Haiti Braces For An Uncertain Future
After the assination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7th 2021, the country of Haiti has spiraled into chaos. Parts of the nation have fallen into gang control and with the current Prime Minister’s legitimacy being questioned, the country is headed down a dark path. The levels of poverty, hunger, homelessness have increased. The country's main oil wells and fuel lines have been taken over by various local gangs.
In the wake of his death, the Prime Minister of the nation Ariel Henry was called to lead the country while it’s citizens waited for an election to elect President Moïse’s successor. But before Henry could be sworn in as Prime Minister, the President was killed. Due to this many questioned the validity of Henry’s post. So, on January 1st 2022 there was an assination attempt on his life.
In a statement from his office, the culprits were called “bandits and terrorists”. To celebrate the 218th anniversary of independence of the nation, there was a ceremony being held in a church in the northern city of Gonaïves. A video was posted on twitter with footage from the attack showing the Prime Minister and his entourage reusing for cover to their vehicles. According to the Haitian media there were two injured and one fatality.
There have been several death threats made towards the Prime Minister. This incident opened up wounds that had not quite healed after the killing of President Moïse and brought up multiple safety concerns about other government officials in the nation. In a statement in Haitian Creole shared Sunday on Twitter, Henry said: “Today, our enemies, the enemies of the Haitian people, are the terrorists who do not hesitate to use violence to kill people with all their might, or to kidnap, take away their freedom, to rape them. And do everything for money.”
This is not the first time that Henry was targeted. On October 17th 2021, Henry and the Head of the National Police were shot at Leon Charles, and were attacked when they went to Pont-Rouge monument, in the capital Port-au-Prince, to pay homage to the father of the nation Jean-Jacques Dessalines on his death anniversary.
The Prime Minister has vowed to bring down the hammer on gang violence that is plaguing the country and bring about some normalcy and stability in the country. Henry promised on several occasions to combat insecurity and to crack down on criminal gangs, however, the gangs are slowly taking control of the country. The government authorities and the police seem to have no response to the crisis. Many people have alleged that sectors within the Haitian National Police (PNH) and the ruling Haitian Tèt Kale Party (PHTK) have sided with the country’s main gangs and ordered them to generate chaos to pave the way for an international interference.
It is worth noting that in September 2021, Henry came under suspicion in Moïse’s assassination. Haiti’s chief prosecutor, Bed-Ford Claude, claimed that Henry had spoken on the phone twice with one of the alleged masterminds of the crime, Joseph Felix Badio, hours after Moïse was shot dead at his residence on the night of July 7.
In September 2021, Henry persuaded around 20 political parties, platforms and organizations to sign his proposal for a transitional government led by himself. The agreement foresaw the holding of general elections and a referendum to draft a new constitution no later than the end of 2022 and the inauguration of the new authorities in early 2023.
However, there has been significant opposition to Henry’s plans. The Commission to Search a Solution to the Crisis (CRSC), a platform that brings together more than 500 social organizations and left-wing political movements, does not recognize Henry’s authority and considers his rule unconstitutional, since the current constitution does not have a provision with regards to how to replace an assassinated president. The commission also has emphasized that the current constitution does not allow a de-facto Prime Minister to change it. The CRSC encourages the inauguration of a new interim president by a new national council, made of people from diverse forces of the country.
The country is yet to hold an election to elect a new President.
Haiti Prime Minister Survives Assassination Attempt, His Office Says. (2022, January 3). The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/03/world/americas/ariel-henry-assassination-attempt.html
Haiti's PM forced to flee after apparent assassination attempt outside church. (2022, January 3). The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/03/haiti-prime-minister-flee-shootout
Rivers, M., Dupain, E., & Gallón, N. (2022, February 8). Haitian Prime Minister involved in planning the President's assassination, says judge who oversaw case. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2022/02/08/americas/haiti-assassination-investigation-prime-minister-intl-cmd-latam/index.html