PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – The morning after rumors spread through the interwebs that the candidate for president, Jovenel Moïse, had been slapped by President Martelly in a moment of rage at the National Palace, the strategy and communications specialist for the campaign did the rounds on Haitian radio stations to inform the public that his candidate did not intend to drop out of the race.
However, Friday afternoon a buzz had hit the interwebs and some Diaspora radio stations that the candidate for president for the ruling party had received a kalot (slap) at the hand of President Michel Martelly during a moment of rage at the National Palace.
The well connected journalist, Ricot Dupuy, reported having caught wind of the information. The Sentinel received similar information online but could not obtain a definite confirmation nor repudiation of it from more trusted sources.
Pattern of behavior
President Michel Martelly had publicly threatened to slap a woman during a campaign rally in Mirebalais where Jovenel Moïse was present. Along with sexual assault, Martelly told the woman if he had not been president he would have broken her jaw.
In January of 2015, Senator Steven Benoit and a remaining group of 10 senators said they would not step foot inside the National Palace while Martelly is president. Benoit said he had received insults and threats of harm during a previous meeting aimed at affording some control while Martelly heads his totalitarian regime.
Previously, in 2013, the Director General of the Haitian National Police (PNH), Godson Orelus, was said to have received a similar strike from the Head of State at the National Palace. Anonymous officers of the PNH corroborated with the information which was disseminated on Zenith FM.
The government, at the time, attempted to pursue the radio station in court and through the communications regulatory commission, CONATEL, for defamation. Public outcry at the violation of rights of the press forced the administration to relinquish the pursuit.
In 2011, Deputy Arnel Belizaire was a victim of assault at the National Palace wear threats of harm were launched at him. The sitting-deputy left the palace and days later would be arrested, outside of the law, at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport while returning from Paris, France.