Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry Resigns

Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry has agreed to step down amid mounting pressure and escalating violence within the nation. This decision follows a meeting of regional leaders in Jamaica aimed at facilitating a political transition in Haiti.

Mr. Henry finds himself stranded in Puerto Rico due to armed gangs preventing his return home. In a video announcement of his resignation, he implored Haitians to remain calm, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to serve and urging collective efforts towards peace and stability.

Having assumed interim leadership since July 2021 after the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse, Mr. Henry faced criticism for delaying elections, citing the necessity of restoring security. However, his prolonged tenure without an elected president raised concerns among many Haitians.

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The streets of Port-au-Prince have been under the control of heavily armed gangs, demanding Mr. Henry’s resignation. A state of emergency and extended curfew further illustrate the precarious situation.

Mr. Henry’s resignation was anticipated, particularly after the Caricom group of Caribbean nations emphasized his role as a hindrance to Haiti’s stability. The White House, initially supportive of his return to oversee the transition, altered its stance due to heightened violence.

While Mr. Henry desires to return to Haiti, US officials stress the need for improved security. The US has pledged an additional $100 million to a UN-backed security force, with a total contribution of $300 million, along with humanitarian aid.

Following the Kingston meeting, Caricom chair President Irfaan Ali outlined plans for a transitional presidential council with representatives from various sectors. This council aims to swiftly appoint an interim prime minister and pave the way for Haiti’s first elections since 2016.

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