A disastrous earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, leaving the country in deep distress. Reconstruction failed to address the systemic problems underlying its extreme socio-economic inequality and endemic political and gang violence. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021 and a bout of natural disasters soon thereafter, Haiti’s humanitarian plight has gone from bad to worse. Crisis Group aims to shed light on the sources of Haiti’s strife and supports core reforms to the security sector and state that could pave the way for credible elections, improved security and clean government.

CrisisWatch Haiti

Unchanged Situation

Self-defence groups continued operations to tackle dire gang violence, regional bloc facilitated talks between acting PM Henry and opposition groups, and international actors boosted support for police.

Civilian efforts to confront gangs continued. Self-defence movement known as Bwa Kale continued anti-gang operations in capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, helping curb criminal activities in some places. In Artibonite department, civilians allied with Jean-Denis gang to oust its rival Gran Grif gang; notably, civilians escorted by group 8 June burned several houses where Gran Grif members were staying. Violence continued elsewhere. Notably, armed men reportedly from Kraze Barye gang carried out several assaults in Tabarre neighbourhood of capital, including 7 June attacking private residence of former senator, 9 June setting fire to another senator’s house and 13 June ransacking Jamaican consulate, leading to suspension of consular services. Kraze Barye gang 13 June abducted journalist in Tabarre, released her hours later before 20 June kidnapping her husband, former head of Haiti’s provisional electoral council; dozens of other kidnappings reported.

Dialogue between govt and opposition resumed without major breakthrough. CARICOM, body of Caribbean nations, 11-13 June convened Haitian politicians and civil society leaders in Jamaica for talks aimed at resolving political crisis; High Transitional Council (HTC) members did not attend. Though rekindling dialogue marked positive step, sides made little progress toward creating more inclusive transitional govt. Most major opposition forces called for presidential council during transitional period; acting PM Henry, however, said he is willing only to add more members to HTC. Henry 14 June said dialogue would continue in Port-au-Prince.

International partners stepped up support to Haitian National Police (HNP). U.S. VP Kamala Harris 8 June announced Washington would set up investigative unit with HNP to facilitate investigation and prosecution of transnational crimes; French police 13 June arrived in Port-au-Prince to train special police units; and Canadian FM Mélanie Joly 15 June announced launch of Ottawa-led “joint security coordination cell” based in Dominican Republic to work with HNP, though Dominican Republic denied agreeing to proposal. Henry’s calls for multinational force continued, reiterated by UN official 28 June following country visit, saying “the survival of an entire nation is at stake”.

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In The News

13 Feb 2023
[The gangs in Haiti are] running out of tools to control people. They extort, but there’s only so much money that can be extorted from people that are really poor. AP

Renata Segura

Deputy Program Director, Latin America and Caribbean

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Diego Da Rin

Diego Da Rin

Consultant, Latin America and Caribbean

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