Jimmy Barbecue Chérizier: from protector to predator, the untold story

Jimmy Barbecue Chérizier: from protector to predator, the untold story
Jimmy Chérizier

In the heart of the Caribbean, Haiti, a country beleaguered by political turmoil and social strife, has seen a new and formidable figure rise from the chaos. Jimmy Chérizier, also known by the moniker ‘Barbecue,’ has emerged as a controversial leader, commanding a confederation of nine criminal gangs. His ascent to power is a story of both fear and fascination, shedding light on the complexities of Haiti’s societal challenges.

Chérizier, an ex-police officer, has carved out a reputation that seems drawn from the most gripping of crime novels. He has skillfully navigated the underbelly of Haiti’s urban landscape, uniting disparate and often rival gangs under his leadership. The alliance, known colloquially as the G9 Family and Allies, has become a force to reckon with, exerting considerable influence and control within the poorest areas of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

The rise of Barbecue is emblematic of the broader security crisis facing Haiti. With the state struggling to maintain order and provide basic services, gang leaders like Chérizier have filled the power vacuum. They offer a semblance of stability and protection in neighborhoods plagued by violence and poverty. However, this protection comes at a steep price, as gangs are often involved in kidnappings, extortion, and bloody turf wars that terrorize the local population.

Chérizier’s notoriety grew in the wake of the 2020 massacre in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of La Saline, an event that marked him as a man capable of extreme violence. While his exact role in the massacre remains a subject of intense debate, the event cemented his status as a fearsome leader, willing to exercise ruthless power to achieve his goals.

Despite his controversial methods, Barbecue has fashioned himself as a sort of vigilante hero for some, taking on a Robin Hood-like image. He positions himself as a champion of the oppressed, aiming to fight against the deep-seated corruption and inequality that afflict Haiti. His public addresses often echo themes of revolution and societal change, resonating with a segment of the population disillusioned with the status quo.

However, the governmental response to Chérizier and his gang coalition has been one of consternation and crackdowns. Haitian authorities, along with international law enforcement agencies, view the G9 alliance as a significant obstacle to restoring law and order. Efforts to dismantle the gang network have met with limited success, as the gangs are entrenched in the communities they control and enjoy a certain level of support from the residents.

The complexity of Jimmy Chérizier’s character and the criminal empire he oversees is a testament to the intricate web of socio-political issues in Haiti. As Barbecue continues to wield considerable power and influence, the question of how to address the underlying conditions that have allowed figures like him to thrive remains a daunting challenge for Haiti.