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What does Haiti need to emerge from anarchy? – DW – 03/25/2024

What does Haiti need to emerge from anarchy?  – DW – 03/25/2024

Gang wars, prison raids, and mass protests are rife Haiti It has been in total anarchy since the assassination of President Jovenel Moss in 2021. A worsening socio-political and economic crisis in the country has now led to a mass exodus of Haitians. Has Haiti really become a failed state? What will it take for the Caribbean to emerge from this deep crisis?

Resignation of the Prime Minister Ariel Henry, in power since Moise's assassination, will be the first step towards restoring governance in the country, which has not held elections since 2016. Henry was due to leave the government in February but stayed in office after a deal with the opposition. For this reason, armed gangs controlling a large part of the country attacked the presidential headquarters, the airport and prisons, from which about 3,000 prisoners escaped.

“Henry's resignation is not going to change anything, but it is part of it solution. People want to see another side, and that side may be bad. “Henry has been indifferent to the suffering of the people,” says Haitian economist and political scientist Joseph Harold Pierre, director of the Center for Strategic Development of the Caribbean, in an interview with DW.

Priority: Resolving insecurity

After Henry resigned, the so-called “Interim President's Council” was formed, consisting of seven members from the nation's largest political parties, the private sector and the Montana Accord, a coalition that proposed an interim government after the assassination. By Moss.

“This council will do well. “Haiti is now a failed state that can't guarantee security even for itself,” notes Pierre optimistically. However, Colombian-Haitian researcher Wooldy Edson Louidor of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana says several organizations have impeached some of the council's members for having criminal influences in previous regimes. “Obviously, we have to pay attention to these complaints,” Luider says.

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Protesters carried a coffin with Prime Minister Ariel Henry's effigy during the protest.Image: Joseph Odelin/AP Photo/Image Alliance

The only way for the Caribbean nation to move forward, Luidore believes, is for “Haitians to agree to put the country above their own interests, and for everyone – immigrants and natives, rich and poor and political factions – to look for a Haitian solution to this chaotic and disordered situation.”

Support for international intervention?

According to expert Pierre, the main reason for the extreme situation in Haiti is that there are no elites in Haiti that work to support the governments. “For a state to exist, there must be an economic, political and intellectual elite behind it,” he asserts. But that will be a long-term perspective, he insists, because the immediate urgency is to “solve the problem of insecurity, and doing so requires strong and determined work.”

In that sense, Pierre supports the intervention of foreign powers in the country. “The best would be to help the police solve the problem, but they are too weak and have gang-related members. The solution would be for the foreign mission to intervene in Haiti,” says the political scientist.

Luidore, for his part, wants the Haitian police force to be strengthened in order to fight against armed gangs: “This should be done with international support in terms of tactics or logistical support, but the support of Haitian citizens is recommended and human rights organizations,” he points out.

The Kenyan government has pledged to send police to lead an international mission against criminal gangs, overseen by the UN. For this reason, Henry visited Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, where he was unable to return to his country because the main Haitian airports were closed due to the outbreak of violence. The President is currently in California, USA after leaving Puerto Rico where he announced his resignation.

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Dominican soldiers guard Haitians queuing to cross the border.Picture: Fran Afonso/REUTERS

International and durable solution

But it seems to Pierre that Kenya's intervention offers few guarantees of success. “I don't believe much in Kenya's intervention, I prefer intervention from developed countries like the US, Canada or France,” he says.

Washington, at least for now, has not ruled out sending troops to Haiti as part of an “international solution” to counter the spiral of violence facing the country. But organizations such as Amnesty International are critical of this type of foreign intervention and demand lasting solutions instead.

“Military solutions or external interventions do not address the causes of the crisis, and therefore, human rights violations and impunity continue, barring a move towards lasting stability,” La Semana said. Bigger, US Director of Amnesty International.

Experts Pierre and Luidore agree that Western countries and the international community bear some responsibility for what is happening in Haiti, whether the colonial past or the US occupation.

Pierre highlights that if Haiti is stabilized, it “has enormous economic potential,” given that more than half of Haiti's eleven and a half million people are under the age of 25. “First we have to educate these people, create jobs, and then invest in other industries. But for foreign investment to be there, the country has to work again,” insists Pierre.