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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  July 20, 2021 12:30am-1:01am BST

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on bbc news, it's hardtalk with stephen sackur. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. pity the 11 and a half million people of haiti. it's hard to think of a nation more comprehensively shattered by many decades of misrule and the ravages of natural disaster. in the latest lurch toward chaos the president jovenel moise was assassinated earlier this month. who ordered the hit is unclear. a retracted struggle for power seemed certain. my guest is former haitian prime minister laurent lamothe. can anything be done to end haiti's suffering?
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laurent lamothe in miami, florida, welcome to hardtalk. thank you very much for having me. it's a pleasure having you on the show. let us begin with the assassination of president moise. just how big a blow to haiti was back was dark?. this was a tremendous blow. if you take into account the country went through the earthquake and never really recovered in 2010. then you have this happen, especially the way it happened. having the president democratically elected, had 55% of the vote, only six months left into his mandate. basically he was a lame
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duck president. he had announced an election date and was in talks with the opposition and had appointed actually in opposition prime minister. was to resume functions. this happen. this was a shock to everybody. were you close to president moise? jovenel moise, he initially, initially was elected from the same party that i was. he was a friend. he became a friend of mine and somebody of mine and somebody that was finding a huge struggle. so that's the relationship that we had. yeah, his wife who was also shot and injured in the attack on his residence onjuly seven, she was treated in miami. ijust wonder if you saw her when she was in florida? no, no, she gave access basically to no one.
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she had two surgeries and she stayed a very short time in florida. so i spoke to her on the phone just to send her my condolences and wish her well. but i did not get to physically see her, no. president moise had a lot of enemies. most senior politicians in haiti seem to make enemies. there is much speculation about who may have ordered the hit. we know that 28 individuals including it seems 26 who were from columbia would have been arrested and detained as part of the investigation. but the question remains, who gave the orders, what is your feeling having listened to what has been said by the authorities? well, there's been numerous reports and a lot of conspiracy theories. and several people arrested. it's a multinational effort. the fbi is involved, the dni from columbia is involved. this is going to take
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a multinational effort and this is what i had asked for an international investigation to take place. that's happening now. who gave the orders, who basically sponsored it? this was from one of the reports that i read, this was a $20 million operation. this is a huge operation in terms of cost. so it would take individuals with heavy financial resources and also lots of hatred towards the president. because to go and assassinate him at his house in his bedroom and shoot his wife to begin with, this is certainly a personal issue. an issue that... as you've indicated it raises all sorts of questions. not least one about security. you were pm up until 2014. you know the kind of security detail that haitian politicians get.
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i understand that when he travelled president moise had his cavalcade of ten or 12 vehicles with security. it seems extraordinary that he and his wife could be shot in their residence and not a single security official, member of his team was wounded, killed or anything else. well, this is the most shocking of facts. there was no resistance from the presidential guard which has three units, three separate units. it has the presidential guard itself, that secures the perimeter of the president. it has the counter ambush team that are closer to the presidents facility and then there is the presidential security unit which are civilian clothes that are basically in close proximity of the president. none of these three reacted.
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there was a whole lot of bullets shot at the presidents house. the president called frantically for help to the security units and at the end, there was not one shot fired back at the assailant. so this raises all types of questions in terms was the presidentjust be delivered to the mercenaries? and how much money was at play, in terms of what did it take to get the cooperation of these presidential guards? this raises a lot of questions that are going to have to be answered by this investigation. in terms of enemies, the president always said publicly to several international newspapers that there was, "corrupt holy guards that was out to get him and to assassinate him because of some of the reforms that he was making in the economy." so that is, there are a lot
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of questions to be answered. i hope that the fbi and the columbian and united put all the resources available in order to complete this investigation and find those who did this and bring them tojustice and lock them up for a while. i mean, in any murder investigation, investigators tend to ask one basic question at the beginning and that is, "who benefits, who gains?" and in this situation, who benefits, who gains from the murder of presidentjovenel moise? well, in this case you would have the enemies of the president and certainly in the business community, those who would stand to benefit and then you would have some of the opposition politicians that would benefit as well. it's not a lot of people. so the investigation should rapidly focus where it should and to find some of the sponsors of this. what we know about
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the situation right now is that who governs, who rules haiti is the subject of a great deal of speculation. upon the murder of president moise, the prime minister was about to be replaced, he announced that he was in charge. we understand from the very latest reporting coming from the washington post that mrjoseph may now have agreed to relinquish power in favour of the individual who president moise wanted to appoint and was going to appoint as pm but of course didn't do so or he didn't take charge because the president was killed. if that is indeed true, what does that tell you about what's happening in port—au—prince right now? basically, that was a process, that was in the evolving
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process, i should say. because the president two days before he passed away, ariel henry as the countries new prime minister and he came from the opposition ranks and that was in order to basically create a grim sort of political agreement to pave the way for the opposition to take part in in the september election. that appointment was done. mrjoseph was the caretaker prime minister and he was basically according to constitution, he was the want to take charge because he was in function when the assassination happened. but you know, the situation certainly a vault and i don't have confirmed reports of that but if it has evolved where there were several talks between the two men and between the different factions of haiti to come within acceptable political, i would say decision to put the country towards elections
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as soon as possible with the appointment of a new government, a new consensus government. right. what's interesting is that in those few days where it appeared that he intended to take power and keep powerfor some time, he actually made a point of saying to the united states and the un that haiti needed international intervention. and the us to be backing his claim to power. where does that, do you think leave notions of an international intervention of some sort in haiti to try and prevent the countries sliding into deeper chaos? well, there are two things, one thing is that the country has a set election date which is september 26. whether it's going to be able to carry out the elections
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on september 26 or a few months later remains to be seen. but one thing is certain, the haitian people want to have an elected president to replace another elected president and certainly do not want to go into protracted transition. that would last over two years. basically, the second burial of president moise to the burial of himself physically and secondly the burial of the investigation. that investigation needs to go on and the actors, the sponsors, the people that put the money for this to happen need to be found and the country need to go on a democratic path to move elections as scheduled or a few months later. but... hang on. let's go through this piece by piece. do you seriously think elections are possible in any foreseeable future? your country is in desperate straits. it's in chaos right now. and to quote the human rights advocate in haiti, he says elections now,
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he says "this is a sure path to sham outcomes and countless deaths of haitian citizens in such a violent, lawless environment with no credible state institutions, a situation with he says moise cultivated. how could opposition candidates campaign safely? how could people in haiti trust in the results?" those are good questions, aren't they? of course they are. that's why what he is referring to is certainly a state where you have gangs operating in the port—au—prince area that are not being challenged by the police or by any organised security force. so that certainly has to happen. and that needs to happen and that's why the prime minister requested national assistance for that to happen. but all that comes through after, if you remember, the un sent forces to haiti
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for 13 or iii years from 2004 to 2018 and those forces cost about iii billion us dollars. and achieved what, exactly? many haitians would look at the history of us intervention, un interventions and see nothing but a litany of failure. well, this is exactly why one should learn from domestic — that mission was obviously left prematurely. or didn't focus on the right, i would say security environment before it left. because it reenforced only the haitian police and it left no army behind because it was worried that the army would would violate human rights, etc. but at the end of the day today it's clear that there is a need for international, that their state military need, i should say. isn't that the truth mr lamothe that the real true failings of haiti
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in the last decade of his two or two, the realfailures have been in the haitian political political elite of which you are 8—member. repeatedly over haiti's political leaders who were drawn from that very small, rich elite have failed the country and have allowed the country to slip ever deeper into corruption and criminalisty. frankly, you have to take a share of your blame for that. it's the results that count at the end of the day. and the results are not what anyone would desire. this is why we cannot fall for the same situation as we did in the past. and we have to learn from the mistakes because you know what happens is, you recognise the mistakes and then you fix them and then you move forward. but you need to fix them and move forward. it's not a question of pointing the figure out who's to blame it's a question of fixing the problem and giving the results that the haitian people need and want. the haitian people definitely want accountability.
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we saw the mass protest against the movies government because they still believe that the endemic corruption going to the very top, which haitians have seen from their government over many years has not been addressed. ——moise and frankly, the biggest single beef that haitian people have with their governors is the so—called petro caribe scandal which caused the country billions of dollars, dollars which it disappeared. again i have to put it to you, you were a central player in that as planning minister and prime minister in that period up to 2014. and you've never been held to account. well, actually that's incorrect, sir. i beg to differ. what happens is, haiti after the earthquake had a damage of 15 billion us dollars was up another 15 million us dollars the international community promised 9 billion out
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of the 9 billion only 4 billion were delivered. and out of that only 1% went to the haitian government. so the entirety when to basically the international community coming to help haiti. mostly the american assistance. that's the emergency assistance. there are questions about what happened to some of that. but specifically, this sweetheart deal, sweetheart deal done by the government when your friend the president was in power and you were planning minister and then prime minister meant that venezuela essentially gave you a very cheap oil and very low interest rates on the understanding that the money you were saving, billions of dollars would be sent to eight spent as you promised on massive infrastructure and modernisation projects but the truth is, and it's been looked at by a commission of senators in 80 and the high court of auditors, they look at what happened to the money and a lot of that money simply disappeared. ok, that's incorrect.
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if you allow me to finish, taking it from the reconstruction amount you know, from the international community, now there was out of the hundred and 15 billion in damages according to the world bank. and to the international developing bank, the economic development bank. there was in funds basically $1.7 billion in ten years so $107 million a year to be invested in the projects of development while they were $15 billion of damages. 0k? so what happened is basically, there was 408 projects which is way too little to invest in a country that was completely devastated. a country invested what it had. if you see every single development project, every single road, every single
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police station, every single football field that's made in the country, every single housing project in the country today was made by those funds. so... if you are serious... a lot of shortfall. i mean, i want to finish my statement, please. briefly, if you would. in the end you don't have to persuade me, you have to persuade the haitian people. surely the safest way of doing that is leaving miami, going back to port—au—prince a being part of a thorough accounting for haiti's past so that haiti can begin to trust in a better future. absolutely, sir. so now, finishing what i'm telling you because you mentioned that the parliament had some commissions look at that, did have two commissions to look at. in terms of accountability...
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they named you amoungst 14 senior officials who had serious questions to answer. exactly. out of the 14 there was only one which is my cell that had eight audits done by the superior court. and the four audit were positive. the other four were positive as well. so i did eight audits, talking about accountability, eight audits were positive. so i don't know what it is that you are trying to refer to but you obviously are being misled. i suppose what i'm seeing in haiti is a population, 11 and a half million people, the vast majority of whom are living in poverty who have seen their lives ruined by political missrule and it has to be said, natural disasters as well. and they want to believe a — that a there will be some accountability for the criminalisty of the past and b — that there are some people in haiti who are capable
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of leading the country out of the current mess and into a somewhat more positive future. and right now they don't see any of that leadership. can you tell me where it might come from? well, the first thing that has to happen in this case is elections to have elected officials represent the people. that's the first thing that needs to happen. and not what many claim to be have issues like a transition, ok that would take many months to have. that is the worst thing that could happen to haiti. second of all what needs to happen to haiti is to bolster the security forces in order to fight the gangs, for those elections to happen without violence. with those two units i believe that haiti should be on the track of democracy. and democracy which is the only path for, i would say sustainable progress was up and not necessarily having a situation where
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i'll continue chaos. because the chaos was produced. and as you said, went to the chaos arden haiti? the chaos started when president moise started looking at corrupt oligarchs having monopoly contracts that basically were charging the state over $1.5 billion. as you are not talking about today. and probably you haven't been briefed on that. so when that happened, when the president started looking at the monopoly contracts that's when all the protests started happening against it. because the first three years that he was there there was no protest because he was not really focusing on some of the monopoly contracts that were happening. when the president started tackling corruption through those contracts, then all of a sudden, the whole political class of the whole business sector started attacking him through street protest,
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through what they claim was his petro carry claim for that that he had corruption within the petro caribbean island. all those were a political plot to assassinate the president before they assassinated him physically. he was assassinated in public opinion with the same statements that you are doing today. and then when his assassination happen he... i have no agenda. myjob is simply to ask where you believe haiti goes from here. you've indicated, not least in your discussion to me about the way the president was assassinated that you have little faith in many of the security deposit in haiti right now. the policing in haiti right now. you're talking about the power of organised crime in haiti today. we look at a country we sometimes a result, surely it cannot get any worse. do you believe that about haiti, that it's at the bottom or could it get worse? well, i believe that haiti is certainly having challenges. a lot of challenges.
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but i do believe that those challenges can be met and can be fixed. i don't believe it's impossible situation. i do believe that with the help of our partners, with an election, let the haitian people choose who they want as their leader. that should happen. we must end. forgive me mr lamothe, the way you're talking, very briefly, could you go back to haiti, are you interested in trying to lead haiti out of this current mask? do you have political ambitions for your future? you are prime minister seven years ago. right. i was prime minister seven years ago. today i'm noticing a situation where the president of my country has been assassinated. i believe there is an international investigation has to be and certainly a special tribunal for haiti. just like was done in lebanon or in sierra leone.
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what are your ambitions? in terms of political ambition i said it many times, i don't have to be prime minister to help my country. so i'm not a candidate to any of this now. all right. well laurent lamothe, we appreciate your time. thank you very much forjoining me hardtalk. thank you very much. hello again. monday was another hot and sunny day for the majority of us, but there were a few storms that popped up. one or two affecting sussex and kent, there were a few storms in south wales for a time and there was one in the veil of york but otherwise we have skies
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like these can be the majority of us having dry, sunny and hot day. and talking of heat, the met office have issued their first extreme heat warning. why now? well, these warnings only started being issued injune and this is just the first hot spell we have seen. but this area, it represents an area of concern to the met office where we could see some impacts from the heat whether that be impacts to health or indeed infrastructure, things like trains might need to go slightly slower due to the tracks heating up in this hot weather. that kind of thing. at the moment there's not too much going on, it's a clear start to the day tuesday and of course it has been very warm overnight, those temperatures starting off tuesday morning at around 16 degrees across parts of england and wales. a little bit fresher for scotland and northern ireland. but it's going to be another hot and sunny day. high pressure firmly in charge, however, into the afternoon some thunderstorms will break out and i think this is the kind of area we are most likely to see the downpours.
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they are likely to be bigger storms, so wouldn't be surprised to hear reports of some localised surface water flooding in one or two of the biggest storms that do pop up. otherwise, it's another hot and sunny one. temperatures widely mid to high 20s, the low 30s in the very hardest parts of the country. and we are used to this, aren't we? after such a hot day those temperatures slow to come down, this is 11 o'clock at night and you can see those temperatures are still up at 23 there in birmingham and london. again, a little bit lower than that for scotland and northern ireland, but still plenty warm enough. now our area of high pressure hangs around to wednesday, the only real change is it reorientats slightly to push that hotter air a little bit further northwards. so one thing you will notice as temperatures tending to rise in northern ireland and scotland into more generally the high 20s i think as we go into wednesday. again, there could be an odd shower popping outcome of but for the majority it will continue with that dry run of whether with temperatures in the high 20s to low 30s in the hottest areas. beyond that thursday and friday we keep the hot and sunny
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weather for the most part, there will be a change eventually coming, it looks look at might come through on the weekend. with heavy rain for some.
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iam sarah i am sarah live in tokyo where the 32nd modern olympics begins in three days time. the international olympic committee describes the delayed tokyo 2020 games as the most complex ever held. as athletes arrive, there are more positive test forcing some athletes to self isolate, others to withdraw. dominic cummins accuses borisjohnson cummins accuses boris johnson of cummins accuses borisjohnson of putting politics about people' lives during the pandemic. fires flare across
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russia as a heat wave tears through


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