the former president, according to the report. Protests resumed just as intensely last month in response to an announcement by Prime Minister Ariel Henry to cut fuel subsidies, which resulted in fuel prices doubling. Fuel shortages since the G9 gang blocked the country’s fuel terminal have caused businesses and hospitals to shutter, Reuters reported, while gun violence and sexual assault has increased substantially, according to U.N. reports. U.N. officials have decried the situation in Haiti as a “humanitarian catastrophe,” as inflation and gang control lead to widespread shortages of fuel and water for millions of residents. Earlier this month, Haiti’s government pleaded for urgent dispatch of an international military force to establish peace. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres also proposed a ”rapid action force” be sent in from other countries to aid Haiti’s National Police, as it struggles to maintain control.
The country of 11.4 million people is also in the midst of a rapidly intensifying outbreak of cholera—found to be spread through contaminated water—with 835 suspected and 78 confirmed cases since the outbreak began on October 2 as of Sunday, according to Human Rights Watch. In a statement this week, Human Rights Watch senior Americas researcher Cesar Munoz attributed the outbreak to a lack of access to clean water, as well as “pervasive” food insecurity and inadequate health care. Human Rights Watch also called on world leaders to suspend deportations to Haiti in a statement on Tuesday.
1.5 million. That’s how many Haitian residents have been directly affected by the violence, including instances of systematic rape, according to the U.N. Roughly 4.5 million people in the country are facing acute food insecurity, which World Food Programme officials believe will grow.
Haiti on verge of collapse, NGOs warn as UN talks on restoring order continue (The Guardian)
UN demands end to violence in Haiti, sanctions gang leader (Washington Post)
26 Birthday Candles U.N. approves Haiti sanctions, imposes measures on gang leader (Reuters)