Chicago Tribune

Haiti installs new leader, arrests 3 police officers

Mourners honor slain president at ceremony in capital

- By Danica Coto

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haitians held official ceremonies Tuesday to honor assassinat­ed President Jovenel Moise while installing a new interim leader and arresting at least three police officers implicated in the killing.

Designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry was sworn in to replace interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who assumed leadership of Haiti with the backing of police and the military after the July 7 attack at Moise’s private home.

“I’m from a school that believes in dialogue,” Henry said as he called for unity and promised to meet with various sectors in upcoming days to build consensus. “The Haitian people are the solution to the crisis.”

Henry, a neurosurge­on and former Cabinet minister, has promised to form a provisiona­l consensus government to lead Haiti until elections are held. He said he has already met with various unidentifi­ed actors as well as civil society and the private sector.

The government released the names of Henry’s Cabinet, with the ministers of justice, economy, finance, agricultur­e and others keeping their positions.

In the yard of the Nation Pantheon Museum in downtown Port-au-Prince, a crowd of internatio­nal dignitarie­s and Haitian officials clad in somber suits sat under the shade of pink and white bougainvil­lea to commemorat­e Moise, whose assassinat­ion stunned Haiti.

A large portrait of the slain president hung behind Joseph as he spoke to mourners.

“The president is dead because of his political and social conviction­s,” he said.

Joseph accused oligarchs and criminals of assassinat­ing the president’s character and then the president himself. He called on everyone to seize the moment as an opportunit­y to find a common purpose and durable, viable solutions.

Moise was shot multiple times and his wife was seriously wounded, and while officials have arrested at least 26 people in the case, it remains unclear who ultimately was behind the attack.

Police Chief Leon Charles announced four more formal arrests Tuesday — at least three of them police officers, whose ranks he did not release.

“There was infiltrati­on in the police,” he said.

Haitian police identified the fourth suspect, who was not a police officer, as Dominick Cauvin.

An individual named Dominick Cauvin has lived in South Florida, spending time in recent years in Miami, Miami Beach and Pembroke Pines, public records show. He’s listed as an independen­t security consultant, according to his LinkedIn profile; his private Instagram account lists him as founder and owner of Armotech Internatio­nal Corp. and Armotech Group S.A., in Haiti.

Cauvin is listed as CEO for a company based in Pembroke Pines, Fla., called Armotech Internatio­nal Corp., which he registered with the state on Nov. 2, 2020, public records show. He set up a similarly named company, the Armotech Group Inc., in early January 2020, only to dissolve it in April 2021, records show.

Authoritie­s earlier said they had detained and isolated — but not formally arrested — several high-ranking police officials as they tried to determine why the attackers were able to reach the president without any of his guards being injured.

Haiti Elections Minister Mathias Pierre said on Monday that Joseph would step down and cede the position to Henry, who was chosen for the post by Moise shortly before he was killed but had not been sworn in.

The change in leadership comes after a group of key internatio­nal diplomats called on Henry to create a “consensual and inclusive government” in a statement issued Saturday that made no reference to Joseph. The Core Group is composed of ambassador­s from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the

U.S., France and the European Union as well as representa­tives from the United Nations and the Organizati­on of American States.

Robert Fatton, a Haitian politics expert at the University of Virginia, said Joseph’s departure was to be expected.

“Joseph’s fate was sealed over the weekend,” he said. “Everything that happens in Haiti has a powerful foreign component.”

A main opposition coalition known as the Democratic and Popular Sector called Henry a puppet of the internatio­nal community and rejected his appointmen­t.

“This step is only a political provocatio­n that will add fuel to the fire and push the country further into crisis,” it said.

On the same day the Core Group issued its statement, first lady Martine Moise arrived back unannounce­d in Haiti to the surprise of many. She had been recovering at a hospital in Miami. On Monday, her office issued the first public statement since the killing, thanking Haitians for their support.

The police chief said Tuesday that in addition to the new arrests, seven high-ranking police officials — including those with the president’s security detail — had earlier been placed in isolation, though they are not formally considered suspects.

 ?? VALERIE BAERISWYL/GETTY-AFP ?? Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, left, hugs designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry during a ceremony Tuesday at La Primature in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Henry was sworn in to replace Joseph, who had assumed leadership of Haiti.
VALERIE BAERISWYL/GETTY-AFP Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, left, hugs designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry during a ceremony Tuesday at La Primature in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Henry was sworn in to replace Joseph, who had assumed leadership of Haiti.

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