A disastrous earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, leaving the country in deep distress. Reconstruction failed to address the systemic problems underlying its extreme socio-economic inequality and endemic political and gang violence. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021 and a bout of natural disasters soon thereafter, Haiti’s humanitarian plight has gone from bad to worse. Crisis Group aims to shed light on the sources of Haiti’s strife and supports core reforms to the security sector and state that could pave the way for credible elections, improved security and clean government.
7 July marks the second anniversary of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Diego Da Rin explains why insecurity has gripped Haiti since the murder and why some Haitians have turned to self-defence groups to fend off rising gang power.
UN Security Council approved Kenya-led security mission to Haiti, assassination of gang leader sparked inter-gang fighting, and tensions with Dominican Republic remained elevated.
UN approved Kenyan-led multinational mission. UN Security Council 2 Oct authorised one-year Multinational Security Support mission to Haiti, to be reviewed after nine months; force will support Haitian police, including by planning and conducting joint operations, restoring security and creating conditions for free and fair elections. Kenya, who is leading mission, 7 Oct began selecting officers for mission; first group of 200 police officers 10 Oct started pre-mission training in Kenya. High Court of Kenya 9 Oct temporarily blocked deployment amid opposition pressure, 24 Oct extended ban for two weeks.
Assassination of gang leader triggered new waves of violence. Late Sept killing of gang leader from G9 coalition known as Tyson, allegedly by other members of coalition, sparked clashes in following weeks between gangs from G9 and Gpèp coalitions in capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. Notably, clashes 13-14 Oct erupted in La Saline district between at least three G9 gangs, trapping around 400 children and teachers in school. Members of 400 Mawozo gang operating in Croix-des-Bouquets 4 Oct set fire to Thomazeau police station, third such attack in two weeks. Attackers reportedly from Village-de-Dieu gang 18 Oct kidnapped High Council for Transition Sec Gen Antony Virginy Saint Pierre. Meanwhile, UNICEF 3 Oct warned of intensifying violence in Artibonite department, known as Haiti’s breadbasket; UN envoy 23 Oct warned “major crimes” had reached “record highs”.
Spat with Dominican Republic over canal construction continued. After Dominican Republic mid Sept shut border with Haiti over dispute about construction of canal by farmers on Haitian side of Massacre River, Dominican Republic 11 Oct partially reopened border to some commercial activity (see Dominican Republic).
In other important developments. Former senator 10 Oct pleaded guilty to role in 2021 assassination of President Moïse, while authorities 19 Oct arrested key suspect in Port-au-Prince and U.S. court 27 Oct sentenced retired Colombian army officer to life in prison. UN Security Council 19 Oct renewed sanctions regime on Haiti for one year.
[The police in Haiti] are completely outgunned by the gangs right now.
The Haitian security forces and U.S. forces present in Haiti are not able to enter the areas where most kidnapped people are held.
[The gangs in Haiti are] running out of tools to control people. They extort, but there’s only so much money that can be extorted from people that are really poor.
In this video, Frank Giustra speaks about the level of suffering Haiti is currently experiencing.
Criminal gangs are wreaking havoc in Haiti, nudging public opinion toward accepting the idea of an international force that would help restore security. Outside powers should prepare a mission only with solid backing from the country’s politicians, including their pledges to form a transitional government.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood speaks with Renata Segura and Diego Da Rin, Crisis Group’s Latin America experts, about whether foreign forces can help tackle Haiti’s spiralling gang violence, political gridlock and latest cholera outbreak.
Foreign Troops Might Be the Least Bad Option
Increasingly deadly turf wars between rival gang coalitions have revealed the depth of Haiti’s political morass. In this Q&A, Crisis Group shows how the former and the latter are deeply intertwined.
This roundtable examines the causes of violence and instability in Haiti and explores the ways in which Haitians, with the support of the international community, can take actions to overcome the current crisis.
Haiti is reeling from the president’s assassination, a major earthquake and a severe tropical storm. The country needs urgent assistance, and its planned elections can wait. Outside powers should channel aid through local civil society groups, help investigate high-level crimes and support pressing reforms.
The killing of President Jovenel Moïse in murky circumstances has plunged the country into political turmoil. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Mariano de Alba explains the state of play and what outside actors should do as they seek to help Haiti achieve stability.
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