Haiti continues to struggle for peaceful path forward
A woman sits on the side of an empty street near the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 25, 2024 | AP

Fresh turmoil involving a transitional presidential council that will be responsible for choosing Haiti’s new leader triggered a flurry of activity between Caribbean leaders and officials from the United States, Canada, and France, officials said on Monday.

The council has yet to be sworn in given concerns over the security of its members, a regional official who was not authorized to talk to the media told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The official is based in Guyana, which serves as headquarters for the regional trade bloc known as CARICOM that is helping create the transitional council.

Attacks across the capital

The delay in establishing the council comes as gangs continue to launch attacks across Haiti’s capital.

Since February 29, gunmen have burned police stations, opened fire on the main international airport that remains closed, and stormed the country’s two biggest prisons, releasing more than 4,000 inmates.

Scores of people have been killed and more than 33,000 people have fled the capital Port-au-Prince as a result of the attacks.

On Sunday, the newest person chosen to sit on the council, Dominique Dupuy, stepped down, forcing the council to scramble to quickly find a replacement for her.

Dupuy said that she resigned in part because she became the target of political attacks and death threats.

Officials are hoping rampant gang violence will subside once the council selects a new leader for Haiti and appoints a council of ministers. Prime Minister Ariel Henry has said that he will resign when the council is created.

Romain Le Cour, from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, said: “The inability to make the presidential transitional council operational bears witness to the conflicts running through the Haitian political arena, while each passing day consolidates the power of guns and of politico-criminal brokers.”

Kenya is due to lead an armed police intervention on the island to help stem the gang violence.

But some Haitians are suggesting that the U.S. may have already sent its own forces into the Caribbean nation.

Journalist Kim Ives, who edits the news site Haiti Liberte, posted on the X social media site that on Monday “a man going to La Gonave was turned back by seven US Marines in a Zodiac [inflatable dinghy] coming from US Navy vessels on Sunday.”

Haitians still recall with bitterness how the U.S. occupied Haiti from 1915 and for the next 19 years ran a brutal regime where opponents were executed and a system of forced labor was introduced.

There has been no confirmation from the U.S. that any of its forces are in Haiti.

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Roger McKenzie
Roger McKenzie

Roger McKenzie is the International Editor of Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper. He is the author of the book "African Uhuru: The Fight for African Freedom in the Rise of the Global South" published by Manifesto Press.