Haiti Installs New Transitional Government

Haiti has installed a new government, following the official resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. According to news reports the provisional government has been sworn in during a secret ceremony at the presidential palace nearly two months after a criminal insurrection plunged the capital into chaos.

The controversial former  Prime Minister, a neurosurgeon and former health minister, is currently in the US after he was denied a return to Haiti. The nine-person “transitional council” was officially established on Thursday during an event at the national palace in Port-au-Prince, according to The Guardian.

The new government faces a number of challenges, including:

  • Choose a new prime minister: “Its first task will be to choose a new prime minister before paving the way for elections. At a second ceremony marking the establishment of the council, the recently appointed US ambassador to Haiti, Dennis Hankins, said he hoped his country could help Haiti return to a path of stability, democracy and economic growth.”
  • Political instability: Haiti has been plagued by political instability for many years. The assassination of President Moïse has further destabilized the country. Many say the US is partly responsible for Haiti’s current drama partly because of the large number of weapons flowing into the hands of Haiti’s gangs from the US.
  • Economic crisis: Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. The economy has been hit hard by the pandemic, political instability and gang violence. 

The international community is watching closely to see how the new government will address the small island nation’s challenges. As reported, the US Ambassador to Haiti said, “We won’t be the solution but hopefully we’ll be part of helping those finding the solution.” In an official statement Hankins said, “Haiti deserves peace, security, and prosperity.  I am dedicated to being a humble partner to the Haitian people at this time of crisis and throughout our shared journey to a future with democracy, stability, prosperity, and peace.”

However, there are still concerns that the new government may not be able to overcome the challenges facing Haiti. The country is deeply divided and there is a great deal of poverty and inequality. Any new government will need to work hard and collaboratively to build consensus and address the needs of the people.

The relationship between the United States and Haiti has been complex and often strained. The two countries have a long history of political, economic, and social interaction, dating back to the early days of the Haitian Revolution.

U.S. and Haiti Relationship and Historical Timeline

  • 1791: Haitian Revolution begins, led by Toussaint Louverture.
  • 1804: Haiti declares independence from France, becoming the first independent black-majority republic in the world.
  • 1825: The United States recognizes Haiti’s independence.
  • 1862-1877: The United States occupies Haiti.
  • 1915-1934: The United States occupies Haiti again.
  • 1957: François Duvalier becomes president of Haiti.
  • 1971: Jean-Claude Duvalier succeeds his father as president of Haiti.
  • 1986: Jean-Claude Duvalier is overthrown in a popular uprising.
  • 1991: The United States invades Haiti to restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.
  • 2004: Aristide is overthrown in a coup d’état.
  • 2010: A devastating earthquake hits Haiti, killing hundreds of thousands of people.
  • 2015: Jovenel Moïse is elected president of Haiti.
  • 2017: Hurricane Matthew devastates Haiti.
  • 2018: Moïse is re-elected president of Haiti.
  • 2021: Moïse is assassinated.

The United States has been a major player in Haitian history, both for good and for ill. The U.S. has intervened in Haiti militarily on several occasions, and it has also provided significant economic and humanitarian assistance. The relationship between the two countries remains complex, but there is a growing recognition that both countries have a stake in each other’s future and success.

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