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.
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.
Police officers demonstrated against targeted attacks on national police, and authorities unveiled details of new political accord amid calls for continued dialogue.
Police officers mutinied amid repeated gang attacks on their officers. Gangs 10-25 Jan carried out over five attacks on national police in different cities, leaving at least 14 officers dead, two wounded and two missing. Notably, Grand Grif gang members 25 Jan killed six policemen in Liancourt commune. Armed police next day launched violent demonstrations in several cities, notably capital Port-au-Prince, where they attacked interim PM Henry’s residence and airport. Meanwhile, month saw overall increase in kidnappings in capital. Notably, unknown assailants 18 Jan kidnapped 29 bus passengers in Croix-des-Bouquets, outskirts of Port-au-Prince.
Authorities published details of new political accord. Authorities 11 Jan made public text of “21 December accord” between Henry and some members of opposition forces. Document called for creation of High Council of Transition, established 17 Jan, and Body of Oversight of Government Action to sit alongside Henry during transitional period until Feb 2024 when newly elected govt assumes power. Though document received support from some international actors, including European Union and UN, members of civil society platform Montana Accord continued to disregard it. U.S. Assistant Sec State Brian Nichols 5 Jan called for “broader consensus and greater flexibility among leaders from all sectors” to address political crisis. Meanwhile, institutional crisis 9 Jan peaked when terms of ten remaining senators ended, leaving Haiti with no elected officials.
Discussions on multinational security mission continued. PM Henry 1 Jan declared that request for national police support was not request for occupation or military intervention. UN Sec-Gen António Guterres 17 Jan reiterated “urgent need” for “international specialised armed force”. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau 10 Jan said Canada is working with U.S., Mexico and Caribbean partners to ensure “we will have options” if situation deteriorates, reiterating importance of Haitian-led solution to security crisis. Canadian Ambassador to UN Bob Rae 18 Jan said foreign military intervention would have little sustainable impact.
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.
Presentation by Mark L. Schneider, Senior Vice President, International Crisis Group on “Is it time for MINUSTAH to leave Haiti?” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, DC, 25 July 2013.
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