Political leader, lottery owner shot dead in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—Eric Jean-Baptiste, a former Haiti presidential candidate and party leader, has been shot dead, party officials said Saturday. The killing took many by surprise in a country already in crisis.

Baptiste was murdered along with his bodyguard in a community in the Port-au-Prince capital of Labourg on Friday, according to Ricardo Nordein, spokesman for the Congress of the Progressive National Democratic Party, founded by former President Leslie Manigat in 1979.

Baptiste also owned one of Haiti’s largest lottery companies, Pere Eternel.

No one has been arrested.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he and others rebelled against the killings.

“The horrific assassination of political leader Eric Jean-Baptiste and his bodyguard has once again thrown the Haitian people into turmoil. I promised change,” he tweeted.

The United Nations Integration Office in Haiti condemned the killing because it sympathized with Henry’s sentiments, demanded justice, and called on local authorities to ameliorate the country’s deepening unrest.

“Jean-Baptiste was a committed politician who contributed to the strengthening of democracy and the rule of law in Haiti. His murder constitutes an attack on these fundamental values,” the office said. .

The killings occurred in an area where the Ti Makak gang, which means “little monkeys”, are fighting the Toto gang for control of the territory. This community is near his Pelerin, where his President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his private residence in July 2021.

In August Yvon Buissereth, a former senator who worked for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, was killed and his body set on fire.

In January two journalists were also killed in Laboule and their bodies set on fire.

Associated Press