The unrest in Haiti, incessant for five years, is taking its toll on Haitians. We at the Haiti Support Group have been keeping a close eye on proceedings, and listening intently to our partners in the nation. The situation is severe, and Ariel Henry – the de facto Prime Minster – and his international backers, are exacerbating the situation; most recently through worrying calls for armed intervention from abroad. We call for Haiti watchers to understand the root causes of the crisis and stand in solidarity with Haitian grassroots groups in their efforts to create a just and democratic society.
The ever-growing insecurity due to the political patronage of criminal gangs, a collapsing economy where inflation is at 30.5%, and the resurgence of cholera cases running into the thousands, are just a few of the calamities afflicting Haitian society today. This situation has been months, if not years in the making, rooted in perennial mismanagement of the country by self-interested leadership, who have stifled democracy whilst opening the door further for exploiters from abroad to profit from the instability.
The crisis has deepened since the assassination of Jovenel Moïse last year July, and the current de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry is not helping matters. Haitians have once more taken to the streets to protest against Henry’s illegitimate, US-backed government and his call for foreign forces to tackle the acute gang violence amid a precarious security situation. Armed intervention has always been a disaster for Haiti. It was a disaster in 1915 when the US invaded, it was a disaster in 2004 when United Nations troops occupied the country.
Our civil society partners in Haiti are deeply concerned about the soaring insecurity, violence, and political instability in the territory, and are worried also because of Henry’s unwarranted request for intervention.
Instead, many Haitian civil society groups are united in the need for a solution inclusive of a wide cohort of society in design and execution. The Montana Accord (in French) – has been drawn up by a broad spectrum of Haitian civil society and actors – women’s groups, trade unions, religious entities and even different political factions. It is a broad call to end instability, corruption and violence through the pursuit of democracy, sovereignty, and the fundamental rights of freedom, equality and dignity.
Together with our Haitian partners and Haitian society at large, we encourage Haiti watchers and friends of Haiti to keep a critical eye open on the status quo, to stand against calls for armed intervention, and stand in solidarity with the movement to provide a truly Haitian solution to these Haitian crises. The voices and volition of Haitian society – everyday Haitians – must be heard in the pursuit of a just and democratic society.