Ariel Henry, CARICOM, haiti, prime minister, resign, council

Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry To Resign As Violence And Instability Rises

In February, Henry announced that he would delay elections until 2025 and the Haitian gangs responded by uniting and systematically targeting government facilities.

Ariel Henry, the de facto leader of Haiti following the assassination of Jovenel Moïse in 2021, has promised to resign after a transitional council is created and a new prime minister is appointed. Henry was under pressure to resign from CARICOM, a blocKk of Caribbean nations that announced his resignation before he confirmed it.

“The government will resign immediately after the installation of this Council and will remain in office to handle current affairs until the appointment of a Prime Minister and a new government,” Henry said. “I thank the Haitian people for the opportunity given to me to serve our country with integrity, wisdom, and honor.”

As NPR reports, Irfaan Ali, president of Guyana, said that the group had agreed in principle to a seven-member council to be comprised of the major political parties in Haiti. The gangs that have been terrorizing and largely controlling the island nation’s capital, were not consulted, according to Ali.

Henry was backed by the United States after the assassination of Moïse but did not fulfilled his promise to hold elections due to the widespread gang activity in Haiti. In February, Henry announced that he would delay elections until 2025, and Haitian gangs responded by uniting and systematically targeting government facilities. As a result, Henry is believed to have fled to Puerto Rico, where he is now presumed to be.  

As Al-Jazeera reported, the gangs threatened the country with genocide and a civil war if Henry did not step down as prime minister. Haitians also consider Henry to be a corrupt figure in politics, so he was not at CARICOM’s emergency summit. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, however, was promised an additional $100 million for a UN-backed security force to help stabilize Haiti, as well as $30 million in humanitarian aid. Blinken said that securing Haiti was “critical” for the Caribbean nations. 

According to the United States State Department, they support “a proposal developed in partnership with CARICOM and Haitian stakeholders to expedite a political transition through a creation of a broad-based, independent presidential college.” 

As Vox reported in 2023, the external interference of bodies such as the United States and the United Nations in Haitian affairs conjures the history of colonialism and imperialism that shaped much of Haiti’s history. The United States’ initial backing of Henry, a neurosurgeon, as prime minister may have played a part in the majority of Haitians not recognizing him as legitimate.

Jake Johnston, a senior research associate at the Center for Economic Policy and Research, told Vox that sending troops to secure the country without addressing the underlying conditions in Haiti will not solve the problems ravaging the country.

“You can’t send troops in there and combat gangs and think that that’s actually addressing the drivers of instability and insecurity,” said Johnston. “And so, what’s your plan? Are you going to occupy Haiti forever with foreign troops to prevent any instability? I don’t think so.”

RELATED CONTENT: Haitian Prime Minister Survives Assassination Attempt Outside Church