Allegations of three candidates' drug ties resurface in Haitian presidential race

Saturday, December 24, 2005 According to the Miami Herald, sources in the United States and in Haiti are saying that at least 2 of the potential presidents who are running in the upcoming Haitian elections have ties to the trafficking of cocaine, and 3 candidates for all positions. The Miami Herald names the 2 presidential candidates as Guy Philippe and Dany Toussaint.

Guy Philippe is the rebel leader who participated in the 2004 Haitian rebellion which ousted former president Aristide. Philippe has long been thought to be part of the trafficking of cocaine through Haiti, back to his days a police chief in Cap Haitien. Two top U.S. officials say that Philippe was once recruited to be an informant but he turned them down due to the traffickers paying him more. Philippe denies the rumors and claims that there is no evidence of his involvement in any smuggling activities.

Dany Toussaint has also long been linked to the trafficking business, dating to his time as a chief of police under Aristide's government. He has always denied the allegation.

The named last suspect is Youri Latortue, a candidate for Senate in Gonaives which is a major drug smuggling area. Youri Latortue is also the nephew of interim Prime Minister Gérard Latortue and is currently working as security chief. He is nicknamed Mr. 30 Percent due to the fact that he charges 30 percent in exchange for government contracts. The Prime Minister has defended his nephew saying that he trusts him. Youri allegedly has ties to smugglers in Gonaives who control the trafficking at the seaport.

According to the U.S. State Department, about 8 percent of cocaine manufactured in Colombia travels through Haiti before reaching the United States.