One of Haiti’s most notorious former rebel leaders has criticised the government’s response to the January 12th earthquake and has called on Rene Preval, the Haitian president, to resign.
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, fugitive rebel leader Guy Philippe said the Haitian government failed to adequately deal with the aftermath of the devastating quake.
More than a million people were made homeless by the deadly quake, many of them now living in flimsy makeshift shelters that offer little protection from heavy rains.
“We’ve become a country of beggars,” Philippe said.
“We could have done something but my people, my government, my president he prefers to wait for American, French or European to come and help.
“I think the president cannot handle this case, he cannot. He should have resigned first.”
A former police chief, Philippe led the Haitian paramilitary forces that overthrew the government of then-President Jean-Bertrand in 2004.
Human Rights Watch has accused him of leading so-called death squads, and he is now wanted by the United States for his alleged involvement in drug trafficking, though he has denied the accusations.
Since then, Philippe has mostly been in hiding, far from the control of Haiti’s government. But as Al Jazeera’s Sebastian Walker reports, Philippe says he is ready to turn himself in.