Hundreds greet Aristide on returns to troubled Haiti
Former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide has returned to Haiti after a nearly a month in Cuba, thrilling hundreds of supporters who gathered at the airport at a time of tensions over the recent assassination of the country’s leader.
Mr Aristide, a charismatic yet divisive figure in Haiti who was receiving unspecified medical treatment in Cuba, arrives back in a country simmering with tension over the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise as new details about the investigation emerged.
Police Chief Leon Charles said 24 police officers were standing guard when a group of heavily armed men attacked the president’s private house.
He said they have been interrogated and that a fifth high-ranking police official has been placed in isolated detention with four others, although none have been named as suspects.
Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said the government will continue to bring those responsible to justice.
“We will continue to pose questions,” he said.
Meanwhile, throngs of Aristide supporters cheered when they saw the former president arrive. They had arrived a couple of hours before the plane landed, holding pictures of the former priest, some saying “The king is back”.
Mr Aristide’s return adds a potentially volatile element to an already tense situation in a country facing a power vacuum.
Mr Aristide has long been one of Haiti’s most polarising politicians and is still popular with some groups.
The twice-elected, twice-ousted leader returned to Haiti from exile in 2011 and has largely kept a low profile except for when he campaigned for the presidential candidate of his party in 2016.
It was not clear what health conditions prompted Mr Aristide to fly to Cuba. At the time, Mr Moise said only that Mr Aristide had to seek treatment abroad and that Haiti’s embassy in Cuba would provide any assistance required.