Haiti: Is U.N. Intervention Enough?

Written by Ciara Perez

October 24, 2022

Under Prime Minister Ariel Henry, Haiti has been in decline. “Haiti has seen worsening inflation, fuel shortages, kidnappings, massacres, displacement, and escalating clashes between heavily armed gangs” and in August, Haitians began protesting for Henry’s resignation.

Last month, armed gangs blocked the main fuel terminal in the capital of Port-au-Prince and severed access to aid routes. The people took to the streets in protest of the higher fuel and food prices, as half the country is now experiencing acute hunger. Not only are the people hungry, but the country is also combatting a cholera outbreak. “Lack of access to clean water and sanitation, pervasive food insecurity, and inadequate health care create perfect conditions for a dangerous cholera outbreak” according to researcher Cesar Munoz.

Prime Minister Henry has asked for international intervention in the form of specialized armed forces, though this idea is not welcomed by many Haitians due to a turbulent history. If this request is honored, it will be the fifth time that military intervention was needed in Haiti.

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also called for armed action to free the port being held by gangs and to allow for a humanitarian corridor, though the UN would not be leading these efforts. Past UN peacekeeping missions in Haiti brought an outbreak of cholera that killed nearly 10,000 people, so the U.S. is leading the talks for now. The U.S. and Mexico have drafted a resolution imposing financial sanctions on Jimmy Cherizier, freezing his assets, and limiting international travel. Cherizier leads a coalition of nine gangs, which are directly responsible for the increased violence, unrest, and economic hardship hitting the Haitian population right now.

Last week, this resolution was unanimously approved by the UN Security Council and the arms embargo was enacted. At the vote, Haiti’s UN Ambassador Antonio Rodrique said that “these measures contribute to an end to the violent and deadly activities of these armed groups, marauding in the country, and causing numerous victims and mass population displacement”.  This resolution sends the message that the international community is watching and will see order restored to Haiti.

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