Haitian politician shot dead, as violent gangs push country to the ‘edge of collapse’
A leading member of Haiti’s ruling party was shot dead by suspected gunmen on Monday night.
“Tocay Ombre”, leader of the National Alliance for Progress party, was shot three times by three men as he fled a local bar in the capital Port-au-Prince.
The incident occurred in the middle of the night on Sunday night, and saw an intense security response to the area.
The National Alliance for Progress party has been accused by critics of being an increasingly repressive force, but they have denied all allegations.
Mr Tocay Ombre was an outspoken critic of the security force of former president Michel Martelly.
Local officials said that the three men who opened fire on Mr Tocay Ombre have been arrested and that the political party has been placed in control.
Videos of the incident showed at least three men with their faces covered, running away from the scene.
The incident came nearly three weeks after the election of Michel Martelly to the post of president, which left Haiti in turmoil in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake which killed as many as 300,000 people in 2010.
The earthquake was the first natural disaster Haiti had experienced in seven decades, but it had left the country’s impoverished population unprepared for the aftershocks of conflict and the rebuilding needed to restore public order.
The Haitian government responded to the earthquake with an unprecedented effort to help its poor, but Mr Martelly’s rise to power was a sign of his commitment to austerity measures, which included a new tax on coffee exports.
The new tax resulted in a severe drop in production of the cash crop, which is the country’s most important export, and the price of coffee dropped dramatically.
In August 2010, Mr Martelly was forced to backtrack on a promise to eliminate the tax. The new tax was reinstated and has remained in place until now.
He has also ruled out any plans to raise the minimum wage in the country, despite calls from abroad and some local officials for the Haitian president to do so, which would help lift a number of Haitians out of poverty.