MIAMI, Fla. – Haiti is a tinderbox these days, especially in the capital city of Port-au-Prince where gangs rule the streets and more than 15,000 people have fled their homes to escape the violence.
And it was catching fire Friday even as they buried their president.
Haitian president Jovenel Moise was laid to rest in the historic northern port city of Cap-Haitien, Moise’s rural hometown, more than two weeks after his assassination.
But the somber occasion was marked by violent protests right outside the funeral site. Police battled protesters who were demanding justice for their murdered president.
Hymns were sung, prayers recited and Moise was praised as a good man who loved his country.
The flag-draped coffin was the centerpiece surrounded by a police honor guard. Seated in the front row was the president’s widow, Martine, who came to Miami to recover from the wounds she suffered in the same attack that killed her husband on July 7.
Haiti’s new prime minister, Dr. Ariel Henry, along with diplomats, were there. But the U.S. ambassador and her entourage left early after gunshots were heard. The United Nations ambassador, left, too.
From Washington, President Biden’s security adviser said: “The United States remains deeply concerned about the situation in Haiti. We strongly urge all parties to express themselves peacefully.”
But peace is hard to come by in Haiti where gang violence is out of control, there’s inflation, and shortages of food and gas.
And now their president is dead and without a successor.
The police color guard solemnly lifted the late president’s casket and carried it to a nearby mausoleum.
Martine Moise slowly followed accompanied by a phalanx of security guards and an unruly crowd.
Moise was just 53-year-old.
Haiti’s constitution does not clearly designate a successor.