Phantom state in Haiti: criminal sovereignty and the mercenary remedy



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Trends in Organized Crime


Haiti has become a scenario of convergence between the political and the criminal as a combination for territorial control and security configuration. Using process tracing, we wanted to find what were the motivations for hiring a group of mercenaries with the aim of getting rid of an increasingly authoritarian president. Thus we identify critical points in Haitian history regarding the symbiosis between crime and political institutions, which permit us to construct causal mechanisms to identify that, among other things, Haiti is a phantom state, as we call it in our research, because it has a nominal and supplanted political structure in which competition between different groups who seek to assume political authority has led to a limited, fragmented, delegated and authoritarian presence of the state among the population and the territory. Consequently, we find that the use of force has not belonged exclusively to the state, it has been divided into different oligopolies of violence and the Haitian state is only one more actor in the criminal complex of the country, where state institutions are the mechanisms with criminal organizations to generate criminal dynamics of territorial control and profit. Based on the above, we consider that, as the government of Jovenel Moïse had allied with the strongest gangs and weakened political groups and criminal rivals, the mercenaries were the instrument to break the authoritarian government of Moïse. In effect, the magnicide was the product of a plan to depose the president, undertaken by political leaders in complicity with the country’s judiciary to curb the concentration of executive power.




85135262552 (Scopus)