Haiti In Turmoil As Gang Boss 'Barbecue' His Men Seize Control Of Capital

Former police officer Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier is the leader of the ‘G9’ coalition.

Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer turned brutal gang leader known as “Barbecue,” has orchestrated a mass prison break, freeing nearly 3,700 inmates and solidifying his power as a major threat to Haiti’s stability, according to The Metro.

Cherizier, who leads a powerful gang alliance called the G9 Family and Allies, has long been accused of horrific violence. He allegedly earned his nickname for his brutality, which includes burning rivals alive. Reports claim he masterminded the 2018 massacre in La Saline, where over 70 people were killed and hundreds of homes destroyed, according to the news outlet

Despite facing accusations of human rights abuses, Cherizier has garnered some support by portraying himself as a protector of the poor. However, critics say this is a smokescreen to control local businesses through extortion.

Following his dismissal from the police force, Cherizier formed the G9, which has been blamed for numerous civilian massacres in recent years. Some allege a secret pact existed between Cherizier and the former president, allowing the G9 to operate with impunity in exchange for maintaining order.

The president’s assassination in 2021 plunged Haiti into further chaos. Gangs, including the G9, now control most of the capital, Port-au-Prince, turning it into a dangerous sprawl of kidnappings, killings, and rape. This violence is compounded by food shortages, disease outbreaks, and fuel crises.

The recent prison break orchestrated by Cherizier signifies a dangerous escalation. Authorities fear the freed inmates will further bolster gang ranks and exacerbate the already dire situation in Haiti.

Cherizier is one of five gang leaders subject to UN and US sanctions. The effects of these sanctions remain unclear.


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