moise jean-charles haiti
Caption: Moïse Jean-Charles speaks during the protest in Port-au-Prince in 2019. (By Valerie Baeriswyl/AFP/Getty Images)

MIAMI — American authorities detained Moïse Jean-Charles, leader of a prominent opposition party and former Haitian presidential candidate, as he returned to Haiti from Africa. He was then sent on to Haiti.

Initial reports from a Jan. 25 Associated Press news alert said Jean-Charles was arrested, then deported. However, based on an account that Jean-Charles, leader of the Pitit Desalin (Dessalines’ Children) political party, provided to VOA Kreyol, he was not placed under arrest. Rather, he said, immigration officials at Miami International Airport questioned him, asking specifically about his ties to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. They put him in a holding cell at the airport for one night, then sent him on to Haiti the next day.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection declined to provide specific details to VOA about the arrest. The agency said travelers may be barred from entering the U.S. for 60 different reasons, including health, improper documentation and safety concerns.

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Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America corps member. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Haiti Liberte. Sam can be reached at sam@haitiantimes.com or on Twitter @sambojarski.