Haiti towards a civil war, Prime Minister Ariel Henry has resigned: here’s what’s happening

Haiti is in a state of emergency and on the brink of civil war: the latest news is the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, communicated by the President of the Caribbean Community (Caricom). Since the assassination of Henry’s predecessor, the former president Moïsein 2021, and in particular from 2023, the Caribbean country is experiencing a serious crisis internal, with armed criminal gangs holding the country hostage and an increasingly impoverished population, a preview of a possible humanitarian catastrophe.

A few days ago, while the Prime Minister Ariel Henry was located in Nairobi, IN Kenyafor an agreement on UN intervention in the country, the clashes have intensified, especially in the capital Port au Princenow 80% controlled by armed gangs who want to overthrow the government in office and who are putting the population to flight. Let’s see together what is happening and where the crisis in Haiti comes from.

caribbean haiti map

The current situation in Haiti

Although Haiti has been in crisis for more than 3 years and during 2023 the situation in the country was already catastrophic, at the end of February 2024 the situation exploded after the attack by criminal gangs, the so-called pandillas, to the capital, Port-au-Prince. The gangs have created an alliance called “Vivir Juntos” (Living together) with the aim of attacking and destroying the state institutions and overthrow the government.

The prisons of Haiti were taken by storm with the liberation of approx 4500 prisoners, police headquarters and the headquarters of state institutions, including the Ministry of the Interior, were attacked and flights in and out of the country were blocked. The current prime minister, Ariel Henry, in office since 2021 and visiting Kenya to negotiate with the UN a humanitarian intervention to help the Haitian population, has been declared persona non grata by the President of the neighboring Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, which decided to close the entire land border with Haiti, for fear of the crisis spreading to its own territory and to preserve national security.

Haiti is so in state of emergency, so much so that the US embassy and the European Union decided to evacuate and recall non-essential personnel present in the country. Due to this situation on the brink of civil war, Prime Minister Henry decided to resign: a will be formed presidential transition council and an interim Prime Minister will be appointed. Meanwhile, Henry is at Puerto Ricowhere the United States said it would grant him political asylum.


Food security and poverty

Already in crisis since earthquake of 2010 which raised the threshold of poverty and worsened problems related to sanitation and conditions food safety, in Haiti there are currently more than 300,000 internally displaced people and the country is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. For this reason, the United Nations has expressed its willingness to send an international mission to try to maintain stability in the country and avoid a serious humanitarian crisis.

Already from 2022 the World Food Program (WFP) it helped the government in power with food supplies, with the distribution of 550 thousand meals to the population. Last October the United Nations Security Council approved the sending of an international peacekeeping mission to the Caribbean country, with a duration of 12 months and led by Kenya to try to deal with the serious situation present in the country: only in 2023, according to the UN, more than 5000 people and seized approximately 2500.

At the moment, the United States they declared that they wanted to participate in the mission led by Kenya by allocating aid for approximately 300 million dollars with the aim of stabilizing the internal situation in the country and dealing with the serious humanitarian crisis underway.


Where did the Haiti crisis come from?

The serious political and social crisis that broke out in Haiti, in addition to the 2010 earthquake, dates back tomurder on July 7, 2021 by the former president Jovenel Moïsein office from 2017 to 2021. Although the killing occurred under ambiguous circumstances and the culprits were never traced, there are many Haitian citizens who are suspicious of the current interim prime minister Ariel Henry, who came into government only a few days after Moïse’s death, without official elections and therefore considered as illegitimate leader. From the 2021In fact, free and democratic elections have never been held in the country and the worsening of tensions also occurred following the announcement to hold free elections by 31 August 2025, a time limit considered too far away according to the country’s armed gangs .

There are criminal gangs and paramilitary groups fighting among themselves more than 200in a country that has around 12,000 police officers out of a population of 11 million inhabitants. The gangs that hold the country in check are responsible for human rights violations, occupation of schools and hospitals, sexual violence on the population, recruitment of children. The worrying fact is the organization of some pandillas as real paramilitary structures. In the capital two of the main criminal organizations are the G-Pèp and the G-9 Familytwo gangs operating in the poorest neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince and linked to two political parties: the G-9 is affiliated with the party Tet Kaleof former Prime Minister Moïse, while the G-Pèp tends to support i opposition parties.