Originally published in Responsible Statecraft, featuring IJDH’s Brian Concannon
In October 2022, Haiti’s de facto prime minister, Ariel Henry, took the rare step of calling for foreign military intervention to help his police combat the gangs and restore some semblance of security. The UN Security Council, with the strong backing of the United States, is seriously considering the proposal.
Meanwhile, as of January of this year, not a single democratically elected official is currently serving in the Haitian government or parliament. Haitians and their supporters in the international community want an eventual democratic transition in Haiti, but so far Washington has not exerted any pressure on Henry to pursue such a course of action, and, as Brian Concannon, executive director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, tells RS, the de facto prime minister has “no incentive to negotiate towards fair elections, because there’s no chance he’s going to win.”
Concannon explained the dynamics that keep Henry afloat in a February piece for the Security Times. “De facto Prime Minister Henry and the PHTK are rationally playing the cards in their hand, and will continue doing so until the game changes,” he wrote. “They cannot win a fair election, so they have no incentive to make any compromises that might oblige them to organize one. (…) As long as the international community keeps propping up the PHTK, there will be no cost, and much benefit, to intransigence.”
Unfortunately, Concannon tells RS today, very little has changed since then. Haiti, he says, is, “stuck in a rut where you have an illegitimate, repressive, corrupt government that the U.S. is supporting.”
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