How the gang leader ‘Barbecue’ became one of Haiti’s most powerful men

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Haiti Unrest


Carlos Solar, senior research fellow of Latin American security at the London-based think tank Royal United Services Institute, said Chérizier commands a formidable force. “We’ve seen a massive influx of weapons,” he said, “which means that any multinational force will need to be armed to the teeth, as Jimmy and the other gangs are." Solar believes Chérizier is aware of the sway he holds over negotiations for Haiti’s future and probably “wants to become a politician at some point.” “He says he’s not a gangster. He’s claiming to represent the people and to trying to legitimize himself,” Solar said. “If a new government comes, what are they going to do with Jimmy and these other gang lords? They’re not going to lay down weapons easily.” If Haiti is to move forward, Solar said, an armistice or “informal pact” with the gangs might be required. But such collusion between the government and alleged criminals is deeply unpopular among Haitians.