Haiti: Efforts for Stability and Hope for the Future


René Wadlow – TRANSCEND Media Service

Action Needed

16 Mar 2024 – The interaction between political leaders, criminal gangs and leaders of voodoo religious groups is not new in Haiti as was seen by the paramilitary killers, Les Tontons Macoutes, during the presidency of Francois Duvalier (Papa Doc) and Jean-Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc) in the 1960s and 1970s.  However, today the breakdown of civil order is such that the future of the country is at stake.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry has resigned and is outside the country. There is a proposal to create a seven-member committee to administer the country until elections can be held.  There have not been elections since 2016.  However, even with elections in the past, political administrators have not been able to develop the needed economic and social structures.

Currently, criminal gangs control 80 percent of the capital city, Port-Au-Prince, as disorder and violence are widespread.  The rural areas are economically stagnant and often disorganized.  Many people try to leave the country, especially for the neighboring Dominican Republic.

There are proposals to bring in, under a United Nations mandate, a 2,000-member police force from Kenya and some administrators from other countries.  There was an earlier U.N.-led stabilization mission in 2004-2017 which had little positive impact.  Police are rarely trained to promote economic and social development.

There are some active Haitian non-governmental organizations that do good work especially in the rural areas, when there is stability. However, most of the economic life of the country is focused on Port-Au Prince, and until there is some stability without gang control, little can be done.

Haiti is a country to watch closely to see what positive economic and social structures can be put into place.


René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues, and editor of Transnational Perspectives.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 18 Mar 2024.

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