His Name Is Barbecue—and He’s Ready to Plunge Haiti Into War

Since the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse on July 7, the small island nation has spiraled even further into chaos. From a devastating earthquake earlier this month, to violent gangs gaining ground, and rampant corruption within its elite, it is hard to see how the country will prosper. In fact, the current political elite’s inability to deal with and then fix any of these issues is a testimony to its unwillingness to care for its people, who are forced to fend for themselves.

In times of crisis, unlikely leaders often emerge. History is full of individuals who decide to take up arms and plunge into the unknown. In Haiti, this void will most likely see a rise of powerful gang bosses, including one of the country’s most notorious, Jimmy Cherizier, also known as Barbecue. The former police officer turned gang leader controls with his small army of armed young men the neighborhood of Delmas. For a few years now, Barbecue and his soldiers have consolidated their power base, amassing a large amount of assault rifles, hand guns, and cash—and the obedience of locals in and around his neighborhood.

“If tomorrow I run for the Senate, I can win because people love me here,” the gang boss said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast. “Yet I chose not to run for elections as it is useless… I will lead an armed struggle before I enter politics in a peaceful manner.”

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