Great concern about crisis in Haiti

Henry

Leaders and envoys from several key countries were due to meet in Jamaica on Monday regarding the increasing instability in Haiti.

Gang violence paralyzes this impoverished country’s capital and foreign diplomats left the country over the weekend.

Armed groups that already control much of Port-au-Prince have wreaked havoc in recent days in their efforts to oust Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Henry, who has been in charge since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021, was abroad seeking support for a United Nations (UN)-backed mission when the latest violence erupted. He could not return to his country.

Leaders of several Caribbean countries as well as envoys from the US, France, Canada and the UN were summoned to a meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, to discuss the crisis. The US sent Foreign Minister Antony Blinken to the meeting.

The European Union said Monday that all its diplomatic staff had left Haiti, a day after the US announced it was evacuating non-essential embassy staff to safety.

Meanwhile, the German Department of Foreign Affairs said its ambassador left for the Dominican Republic on Sunday “due to the very tense security situation in Haiti”.

Over the weekend, the police repelled gang attacks, including on the presidential palace. The heavily armed gangs attacked critical infrastructure, including two prisons, allowing most of the 3,800 inmates to escape.

Port-au-Prince and the surrounding region are under a month-long state of emergency while a curfew has also been imposed.

Meanwhile, Haiti’s airport remains closed while the main port has also suspended services amid looting incidents.