First Duvalier and then Moise’s death worsened the crisis

The Caribbean country has been plagued since the end of Francois Duvalier’s dictatorship in 1986 with political turmoil. To make matters worse, it has suffered devastating earthquakes, hurricanes, and cholera outbreaks.

The latest crisis came into full swing after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021. In his absence, current Prime Minister Ariel Henry emerged as the country’s leader after a power struggle.

Haiti’s nearly 200 gangs are taking advantage of the chaos, fighting for control.

Tension reigns in Port-au-Prince. Police checkpoints cover the busiest intersections, and graffiti reading “Henry Get Out” can be seen everywhere in the city. Haitians walk the streets with a restlessness that comes from knowing that anything can happen at any time.

An ambulance driver returning from taking a patient told the AP that he was kidnapped and held for days. The family was asked to pay $1 million to have him released.

These types of ransom demands are common, and the gangs use the funds to finance their armed operations.

According to UN estimates, four people are kidnapped every day in Haiti, on average. The UN recorded almost 2,200 murders in 2022, twice as many as the previous year. The country’s women describe brutal gang rapes in gang-controlled areas. There have been cases of patients admitted to trauma units who are caught in the crossfire and who are hit by gang or police fire.

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