Thursday, June 13

Haitian families in South Florida fear for loved ones following unrest in Haiti

Frantz Beneus is the owner of the Haitian eatery Geechah Cafe in Lake Worth Beach.

“I hear so many different opinions,” he said.

Beneus said when folks show up, the only thing they want to talk about is Haiti and its unrest.

“When three or four sit down here waiting for their food that’s the topic of conversation,” he said.

The latest crisis in the Caribbean nation involves weeks of gang violence, prison breaks, and a prime minister ready to resign. Prime Minister Ariel Henry came to power after the 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Mose.

“I’m sad to see that situation decline as much as right now, it’s never been that worse before,” Beneus said. “I don’t see no way out, because it’s mixed with so many different problems.”

South Florida has a large Haitian population with many people desperate to connect with loved ones.

Pierre Leon said most of his family members are afraid to go outside, because of the ongoing violence.

“I have family there I’m not even going to mention who they are. They go day by day,” Leon said. “They’re just being lucky, because it could happen to anybody, at any time. It is that bad.”

He said leaving Haiti is an option.

“Coming here is a matter of security, a matter of safety,” Leon said. “But you talk to the average Haitian, they want to go back to Haiti.”

At the moment going back to Haiti isn’t a feasible idea.

Beneus said he fears he may never get the chance to go back home.

“I wish. If I die and don’t see that day, my children will,” he said.

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