Haiti is sinking even deeper into a nightmare of violence

Haiti is sinking even deeper into a nightmare of violence following the mass escape of prisoners

The Mass escape of prisoners from two prisons in Port-au-Princewhich led to the release of more than 3,500 prisoners, including leaders of criminal gangs, onto the streets, has intensified a nightmare of violence that envelops Haiti and what the answer of the United Nations Organization will be the deployment of uniformed men from Kenya at an as yet undetermined date.

From Nairobi, where he was just signingreasonable for him Deployment of Kenyan police forces Prime Minister Ariel Henry decreed this for his country State of emergency in Haiti. For observers, this is an extreme measure, but one that should have been taken in advance, given the advance of criminal gangs in the last two years to the exercise of territorial control in a large part of Port-au-Prince, and in other parts of the country. .

Haiti experienced a weekend of violence. Last Saturday, at night, Armed gangs attacked the Port-au-Prince National Prisonthe largest prison in the country, in a clear demonstration of violence against the authorities.

Correctional authorities confirmed that only a hundred of the 3,800 prisoners remained in their cells, including the mercenaries, mostly Colombians, accused of assassinating then-President Jovenel Moïse in 2021 an inmate escapes from prison civil Croix des Bouquets.

The Insight Crime portal, which investigates organized crime, pointed this out Demonstrations of violence by criminals They were a reaction to the act of March 1, when the acting Prime Minister of Haiti, Ariel Henry, signed the agreement with the President of Kenya, William Ruto, in Nairobi.

It is about one Agreement passed in the UN Security Council Last year, around 1,000 uniformed officers under the command of Kenyan officials tried to restore public order in Haiti and help rebuild a decimated Haitian police force.

According to Insight Crime, this is Attack on these two prisons appears to have been instigated by Jimmy Chérizier alias Barbecue, a former police officer who heads the police force Gang association The G9 is the most powerful in the country. In a previously released video, Barbecue announced an increase in attacks aimed at forcing Henry from office. It is believed that the aim of these actions is political in nature, to aggravate the chaotic situation State of anomie ravaging Haiti.

On October 2, 2023, the UN Security Council approved the deployment of a new international force to the Caribbean country with the aim of strengthening local police and stopping criminal gangs that operate with impunity. A relevant aspect that Secretary-General António Guterres sought to address was the non-inclusion of the UN peacekeepers.

This was an attempt to assuage criticism that still resonates among Haitians over the excesses of the international mission that led this body for a decade and which ended in 2017 amid scandal. In this way it was approved, a international force ad hoc led by Kenya and that it would be formed with uniformed personnel from countries voluntarily joining the initiative and that the initiative would be funded by the United States to begin its work. After a series of legal setbacks in Nairobi, Henry's visit indicates that this mission will be put into action.

French journalists from Port-au-Prince reported to their media in Paris that they had seen it Dozens of corpses An attack was carried out on Sunday morning near the prison on Saturday evening.

The government led by Heinrich, whose legitimacy was questioned by various political actors, decreed a Curfew on the night of each day until tomorrow, March 6, with the possibility of an extension. Restriction measures were implemented in the Ouest department, which also includes the capital Port-au-Prince.

Henry was appointed Prime Minister by Moïse shortly before his assassination. On the one hand, given the absence of Parliament ongoing institutional crisisThere was no parliamentary ratification, as required by the Caribbean country's laws. The incumbent Prime Minister had announced that there would be a general election in February 2024, but that did not happen and he also beheaded the electoral body in the meantime.

This lack of institutionality was fertile ground for the spread of organized crime in Haiti.. It is estimated that around 300 gangs operate in the country and 80% of the territory of the Haitian capital is in the hands of heavily armed criminal groups.

According to Insight Crime, the Kenyan soldiers, who African organizations say have a poor record of respecting human rights, will face punishment Titan task in the Caribbean: “Kenyans will enter a failed state and one of the kidnapping capitals of the world, where gangs are the only visible authority in many parts of the country. It is estimated that around 3,000 people were kidnapped for ransom last year.”

Now it is Haitian National Police According to the United Nations, about 9,000 agents are responsible for the security of more than 11 million people. Officers are often overwhelmed and outnumbered powerful criminal gangs.

In addition, according to UN data, almost 5,000 homicide victims were recorded in 2023, an increase of 119.4% compared to 2022. Last year, Haiti recorded a rate of 40.9 homicides per 100,000 residents, compared to 18.1 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2022. The number of murders has doubled from one year to the next.

Haiti is the poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to various international organizations. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) estimates that more than 60% of the population is poor and 45% suffer from acute food insecurity, requiring international humanitarian cooperation. Haitian poverty is concentrated in rural areas and from there there is a continuous exodus, now compounded by violence that has a direct impact on the Dominican Republic. Both countries share the island of Hispaniola.