Name? Ariel Henry
Westphalian identity? Haitian
Why is he in the news? The interim President of Haiti Ariel Henry called for foreign military intervention in Haiti last month. Haiti has been in turmoil ever since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse almost a year and a half ago. The island nation has seen an unprecedented uptick in gang violence, spiralling Haitian security and forcing Henry to call the international community to send an “specialised armed force” to save Haiti from its paralysing gang violence.
Why do we care? Haiti does not have a good history with foreign intervention; it has come with what seems to be more negatives than positives. Now, as Henry leads without a political roadmap, allowing an unpopular foreign intervention runs the risk of causing more harm than good. Thus, the future for Haiti does not seem clear nor stable.
Why should you care? Gang violence in recent months has killed dozens, displaced thousands and forced roughly 4.7 million into hunger. A gang blockade of Haitian ports and oil supply have limited the capacity of services like hospitals and grocery stores. However, intervention may incite a violent reaction from the gangs, causing a deeper humanitarian crisis among the most vulnerable; you should care 7/10 about Henry’s plea.
Who else cares? Linda-Thomas Greenfield, US Ambassador to the UN, has recently expressed concern and, with Mexico, drafted a Security Council Resolution calling for an independent foreign mission in Haiti. As both states face a spike in migration from Haiti, anxieties of a continued state of insecurity is a motivation to end the internal strife. However, Russia and China had their doubts as Chinese Ambassador Geng Shuang questioned the feasibility of supporting a government with arguable legitimacy.
Any further comments? Perhaps another route that could be beneficial for Henry in quelling the gang’s power is the use of targeted sanctions against gang leaders as the EU and Canada have recently introduced.