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  • Saanya Amalean

World Politics >>> Did the Late Haitian President Upset Too Many Tycoons?

Image: AFP - Alex Wong

The months leading up to the assassination of former Haitian President Jovenal Moise, suggested pre-existing tensions with business magnates.

Before he was gunned down, the Haitian President was regularly assailed by powerful oligarchs. These underlying pressures stemmed from a common and deep-rooted political strategy that has governed the country for years. One where Haitian politicians rally the poorer communities against the so-called bourgeosie. This has only further rattled the business community against Mr. Moise, who assumed a more autocratic stance in the months leading up to his demise.

Under the purview of Mr.Moise many business tycoons have had to pay a hefty price, with some saying that he used his power to drive businesses to back other political parties, whilst others received remunerative perks.

Back in 2019, Haiti avoided a multimillion dollar deal to produce electricity amid a heightened power black-out crisis. The supposed deal was being handled by a family with close ties to a political party that Mr. Moise opposed.

"He was just against people who were not his friends or in his political group", said Etzer Emile, an economist at Quisqueya University in Port-au-Prince.

Two small business owners were identified by Haitian Police and have been detained for having potential ties to the assassination.

Critics of the Moise government said that the conflict began when he favoured certain businessmen at the expense of others to fuel his own political agendas. Fritz Alfonse, a former central-bank governor described the ordeal as "a fierce battle for market share on imported products."

Many have profited under the purview of the former president. One such company was said to be paying minimal duties to import food, whilst another business reaped the benefits from a decree that gave a state entity total monopoly rights to import all of Haiti's petroleum products. With such political upheaval, many of Mr. Moise's promises to level out the playing field fell short.

During the course of his five-year term, the country's economy began to deteriorate amid growing poltical instability and corruption. Violent crime has erupted as a result of powerful gangs controlling parts of the island nation, which has also alarmed many businessmen who felt that the govenrment as lost control.

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