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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsHaiti Descends Into Chaos; Prime Minister Resigns

Haiti Descends Into Chaos; Prime Minister Resigns

Haiti chaos as PM resigns
File photo of protests in Haiti. Credit: Fanm Viktim/Public Domain

Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry has agreed to resign following weeks of mounting pressure and increasing violence in the impoverished country.

This comes after regional leaders met in Jamaica on Monday to discuss a political transition in Haiti. Henry is currently stranded in Puerto Rico after being prevented by armed gangs from returning home.

In a video address announcing his resignation, Henry urged Haitians to remain calm. “The government that I am leading will resign immediately after the installation of [a transition] council,” Henry said.

“I want to thank the Haitian people for the opportunity I had been granted,” he said. “I’m asking all Haitians to remain calm and do everything they can for peace and stability to come back as fast as possible.”

Henry, who had supposedly led the country on an interim basis since July 2021 following former President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination, had repeatedly postponed elections, saying security must be restored first.

Many Haitians had questioned his governing the country for so long without an elected president.

Heavily armed gangs have tightened their grip on the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince and attacked the main prison to help thousands of inmates escape. They also demanded the resignation of the unelected prime minister.

The capital Port-au-Prince and the surrounding region is under a month-long state of emergency, while a curfew has been extended.

Matthias Pierre, a former elections minister in Haiti, described the current situation in the country as “very precarious.”

“The police force is weak, and more than 40 police stations [have been] destroyed,” Pierre said. “The army is very limited and not equipped; gang members occupy most of the [Port-au-Prince] downtown and some government headquarters.”

“Very soon people will be out of food, medication and…medical support,” he said.

He revealed the gangs were now pushing to be part of any new power-sharing deal, adding that such a political settlement was impossible without the “support” of an international armed force.

Haiti spirals to collapse as gangs tighten grip

Henry had been in Kenya to sign a deal on the deployment of an international security force to help tackle violence when a coalition of gangs attacked police stations and stormed two of Haiti’s largest prisons.

A plane carrying Henry was stopped from landing following sustained attacks at Haiti’s international airport.

The White House had initially wanted to see Henry return to Haiti to oversee the transitional process, but the ferocity of fighting in the country has changed minds in Washington in recent days.

Without the support of either the US State Department or his neighbors, it was clear that Henry had no alternative but to step down.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken committed a further $100 million (£78m) to the 1,000-strong UN-backed security force Kenya is expected to lead in Haiti.

The proposed US contribution to the security force now stands at $300 million following Blinken’s announcement. A further $33 million has been allocated for humanitarian aid.

In speaking, following the meeting, chairman of the Caricom group and Guyana President Irfaan Ali said the transitional presidential council would have two observers and seven voting members, including representatives from several coalitions, the private sector and civil society, and one religious leader.

The council has been mandated to “swiftly” appoint an interim prime minister, he said, adding that anyone intending to run in Haiti’s next elections will not be able to participate.

It is hoped the council will pave the way for the first elections in Haiti since 2016.

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