Gangs continue to control the situation in Haiti while the pressure is on for acting President Ariel Henry to leave government

On 21 December 2022, Haiti’s acting President Ariel Henry signed a pact with the political parties and civil society organizations whereby he committed to abandon the position on 7 February 2024. As of 5 February 2024, no announcement of his leaving the government has come from Henry.

Henry has backed the arrival of a police force mission from Kenya as part of a UN-supported peace-seeking exercise in Haiti. There is no date either for the arrival of the Kenya forces. The judiciary in Kenya opposes the mission, despite the backing of that country’s President. The US has committed to pay US$200 million to the Kenya government for the service of its police force members leading the effort to restore order to Haiti.

In Haiti, recently arrived deported drug trafficker and former police chief in Cap Haitien Guy Philippe has revved up the pressure for the departure of Henry from the government. Philippe was deported from the United States where he served a sentence for drug trafficking charges.

Philippe is calling the Haitians to protest in the streets to force the oust of Henry on Wednesday, 7 February. Former Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who was replaced by Henry, also leads the protests to remove Henry.

Meanwhile, Dominican Foreign Minister Roberto Alvarez says that the long-term solution to the Haitian crisis is in the hands of the political, religious, and business elites in Haiti. Speaking during a televised interview, Alvarez said that if it is not done this way, there are no conditions to hold elections because the gangs (with almost absolute control of Haiti) would exercise their power and take over the government.

In the Dominican Republic, President Luis Abinader says the government is prepared for attempts in Haiti to remove Henry forcefully. President Luis Abinader said that the official talks with Haiti over the canal construction in Haiti are at a dead end because Haiti did not comply with previous agreements. International mediators call for Haiti to assess the impacts of the canal built in Haiti, which is almost completed. The Dominican government has requested that a reputed company carry out an assessment of the canal’s impact in both countries.

Meanwhile, Abinader says that the La Vigia canal mechanism to deter waters for Dominican farms from the Dajabon/Masacre River flow before it reaches the canal under construction in Haiti is ready. The construction of the Masacre Canal in Haiti has caused a major impasse between the two countries. President Abinader says that talks between the two countries have not gotten anywhere because Haiti has broken the agreements reached with the DR. Moreso, the question is who is government in Haiti, a country where gangs are more in control than the government.

During the Monday, 5 February 2024 press conference, President Luis Abinader expressed his confidence that Dominican border controls are in place to deal with any worsening of the situation in Haiti.

Read more:
Listin Diario
Diario Libre
El Caribe

6 February 2024