Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry denied permission to land there, faces pressure to resign

 March 7, 2024

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has been unable to return to his battle-torn country, is reportedly facing pressure from the U.S. government and the Caribbean Community to resign and make way for new elections.

Henry has been the top official in Haiti since its president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated in 2021, but he has been absent from the country in the last week, and it has descended into gang warfare.

After a visit to Kenya to ask for the deployment of a U.N.-approved, Kenya-led security force to Haiti, the Dominican Republic denied permission for Henry's plane to land on the island the two nations share.

Instead, he had to land in Puerto Rico, where he remains. The country also has no legislative leadership because their terms have expired and no new elections have been held.

Differing stories

Henry is 74, was never elected and has become isolated during his time as prime minister.

Caribbean diplomat Ronald Sanders told The Washington Post that Henry received a message from the U.S. government on Tuesday suggesting that he resign, even including a statement that he could read.

A spokesman for the U.S. government, Matthew Miller, denied that Henry is being pushed to resign, however.

“We are not calling on him or pushing him to resign,” Miller told reporters. “But we are urging him to expedite the transition to an empowered and an inclusive governance structure that will move with urgency to help the country prepare for a multinational security support mission to address the security situation and pave the way for free and fair elections.”

Part of the reason the U.S. is asking for action is that conditions in the country have deteriorated to the point where the State Department on Wednesday urged U.S. citizens here to leave the country as soon as possible. A large-scale prison break over the weekend led to thousands of inmates escaping, and roving gangs are now kidnapping, raping and killing people with regularity.

More pressure

Jimmy Chérizier, the top gang leader in the country, said that Henry needs to resign or “the country is headed straight to a genocide.”

“If the international community continues to support him, they are taking us to a civil war,” Chérizier warned Tuesday. “We will fight until Ariel Henry’s resignation.”

The Caribbean Community has also asked Henry to resign.

“If it is clear that your time is up, both within the state and by the interested parties outside of the state, I don’t know what the point of your hanging on is,” Sanders said. “Particularly when you are not even in the country and you’re stuck in Puerto Rico with very little ability to get back to the country that you are supposed to be the prime minister of.”

“He’s in a very difficult position,” he said. “It’s only a question of time.”

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.