Joseph Odelyn / AP
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti’s Prime Minister designate Ariel Henry will replace the country’s acting prime minister to honor the wishes of the country’s assassinated president, an official told The Associated Press on Monday.
It was not immediately clear how quickly interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who has ruled Haiti with police and military support since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7, would step down.
“Negotiations are still ongoing,” Haitian Minister of Elections Mathias Pierre said, adding that Joseph would become Minister of Foreign Affairs again.
Joseph could not be contacted immediately for comment, and Henry did not return a message for comment. However, he released an audio recording in which he introduced himself as Prime Minister and called for unity.
Henry said he would soon announce the members of what he called an interim consensus government that would rule the country until elections are held.
“I present my compliments to the Haitian people who have shown political maturity in the face of what can be considered a coup. … Our Haitian brothers gave peace a chance, while leaving the possibility that the truth could one day be restored, ”said Henri.
“Now it is up to all national leaders to walk together in unity, towards the same goal, to show that they are responsible.”
The political turnaround followed a statement on Saturday by a key group of international diplomats who appeared to snub Joseph as he called for the creation of a “consensual and inclusive government.”
“To this end, he strongly encourages the Prime Minister designate Ariel Henry to continue the mission entrusted to him to form such a government,” said the statement from the Core Group.
The Core Group is made up of ambassadors from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the United States, France, the European Union and representatives of the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
Monique Clesca, writer, activist and former Haitian UN official, said she does not anticipate any change under Henry, whom she hopes to carry on in Moses’ legacy. But she warned that Henry could be considered flawed due to the involvement of the core group.
“If he accepts this, there is not only a perception, but the reality that he has been put there by the international community, and I think that is his burden to bear,” she said. declared.
“What we are asking is that Haitians really say this is unacceptable. We don’t want the international community to say who should be in power and what should be done. It’s up to us to decide.
The U.S. Embassy issued a brief statement saying it was encouraging civil society to take an active role in building consensus in Haiti, adding that it was essential for strengthening democracy.
The Core Group statement was released hours after Moïse’s wife, Martine, arrived in Haiti on Saturday aboard a private jet dressed in black and wearing a bulletproof vest after leaving a hospital. from Miami. She has not released a statement or spoken publicly since returning to Haiti as the government prepares for the July 23 funeral to be held in the northern city of Cap-Haitien. Other events in honor of Moses are scheduled this week in the capital Port-au-Prince ahead of the funeral.
Moses appointed Henry as prime minister shortly before his assassination, but he was not sworn in. The neurosurgeon was previously Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of the Interior. He belonged to several political parties including Inite, founded by former president René Préval.
The next change of leadership comes as authorities continue to investigate the July 7 attack on Moses’ private home with high powered rifles that seriously injured his wife.
Authorities say more than 20 suspects directly involved in the murder have been arrested. The majority of them are former Colombian soldiers, most of whom were duped according to Colombian officials. Three other suspects were killed, the police still looking for others, including a former Haitian rebel leader and a former Haitian senator.