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Smart Take | Ariel Henry Agrees to Resign; Haiti Still in Chaos

March 13, 20242:19

After weeks of spiraling violence, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry finally agreed to resign. The decision comes on the heels of an emergency meeting of CARICOM, the regional intergovernmental organization that is a political and economic union of 15 member states. The meeting also included representatives from the US, Canada, and the European Union. Wilson Center Chief of Staff Eddy Acevedo provides insight into the crises in Haiti. He comments on the importance of choosing transitional leaders that have legitimacy with Haitians, the gang leaders who are on the brink of taking power, the impact the crisis will have on migration, and the importance of establishing security in order for free elections to eventually be held. 

Prime Minister Henry says he will resign once a transition council and temporary replacement have been appointed.

Video Transcript

  • This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

    Removing Prime Minister Ariel Henry and seeking a political solution alone will not automatically solve the acute security crisis in Haiti. Political leaders with no legitimacy with the people of Haiti can add to the instability in the country. 

    For example, more of Haiti's national police could potentially lay down their arms and flee during this moment in the transition. This situation can also lead to political leaders having to negotiate with gangs. Haiti is at the brink of falling. With our worst nightmare coming true, there is a real possibility of gang leader Barbecue who has been sanctioned by the United Nations or Guy Phillipe, who pled guilty to drug trafficking related charges in US federal court, taking control of the National Palace. 

    Let us not kid ourselves. These gangs have kidnapped, murdered, and raped Haitians, and their complicity in what has occurred in the country. And the violence that has occurred in the country is something that cannot be overlooked in any sort of presidential transition council. The US has decided not to send in troops, and the UN is not likely to send in a peacekeeping force. So what is left is a plan to send a police force from Kenya. 

    But questions remain about whether or not the force can even arrive in Haiti in time. The top priority right now must be the security situation. Without security, free and fair elections cannot move forward. We could be on the verge of seeing a mass migration from Haiti, either by sea to the US or by land to the Dominican Republic. We also need to work together to figure out ways to get humanitarian assistance into the country safely and distributed appropriately. As more people are starving.


Eddy Acevedo

Eddy Acevedo

Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President and CEO
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Latin America Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin America Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more