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Haiti faces further turmoil as PM says only he can appoint leadership counci

Haiti is facing further turmoil as former Prime Minister Ariel Henry has said that only he can appoint the transitional council needed to take over leadership of the beleaguered Caribbean nation.

Ariel Henry’s office told CNN that, under Haiti’s constitution, it is down to him and his cabinet to appoint the transitional leaders – as he vowed to follow constitutional procedures.

“We will not deliver the country to just a group of people without following the procedure. We are in crisis as a country, but we must stay inside of the law and set a good example,” his office said.

This further state of flux comes after a state of emergency was declared in the nation last week, prompting Caribbean leaders and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to meet in Jamaica to urgently discuss the crisis on Monday.

On 11 March, Mr Henry agreed to resign once a transitional presidential council is created.

The violence, which began on 29 February, has seen gang members burn down police stations and raid prisons, releasing more than 4,000 inmates.

Heavily armed criminal gangs also attacked major government assets across the capital Port-au-Prince and took control of the main international airports.

Key points

  • US forces deployed to protect US embassy in Haiti

  • US and EU embassies begin evacuating staff

  • Haiti prime minister resigns as criminal gangs plunge country into crisis

Kenya security mission on hold until a ‘sitting government’ is established in Haiti

Tuesday 12 March 2024 17:09 , Graig Graziosi

The US pledged to spend $300m to help fund a Kenyan-led security mission to Haiti following increases in gang violence across the nation.

Prior to his resignation, Prime Minister Ariel Henry visited Kenya to ask for security assistance. That prompted a gang-led effort to remove him from office.

Hours after Mr Henry announced he was stepping down, Kenya announced it would not send a security team unless a “sitting government” was in place in Haiti.

“The deal they signed with the president [William Ruto] still stands although the deployment will not happen now because definitely we will require a sitting government to also collaborate with,” Salim Swaleh, Kenya’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told The New York Times.

‘Barbecue’ Cherizier warned of anti-government violence earlier this month

Tuesday 12 March 2024 18:03 , Graig Graziosi

Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, the leader of the G9 gang that allied with other Haitian gangs to force the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, warned on 5 March of the violence that would come if Mr Henry remained in power.

He previously said “if the international community continues to support [Mr Henry], we’ll be heading straight for a civil war that will lead to genocide.”

“Either Haiti becomes a paradise or a hell for all of us. It’s out of the question for a small group of rich people living in big hotels to decide the fate of people living in working-class neighborhoods,” Mr Cherizier said.

Caricom leader says ‘still a long way to go’ before plan for Haitian leadership is in place

Tuesday 12 March 2024 18:33 , Graig Graziosi

Leaders from several Caribbean nations have been working to solidify a transitional council to lead Haiti in the wake of Ariel Henry’s resignation as Prime Minister.

The leaders called a meeting of Caricom, which represents 15 Caribbean countries, on Monday to discuss how to proceed.

Mohamed Irfaan Ali, the president of Guyana, said that “we still have a long way to go” before such a council is established.

Ariel Henry was not allowed to return to Haiti after asking for Kenyan aid

Tuesday 12 March 2024 19:05 , Graig Graziosi

Now-former Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry was not allowed to return to the nation after he left to ask for Kenya for help in the form of a security force to help stop gang uprisings.

Mr Henry took power in 2021 after the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse, ostensibly as an interim until a new election could be called. However, he continually delayed elections, citing security issues in the country.

One of the demands of the gangs that organised and attacked government facilities and ransacked neighborhoods in recent days was that Mr Henry step down.

After his resignation, Kenya said it would not send its security force to Haiti until a sitting government is in place to coordinate their efforts.

Haiti crisis: What we know about the gang takeover that has killed dozens and displaced 15,000

Tuesday 12 March 2024 19:50 , Graig Graziosi

Haiti is spiralling further into chaos after armed gang members freed thousands of prisoners, burned government buildings, and forced the prime minister to resign after he fled the country to seek help.

Dozens of people are dead and roughly 15,000 have been forced to flee their homes due to gang raids, according to The Associated Press, with many now facing dwindling supplies of food and water.

The violence escalated on 29 February when Haiti’s powerful criminal gangs, which already controlled large parts of the economy and most of the capital city, Port-au-Prince, launched a series of attacks on police stations, prisons, and other government buildings.

After all the capital’s international airports were seized by gangs, prime minister Ariel Henry was trapped outside the country and faced both domestic and international pressure to resign.

On 5 March, the leader of the unified gangs Jimmy Chérizier — known by his childhood nickname, “Barbecue” — threatened continued violence if Mr Henry did not step down.

He said “if the international community continues to support [Mr Henry], we’ll be heading straight for a civil war that will lead to genocide.”

READ MORE:

Haiti crisis: What we know about the gang takeover that has paralysed the country

US embassy workers evacuate Haiti

Tuesday 12 March 2024 20:14 , Graig Graziosi

US embassy workers are being airlifted out of Haiti following widespread gang takeovers of the island and the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

The US said “concerns” over the conditions — and the potential for continued violence — drove the decision to remove staff from the nation.

US officials and members of Caricom, a group of leaders representing 15 Carribbean nations, have been meeting over the last several days to address the spiralling crisis in Haiti.

Haitian congresswoman called for Haiti prime minister to resign

Tuesday 12 March 2024 21:00 , Graig Graziosi

US Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, a Democrat, was one of the voices calling for Prime Minister Ariel Henry to resign.

“We have to make sure that the Haitian people trust the process and that they feel that they are being protected and that the gangs will not be involved in any kind of transition government,” the Haitian-American representative said on Monday. She added that Mr Henry should hand over his post to a transitional government, according to the Miami Herald.

She also insisted that gang members should not get amnesty. “The gangs have consistently asked for amnesty. I believe that more people will be committed to working and fighting with the gangs if they think they are going to get amnesty,” she said during a news conference. “If we do that, I don’t believe that the Haitian people will ever believe that the international community has their best interests at heart.”

Haiti prime minister resigns as criminal gangs plunge country into crisis

Tuesday 12 March 2024 22:00 , Graig Graziosi

Haiti’s prime minister Ariel Henry has agreed to tender his resignation, regional Caribbean leaders said, amid weeks of spiralling violence in the country.

The prime minister has been under pressure to resign and has remained stranded outside the country in Puerto Rico due to surging violence and unrest in Haiti led by criminal gangs, who have taken control of much of the capital.

Mr Henry will stand down once a transitional government has been put in place, according to the chair of the Caribbean Community regional bloc Irfaan Ali, who is also president of Guyana.

READ MORE:

Haiti prime minister resigns as criminal gangs plunge country into crisis

Antony Blinken attended meeting in Jamaica regarding Haiti crisis

Tuesday 12 March 2024 23:00 , Graig Graziosi

Global leaders, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, are expected to attend a meeting on Monday in Jamaica about Haiti’s future as it remains in a state of emergency following an attempted gang takeover.

Read more about the ongoing conflict here:

Haiti crisis: What we know about the gang takeover that has paralysed the country

Secretary Antony Blinken’s statement on Monday Caricom meeting

Wednesday 13 March 2024 00:00 , Graig Graziosi

Haiti’s crisis is prompting thousands of residents to flee to the Dominican Republic

Wednesday 13 March 2024 01:00 , Graig Graziosi

Fifteen thousand people have been displaced in Haiti since the end of last month, when the gang attacks began, according to Le Monde. This has led to some of the country’s residents attempting to cross into neighbouring Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

Despite the ongoing crisis, border officials in the Dominican Republic have been filmed deporting some of the residents back into Haiti, according to Al Jazeera.

Last year, the Dominican Republic closed its border with the country over the construction of a canal on the Massacre River, which lies in between the two countries. In October, the Dominican Republic partially reopened the border but maintained a ban on issuing visas to Haitian migrants.

Diplomatic tensions continue. After the gang attacks, Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry was denied entry into the Dominican Republic, forcing him to take shelter in nearby Puerto Rico.

US forces deployed to protect US embassy in Haiti

Wednesday 13 March 2024 02:00 , Graig Graziosi

Over the weekend, US military officials said they had flown in forces to Haiti to up security at the country’s Port-Au-Prince embassy. Authorities were careful to mention that no residents of the country were on the aircraft, amid rumours that senior Haitian officials might be attempting to flee the country as attacks worsen.

The aircraft landed at the embassy compound, meaning that helicopters were involved in the operation.

“This airlift of personnel into and out of the Embassy is consistent with our standard practice for Embassy security augmentation worldwide, and no Haitians were on board the military aircraft,” according to a statement released by the military. The military had previously ordered the departure of nonessential staff and all family members in July, according to the Associated Press.

ICYMI: PM Ariel Henry says ‘no sacrifice too big for country’

Wednesday 13 March 2024 03:00 , Graig Graziosi

Prime minister Ariel Henry released a video statement to announce his resignation after the Caribbean leaders confirmed he is stepping down.

In a videotaped statement, Mr Henry said: “The government that I’m running cannot remain insensitive in front of this situation. There is no sacrifice that is too big for our country.”

“The government I’m running will remove itself immediately after the installation of the council,” he said.

US officials called emergency talks on Haiti ‘critical moment’

Wednesday 13 March 2024 03:59 , Graig Graziosi

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters the meeting in Kingston, Jamaica was a “critical moment for Haiti and also all of us”. Meanwhile, he praised Jamaica for its “leadership in the hemisphere that we share.”

Guyanese President Mohamed Irfaan Ali, who chairs CARICOM, the trade bloc holding the talks, said the aim of the meeting was to bring “stability and normalcy” to Haiti, but that Haitian stakeholders “are not where they need to be,” according to AFP.

“Time is not on their side,” Ali warned in a video posted to social media, while describing reports out of Haiti as “dire.”

Ariel Henry: ‘Haiti needs peace’

Wednesday 13 March 2024 05:00 , Graig Graziosi

The unelected prime minister of Haiti, Ariel Henry, annocuned he will step down amid growing gang violence and nearing total social collapse in the Caribbean nation.

Mr Henry informed the nation of his intents in a video he shared late on Monday.

“My government will leave immediately after the inauguration of the council. We will be a caretaker government until they name a prime minister and a new cabinet,” he said. “Haiti needs peace. Haiti needs stability.”

Haitian leadership reliance on gangs may have laid the groundwork for collapse

Wednesday 13 March 2024 07:00 , Graig Graziosi

Haitian leaders using gangs to achieve their ends may have contributed to the current crisis facing the nation, according to one historian.

Michael Deibert, author of “Notes From the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti,” and “Haiti Will Not Perish: A Recent History” told the Associated Press that young, out of work men who organized into gangs were sometimes hired by the government as muscle.

“Now, you have these different politicians that have been collaborating with these gangs for years, and … it blew up in their face,” Mr Deibert said.

Kenya security mission on hold until a ‘sitting government’ is established in Haiti

Wednesday 13 March 2024 09:00 , Graig Graziosi

The US pledged to spend $300m to help fund a Kenyan-led security mission to Haiti following increases in gang violence across the nation.

Prior to his resignation, Prime Minister Ariel Henry visited Kenya to ask for security assistance. That prompted a gang-led effort to remove him from office.

Hours after Mr Henry announced he was stepping down, Kenya announced it would not send a security team unless a “sitting government” was in place in Haiti.

“The deal they signed with the president [William Ruto] still stands although the deployment will not happen now because definitely we will require a sitting government to also collaborate with,” Salim Swaleh, Kenya’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told The New York Times.

Ariel Henry was not allowed to return to Haiti after asking for Kenyan aid

Wednesday 13 March 2024 11:00 , Graig Graziosi

Now-former Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry was not allowed to return to the nation after he left to ask for Kenya for help in the form of a security force to help stop gang uprisings.

Mr Henry took power in 2021 after the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse, ostensibly as an interim until a new election could be called. However, he continually delayed elections, citing security issues in the country.

One of the demands of the gangs that organised and attacked government facilities and ransacked neighborhoods in recent days was that Mr Henry step down.

After his resignation, Kenya said it would not send its security force to Haiti until a sitting government is in place to coordinate their efforts.

US State Department warns Americans not to travel to Haiti

Wednesday 13 March 2024 11:10 , Rachel Sharp

The US State Department is warning Americans not to travel to Haiti as the Caribbean nation continues to grapple with spiralling gang violence.

Haiti is listed as a Level 4: Do Not Travel destination – an advisory level that was in place even before the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021.

A state of emergency was declared in the nation last week, while the US Embassy in Haiti issued a security alert saying that the “current security situation in Haiti is unpredictable and dangerous”.

Haiti crisis: What we know about the gang takeover that has killed dozens and displaced 15,000

Wednesday 13 March 2024 13:00 , Graig Graziosi

Haiti is spiralling further into chaos after armed gang members freed thousands of prisoners, burned government buildings, and forced the prime minister to resign after he fled the country to seek help.

Dozens of people are dead and roughly 15,000 have been forced to flee their homes due to gang raids, according to The Associated Press, with many now facing dwindling supplies of food and water.

The violence escalated on 29 February when Haiti’s powerful criminal gangs, which already controlled large parts of the economy and most of the capital city, Port-au-Prince, launched a series of attacks on police stations, prisons, and other government buildings.

After all the capital’s international airports were seized by gangs, prime minister Ariel Henry was trapped outside the country and faced both domestic and international pressure to resign.

On 5 March, the leader of the unified gangs Jimmy Chérizier — known by his childhood nickname, “Barbecue” — threatened continued violence if Mr Henry did not step down.

He said “if the international community continues to support [Mr Henry], we’ll be heading straight for a civil war that will lead to genocide.”

READ MORE:

Haiti crisis: What we know about the gang takeover that has paralysed the country

US embassy workers evacuate Haiti

Wednesday 13 March 2024 14:00 , Graig Graziosi

US embassy workers are being airlifted out of Haiti following widespread gang takeovers of the island and the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

The US said “concerns” over the conditions — and the potential for continued violence — drove the decision to remove staff from the nation.

US officials and members of Caricom, a group of leaders representing 15 Carribbean nations, have been meeting over the last several days to address the spiralling crisis in Haiti.

Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Cherizier: The former cop-turned-gang leader bringing Haiti to its knees

Wednesday 13 March 2024 14:48 , Graig Graziosi

Haiti’s prime minister Ariel Henry said he was resigning amid mounting international pressure following gang violence that has pushed the capital to the brink of civil war.

Mr Henry faced calls to resign from Haitian gang leaders who have taken control of capital Port-au-Prince, keeping the prime minister stranded outside the country.

Heavily armed gangs have tried to seize control of Haiti’s main international airport, exchanging gunfire with police and soldiers in the latest attack on key government sites.

READ MORE:

Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Cherizier: Gang leader bringing Haiti to its knees

New York Mayor Eric Adams offers message of support for people of Haiti

Wednesday 13 March 2024 15:41 , Graig Graziosi

Haiti’s largest non-government hospital shares ‘challenge’ of keeping up with escalating violence

Wednesday 13 March 2024 16:10 , Graig Graziosi

Zanmi Lasante, Haiti’s largest non-government healthcare provider says it is facing staffing and cost issues as it tries to keep up with the gang violence across the island.

The hospital offered the following statement:

“Zanmi Lasante—Partners In Health’s sister organization operating in Haiti—is facing urgent challenges to maintain clinical services across the communities we serve. With roads and transportation blocked, it is difficult to get essential supplies to our sites; in the meantime, the costs and risks of doing so are rising. Zanmi Lasante is experiencing an increasing need among our staff for mental health support as well as access to food and safe housing in their communities. The ZL team remains steadfastly committed to identifying solutions and overcoming these barriers so we can continue to provide lifesaving care.As a social justice organization committed to advancing human rights, we refuse to accept that any life is worth less than another. We urge all parties involved to take measures to help stabilize the country to ensure Haitians can access health care and other fundamental rights.”

France’s ambassador to Haiti has returned to the island

Wednesday 13 March 2024 17:17 , Graig Graziosi

The French ambassador to Haiti has reportedly returned to the capital after weeks of coordinated gang attacks on government facilities forced Prime Minister Ariel Henry to resign.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sends state guard, law enforcement prepare for ‘influx’ of fleeing Haitians

Wednesday 13 March 2024 17:40 , Graig Graziosi

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has sent state guard troops and state law enforcement officers to the state’s southern reaches — specifically the Keys — to stop Haitians from fleeing the island to the US.

Coast Guard intercepts vessel carrying Haitian migrants

Wednesday 13 March 2024 18:00 , Graig Graziosi

The US Coast Guard Cutter Venturous intercepted 65 migrants from Haiti near Great Inagua, Bahamas, according to a statement.

A witness spotted a sailing vessel “in distress” on 7 March and notified the Coast Guard.

“The Coast Guard’s primary mission as a member of the Homeland Security Task Force- Southeast is to preserve human life at sea,” Captain Willie Carmichael, Incident Commander for Operation Vigilant Sentry, said in a statement . “The maritime environment is inherently dangerous and can become deadly aboard crowded unseaworthy vessels. The Coast Guard will continue working with our HSTF-SE partners to rescue and repatriate anyone attempting irregular migration via sea routes, regardless of their nationality.”

All of the migrants were given food, water, medical attention, and shelter before they were repatriated to Haiti.

US sends Marines to secure US Embassy and assist staff in evacuating

Wednesday 13 March 2024 18:36 , Graig Graziosi

US Southern Command issued a statement on Wednesday saying a group of Marines has been sent to secure the embassy in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.

The statement can be found below:

“At the request of the Department of State, the U.S. Southern Command deployed a U.S. Marine Fleet-Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) to maintain strong security capabilities at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and conduct relief in place for our current Marines, a common and routine practice worldwide -- and allow additional non-emergency personnel to depart. Our Marines in Haiti completed their assignment and were relieved by a secondary team of Marines. The U.S. Embassy remains open, and limited operations continue, focused on assistance to US citizens and supporting Haitian led efforts to secure a peaceful transition of power. This week, the Department of Defense doubled our funding for the Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission, and we are working with Haitian, Kenyan, and other partners to expedite its deployment to support the Haitian National Police and to restore security in Haiti. The Department of Defense is postured to provide enabling support for the MSS, including planning assistance, information sharing, airlift, and medical support.”

WATCH: Agape Flights still paused for aid to Haiti

Wednesday 13 March 2024 19:37 , Graig Graziosi

Why is Haiti so chaotic? Leaders used street gangs to gain power. Then the gangs got stronger

Wednesday 13 March 2024 20:16 , Graig Graziosi

Haiti’s prime minister was last seen in Puerto Rico, negotiating his return to a homeland gripped by violence and controlled by heavily armed gangsters. With his fate in the air and the situation in Haiti deteriorating by the day, the world has been left to wonder whether the country will fully descend into anarchy or whether some semblance of order will be restored.

What is going on in Haiti?

It’s easy to blame this latest spasm of violence in the West’s first free Black republic on longstanding poverty, the legacy of colonialism, widespread deforestation, and European and U.S. interference.

However, a series of experts told The Associated Press that the most important immediate cause is more recent: Haitian rulers’ increasing dependence on street gangs.

READ MORE:

Why is Haiti so chaotic? Leaders used street gangs to gain power. Then the gangs got stronger

Haitian political alliance refuses Caricom plan to install a ruling council after Henry’s resignation

Wednesday 13 March 2024 20:26 , Graig Graziosi

A pair of influential Haitain political figures have allied and have rejected a proposed ruling council developed by Caricom, a group representing 15 Caribbean nations.

Caricom planned to develop a council to step in and rule the island nation after the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

However, Jean Charles Moïse, an ex-senator and presidential candidate and former rebel leader Guy Philippe, announced on Wednesday that they will not agree to that plan.

Mr Moïse instead wants a three-person presidential council — which he created with Philippe and a Haitian judge — to rule instead.

“We are not going to negotiate it,” he said during the conference. “We have to make them understand.”

Haiti US Deported Senator (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Haiti US Deported Senator (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WATCH: Aid channels at risk as security risk heightens in Haiti

Wednesday 13 March 2024 21:00 , Graig Graziosi

US officials called emergency talks on Haiti ‘critical moment’

Wednesday 13 March 2024 22:00 , Graig Graziosi

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters a meeting in Kingston, Jamaica was a “critical moment for Haiti and also all of us”. Meanwhile, he praised Jamaica for its “leadership in the hemisphere that we share.”

Guyanese President Mohamed Irfaan Ali, who chairs CARICOM, the trade bloc holding the talks, said the aim of the meeting was to bring “stability and normalcy” to Haiti, but that Haitian stakeholders “are not where they need to be,” according to AFP.

“Time is not on their side,” Ali warned in a video posted to social media, while describing reports out of Haiti as “dire.”

WATCH: US deploys Marines to embassy in Haiti amid rising unrest

Wednesday 13 March 2024 23:00 , Graig Graziosi

Is it safe to travel to Haiti now amid gang takeover?

00:00 , Graig Graziosi

Several countries are advising their citizens against travelling to Haiti, including the US, UK, Ireland and Canada as gangs continue to take hold of the country.

Earlier this month, gangs attempted to take Haiti’s Toussaint Louverture International Airport, located in Port-Au-Prince, the country’s capital and broke into a nearby port services terminal. Armed men have also stormed police stations in the country and let thousands of prisoners loose from Haiti’s National Penitentiary.

Ariel Henry, who had been running the country as prime minister and acting president until he resigned on Tuesday amid international pressure, fled the country to Puerto Rico last week after he was refused entry into the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. Dominican air, land and sea borders are closed to travellers.

READ MORE:

Is it safe to travel to Haiti now amid gang takeover?

Ariel Henry was not allowed to return to Haiti after asking for Kenyan aid

01:00 , Graig Graziosi

Now-former Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry was not allowed to return to the nation after he left to ask for Kenya for help in the form of a security force to help stop gang uprisings.

Mr Henry took power in 2021 after the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse, ostensibly as an interim until a new election could be called. However, he continually delayed elections, citing security issues in the country.

One of the demands of the gangs that organised and attacked government facilities and ransacked neighborhoods in recent days was that Mr Henry step down.

After his resignation, Kenya said it would not send its security force to Haiti until a sitting government is in place to coordinate their efforts.

Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Cherizier: The former cop-turned-gang leader bringing Haiti to its knees

02:00 , Graig Graziosi

Haiti’s prime minister Ariel Henry said he was resigning amid mounting international pressure following gang violence that has pushed the capital to the brink of civil war.

Mr Henry faced calls to resign from Haitian gang leaders who have taken control of capital Port-au-Prince, keeping the prime minister stranded outside the country.

Heavily armed gangs have tried to seize control of Haiti’s main international airport, exchanging gunfire with police and soldiers in the latest attack on key government sites.

READ MORE:

Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Cherizier: Gang leader bringing Haiti to its knees

Kenya security mission on hold until a ‘sitting government’ is established in Haiti

03:00 , Graig Graziosi

The US pledged to spend $300m to help fund a Kenyan-led security mission to Haiti following increases in gang violence across the nation.

Prior to his resignation, Prime Minister Ariel Henry visited Kenya to ask for security assistance. That prompted a gang-led effort to remove him from office.

Hours after Mr Henry announced he was stepping down, Kenya announced it would not send a security team unless a “sitting government” was in place in Haiti.

“The deal they signed with the president [William Ruto] still stands although the deployment will not happen now because definitely we will require a sitting government to also collaborate with,” Salim Swaleh, Kenya’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told The New York Times.

Haiti crisis: What we know about the gang takeover that has killed dozens and displaced 15,000

03:59 , Graig Graziosi

Haiti is spiralling further into chaos after armed gang members freed thousands of prisoners, burned government buildings, and forced the prime minister to resign after he fled the country to seek help.

Dozens of people are dead and roughly 15,000 have been forced to flee their homes due to gang raids, according to The Associated Press, with many now facing dwindling supplies of food and water.

The violence escalated on 29 February when Haiti’s powerful criminal gangs, which already controlled large parts of the economy and most of the capital city, Port-au-Prince, launched a series of attacks on police stations, prisons, and other government buildings.

After all the capital’s international airports were seized by gangs, prime minister Ariel Henry was trapped outside the country and faced both domestic and international pressure to resign.

On 5 March, the leader of the unified gangs Jimmy Chérizier — known by his childhood nickname, “Barbecue” — threatened continued violence if Mr Henry did not step down.

He said “if the international community continues to support [Mr Henry], we’ll be heading straight for a civil war that will lead to genocide.”

READ MORE:

Haiti crisis: What we know about the gang takeover that has paralysed the country

WATCH: Haiti: Hundreds of inmates escape after armed gangs storm prison

05:00 , Graig Graziosi

Haiti’s largest non-government hospital shares ‘challenge’ of keeping up with escalating violence

07:00 , Graig Graziosi

Zanmi Lasante, Haiti’s largest non-government healthcare provider says it is facing staffing and cost issues as it tries to keep up with the gang violence across the island.

The hospital offered the following statement:

“Zanmi Lasante—Partners In Health’s sister organization operating in Haiti—is facing urgent challenges to maintain clinical services across the communities we serve. With roads and transportation blocked, it is difficult to get essential supplies to our sites; in the meantime, the costs and risks of doing so are rising. Zanmi Lasante is experiencing an increasing need among our staff for mental health support as well as access to food and safe housing in their communities. The ZL team remains steadfastly committed to identifying solutions and overcoming these barriers so we can continue to provide lifesaving care. As a social justice organization committed to advancing human rights, we refuse to accept that any life is worth less than another. We urge all parties involved to take measures to help stabilize the country to ensure Haitians can access health care and other fundamental rights.”

09:00 , Graig Graziosi

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sends state guard, law enforcement prepare for ‘influx’ of fleeing Haitians

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has sent state guard troops and state law enforcement officers to the state’s southern reaches — specifically the Keys — to stop Haitians from fleeing the island to the US.

US sends Marines to secure US Embassy and assist staff in evacuating

11:00 , Graig Graziosi

US Southern Command issued a statement on Wednesday saying a group of Marines has been sent to secure the embassy in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.

The statement can be found below:

“At the request of the Department of State, the U.S. Southern Command deployed a U.S. Marine Fleet-Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) to maintain strong security capabilities at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and conduct relief in place for our current Marines, a common and routine practice worldwide -- and allow additional non-emergency personnel to depart. Our Marines in Haiti completed their assignment and were relieved by a secondary team of Marines. The U.S. Embassy remains open, and limited operations continue, focused on assistance to US citizens and supporting Haitian led efforts to secure a peaceful transition of power. This week, the Department of Defense doubled our funding for the Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission, and we are working with Haitian, Kenyan, and other partners to expedite its deployment to support the Haitian National Police and to restore security in Haiti. The Department of Defense is postured to provide enabling support for the MSS, including planning assistance, information sharing, airlift, and medical support.”

Haitian political alliance refuses Caricom plan to install a ruling council after Henry’s resignation

13:00 , Graig Graziosi

A pair of influential Haitain political figures have allied and have rejected a proposed ruling council developed by Caricom, a group representing 15 Caribbean nations.

Caricom planned to develop a council to step in and rule the island nation after the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

However, Jean Charles Moïse, an ex-senator and presidential candidate and former rebel leader Guy Philippe, announced on Wednesday that they will not agree to that plan.

Mr Moïse instead wants a three-person presidential council — which he created with Philippe and a Haitian judge — to rule instead.

“We are not going to negotiate it,” he said during the conference. “We have to make them understand.”

Why is Haiti so chaotic? Leaders used street gangs to gain power. Then the gangs got stronger

13:30 , Graig Graziosi

Haiti’s prime minister was last seen in Puerto Rico, negotiating his return to a homeland gripped by violence and controlled by heavily armed gangsters. With his fate in the air and the situation in Haiti deteriorating by the day, the world has been left to wonder whether the country will fully descend into anarchy or whether some semblance of order will be restored.

What is going on in Haiti?

It’s easy to blame this latest spasm of violence in the West’s first free Black republic on longstanding poverty, the legacy of colonialism, widespread deforestation, and European and U.S. interference.

However, a series of experts told The Associated Press that the most important immediate cause is more recent: Haitian rulers’ increasing dependence on street gangs.

READ MORE:

Why is Haiti so chaotic? Leaders used street gangs to gain power. Then the gangs got stronger

WATCH: Aid channels suffer as security risk heightens in Haiti

14:00 , Graig Graziosi

Liveblog closed

14:38 , Graig Graziosi

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