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Haiti In Chaos

Johnny Fils-Aime

On April 3, 2024, according to AP News 53,000 people have fled Haiti’s capital in less than three weeks. Why, exactly, is this happening? The simple explanation is gang violence. However, the real reason is much more complicated. The capital, Port-au-Prince, has since had 3,000,000 people flee. Gunmen have burned police stations, shot up Haiti’s international airport, which now remains closed. A prison break a short while back led to more than 4,000 inmates being freed. The story begins with a man named Jovenel Moise. He was the President of Haiti from February 2017 until his assassination on July 7, 2021. This single event kicked a wave of instability that continues to this day.


Jovenel Moise was shot dead inside his home in the Pelerin 5 neighborhood above Port-au-Prince. He was killed at 1:00 local time after being shot 12 times, with bullets hitting his forehead and several bullets hitting his torso. His left eye, shockingly, was gouged out and bones in his arm and his ankle were broken. He was found lying on the floor with his shirt soaked in blood, and his wife, Matrine Moise, was shot but survived. It was a horrific and brutal scene that is still being figured out to this day. The Haitian government initially blamed 26 Colombians and 2 Haitian Americans for committing the crime, but soon 50 individuals were all suspected of committing the act after a 122-page report was leaked in February 2024.


The report detailed how Martine Moise, Jovenel Moise’s widow who was also injured during the event in July 2021, had conspired with former Prime Minister Claude Joseph to kill President Moise and replace him herself. Numerous individuals were declared to have been possibly involved, including 20 people who were directly at the scene, who mostly consisted of Colombians, as well as Leon Charles, the director-general of the national police, was said to have “sufficient indications” of being involved. Claude Joseph was also said to have sufficient indications of being involved as well. Martine Moise was indicted for the crime after the report was leaked. These events have largely tainted the government, as it seemed now that the government was as corrupt as ever and that it was willing to settle its disputes in such mafia-esque ways. Claude Joseph said that the current President, Ariel Henry, was “weaponizing the Haitian justice system” to persecute opponents in a “classic coup d’etat”. Since Jovenel Moise’s death, the country has never held an election and no one has formally succeeded Moise as President. Ariel Henry, who leads an opposition party and who has also postponed elections indefinitely, is now leading a Haiti that has fallen into chaos, as a devastating earthquake hit the country and armed gangs took over large swathes of the country.


Ariel Henry is now stranded outside of his country largely unable to rule his country. Gangs now run the country and are calling for Henry to step down. He stated on March 11, 2024, that he would do so, but only if a transitional council can be formed to run the country in his wake. However, the political party bickering has led to the plan being halted and shed doubts over whether such a solution is even possible. Humanitarian support has collapsed due to gangs gaining more and more control. Gangs control 90% of Port-au-Prince, and guns and other weapons have been found hidden in humanitarian aid packages. Kenya has made plans to send troops to keep the peace in Haiti, but the plan was halted due to Ariel Henry declaring the possible transitional council that would take power after his resignation to be unconstitutional and illegal. The chaos in Haiti does not seem to be ending, but if it does not, one must wonder what will happen next and if Haiti will survive.



BBC. “Haiti President’s Assassination: What We Know so Far.” BBC News, 12 July 2021,

“Widow and Aides Indicted in Assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.” PBS NewsHour, 20 Feb. 2024, Accessed 3 Apr. 2024.

“Haiti President Moise’s Widow, Ex-PM among 50 Charged in His Assassination.” Al Jazeera, Accessed 3 Apr. 2024.

Beaumont, Peter. “Can Haiti Avoid History Repeating as Burning Streets Meet Vying Elites?” The Guardian, 13 Mar. 2024,

“Kenya’s Haiti Mission to Delay after PM Ariel Henry Cast Doubt on Transitional Council –”, 2 Apr. 2024, Accessed 3 Apr. 2024.

“Violence Flares Again in Haiti as PM Questions Promised Political Solution.” Al Jazeera,

Hu, Caitlin Stephen. “Haiti’s Leader Resigns as Gangs Run Rampant through Country Engulfed in Crisis.” CNN, 12 Mar. 2024,

Venegas, Guad, and Fredlyn Pierre Louis. “DHS Attempts to Stop a Steady Stream of Guns from America to Haiti.” NBC News, NBC News, 2 Apr. 2024,

Dress, Brad. “Haiti Faces Collapse of Humanitarian Support: “What Happens next Is Anyone’s Guess.”” The Hill, 3 Apr. 2024, Accessed 3 Apr. 2024.

“Haiti’s Surge in Gang Violence Has Led More than 53,000 to Flee the Capital in Less than Three Weeks.” AP News, 2 Apr. 2024,

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