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Haiti faces further turmoil as PM says only he can appoint leadership counci

Ariel Henry’s office said that, under Haiti’s constitution, it is down to him and his cabinet to appoint transitional leaders to steer the nation through the crisis

Michelle Del Rey,Shweta Sharma,Graig Graziosi
Thursday 14 March 2024 14:41 GMT
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Haiti: Hundreds of inmates escape after armed gangs storm prison

Haiti is facing further turmoil as former Prime Minister Ariel Henry has said that only he can appoint the transitional council needed to take over leadership of the beleaguered Caribbean nation.

Ariel Henry’s office told CNN that, under Haiti’s constitution, it is down to him and his cabinet to appoint the transitional leaders – as he vowed to follow constitutional procedures.

“We will not deliver the country to just a group of people without following the procedure. We are in crisis as a country, but we must stay inside of the law and set a good example,” his office said.

This further state of flux comes after a state of emergency was declared in the nation last week, prompting Caribbean leaders and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to meet in Jamaica to urgently discuss the crisis on Monday.

On 11 March, Mr Henry agreed to resign once a transitional presidential council is created.

The violence, which began on 29 February, has seen gang members burn down police stations and raid prisons, releasing more than 4,000 inmates.

Heavily armed criminal gangs also attacked major government assets across the capital Port-au-Prince and took control of the main international airports.

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Haitian political alliance refuses Caricom plan to install a ruling council after Henry’s resignation

A pair of influential Haitain political figures have allied and have rejected a proposed ruling council developed by Caricom, a group representing 15 Caribbean nations.

Caricom planned to develop a council to step in and rule the island nation after the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

However, Jean Charles Moïse, an ex-senator and presidential candidate and former rebel leader Guy Philippe, announced on Wednesday that they will not agree to that plan.

Mr Moïse instead wants a three-person presidential council — which he created with Philippe and a Haitian judge — to rule instead.

“We are not going to negotiate it,” he said during the conference. “We have to make them understand.”

Haiti US Deported Senator (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Graig Graziosi13 March 2024 20:26
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WATCH: Aid channels at risk as security risk heightens in Haiti

Aid channels at risk as security risk heightens in Haiti
Graig Graziosi13 March 2024 21:00
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US officials called emergency talks on Haiti ‘critical moment’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters a meeting in Kingston, Jamaica was a “critical moment for Haiti and also all of us”. Meanwhile, he praised Jamaica for its “leadership in the hemisphere that we share.”

Guyanese President Mohamed Irfaan Ali, who chairs CARICOM, the trade bloc holding the talks, said the aim of the meeting was to bring “stability and normalcy” to Haiti, but that Haitian stakeholders “are not where they need to be,” according to AFP.

“Time is not on their side,” Ali warned in a video posted to social media, while describing reports out of Haiti as “dire.”

Graig Graziosi13 March 2024 22:00
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WATCH: US deploys Marines to embassy in Haiti amid rising unrest

US deploys Marines to embassy in Haiti amid rising unrest
Graig Graziosi13 March 2024 23:00
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Is it safe to travel to Haiti now amid gang takeover?

Several countries are advising their citizens against travelling to Haiti, including the US, UK, Ireland and Canada as gangs continue to take hold of the country.

Earlier this month, gangs attempted to take Haiti’s Toussaint Louverture International Airport, located in Port-Au-Prince, the country’s capital and broke into a nearby port services terminal. Armed men have also stormed police stations in the country and let thousands of prisoners loose from Haiti’s National Penitentiary.

Ariel Henry, who had been running the country as prime minister and acting president until he resigned on Tuesday amid international pressure, fled the country to Puerto Rico last week after he was refused entry into the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. Dominican air, land and sea borders are closed to travellers.

READ MORE:

Is it safe to travel to Haiti now amid gang takeover?

The US, UK, Ireland and Canada are advising their citizens against going to Haiti

Graig Graziosi14 March 2024 00:00
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Ariel Henry was not allowed to return to Haiti after asking for Kenyan aid

Now-former Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry was not allowed to return to the nation after he left to ask for Kenya for help in the form of a security force to help stop gang uprisings.

Mr Henry took power in 2021 after the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse, ostensibly as an interim until a new election could be called. However, he continually delayed elections, citing security issues in the country.

One of the demands of the gangs that organised and attacked government facilities and ransacked neighborhoods in recent days was that Mr Henry step down.

After his resignation, Kenya said it would not send its security force to Haiti until a sitting government is in place to coordinate their efforts.

Graig Graziosi14 March 2024 01:00
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Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Cherizier: The former cop-turned-gang leader bringing Haiti to its knees

Haiti’s prime minister Ariel Henry said he was resigning amid mounting international pressure following gang violence that has pushed the capital to the brink of civil war.

Mr Henry faced calls to resign from Haitian gang leaders who have taken control of capital Port-au-Prince, keeping the prime minister stranded outside the country.

Heavily armed gangs have tried to seize control of Haiti’s main international airport, exchanging gunfire with police and soldiers in the latest attack on key government sites.

READ MORE:

Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Cherizier: Gang leader bringing Haiti to its knees

US embassy says it is halting all official travel to the country and urges American citizens to leave

Graig Graziosi14 March 2024 02:00
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Kenya security mission on hold until a ‘sitting government’ is established in Haiti

The US pledged to spend $300m to help fund a Kenyan-led security mission to Haiti following increases in gang violence across the nation.

Prior to his resignation, Prime Minister Ariel Henry visited Kenya to ask for security assistance. That prompted a gang-led effort to remove him from office.

Hours after Mr Henry announced he was stepping down, Kenya announced it would not send a security team unless a “sitting government” was in place in Haiti.

“The deal they signed with the president [William Ruto] still stands although the deployment will not happen now because definitely we will require a sitting government to also collaborate with,” Salim Swaleh, Kenya’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told The New York Times.

Graig Graziosi14 March 2024 03:00
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Haiti crisis: What we know about the gang takeover that has killed dozens and displaced 15,000

Haiti is spiralling further into chaos after armed gang members freed thousands of prisoners, burned government buildings, and forced the prime minister to resign after he fled the country to seek help.

Dozens of people are dead and roughly 15,000 have been forced to flee their homes due to gang raids, according to The Associated Press, with many now facing dwindling supplies of food and water.

The violence escalated on 29 February when Haiti’s powerful criminal gangs, which already controlled large parts of the economy and most of the capital city, Port-au-Prince, launched a series of attacks on police stations, prisons, and other government buildings.

After all the capital’s international airports were seized by gangs, prime minister Ariel Henry was trapped outside the country and faced both domestic and international pressure to resign.

On 5 March, the leader of the unified gangs Jimmy Chérizier — known by his childhood nickname, “Barbecue” — threatened continued violence if Mr Henry did not step down.

He said “if the international community continues to support [Mr Henry], we’ll be heading straight for a civil war that will lead to genocide.”

READ MORE:

Haiti crisis: What we know about the gang takeover that has paralysed the country

Haiti’s government has been paralysed by all-powerful street gangs that now control the capital city. But experts say it is Haitian politicians who created the monster, report Julia Reinstein and Io Dodds

Graig Graziosi14 March 2024 03:59
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WATCH: Haiti: Hundreds of inmates escape after armed gangs storm prison

Haiti: Hundreds of inmates escape after armed gangs storm prison
Graig Graziosi14 March 2024 05:00

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