Haiti Is on the Edge of Collapse

Despite years of American military and financial intervention, Haitians are now barbecuing one another.

Written by Evan Poellinger

What’s happening: Armed gangs have taken control of vast swathes of Haiti and have committed numerous acts of violence.

  • More: The gangs demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who is currently stranded in Puerto Rico. The gangs — formerly relied upon by the government as irregular law enforcement — turned on Henry, threatening “civil war” if the prime minister did not resign.

Carnage: Among the various sobering outcomes of the recent outbreak of violence, 362,000 Haitians have been displaced, six police officers have been killed, the National Police Academy destroyed, and thousands of inmates were freed from prisons.

  • Cannibalism: Worse still, videos have circulated showing gang members like Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Cherizier burning victims alive, and others cooking and eating parts of their victims.

American intervention: The United States has been involved in Haiti for over a century, first occupying it from 1915 to 1934, then intervening militarily in 1994 after a coup that overthrew the democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

  • Ravaged by poverty: Beyond military assistance, the U.S. has provided millions of dollars in aid, yet the country remains poverty-stricken.

  • The neoliberal project: Former President Bill Clinton heavily involved his administration in Haiti, and by 2010 became the country’s largest benefactor through the Clinton Foundation. Neoliberal intervention through the Foundation and the Obama administration was mostly abandoned during the Trump era.

Why it matters: Haiti’s collapse presents a multi-layered problem for the United States, including the prospect of an unvetted wave of migration into the U.S., as the displacement of thousands of Haitians becomes imminent.

  • What’s next: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken proposed deploying a multinational peacekeeping force to restore order. The American government would provide over $100 million for intelligence, medical support, communications, and airlift capabilities.