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.
Ever-worsening gang violence displaced thousands, Kenya’s supreme court blocked police deployment to Haiti, and negotiations to resolve political crisis failed to produce breakthrough.
Gang efforts to expand territory triggered mass displacement. Alleged members of Grand Ravine gang 1 Nov launched offensive in Mariani district south-west of capital Port-au-Prince to expand territory along National Route 2 and increase extortion opportunities; International Organization for Migration 6 Nov estimated 2,500 people were displaced in five days of fighting. Meanwhile, Iskar Andrice, one of G9 gang coalition’s founders and key leaders, 12 Nov died in unclear circumstances; leader of rival Gpèp coalition Ti Gabriel next day launched attacks in several G9-controlled areas of capital’s Cité Soleil neighbourhood to expand turf; OCHA 17 Nov said clashes killed at least 166 and displaced over 1,000. Iskar’s successor David Ganier aka Black Alex Mana, 21 Nov killed by member of same coalition, James Edmond aka Benji, replacing him as gang head. Bel-Air gang 19 Nov launched offensive to invade Solino neighbourhood of capital.
Kenya’s high court extended orders blocking police deployment to Haiti. Kenya’s parliament 16 Nov approved govt request to deploy 1,000 police officers to Haiti as part of multinational support mission. Hours later, however, Supreme Court extended Oct order blocking deployment until it rules on case in late Jan. Kenyan President Ruto 21 Nov said mission should be 5,000-strong. Meanwhile, poll by Haitian company Diagnostic and Development early Oct found 70% of Haitians favoured deployment of international armed force.
Negotiations between interim govt and opposition made little progress. CARICOM (body of Caribbean nations) experts 8-14 Nov visited Haiti for fourth round of negotiations between govt and opposition but no agreement was reached. Meanwhile, president of High Council for Transition Mirlande Manigat 2 Nov criticised lack of progress in implementing Dec 2022 agreement between acting PM Henry, opposition and civil society to organise new elections.
Dispute with Dominican Republic over canal construction continued. Dominican soldiers 7 Nov breached border wall near site where disputed Haitian canal is being built into Massacre River; Haitians immediately protested, setting up barricades at border and burning tires (see Dominican Republic).
[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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