The suspicious silence of the Haitian President on the arrest and extradition of Senator-elect Guy Philippe to the US

March 24, 2017
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Then presidential candidate Jovenel Moise(left) with Guy Phillipe

Haitian President Jovenel Moise, has remained noticeably silent on the case of deportation and extradition of the Senator-elect Guy Philippe to the United States, on drug trafficking and money laundering charges, a silence that is now raising questions as the bilateral relations between Haiti and the United States continue to degenerate over the issue.

On January 5th, Guy Philippe was arrested by Haitian security forces as he was leaving a radio show in the capital, in the suburbs of Petion Ville, and later handed over to officials of the US Drug Enforcement Agency; four days before he was officially due to take office. 
Guy Philippe, an ex colonel of the disbanded army and who later became Haiti's police chief, is best known for having led a bloody armed rebellion in 2004, that resulted in the overthrown of democratically elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide.

Since 2006, Guy Philippe had been under an international arrest warrant emitted by the United States, but despite the arrest warrant, Guy Philippe remained in plain sight of both Haitian and american officials, and continued his growing involvement in Haitian politics, to the point where he was elected Senator of the Grande-anse Department; one of Haiti's largest; under the banner of the PHTK party, the same party as the current president of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, as well as his immediate predecessor, Michel Martelly.

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Moise with his hand on Guy Philippe's shoulder as they campaigned together.

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(Left to right) Guy Philippe wearing shirt with his name on it, followed by Jovenel Moise and his wife

Jovenel Moise and Guy Philippe both heavily and publicly campaigned for each other during the breathless two years electoral process. Philippe even half-jokingly once said that he would overthrow the caretaker government of then provisional president Jocelerme Privert, if he did not organize the redone presidential election in time. The one held just a year earlier and whose results had shown Jovenel Moise as the winner, was cancelled after widespread allegations of fraud.

Did President Jovenel Moise's campaign, or himself received monetary contributions from Guy Philippe or his associates, a man whose money is linked to drug trafficking and laundering?

That is not clear, but the arrest of Guy Philippe seems to be directly related to that question. Why else would the United States demand the arrest and extradition of Guy Philippe after all these years, just four days before he was suppose to take office and gain immunity from Haitian laws and legally be able to remained silent forever, if not to get information out of him regarding possible money laundering and drug trafficking connection of highest Haitian officials, including his close friend and staunch ally, President Jovenel Moise?

The current Haitian president Jovenel Moise, is currently under investigation by a Haitian court for money laundering, after the Central Unit of Financial Intelligence (UCREF) a governmental institution,  said in a report before Moise was elected that the now President held a bank account with his wife between 2007 and 2013, that was connected to money laundering. That report was never made public until its leaking to the press weeks before the inauguration of Moise as the President. The President has denied the allegation as clerical errors, and even voluntarily presented himself before the judge handling the case to answer questions.

When Guy Philippe was arrested on January 5th, Jovenel Moise was the President-elect of Haiti, he wasn't due to officially take office until a month later, February 7th. When the news of the arrest broke, the president avoided making any comments, and his position has not changed since, despite the unprecedented developments in connection to the case that have happened.

The Haitian Senate, which is made up of a majority of lawmakers from Philippe and President Jovenel Moise's own party, has responded very strongly to the arrest. Two weeks ago, 19 out of 24 senators approved a strong worded resolution that formally condemned the arrest and extradition to the United States and demanded his return. That resolution also called for the Minister of Justice, who signed off on the deportation order, to be tried for high treason. Such a prosecution would require the designation of the United States as an enemy country, according to the Haitian Constitution regarding High Treason.

Breaking News: Haitian Senate passes resolution "strongly condemning" extradition of Guy Philippe to the United States

Haitian Senate wants to charge Minister of Justice with High Treason after deporting elected-Senator to the US

Public pressure from Philippe's supporters for Haitian officials to have him handed back to Haiti keeps growing; something that is very unlikely to happen.

What will Haitian officials response be when the US categorically refuse to return Guy Philippe back? Will President Jovenel Moise continues to remain silent?

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