There are no commemorative banners like the black and white ones hung near the grounds of the Presidential Square, nor flower arrangements like those that gather at the commemorative site of the Haitian National Pantheon Museum in the capital.
But in Balan, where Haiti’s 58th President Jovenel Moïse played football in the streets and came of age as the son of a local heavy-equipment mechanic, they indignantly prepare for a homecoming. and mixed emotions.
Moïse, murdered at his home in a brazen attack in the middle of the night on July 7, will be buried on Friday on the grounds of his family’s private residence on the outskirts of Cap-Haitien. The historic northern port city, where the Republic of Haiti was born, is where Moïse’s father, Étienne, worked and was later buried after his death in October last year.
Although during his presidency Moïse was often associated with the towns of Port-de-Paix in the northwest of the country and Trou-du-Nord in the northeast, locals say he is like an adopted son. . They remember him as a young man who grew up in the farming community before his presidential bid in 2015, where he was a stranger and took the nickname “Neg Bannan nah“- the” Banana Man “in Creole.
“Once someone is killed, and they are Haitian, nobody can be happy about it,” lamented Roland Laguerre, 61, sitting in front of his storefront not far from the road to the SOS Children’s Village, which adjoins the Moïse family residence. and where the late president will be buried on Friday.
Moïse, 53, was killed inside his private residence in the hills above Port-au-Prince. His wife, Martine Moïse, who visited a public memorial in his honor at the National Pantheon Museum in the capital on Wednesday, was injured and airlifted to Miami for medical treatment.
In a note to the Haitian people this week, the first lady’s office thanked them for their support and said the presidential family will cover the funeral costs rather than having them paid from the public treasury.
Haiti’s National Police, which work with FBI and Colombian investigators, have arrested more than 23 people to date, but have yet to find out who funded the multi-million dollar plot.
Just as the president’s death sparked a multinational investigation, it also caused a series of mixed emotions in Haiti, where presidents are revered even when their records are mixed.
Late Wednesday, the Associated Press reported at least one death after hundreds of people in Quartier Morin, not far from where the president grew up, blocked the road with barricades and violent protests threatening to close the country until its killers are found. Some protesters were heavily armed.
Earlier in the day, a visit by acting chief of Haiti’s national police, Léon Charles, to the city also sparked protests when crowds ran after his procession and threw stones.
Where the President grew up and his grave is under construction, the mood was rather thought-provoking with burgeoning tension. Residents noted that he is the fifth Haitian president of the northern region of the country to be killed in office, and demanded justice.
“Even though he didn’t do anything for me, I can’t be happy about his death,” said Mimose Metayer, 35, a mother of five who makes a living selling second-hand clothes called ” Pèpè “.
As she spoke, graders and rollers traveled a nearby dirt road, moving gravel and dirt to the road in preparation for Friday’s funeral. They were joined by trucks spraying a mixture of liquid asphalt and kerosene to level the road.
God Daceus, 38, said no president should have died like Moses did. “Where was his security?” He said, echoing a question many Haitians have asked in the two weeks since the president’s assassination.
And while he feels sorry for the way he died, Daceus has said he has no plans to sanctify him, as some have in recent days. He is still looking at his file, and only the death of a president, he said, would bring government officials and foreign dignitaries to his poor village.
And for that, he wishes that Moses at least helped them to better prepare for this moment.
“He could have at least given us a route,” Daceus said.