PHOTO: Recently elected Haitian Senator and former coup leader Guy Philippe, who has been wanted for more than a decade on drug charges in the United States, was arrested Thursday in Haiti and federal agents were bringing him to Miami.
Cherlie and I were in the US for two weeks to visit family and take care of FHH business during the holidays. We were in Florida yesterday, getting ready to fly back to PAP, when we received news that there was unrest in Haiti. It was related to the fact that a politician named Guy-Philippe was arrested and taken to the US, supposedly on drug charges. He is from Pestel, which isn’t far from Jérémie, and is a very popular politician in our area, having won election to the Haitian Senate in a landslide during the recent elections. We’ve met him and he’s visited our clinic and he is beloved by most of the people in the Grand’Anse where we live and work. Since his arrest there has been widespread violence along the road from PAP to Jérémie and in Jérémie itself, with tires burning in the streets and gangs roaming around town. We were not fully aware of the situation yesterday and flew to PAP this morning, narrowly escaping being in Fort Lauderdale Airport during the shooting that occurred there. Since arriving in PAP, though, we have been informed by our friends in Jérémie that the violence is widespread and is especially directed to Americans. It is a very dangerous situation and one that requires much prayer and wisdom. For now, we will remain in PAP, but if things deteriorate, it may be necessary to go back to the US. We are putting everything on hold until we see how things play out. In all my years in Haiti, this is the first time that the unrest has been so specifically anti-American, so we need to be very cautious, not only in terms of our own safety but also the safety of visitors. I will update this blog as I am able in the days ahead. With the Lord’s help and with your prayers, we will “be strong and of good courage”.