The diplomatic head of Chile’s mission in Haiti visited a project run by America Solidaria, together with his wife and NGO workers.
Chile's ambassador to Haiti, Patricio Utreras, and his motorcade were ambushed by armed men Wednesday in a Haitian village during a visit to a clean water initiative. A worker from the non-government organization Foundation America Solidaria was killed, the NGO informed Thursday.
“Today we have received the sad news of the death of Frantz Eliacin, our co-worker of America Solidaria Haiti, as a result of an ambush that happened yesterday in the town of Boutin, in the same country,” said the statement. Eliacin was a driver for the Foundation.
The diplomatic head of Chile’s mission in Haiti was visiting a project run by America Solidaria, together with his wife and a number of NGO workers when five unknown armed men with AK-47s descended on the delegation in Boutin, a village about 19 km from the capital, Port-au-Prince, immediately firing on the group, according to Chilean news outlet La Tercera.
Utreras' driver suffered a bullet wound to his right hand, the Chilean Foreign Ministry said. While various Chilean media outlets are also reporting that one of the attackers was killed by the police assigned to protect the ambassador. America Solidaria said that all Chilean, Colombian and Mexican volunteers in Haiti are "completely safe."
As a response, Chile’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement to "deeply repudiate the attack," adding that the country will "continue with the support that historically has been given...through cooperation programs, assistance programs and training of human capital.”
The project that the delegation was visiting is the “Wash” initiative, which builds a system to ensure access to drinking water and improve sanitary conditions in the community, said to benefit approximately 3,500 people.
Back in February, the Chilean embassy in Haiti advised its nationals to postpone trips to the Caribbean island. Authorities are now investigating the attack, yet there is no apparent motive.
The attacks come as nation-wide protests and riots continue to rock the Caribbean nation since Feb. 7, against the lack of improvement in basic living conditions, the on-going economic crisis of the island and a corruption scandal regarding embezzlement. Opposition leaders have called for the resumption of anti-government mobilizations for Friday.