PRINCE PORT –
PORT-AU-PRINCE (AP) – Known coup leader Guy Philippe returned to Haiti on Thursday, having been repatriated by the U.S. government, raising fears that his presence could cause further disruption in the country. gripped by gang violence and political instability.
It is unclear what role Philippe is expected to play in Haiti, if any. The country is besieged by gangs that have gained extraordinary power in the political vacuum created by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021.
Philippe, a charismatic leader, led a coup in 2004 against former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He has strong ties to police, politicians and business elites, said Robert Fatton, an expert on Haitian politics and professor at the University of Virginia.
“It is not clear whether the links will be investigated. What is very clear is that Guy Philippe has always considered himself a kind of messianic person who should govern Haiti. Said Fatton.
Philippe’s lawyer, Jean Joseph Louicher, confirmed to The Associated Press that Philippe arrived in Port-au-Prince on Thursday morning.
“We fought for years to reduce Guy Philippe’s sentence to bring him home,” he said, referring to a money laundering case in which he pleaded guilty in the United States.
Louicher said he was waiting for Philippe to be processed and released by the National Police, as required by protocol, “so he can go home to his family now.”
Philippe, wearing a gray jumpsuit, was seen entering the National Police headquarters after getting off the bus. He could not immediately be reached for comment.
Philippe was the police chief in Cap-Haitien, on the country’s northern coast, and was later accused of planning attacks on police stations and other facilities while in exile in the Dominican Republic.