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Haiti in Horrific Crisis as U.S. Tries To Maneuver Prime Minister's Exit

March 6, 2024 (EIRNS)—In the last 72 hours, Haiti has descended into a hell. Violent gangs have taken over the capital of Port-au-Prince, are assaulting homes, businesses, police stations, killing wantonly, and have surrounded the international airport and cut off access roads into and out of the city. Over the weekend, gangs also assaulted the city’s two major prisons and released 3,700 prisoners, after which the police, now bolstered by the Army, declared a 72-hour state of emergency and curfew. Security forces are overwhelmed. Some 15,000 people have been displaced from their homes.

Though violence of this type has plagued Haiti for months, even years, these recent attacks weren’t spontaneous. They were planned by gang leaders to coincide with the absence of de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry, to prevent him from returning to the country or face being overthrown or killed. Henry had attended the Feb. 25-28 CARICOM summit in Guyana and then departed from there to Kenya, where he met with President William Ruto, to coordinate the deployment of 1,000 Kenyan policemen to Haiti as part of the UN-mandated multilateral security support mission (MSSM), to assist Haitian police to combat the gangs.

The drama surrounding the situation has intensified over the past 24 hours, as Henry made efforts to return to the country surreptitiously, was prevented from doing so, and is now holed up in Puerto Rico while the Biden administration is engaged in frenetic negotiations with Caribbean and Haitian authorities to figure out what to do. Until now, Washington has staunchly defended Henry. The latest developments, according to the Miami Herald, is that Washington has worked out with Caribbean leaders a plan by which Henry would agree to set up a new transitional government in which a new prime minister and presidential board would be established and then he would step down—although the Biden administration denies it is asking him to step down!!

Henry is determined to return to Haiti, but Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherzier, head of the powerful G9 federation of gangs, has warned that if Henry doesn’t resign, Haiti “will be heading straight for a civil war that will lead to genocide.” Washington is desperately trying to “expedite” the deployment of the MSSM, but none of the $600 million in funds to finance it has been allocated—not by the U.S. Congress or by any of the Caribbean and African countries that have offered to participate. The White House is frantic.