Haiti 2022-March 2024

Written by  //  March 29, 2024  //  Americas, Government & Governance  //  1 Comment

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

5 October 2021
‘The Greatest Heist In History’: How Haiti Was Forced To Pay Reparations For Freedom
(NPR- Planet money) In recent weeks, thousands of refugees from Haiti have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border, desperate for a better life. Most left Haiti years ago, after a 2010 earthquake ravaged what was already one of the most dismal economies in the world. They had originally settled in places like Chile, but the politics of the region have made them feel unwelcome, discriminated against, and fearful of the future.
… The Haiti that refugees are being sent back to is a nation in crisis. With its unlucky coordinates on the map and its poor infrastructure, Haiti has been devastated by multiple hurricanes and earthquakes in recent years, including a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August. In July, Haiti’s president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated by Colombian mercenaries, some of whom had received U.S. military training. A Florida-based security company reportedly connected whoever wanted Moïse killed with the mercenaries, but the details of why Moïse was killed and who directed the mercenaries are still murky.
What is clear, however, is that Moïse’s assassination continues Haiti’s centuries-long political instability. In 2015, the World Bank concluded that Haiti’s biggest political problem is that “a social contract is missing between the state and its citizens.”
Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the world, and rich countries have their fingerprints all over the nation’s stunted development. The United States worked to isolate a newly independent Haiti during the early 19th century and violently occupied the island nation for 19 years in the early 20th century. While the U.S. officially left Haiti in 1934, it continued to control Haiti’s public finances until 1947, siphoning away around 40% of Haiti’s national income to service debt repayments to the U.S. and France.
Much of this debt to France was the legacy of what the University of Virginia scholar Marlene Daut calls “the greatest heist in history”: surrounded by French gunboats, a newly independent Haiti was forced to pay its slaveholders reparations. You read that correctly. It was the former slaves of Haiti, not the French slaveholders, who were forced to pay reparations. Haitians compensated their oppressors and their oppressors’ descendants for the privilege of being free. It took Haiti more than a century to pay the reparation debts off.
Haiti, then known as Saint-Domingue, had been the crown jewel of the French empire. It was the most lucrative colony in the whole world. French planters forced African slaves to produce sugar, coffee, and other cash crops for the global market. The system seemed to work well. That is, until the French and American revolutions helped to inspire, in 1791, what became the world’s largest and most successful slave revolt. Against all odds, the slaves won. Former slaves sent slaveholders scurrying to France and America — and Haitians successfully fought back subsequent efforts to re-enslave them. Haiti was the first nation to permanently ban slavery.
20 May 2022
The Root of Haiti’s Misery: Reparations to Enslavers

29 March
As gang violence rages, UN expert says Haiti now needs 5,000 foreign police
New report says the number of victims of gang violence has surged, calls for rapid deployment of UN-backed international security force.

20 March
Haiti suspected gang members set on fire as conflict spreads to capital suburb
(Reuters) Suspected gang members were killed during an attack on the Petion-Ville neighborhood on the southern outskirts of Haiti’s capital, as a clash with police and locals pointed to a resurgence of vigilante justice while the state remains absent.
Foreign intervention won’t save Haiti. This is what America can do instead.
by Russel L. Honoré
(The Hill) This chaos isn’t happening halfway around the world in Somalia or Myanmar; it’s happening at America’s doorstep and in one of the world’s oldest democracies. But despite the urgency of the situation and the closeness to the United States mainland, most Americans and our news media are unaware of the events unfolding in Haiti. Even as U.S. Marines have been deployed twice over the last two weeks to secure the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince, our focus is elsewhere.
It’s time for the United States to break its silence and stand strong as a partner to the Haitian people. We don’t need to do much to make a positive difference, but we can do great harm by failing to act.
First, President Biden must speak directly to the Haitian people and reaffirm America’s commitment to peace and stability in the region. People living in constant chaos and violence can quickly fall into despair. They need to know we stand with them.
Next, Congress must actually do its job and pass legislation. The House and Senate must put partisanship and bickering aside and update our laws so that we may provide assistance to Haitian law enforcement and the country’s army. At the same time, lawmakers need to set aside funding so much-needed materiel can be dispatched to civil and military authorities. With enough supplies and training, there’s no reason Haiti’s own police officers and soldiers cannot restore order.
The White House will also need to direct U.S. law enforcement agencies to stem the flow of illicit arms to Haiti. Much of this traffic originates from Florida, and sadly, it’s what gives gangs in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere the firepower they need to rain chaos down on the civilian population.

18 March
Vigilantes battle gangs in Port-au-Prince as Haiti’s elites vie for power
(CNN) Since the start of the month, criminal groups have been attacking with unprecedented coordination the last remnants of the Haitian state – the airport, police stations, government buildings, the National Penitentiary. The culmination of years of growing gang control and popular unrest, their joint assault forced Prime Minister Ariel Henry to resign last week, a stunning capitulation that has nevertheless proven futile in restoring calm.
Port-au-Prince’s gangs are still choking off the supply of food, fuel and water across the city. Perhaps the last functional part of the state, Haiti’s National Police, continue to fight, battling to reclaim ground block by block across the city. But the very life of the city they are fighting for seems to be waning, as intensive urban warfare grinds down on basic human ties.
The social fabric is fraying as businesses and schools stay shuttered. Many residents self-isolate, afraid to leave their homes. Some have turned to vigilantism. Fear, mistrust, and anger reign. Death is on everyone’s mind.

“In a Couple of Weeks We Could be Seeing a Fully Failed State”
Why Haiti Has Taken a Turn for the Even Worse
MARK LEON GOLDBERG
(Global Dispatches) The security and humanitarian situation in Haiti has deteriorated sharply over the last several days.
My interview guest Renata Segura is Deputy Director for Latin American and the Caribbean for the International Crisis Group. In our conversation, she sheds light on Haiti’s rapid descent into chaos. This includes why gangs have formed a temporary alliance aiming to confront state police. This gang alliance has led to an unprecedented level of turmoil, targeting police stations, airports, and causing mass jailbreaks. Segura explains where this crisis may be headed next, and what the international community can do to prevent the crisis from getting even worse.
Key Takeaways:
• Haiti has entered a heightened state of crisis following the formation of a gang coalition that directly challenges state authority.
• Prime Minister Ariel Henry has agreed to transfer power to a transitional council composed of various Haitian political and civil society groups.
• The United Nations Security Council’s multinational support mission, led by Kenya, is critical but currently faces significant challenges in deployment.
• Renata Segura emphasizes the importance of swiftly addressing the violence in Haiti before the state potentially fails completely.
• There is discussion around the prospect of integrating gangs into the political framework as a means to de-escalate conflict.

15 – 16 March
The U.S. has tried to ‘fix’ Haiti before. How will this time be different?
By Widlore Mérancourt, Amanda Coletta and John Hudson
(WaPo) Haiti has been here before — several times, in fact, since the ouster of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986: Its government has fallen or been chased out, the streets have erupted, and the United States has stepped in to lead international efforts to stand up new leaders who can be seen as legitimate and will be friendly to Washington.
“The idea that this ultimately should be a Haitian-driven solution is right,” said
[Christopher Sabatini, senior Latin America fellow at London-based Chatham House]
“The question is: Which Haitians?”
The United States would like to see the process move along faster, but Americans should appreciate how long it can take to forge political consensus, the official said.
“It’s being hashed out by Haitians right now, and yeah, they have differences,” the official said. “But imagine trying to come up with a similar institution in the United States if you’re talking to stakeholders in our country to form a presidential council, and you have people on one end of our spectrum and people on another end of our spectrum, trying to find a way forward in an agreement. It’s complicated.”
The Caricom plan won’t be effective unless there are serious efforts to build state capacity, Sabatini said. In the past, he said, the international community has focused on getting Haiti to elections no matter their circumstances.
Roots of crisis in Haiti stretch back to old alliances between politicians and gangs
Adrian Morrow and Frédérik-Xavier Duhamel
(Globe & Mail) The proximate cause is the unpopular government of Haiti’s unelected prime minister, Ariel Henry. But the roots of the crisis go back much further, to the decades-long intertwining of gangsters, politicians and business leaders in the country.
An international summit in Jamaica this week produced a possible solution: a Transitional Presidential Council to replace Mr. Henry. It is still unclear when it will take power, much less whether it will be able to tamp down the violence. Also up in the air is a long-delayed Kenyan-led security force meant to stabilize the country.
Canada, for its part, chartered a helicopter to partly evacuate its embassy in Port-au-Prince this week. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tried to walk a fine line between staying engaged with the country – with which Canada has close ties, including the large Haitian diaspora in Montreal – while resisting being drawn further into the chaos.

11-12 March
Dithering While Haiti Burns
Jorge Heine
With violent gangs running rampant across Haiti and seizing key infrastructure, a complete breakdown of the state and civil order is underway, raising fears of imminent famine. Faced with such an obvious humanitarian emergency, the failure of regional governments to offer help is as foolhardy as it is immoral.
(Project Syndicate) From 2004 to 2010 – when a devastating earthquake hit Haiti – MINUSTAH had stabilized the country and helped it to regain a sense of purpose following the somewhat traumatic transition to democracy after the fall of the Duvalier dynasty in 1986. The US and Canada aren’t the only ones refusing to do what is needed in Haiti. The same goes for the Latin American countries that previously played a central role in MINUSTAH: Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. In fact, MINUSTAH was the first-ever UN operation in which Latin American troops comprised a majority. At a time when the region is becoming less relevant on the international stage, it has much to gain by stepping in to address the most urgent crisis in its own neighborhood. Who better to rescue millions of innocent Haitians from another downward spiral into violence, dysfunction, and famine?
If the moral case for helping the hemisphere’s poorest, most crisis-ridden country does not carry much weight in today’s international political climate, perhaps sheer self-interest will do the trick. Letting Haitians “stew in their own juice” (my paraphrase of the current situation) is not only cynical and morally indefensible; it is simply foolish. Failed states have a way of becoming centers of international organized crime, terrorism, and drug trafficking.
Do we really want a Somalia in the Caribbean?
Haiti’s transitional council will be up and running in days, says Bob Rae
Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, says the transitional council being created in Haiti ‘is a Haitian-led change that’s been encouraged by constructive partners in the region.’
Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN, was at that meeting. Here is part of his conversation with As It Happens host Nil Köksal.
Kenya’s pause to Haiti deployment follows growing doubts about mission
(Reuters) – Just 11 days ago, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry and Kenyan President William Ruto signed an agreement that Ruto said would fast-track a long-delayed deployment of Kenyan police officers to tackle spiralling violence in the Caribbean nation.
On Tuesday, the Kenyan government did an about-face, announcing that it was pausing the deployment after Henry resigned overnight, and would re-evaluate once a new Haitian government was in place.
Better Know Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, The Gang Leader at the Center of Haiti’s Crisis
If present trends continue, “Barbecue” may become the de-facto ruler of Haiti
Mark Leon Goldberg
(Global Dispatches) Haiti has taken a turn for the even worse. Gang violence is spiraling so out of control that the US military airlifted US personnel from the embassy this week. The country’s (unelected) president Ariel Henry is currently stranded in Puerto Rico after gangs prevented his plane from landing in Port-Au-Prince. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is attending an emergency meeting of the regional CARICOM group.
At the center of this unfolding disaster is an ex-police officer turned professional gangster Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier. In October 2022, I devoted an entire episode of the podcast to Cherizier’s story, and what his rise to prominence says about the role of gangs and the relationship between politics and gangsterism in Haiti. At the time, Cherizier was exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis in Haiti by imposing a blockade on a fuel terminal, preventing much needed petrol from entering the country. Things got so bad, the UN Security Council imposed individual targeted sanctions on Cherizier later that month.
After prime minister pledges to step down, Haitians wonder what’s next
Prime Minister Ariel Henry, stranded in Puerto Rico, released a recorded video late on Monday night pledging to resign as soon as a transition council and temporary leader could be chosen.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in High-Level Meeting on Haiti convened by CARICOM Heads of Government
Yesterday [11 March], Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participated virtually in the High-Level Meeting on Haiti convened by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government and hosted by Jamaica.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Trudeau urged Haitian stakeholders to come to a political agreement that paves the way toward free and fair elections and the restoration of democratic order in Haiti. He expressed his appreciation for CARICOM’s ongoing leadership in convening Haitian stakeholders to facilitate political consensus toward Haitian-led solutions that would serve the people of Haiti.
The Prime Minister highlighted Canada’s ongoing efforts to support Haiti and CARICOM countries as they prepare to address the crisis.
Haiti’s Leader, Under Growing Pressure, Says He Will Resign
Leaders from Caribbean nations, who have led the push to create a transitional council, met for discussions in Jamaica on Monday but said no plan had been finalized. Guyana’s president, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, who leads Caricom, a union of 15 Caribbean countries, said that “we still have a long way to go.”
U.S. Pledges Another $130 Million to Restore Order to Haiti
The U.S. secretary of state announced more aid for the multinational security mission planned to deploy to Haiti, as well as more humanitarian aid.
(NYT) The pledge of further U.S. aid was the highlight of a meeting that seemed to achieve little progress in reaching a political resolution as unrest in Haiti’s capital has surged in the last two weeks.

10 March
Canada’s UN ambassador set to attend emergency meeting to discuss crisis in Haiti
Canada is sending [Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the UN] to attend an emergency meeting in Jamaica on Monday
Caricom, the 15-nation Caribbean bloc, said in a statement late Friday that “the situation on the ground remains dire” in Haiti. The Caribbean leaders have also invited the United States, France, the United Nations and Brazil to the meeting.
Members of the Caricom regional trade bloc have been trying for months to get political actors in Haiti to agree to form an umbrella transitional unity government. But average Haitians, many of whom have been forced from their homes by the bloody street fighting, can’t wait. The problem for police in securing government buildings is that many Haitians have streamed into them, seeking refuge.
Caricom said Friday that while regional leaders remain deeply engaged in trying to bring opposition parties and civil society groups together to form a unity government, “the stakeholders are not yet where they need to be.”

8 March
Haiti needs security now. For the future, it needs democracy
What Haiti needs is something the Kenyan-led security force alone cannot bring: a pathway to elections and a return to democracy.
(WaPo editorial board) Haiti’s spiraling descent into dysfunction deepened with the news that criminal gangs last weekend broke into two prisons in Port-au-Prince and freed thousands of inmates, presumably to bolster their own ranks. The mass escape was followed by the gangs’ brazen attack on the capital’s international airport, and on Wednesday by a raid that shut down the city’s main port, a vital lifeline for food and supplies. These attacks mark an escalation of the violence and mayhem that have engulfed Haiti in recent years, turning the Western Hemisphere’s most impoverished country into a failed state.
More ominously, one of the most prominent and powerful gang leaders, Jimmy Cherisier, known as “Barbecue,” said the myriad feuding gangs were now working together to topple the government of the unelected prime minister, Ariel Henry. … [Mr. Henry] owes his position to the backing he had from Washington and other outside powers, not any mandate inside Haiti. His government is widely seen as illegitimate and ineffectual. Most Haitians would probably not be sorry to see him go. But they also certainly want an end to the anarchy and misery that has ruled their lives since Moïse’s assassination.

7 March
Haiti
Analysis of the tragic situation in Haiti by former Canadian and international diplomat Eduardo del Buey
(In the Crosshairs) Haiti is a failed state.
Einstein’s words very well describe the way that donor states and agencies have either mismanaged their aid or seen their aid to that country mismanaged over the years.
Haiti today has no government to speak of.
Armed gangs working on their own or together rule the streets, murdering, kidnapping, and extorting at will. The first nine months of 2023 saw over 5600 gang related incidents, including 3156 killings and 1248 kidnappings.
Nearly 200,000 people, including 130,000 in Port-au-Prince alone, have been internally displaced across Haiti. Approximately half of all internally displaced Haitians are children. …

6-7 March
Haiti Is in Crisis
Now no one wants Ariel Henry. Not the United States. Not the gangs. And not the Haitian people.
By Amy Wilentz
(The Atlantic) Change can come to Haiti in a hurry, but only when the United States decides it will. Pope John Paul II famously said that “something must change” in Haiti in 1983, during the rule of Jean-Claude Duvalier. But not until 1986, when the State Department decided to abandon Duvalier, did he finally leave the country that he and his father had worked to impoverish.
Yesterday, the United States seemed to make a similar break with Ariel Henry, the de facto prime minister whom Washington has supported—doggedly and against all sane advice—throughout the two and a half years of his dismal administration.
…Rather than being lured into the gangs, some 1,000 police officers, out of an original force of about 9,000, have simply left the country in the past 18 months, taking advantage recently of President Joe Biden’s special immigration plan for Haiti.
By way of comparison, consider that anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 gang members are estimated to be working in roughly 200 gangs throughout the country. The best armed and biggest gangs now control at least 80 percent of the capital. Unlike the cops, they’re not leaving Haiti. Gang membership has been a good job, and more lucrative for many than working for the police.
‘They messed it up’: Biden’s backing for Haiti’s unpopular leader digs US into deeper policy hole
(AP) — When Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry filled the void left by the assassination of the country’s president in 2021, he did so over the protest of wide segments of the population but with the full-throated support of the Biden administration.
Now, almost three years later, Henry’s grip on power is hanging by a thread, and Washington is confronted by even worse choices as it scrambles to prevent the country’s descent into anarchy.
“They messed it up deeply,” James Foley, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Haiti, said in an interview about the Biden administration’s support for Henry. “They rode this horse to their doom. It’s the fruit of the choices we made.”
The embattled prime minister left Haiti 10 days ago and has since crisscrossed the world — from South America to Africa to New York and now Puerto Rico — all while staying silent as he tries to negotiate a return home that seems increasingly unlikely.
Haiti extends a state of emergency and nighttime curfew to try and repel widespread gang attacks
(AP) — Haiti’s government said Thursday that it was extending a state of emergency and nighttime curfew to try and curb violent gang attacks that have paralyzed the capital of Port-au-Prince in a fierce battle for political power.
An initial three-day curfew was announced over the weekend, but gangs have continued to attack police stations and other state institutions at night as Haiti’s National Police struggles to contain the violence with limited staff and resources.

Haiti gang leader threatens ‘civil war’ if PM does not resign
The gang leader behind the violence blighting the Haitian capital has warned there will be a “civil war” if Haiti’s prime minister, Ariel Henry, does not step down.
Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier made the threat as members of his gang tried to seize the capital’s airport to stop Mr Henry from returning from abroad.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said the situation was “beyond untenable”.
Thousands of Haitians have had to flee.
Aid groups say about 15,000 people, among them many young children, have been displaced from their homes in recent weeks.

2-5 March
Haitian leader who was mysteriously absent arrives in Puerto Rico on his way home to quell violence
(AP) — It’s the one question on the minds of all Haitians ever since armed gangs plunged the long-suffering Caribbean nation into near anarchy: Where in the world is the prime minister?
The embattled Ariel Henry, who assumed power following the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, has been notably absent since the country’s latest and most serious outbreak of violence started last week. Henry has stayed silent as he crisscrosses the world, from South America to Africa, with no announced date of return.
… While Haiti’s problems run deep and defy any quick fix, Henry himself is increasingly unpopular. His inability to govern effectively has stoked calls for him to step aside that the gangs are also embracing, if only to advance their own criminal interests, Johnston said.
Henry was last seen Friday in Kenya on a mission to salvage a multinational security force the east African nation was set to lead under the auspices of the United Nations. He left Haiti more than a week ago to attend a meeting of Caribbean leaders in Guyana, where a deadline was announced — by others, not Henry — to delay repeatedly postponed elections yet again. The balloting was pushed back to mid-2025.
There’s chaos in Haiti. Powerful gangs are attacking key targets like prisons as alliances shift
Heavily armed gangs have grown more powerful than Haiti’s weak government and now control some 80% of the capital, according to the United Nations.
The latest attacks began Thursday as Prime Minister Ariel Henry flew to Kenya to push for the U.N.-backed deployment of a police force to help fight the gangs.
Heavy gunfire has echoed daily in the capital, overwhelming government forces. Frantz Elbé, director of the National Police, told Radio Caraïbes late last week that the recent attacks had left many of his officers unable to respond.
Gangs in Haiti try to seize control of main airport in newest attack on key government sites
(AP) — Heavily armed gangs tried to seize control of Haiti’s main international airport on Monday, exchanging gunfire with police and soldiers in the latest attack on key government sites in an explosion of violence that includes a mass escape from the country’s two biggest prisons.
The Toussaint Louverture International Airport was closed when the attack occurred, with no planes operating and no passengers on site.
Associated Press journalists saw an armored truck on the tarmac shooting at gangs to try and prevent them from entering airport grounds as scores of employees and other workers fled from whizzing bullets.
It wasn’t immediately clear as of late Monday whether the attack, which was the biggest one in Haiti’s history involving the airport, was successful.
The attack occurred just hours after authorities in Haiti ordered a nighttime curfew following violence in which armed gang members overran the two biggest prisons and freed thousands of inmates over the weekend.
Police in Haiti struggle against gangs storming prison in latest surge of violence
(AP) — Police in Haiti urgently appealed for help Saturday night as they struggled to hold back gangs trying to storm the country’s main prison in a major escalation of violence sweeping the troubled Caribbean nation.

19 February
Widow, ex-prime minister and former police chief indicted in 2021 assassination of Haiti’s president
(AP) — A judge in Haiti responsible for investigating the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse has indicted his widow, Martine Moïse, ex-prime minister Claude Joseph and the former chief of Haiti’s National Police, Léon Charles, among others, according to a report obtained Monday.
The indictments are expected to further destabilize Haiti as it struggles with a surge in gang violence and recovers from a spate of violent protests demanding the resignation of current Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
Dozens of suspects were indicted in the 122-page report issued by Walther Wesser Voltaire, who is the fifth judge to lead the investigation after previous ones stepped down for various reasons, including fear of being killed.

11 February
Rebel leader who ousted Aristide sets sights on Haiti’s current leader
(WaPo) The crises here keep compounding. Armed gangs have forced more than 300,000 from their homes. The police are outgunned and overmatched. Half the people don’t have enough to eat.
This Caribbean nation of 11 million has no democratically elected officials. The National Assembly is empty. The presidency is vacant.
That’s left Ariel Henry, the unelected and deeply reviled prime minister, in charge. Appointed by President Jovenel Moïse days before Moïse’s still-unsolved assassination in 2021, Henry was due to leave office on Wednesday, but has so far successfully stymied a political transition.
Amid this stew of instability, Haiti faces a new challenge: Guy Philippe.
The charismatic rebel leader, who in 2004 led the uprising that chased then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from the country for good, is now joining calls for Henry’s ouster. Freed last year from a U.S. prison, he has won the allegiance of an armed brigade in the Environment Ministry; called last month for “civil disobedience” across the country; and appeared in the capital on Tuesday alongside demonstrators demanding that the prime minister step down.

8 February
Haitian PM calls for calm as violent protests demand his resignation
Rallies have paralysed the country amid calls for ouster of Ariel Henry in line with political agreement forged in 2022.

26 January
Kenya court blocks deployment of police officers to Haiti
CNN — A judge in Kenya has barred the East African nation from deploying 1,000 police officers to Haiti to lead a UN-backed multinational force to restore security in the Caribbean nation.
High Court judge Chacha Mwita ruled on Friday that President William Ruto and his National Security Council do not have the authority to send police officers to Haiti or any other country under Kenyan law.
He added that the long-delayed deployment under a deal financed by the United States “contravenes the constitution and the law and is therefore unconstitutional, illegal and invalid.”
In October, the State Department pledged $100 million to support a multinational force in Haiti after the UN Security Council voted to approve it to quell gang violence in the island nation. Kenya volunteered to lead it and got necessary approvals from its cabinet and parliament.

2023

18 December
Policing Without a Political Plan? The New UN-Backed Mission in Haiti
In early October 2023, the United Nations Security Council approved a new Kenyan-led international policing mission to Haiti. That mission will face steep challenges to achieve its mandate of helping to address rampant gang violence and insecurity in Haiti. Even if this intervention helps stabilize Haiti in the short term, its longer-term impact will depend on the development of a credible political roadmap for the country.
John D. Ciorciari, Professor at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a 2023-24 Academic Visitor at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He is the author of Sovereignty Sharing in Fragile States
(Georgetown Journal of International Affairs (GJIA)) On October 2, 2023, the United Nations Security Council approved an international policing mission for Haiti, a country whose weak, unelected government and ailing national police force are being overwhelmed by rampant gang violence. For the past year, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has asked for foreign intervention to restore order. Consequently, with encouragement from the Biden administration, Kenya pledged to send 1,000 police officers to lead a new Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission to restore order and enable free and fair elections in Haiti. The MSS is the latest in a series of UN-authorized missions to Haiti since the mid-1990s; it will place international police on the front lines of law enforcement alongside their Haitian counterparts. To help stem the violence and enable new elections, the MSS will need competent officers to fill clear roles and responsibilities, apply appropriate policing methods, win Haitian public trust, and be held accountable for any wrongdoing. Even if the mission provides short-term security benefits, however,
Haiti undeniably needs assistance as it endures one of the most severe crises in its history. Haiti’s government has crumbled since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, after which the current prime minister, Ariel Henry, took power without an election. Henry’s official term ended in early 2022, and he has since postponed elections, governing without a constitutional mandate or any remaining elected officials. As democratic institutions have failed, gangs have violently competed for territory, resources, and power. These gangs routinely target the Haitian National Police (HNP) and have killed roughly one hundred officers since the Moïse assassination in 2021. The beleaguered HNP has failed to stem the tide of murder, arson, and kidnappings and has dwindled to just 9,000 officers in a country of over 11 million—in contrast, 36,000 officers serve the 8 million residents of New York City. These challenges have been exacerbated by a cholera outbreak, deadly earthquakes, and economic strife, compounding Haiti’s humanitarian crisis. In response to this violence, UN Security Council Resolution 2699 has entrusted the MSS with helping the HNP counter gangs, restore security, and create conditions for free and fair elections. Importantly, the Security Council has given the MSS temporary executive policing authority in Haiti, including the powers of detention and arrest.
Historically, similar international policing ventures have been implemented to support law and order in several fragile states. Since the early 1990s, UN peacekeepers and police have shared law enforcement power with local forces in Cambodia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Timor-Leste, and the Central African Republic. In the Solomon Islands, an Australian-led mission did the same. International policing has also taken place in Haiti. For example, U.S. troops and UN civilian police conducted patrols in the mid-1990s when the HNP was just being established.

1 August
Aid efforts for Haitians suffer new blow with kidnapping of American nurse and daughter
(AP) Haitians, aid providers and outside observers worry that the kidnapping of New Hampshire native Alix Dorsainvil and her daughter will turn more of the nation into a no-go zone for anyone besides gangs and the populations they torment. The Christian organization Dorsainvil works for, El Roi Haiti, has offered medical care, education and other basic services. The organization released a photo of Dorsainvil smiling happily with her arm around her husband but provided no details about the mother and their daughter.
Haitians, weary of gang violence, protest the kidnapping of an American nurse and her daughter
Hundreds of Haitians marched through the gang-ravaged zone, bursting with anger at the abduction, which has become a symbol of the worsening violence plaguing the Caribbean nation.
New Hampshire woman Alix Dorsainvil had been working as a community nurse for the religious and humanitarian aid group El Roi Haiti when she and her daughter were taken from its campus on Thursday, the organization said. She is the wife of its founder, Sandro Dorsainvil.

31 July-1 August
US to introduce UN resolution for multinational force in Haiti
State Department says US will provide resources to the force after Kenya expresses willingness to lead Haiti mission.
(Al Jazeera) The US is planning to introduce a resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to authorize a “multinational force” in Haiti. It comes after Kenya expressed willingness to lead the mission. Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, has been pleading for international support for months amid ongoing violence by armed gangs.
UN urges states in Haiti’s region to join Kenya in security force
(Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday welcomed Kenya’s readiness to lead an international force to help Haiti’s police combat gang violence and encouraged other countries – particularly from Haiti’s region – to join the effort.
Kenya was ready to deploy 1,000 police officers to help train and assist Haiti’s police “restore normalcy in the country and protect strategic installations,” Kenya’s Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua said in a statement on Saturday.

14 July
Security Council gives UN chief 30 days to come up with options on how to fight Haiti’s armed gangs
(AP) — The U.N. Security Council asked the secretary-general on Friday to come up with options to help combat Haiti’s armed gangs, including a possible U.N. peacekeeping force and a non-U.N. multinational force.
A resolution adopted unanimously by the council asks U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report back on “a full range” of options within 30 days to improve the security situation, including additional training for the Haitian National Police and providing support to combat illegal arms trafficking to the impoverished Caribbean nation.
It also authorizes up to 70 U.N. police and corrections advisers to scale up support and training for Haiti’s understaffed and underfunded national police force. And it “encourages” countries, especially in the Caribbean region, to respond to appeals from Haiti’s prime minister and from Guterres for the deployment of an international specialized force.

18 May
Haitians fight back against gangs, drawing support — and worry
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, Haitian police and U.S. and U.N. officials have acknowledged the phenomenon: In the absence of security, Haitians are arming themselves with rocks and machetes and banding together to fight the gangs who have turned their lives into what the U.N. human rights chief in February called a “living nightmare.”

2 May
Haitian activist describes grisly killings in the streets as residents rise up against gangs
‘If anybody wants the definition of hell, they can come and experience it in Haiti,’ says Vélina Élysée Charli

13-14 April
Haiti: Plan de Réponse Humanitaire L’essentiel (avril 2023)
Depuis 2021, les gangs ont refermé progressivement leur étau sur Port-au-Prince, où les meurtres, prises d’otage et viols se produisent au quotidien. Les gangs étendent désormais leur influence au-delà de Port-au- Prince, y compris dans les zones du nord considérées comme le grenier à blé du pays, à un moment où près de la moitié de la population ne mange pas à sa faim. L’insécurité croissante continue de pousser des milliers de personnes hors de leurs foyers, paralyse le fonctionnement des services de base et risque d’annuler les acquis obtenus dans la lutte contre l’épidémie de choléra déclarée le 2 octobre 2022.
… Depuis 2021, les gangs ont refermé progressivement leur étau sur Port-au-Prince, où les meurtres, prises d’otage et viols se produisent au quotidien. Les gangs étendent désormais leur influence au-delà de Port-au- Prince, y compris dans les zones du nord considérées comme le grenier à blé du pays, à un moment où près de la moitié de la population ne mange pas à sa faim. L’insécurité croissante continue de pousser des milliers de personnes hors de leurs foyers, paralyse le fonctionnement des services de base et risque d’annuler les acquis obtenus dans la lutte contre l’épidémie de choléra déclarée le 2 octobre 2022.

$720 million plan to support millions facing gangs, hunger and cholera
The UN and partners are appealing for $720 million to support more than three million people in Haiti.
The 2023 funding appeal is the largest for the Caribbean country since the devastating 2010 earthquake and more than double the amount requested last year.
The UN humanitarian affairs office (OCHA) said the number of Haitians who require aid to survive doubled over the past five years to 5.2 million, and the aim is to reach 60 per cent, or 3.2 million people.
The full 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan, which will be launched on 19 April, comes at “a critical time”, said Ulrika Richardson, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti.
“With the situation in the country rapidly deteriorating, this year’s plan will address the most immediate humanitarian and protection needs while strengthening people’s and institution’s resilience to natural shocks,” she said.
“At the same time, what the people of Haiti desperately want is peace and security, and we should all support efforts to that end.”

8 April
Haiti’s outgunned police will have to wait even longer for Canadian armoured cars
Another delay in the delivery of Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles (MRAPs) to Haiti means that Haitian police will have to wait even longer for the vehicles they desperately need to protect their dwindling force from Haiti’s ruthless and well-armed gangs.
The manufacturer has confirmed for CBC News that the earliest potential delivery date is May 3 — and that is subject to change.

23 March
Why Canada is pushing back at U.S. pressure to put boots on the ground in Haiti
One Afghan vet calls potential mission ‘a nightmare waiting for a place to happen’
Haiti is on the brink of collapse, ravaged by gang violence, hunger, disease and corruption. Andrew Chang explores how the situation became so dire, and why Canada and the U.S. can’t reach a consensus on how to help.
An unstoppable force collides with an immovable object in Ottawa this week.
The (normally) unstoppable force is direct and heavy U.S. pressure on Canada — in this case, to lead some kind of mission to save Haiti. The immovable object is a Canadian government and military determined to avoid being dragged into the Haitian quagmire.
The Trudeau government did not take the kind of direct approach that then-prime minister Jean Chrétien did when the Americans invited Canada to join the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Instead, it stalled, dissembled, ragged the puck and offered alternatives until the Biden administration finally appeared to ease up on its pressure campaign.
If intervention is off the table for now, that would come as a relief to Canada’s Armed Forces. Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre said this month he doubted Canada could pull off such a mission right now, given its commitments in Europe.

15 March
Haiti’s sudden turn for the worse puts Trudeau on the spot
(CBC) “There’s one event that tells it all,” Haitian businessman Marco Larosilière told CBC News from his home in Port-au-Prince.
“Last week, the general inspector of the national police was kidnapped with his son in front of his school.”
If a high-ranking official of the national police is not safe, said Larosilière, “what about the rest of the population?”
“It’s unbearable,” he added. “You feel that every day, the situation is getting worse and worse. And you’re thinking it can’t be worse. And the next day, you find out it’s worse.”
Larosilière’s own neighbourhood has so far been spared, although he can hear the gunfire. He’s essentially trapped in Port-au-Prince, unable to reach his agrifood business in Haiti’s south because of the gangs’ stranglehold on the capital.
Over the past two weeks, the situation in Port-au-Prince has taken a sudden and dramatic turn for the worse.
Dr. William Pape of Cornell University is a member of the World Health Organization’s scientific committee and one of Haiti’s most distinguished medical doctors. He warned last week that the country could be on the road to a Rwanda-scale massacre (albeit without the inter-ethnic element of those events).
And last week, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) was forced to close its hospital in Cite Soleil, a place famous for staying open no matter what. “We are living scenes of warfare just meters from the establishment,” said MSF medical adviser Vincent Harris in a media statement.

9 March
Canada’s top general concerned military lacks capacity to lead Haiti mission
(Reuters) – Canada’s top general said he was concerned that his country’s armed forces, already stretched thin by support for Ukraine and NATO, do not have the capacity to lead a possible security mission to Haiti.
Haiti’s government and top United Nations officials have called for an international force to support Haitian police in their struggle against gangs, which have become the de facto authorities in parts of the country.

16 February
Canada to deploy navy vessels to Haiti as violence worsens
(AP) — Canada will send navy vessels to Haiti for intelligence-gathering as part of efforts to quell worsening gang violence in the Caribbean nation, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday.
Trudeau made the announcement in the Bahamas at an annual meeting of Caribbean leaders where a key topic has been Haiti’s surge in killings, rapes and kidnappings blamed on gangs emboldened since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, also at the meeting, has pleaded for a full-fledged international military intervention to stem the mayhem. His country requested help from the U.N. Security Council in October, and has suggested the U.S. and Canada lead a force. No such intervention has come together, and neither country has offered to take the lead.

12 February
Caribbean leaders to tackle Haiti’s woes amid migration
(AP) — Top Caribbean leaders are expected to debate Haiti’s spiraling chaos and its impact on the region during a biannual meeting this week, with some complaining bitterly about a constant stream of migrants arriving on their shores as they flee poverty and worsening violence.
The three-day meeting of the Caribbean trade block known as Caricom starts Wednesday in the Bahamas.
Some of the group’s 15 members are pushing to get key Haitian stakeholders to a neutral nation in the region to reach a consensus agreement on holding elections in the impoverished country that has been stripped of all democratically elected institutions.
However, the international community and local officials have noted that elections cannot be held in Haiti until violence is quelled.
Haiti’s foreign minister, Jean Victor Généus, warned during an Organization of American States meeting Friday that insecurity has risen and will spill over into neighboring countries.

8 February
Criminal Power in Haiti and Hunger as an Instrument of Governance
Author: César Niño
(Georgetown Journal of International Affairs (GJIA)) Around two hundred criminal groups operate in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, a city with a population of one million people. These numerous gangs have established a criminal order capable of hindering the supply of food and humanitarian aid in Haiti; this criminal sovereignty, organized through the illegal activity and violence, manufactures political legitimacy for these gangs. While the criminal network and governmental corruption in Haiti has drawn the attention of the international community, the related food insecurity crisis has not received significant external concern. This article analyzes the use of hunger as an instrument of criminal governance and reinterprets the meaning of sovereignty and governance within the context of criminality

5 February
Canada sends military aircraft into Haiti’s skies as gang violence escalates
(CTV) Haiti’s political and humanitarian crisis has led to calls for Western countries to intervene, with the Canadian government saying the aircraft deployment comes in direct response to Haiti’s request for help.
The government says the patrol aircraft is currently in Haiti and will remain there “for a number of days” to help with surveillance and intelligence efforts.

1 February
Key suspects in killing of Haiti president Jovenel Moïse ‘sent to US for trial’
Investigations in Haiti have reached a virtual standstill after threats and intimidation against judges
Four key suspects in the killing of the Haitian president Jovenel Moïse were transferred to the US for prosecution, according to officials, as the case stagnates in Haiti amid death threats against local judges.
Rivera, along with Solages and Vincent, face charges including conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the US and providing material support and resources resulting in death, the US justice department said.

25 January
UN envoy to Haiti hopes UN will OK international intervention to combat gangs
The UN special envoy for Haiti said Wednesday she heard “caution” from the United States and Canada about possibly leading an international armed force to help Haiti combat gangs but not “a definite “No.”
Helen La Lime expressed hope that the UN Security Council will deal positively with the issue of the force requested by the Haitian government. She said at a new conference that an international armed force would be a partner of the Haitian National Police “that would go against the gangs.”
She spoke a day after the United States and Canada showed no interest at a Security Council meeting for deploying their security personnel despite renewed appeals from the UN and Haiti for help to end worsening violence in the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation. They are the two countries most often mentioned as possible leaders of an international force in Haiit.

18 January
Bob Rae: Major military intervention in Haiti would not have sustainable impact
(Globe & Mail) Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, says a foreign military intervention in Haiti would have little sustainable impact, and that discussions continue on what assistance Ottawa and allies could offer to deliver long-term stability to a country in crisis.
… He said a slew of UN military interventions in Haiti in the 1990s and 2000s have failed to bring about long-term stability. “We have to admit there’s been a history of what I would call large-scale military interventions that have not worked,” Mr. Rae said.
He said Canada’s policy, however, is to insist on a “Haitian-led” approach to all elements of a solution, from security to politics to development.
Mr. Rae said kidnapping is widespread and important transportation routes in the country remain blockaded by gangs. The priorities for Canada and its partners are security, public health and addressing the continuing humanitarian situation and political instability.
“There has to be a commitment to stability from all of the major political parties and all of the major social and political and economic groups in the country. And there has to be a process created that leads eventually to an election and constitutional government,” he said.
Mr. Rae is looking at assistance that would create order in Haiti. “You can’t have development and you can’t have people living confidently going about their business unless there’s a degree of order.”
He said Canada, the U.S. and the UN are making plans on how to restore order and rebuild the country. “The question is what form of intervention would be the most sustainable and that is what we are still discussing.”
Interview with US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen
(Politico) — New year priorities: Haiti continues to be a hot topic between the U.S. and Canada while the humanitarian situation worsens in the country.
Any involvement in Haiti, Cohen said, “in all likelihood, will need to be a United Nations-sponsored and the United Nations-organized effort.”
He said any assistance is more likely to be related to the police than military “just to sort of adjust some of what people have been talking about.”
Sanctions targeting “Haitian elites” is Global Affairs Canada’s current go-to approach to quelling gang terror in the country.
This interview excerpt has been edited for length and clarity.
The U.S. sees potential in Canada taking a leadership role in Haiti, could you help us understand what that leadership role is?
The United States does have an interest in Canada stepping up and playing a leadership role in whatever is determined to be in the best interests of resolving the situation in Haiti, which first and foremost will be something that Haiti is interested in. Haiti has to ask for help.
If there was a takeaway from the NALS on Haiti, it wasn’t at the level of “will Canada play a leadership role?” Or, “what will that leadership role look like?”
The agreement was that Canada and the United States should work together with the United Nations to try to develop what an engagement and external engagement would look like, in order to support the Haitian National Police to bring some stability to Haiti, all under the guidance, direction and at the request of Haiti. And once we have that, then we can address the issue of what a leadership role by Canada would look like.
Is there any timeline for that external engagement?
It’s ongoing. First, you have to have the plan. We have started the Canada-U.S.engagement in trying to determine what that engagement would look like.
There’s a plan for a plan.
Well, there was an agreement to talk about what a plan would look like. I don’t know that that in and of itself is a plan. That was the major Haiti takeaway from the NALS.

14 January
Canada’s ambassador to the UN Bob Rae discusses the situation in Haiti and what sort of role this country might play.
Haiti is in turmoil. How can Canada help?
Haiti has been mired in political turmoil in the year-and-a-half since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, with gangs continuing to control much of the capital Port-au-Prince. This week, the U.S. national security adviser suggested Canada could lead “some sort of multinational security support” to Haitian police. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, would only state that Canada and its partners are “preparing various scenarios” to respond if the situation deteriorates.
But how much worse can things get? And what further steps is Canada considering? Host Catherine Cullen is joined by Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the UN, who travelled to Haiti twice last year and has been advising the federal government on the path forward. The House also hears from Haitian-Canadians on what they hope to see next from Canada.

12 January
Haiti crisis: how did it get so bad, what is the role of gangs, and is there a way out?
(The Guardian) Earlier this week, the terms of Haiti’s last 10 remaining senators officially expired, leaving the Caribbean country without a single elected government official as it faces a set of intersecting catastrophes: famine, cholera, devastating gang violence, fuel shortages and economic collapse.
“The situation is unprecedented in Haiti’s history,” Prof Matthew Smith, a historian of Haiti who joined UCL in London as director of the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery after many years at the University of West Indies. “You could see the country’s history as a series of crises with brief periods of hope and peace – but there hasn’t been anything like this.”
How did Haiti get here?
The country has been in a state of electoral and constitutional turmoil since the assassination of the president, Jovenel Moïse, in 2021 at the hands of Colombian mercenaries with unknown paymasters, but the immediate crisis can be traced back further.
Haiti has not held functional elections since 2019 – and the country has been in a fragile state since the 2010 earthquake that killed up to 300,000 people. But Moïse’s death in July 2021 – and a new earthquake the following month – sent the situation spiralling out of control.
Moïse was replaced by an acting president, Ariel Henry, who is unelected and widely viewed as illegitimate. In September, the G9 gang coalition blockaded the main port and fuel terminal after Henry caused fuel prices to double when he announced a cut to fuel subsidies – a development that brought the crisis to new heights. Haiti is now experiencing its worst-ever famine, with 4.7 million people facing acute hunger.
At the same time it is impossible to understand the current situation without acknowledging the dark history of international interventions, including US occupation from 1915-1934, that have blighted Haiti. “Those interventions have shaped Haiti,” Smith said. “There’s a chain-link connection.”
Long before the litany of recent disasters, he said, “the Duvalier dictatorship [the rule of father and son François, or “Papa Doc”, and Jean-Claude, or “Baby Doc”, Duvalier from 1957-1986] destroyed the hopes of a functioning state that serves the nation..”
There is an even deeper history. For generations after independence in 1804, Haiti was saddled with the impact of “reparations” to France – the country that enslaved its people – in some years spending 40% of government revenue on its resulting debts. That burden severely hampered economic growth and the development of robust public services.

11 January
Trudeau hedges on military mission to Haiti
(Globe & Mail) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hedged Wednesday when asked whether Canada was prepared to lead a military mission to Haiti and he declined to say whether Ottawa has run out of soldiers to deploy.
Canada’s top soldier, General Wayne Eyre, last year said the Canadian Armed Forces are “stretched thin” as demands at home and abroad mount. The military has faced recruitment problems, and last October, Gen. Eyre told MPs “the military that we have today is not the military that we need for the threats that are appearing in the future.”
Mr. Trudeau did not directly answer a direct question on whether Canada has troops it could send to Haiti. Canada’s largest military deployment right now is in Latvia on the western flank of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Canada has also committed to an additional military presence each year in the Indo-Pacific, including deploying three frigates there per year – up from two per year.
He did say however that Canada and its allies “are preparing various scenarios if it does start to get worse” in Haiti. The Prime Minister said a priority now is equipping the Haitian National Police to combat gang violence against Haitian citizens that is impeding the delivery of critical services and humanitarian aid.

10 January
Haiti left with no elected government officials as it spirals towards anarchy
Last 10 remaining senators leave office, with gangs controlling much of capital, a malnutrition crisis and a cholera outbreak
The expiration of the officials’ terms at midnight on Monday formally concluded their time in office – and with it, the last semblance of democratic order in the beleaguered Caribbean nation.
Haiti – which is currently engulfed in gang violence and the worst malnutrition crisis in decades – now officially has no functioning parliament as the senators were the last of 30 to remain in office after successive failed efforts to hold elections.

2022

1 December
Haiti Needs Help
Foreign Troops Might Be the Least Bad Option
By Renata Segura
(Foreign Affairs) In Haiti, violence, hunger, and cholera threaten to kill thousands of people. As conditions grow ever more dire, gangs are preventing humanitarian assistance from reaching those on the brink of death. A record 4.7 million people face acute hunger and almost 20,000 people are enduring “catastrophic hunger,” meaning they are at risk of starving to death, according to an October report from the UN World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization. Those in greatest danger live in Cité Soleil, the largest slum in the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and home to about 260,000 people. The area is controlled by gangs; for the past six months, lawlessness and violence have made it nearly impossible for urgent humanitarian assistance to reach those most in need.
Fighting between rival gangs for the control of roads leading to the capital caused close to 500 deaths over the summer.
The violence and instability have also created conditions for cholera to make a deadly comeback.
Samuel Madistin, the president of the Je Klere foundation, a civil society organization in Port-au-Prince,“People often don’t ask the right questions. Whether one is for or against foreign military intervention in the country is not the right question. For us, the question is whether today Haiti has crossed the threshold of the duty to interfere. We think so.”
… diplomats in New York started discussing the possibility of sending military support to the Haitian police in July and a UN mission to assess needs visited the country soon thereafter. Following Henry’s formal request for international military assistance in early October, UN Secretary General António Guterres endorsed the proposal in a letter to the UN Security Council, where it was later discussed at the request of Mexico and the United States. Those two countries also drafted a resolution establishing sanctions against gang leaders and their sponsors, including an asset freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo. The Security Council unanimously adopted it on October 21. Another draft resolution, which so far has not been sent to the whole Security Council, proposes the creation of a multinational force that would operate with the blessing, but not under the mandate, of the UN.
… what causes anguish to the mission’s potential foreign backers and contributors, as well as to Haitians who support it, is not whether there is a case for intervention but whether the conditions are in place for anything more than a fleeting success followed by a return to today’s dangerous conditions, or worse.

23 November
Why there’s absolutely no way Canada could pull off a military intervention in Haiti
Tristin Hopper
The entire Canadian Army could provide just 11,000 front-line soldiers, roughly the same amount of personnel as the Toronto Police
(National Post) With their country increasingly overrun by gangs, Haiti’s political leaders are now calling for a foreign military intervention to restore order in the Caribbean nation. … But with the Canadian military plagued by critical shortages of almost everything as well as one of the worst staffing crises in its history, there are almost no circumstances in which it would be even remotely possible to mount a friendly invasion of Haiti.
Just last month, chief of defence staff Gen. Wayne Eyre ordered a halt to all non-essential activities within the Canadian Armed Forces in order to address a staffing shortage that senior officers are now referring to as a “crisis.”
And that’s in addition to Canada’s usual deficiencies in kit and logistics. For one, the Canadian military is unique among G7 nations for having no amphibious capability, which might be a factor in its ability to supply and equip an expeditionary force stationed on a Caribbean island.
In the 1990s it took a U.S. force of 25,000 to conduct Operation Uphold Democracy, a UN-sanctioned mission to reverse a military overthrow of Haiti’s elected government.
Haiti is only five years removed from the last time that foreign boots were on its soil. From 2004 to 2017, the country was host to Operation MINUSTAH, a Brazilian-led UN peacekeeping mission that comprised roughly 5,000 soldiers and police, as well as civilian staff.
Notably, MINUSTAH was originally planned to last just six months, but ended up lasting for 13 years. It’s also remembered chiefly for the harms it inflicted on Haiti, including a deadly cholera outbreak and large numbers of illegitimate children left behind by deployed peacekeepers.

20 November
Campbell Clark: Canada could not mount a whole Haiti mission even if it wanted to
The United States keeps asking Canada to lead a military mission to Haiti, and Ottawa keeps saying maybe. What the Canadian government doesn’t want to say out loud is that it can’t do it.
Haitian leaders must all agree before Canada would lead a potential military intervention, Trudeau says
U.S. has suggested Canada could lead a multinational force in Haiti
(CBC) A potential Canadian military intervention in Haiti can’t happen unless all political parties in the troubled nation agree to it, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday.
Speaking from Tunisia on the final day of the two-day Francophonie summit, Trudeau announced $16.5 million to help stabilize Haiti, where gangs are strangling access to fuel and critical supplies amid a worsening cholera outbreak.
About half the money is going toward humanitarian aid, and some of the rest is intended to help weed out corruption and prosecute gender-based violence.
But Haiti’s government has asked for an international military intervention to combat gangs who have strangled access to fuel and critical supplies in the middle of the outbreak.

27 October
‘Haiti needs us’: Canada, U.S. pledge action as gangs strengthen their grip on the island nation
(CBC) U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly promised Thursday that the two countries will do something about the deteriorating situation in Haiti — a country in a state of anarchy as it grapples with marauding gangs, food and fuel shortages and a resurgence of cholera.
What exactly the two countries have planned for the poorest country in the Western hemisphere wasn’t revealed today — but it could include some sort of intervention by police and military personnel.
Haiti’s current leaders have called for foreign support to restore a semblance of stability to the chaotic country.
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has said he wants a “specialized armed force” to assist Haitian police in countering anti-government gangs.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference after meeting Joly in Ottawa, Blinken said the U.S. and its allies are assembling a coalition of willing nations to provide “contributions of personnel and equipment for a potential mission” to the island nation.

15 October
After armoured vehicles from Canada land in Port-au-Prince, here’s a look at Haiti’s latest security crisis
(CBC) Foreign military aid requested by Haiti’s beleaguered government has arrived in the Caribbean country — including armoured vehicles from Canada — as a security crisis intensifies.
Armed gangs have been blockading Haiti’s main port since last month following a move by Ariel Henry, Haiti’s unelected prime minister, to cut fuel subsidies.
Kidnappings and other crimes are rife; hospitals and banks are often closed as they are unable to access fuel and basic supplies.
Haiti’s government has appealed for military intervention from foreign troops to help quell the violence and end the fuel blockade. The United Nations Security Council could discuss that proposal on Monday.
How did Haiti get to this point?
Pinpointing the beginning of the most recent round of unrest is not simple; Haiti has been suffering from economic, governance and security challenges for decades.
“What’s going on now is not new,” Chantal Ismé from the Montreal-based group Maison d’Haïti told CBC’s The National.
Some analysts say the power of the gangs has grown since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, exacerbating previous political and security challenges.
Who are the gangsters behind recent unrest?
Led by former police officer Jimmy Chérizier, nicknamed Barbecue, the port blockade has been organized by an alliance of gangsters known as “G9 and Family.”
After overpowering an understaffed and under-resourced police department, the gangs have gone so far as to request seats in the governing cabinet, demanding that Henry’s government grant amnesty and void arrest warrants against their members.
The gangs use extortion, violence and rape to control territory, particularly in Haiti’s poorest slums, observers say. Helen La Lime, the top UN official in Haiti, told reporters that human rights abuses including rape and sexual assault have reached alarming levels.

12 October
Canada ‘carefully considering’ pleas for help from Haiti
Caribbean country facing gang blockade of fuel terminal, shortages, high crime and cholera outbreak

7 October
Haiti’s leader requests foreign armed forces to quell chaos
(AP) — Haiti’s government has agreed to request the help of international troops as gangs and protesters paralyze the country and supplies of water, fuel and basic goods dwindle, according to a document published Friday.
The document, signed by Prime Minister Ariel Henry and 18 top-ranking officials, states that they are alarmed by “the risk of a major humanitarian crisis” that is threatening the life of many people.
It authorizes Henry to request from international partners “the immediate deployment of a specialized armed force, in sufficient quantity,” to stop the crisis across the country caused partly by the “criminal actions of armed gangs.”
It wasn’t clear if the request had been formally submitted, to whom it would be submitted and whether it would mean the activation of United Nations peacekeeping troops, whose mission ended five years ago after a troubled 11 years in Haiti.

22 September
As gang violence consumes Haiti, donor nations — Canada included — seem reluctant to get involved
‘The gangs are even occupying the courthouse’ — Bob Rae
Dozens of people, including women and children, have been killed in recent weeks amid new clashes between gangs fighting over territory as their power grows following the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
Haiti has been lurching from crisis to crisis for a long time. But at no point in the recent past — perhaps not since the immediate aftermath of the 2010 earthquake — has the country’s plight seemed so hopeless to so many of its people as it does today.
Caribbean leaders, traditionally opposed to outside interventions, are facing an influx of Haitian boat people fleeing what Bahamian PM Philip Davis calls “a failed state.”
The Dominican Republic has deployed its army to the border with Haiti to prevent spillover from what its president Luis Abinader calls a “low-intensity civil war.”
Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the UN, visited the country recently. He told CBC News that he found “the gangs have taken control of much of Port-au-Prince. The gangs are even occupying the courthouse.”
Canada’s embattled diplomats in Haiti, under ambassador Sébastien Carrière, are sheltering in place at home as it is no longer safe to travel the streets of Port-au-Prince.
Canada’s human security presence in Haiti has dwindled to almost nothing. A nation that once had over 2,000 military personnel in its Joint Task Force Haiti, as well as about 100 police officers, now has just two RCMP officers in the whole country.
And despite the foreign security funding, the gangs have been gaining ground since last year — when Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his own bedroom.

22 May
Investigating Haiti’s ‘Double Debt’
For a new five-part investigation, a team of Times journalists tabulated the amount that Haitians had to pay France for their freedom and explored how the massive sum still affects Haiti today.
More than 200 years ago, enslaved Haitians successfully revolted against their French masters and declared themselves free. Two decades later, the French government demanded Haitians pay reparations to former slave masters, under the threat of war. Without the funds to pay, Haitians had to take out a loan from French banks. This would come to be known as the “double debt,” and is part of the reason Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world today.
Times journalists spent more than a year sifting through thousands of pages of archival papers, ledgers and correspondences to calculate the exact amount that Haiti paid France: $560 million in today’s dollars. Leading historians, who assessed the work done by The Times, said it is the first time this amount has been tabulated. Further estimates by The Times found that the double debt cost Haiti from $21 billion to $115 billion in lost economic growth over time.
Finding out who benefited, and who suffered, was not the only goal. “The bigger question at the end was what did it mean,” said Catherine Porter, an international correspondent who has covered Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. “How did it hamper the development of the country?”
The concept grew out of Ms. Porter’s initial investigations into the debt in 2020, and a conversation with Michael Slackman, The Times’s assistant managing editor for international news. They wanted to know what factors had made Haiti such an outlier in terms of its extreme poverty and corruption.
The Ransom
The Root of Haiti’s Misery: Reparations to Enslavers
The Ransom: A Look Under the Hood
Thousands of pages of original documents, and hundreds of books and articles. Here are the historians and researchers on which the Haiti project drew.
6 Takeaways About Haiti’s Reparations to France
How did the modern world’s most successful slave revolt give birth to a desperately poor nation? Here is a summary of what a team of New York Times correspondents found out.

One Comment on "Haiti 2022-March 2024"

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson February 19, 2024 at 10:36 am ·

    JWG via DTN
    15 January 2023
    JT and Rae have been reading the tar baby saga and are trying hard to stay clear of the dirty work which will be involved if any serious effort is mounted to bring the present Haitian crisis to an end. It’s a reaction shared with just about every other country with an interest in Haiti. The rising horrors should be a embarrassment to the hemisphere, but are shuffled away with sanctions and aid which are palliatives. A solution is only possible after the gangs have been crushed- and nobody as yet – including our pious leaders – is prepared to take that on.
    On Sat, Jan 14, JWG wrote to friends in the DR:
    Hola,
    Haiti remains on the Canadian agenda but does not move much from that status. Most recent has been the focus at the trilateral Amlo, Biden and Trudeau meeting in Mexico. T. waffled on questions about Cda leading a military mission (for which we are not equipped) saying that we are working on options “should H’s political crisis worsen again”. “Worsen again” ! – Good God – is he talking about Finland?? and said that sanctions on a number of Haitian elites is the most effective option now!? He added that the priority is equipping the Haitian police to combat gang violence that is impeding the delivery of critical services and humanitarian aid. A separate announcement reported that Cda was shipping more armoured vehicles to the Haitian police. T. said that conversations with the US have focused largely on ensuring “a free flow of food, water, medicines and fuel” to help with security and alleviate a humanitarian crisis.
    From a Haitian friend : “the new political accord (Dec 21) replaces the Sept accord. It ignores the Montana group which rejects it on grounds that it perpetuates the power of Ariel Henry. PauP still chaos, kidnapping remains rampant, cost of living soaring and no solution in sight. No prospect of a force which can destroy the gangs , which more and more chanceries agree must be done, but for which none appear to have any appetite. Outlook: more uncertainty, death, assaults on women, disease and children’s mental illness – and pressure on the DR frontier.”

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