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Foreign-Imposed Solutions Fail in Haiti as the Population Starves

March 26, 2024 (EIRNS)—The much-vaunted “transitional presidential council,” that was supposed to be set up to resolve Haiti’s power vacuum following the March 11 meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the U.S., and other Western powers, has not yet materialized. Amidst security concerns, there is infighting, among the seven designated permanent members and two observers, over the issue of how a president of the body should be chosen, and how the council is supposed to function. An election for its President, scheduled for March 25, had to be postponed when two of the permanent members failed to show up because of disagreements over procedure. At least three of the designated members have resigned and been replaced so far, one because she had received death threats.

It is also the case that Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who said on March 11 that he would resign, is still officially the prime minister until the presidential council is in place, and a new prime minister named. As of March 13, he was insisting that only he could make appointments to the new council, the Haitian Times reported. Others subsequently designated the council members (as far as is known). He, nonetheless, remains in touch with one of the member parties that remains loyal to him. There is no news regarding the status of the Kenyan-led multinational security mission, whose deployment depends on a government existing in Haiti, and on the necessary funding—neither of which exists at the moment.

Speaking on Al Jazeera’s “Inside Story” program, Prof. John Packer at Ottawa University made the appropriate point that the so-called presidential council is “extra-constitutional”—that is, not provided for in Haiti’s Constitution but a fabrication of the “international community.”

On the ground, starvation looms. No ship has docked at the Port-au-Prince port since March 5, according to Caribbean Port Services which manages it. A CPS source told Le Nouvelliste March 23 that if this didn’t change, he feared the “specter of shortages of everything.” The same daily quoted Jean-Martin Bauer, country director for the World Food Program, who warned, “Haitians are on the precipice—one in two people is hungry today…. We need urgent action now—waiting to respond to this situation in its entirety is not an option.” Haiti’s National Food Security Coordination agency reports that between March and June 2024, an estimated 50% of the population (out of 11 million) will be in a state of “acute” food insecurity—17% in the emergency phase and 33% in the crisis phase.

Some who have fled their homes because of gang violence have been able to leave Port-au-Prince for the southern provinces, where there is a modicum of safety. Those who can’t, have taken refuge in empty buildings, in unsanitary, crowded conditions to which the delivery of humanitarian aid—food and medicine—is very difficult. Those venturing out to local markets to buy food find that the cost has made it increasingly inaccessible—that is the case for millions of Haitians. Between August 2023 and February 2024 alone, the price of the monthly market basket rose by 22%.