Diaspora

Haitian groups to meet in Baton Rouge to seek deal after president's assassination – NOLA.com

Authorities pose for a group photo in front of the portrait of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at at the National Pantheon Museum during his memorial service in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Moise was assassinated on July 7 at his home. Less than a dozen elected officials are currently representing a country of more than 11 million people. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph, File)
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Authorities pose for a group photo in front of the portrait of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise at at the National Pantheon Museum during his memorial service in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Moise was assassinated on July 7 at his home. Less than a dozen elected officials are currently representing a country of more than 11 million people. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph, File)
Political leaders and influential groups from Haiti will meet in Louisiana this week in hopes of planning the next step for the country in crisis.
The Haiti Unity Summit starts Thursday at the Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge and will end Jan. 19, according to a statement from the university.
Retired U.S. Lieutenant General Russel Honore, best known for leading the military relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina, will facilitate the sessions.
The goal of the summit, according to the school, is to “lay the groundwork” for a transitional government that will organize elections.
The summit is being hosted by by the law center and the 2021 Haitian Diaspora Interest Group. The group, according to the school, includes the Haitian Medical Association, the Haitian Diaspora Federation, Haitian Diaspora Political Action Committee, Projet2Morrow, Coalition Des Organizations De La Diaspora Haitienne, Movement Patriotiques Des Haitiens Conscients and GIPHADREC Haiti.
The meeting comes months after Haitian president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at his private residence. 
More than 40 suspects have been detained, including 19 former Colombian soldiers. Among them is Mario Antonio Palacios, who was a member of Colombia’s military for 20 years.
Palacios is the first person to be formally charged with a crime related to the July 7, 2021 assassination. He was charged earlier this month with conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and with providing material support resulting in death, knowing or intending that such material support would be used to prepare for or carry out the conspiracy to kill or kidnap.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry has pledged to hold general elections this year, but he has not provided a specific date. The elections were originally scheduled for last year, but they were delayed by the pandemic, a spike in gang violence and Moïse’s killing.
Shortly after the assassination, Senate President Joseph Lambert declared himself president of Haiti with the support of several politicians, but the move was largely ignored.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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Carlie Kollath Wells is a breaking news reporter at NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate.
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