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Ask the Experts: What Drives Haiti's Fragility? – United States Institute of Peace

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Thursday, October 20, 2022 / By: Andrew Cheatham
While governance and economic issues have long plagued the country, Haiti’s instability has only accelerated since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. Today, Haiti is experiencing a full-scale humanitarian crisis, with nearly half the population not having enough to eat. The U.N. has called for rapid action, and the United States has included Haiti in its list of priority countries under the Global Fragility Act. USIP’s Andrew Cheatham spoke with several Haiti experts about the structural and security challenges Haiti faces and possible solutions going forward.
Georges Fauriol, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, offers a “diagnosis” of the root causes behind Haiti’s ongoing instability crisis — as well as what the preconditions for an inclusive political process, how to balance humanitarian aid and long-term development, and the role of international actors both as part of the problem and part of the solution.

Governance and policy specialist Jeffsky Poincy looks at how corruption exacerbates Haiti’s social, political and economic issues, the role of Haiti’s active civil society — particularly youth — in facilitating a collective path forward, and the need to bolster the country’s national police and judiciary system.

Mark Schneider, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, describes how fragility manifests in Haiti — from the ineffective reconstruction efforts after the 2010 earthquake to the rising dominance of gangs — as well as how a Haitian national dialogue could be orchestrated.

Vanda Felbab-Brown, director of the Brookings Institution’s Initiative on Nonstate Armed Actors, examines how Haitian gangs and armed groups managed to capture so much power, whether and how to negotiate with these violent factions, and establishing realistic goals for reducing violence and improving security.

The views and opinions expressed in these videos are those of the interviewed experts and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the U.S. Institute of Peace.
View the discussion thread.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
By: Keith Mines
In the midst of a clearly unfolding humanitarian disaster, many friends of Haiti are turning away from the impoverished nation, arguing that everything has been tried and little has worked. But turning our backs on Haiti now will only consign the country to misery, violence and hunger, with the ensuing outflow of emigrants. Based on wide experience in eight conflicts, to include Haiti, I believe there is a way out of the current dead end. It requires patiently and assertively combining international expertise and resources with Haitian will and energy to address the country’s intertwined problems of security and governance.
Type: Analysis and Commentary
Fragility & Resilience
Thursday, June 9, 2022
By: Georges Fauriol;  Peter Hakim;  Enrique Ter Horst;  Keith Mines
Après la série de crises liées à Haïti l'année dernière – un assassinat présidentiel, un tremblement de terre, une urgence migratoire a la frontière entre Mexique et des États-Unis et une consolidation dramatique de la violence des gangs – les décideurs internationaux ont été confrontés à la possibilité qu'Haïti se trouve dans les premières étapes d'une crise humanitaire à grande échelle. La nouvelle détérioration de la politique haïtienne au cours des premiers mois de 2022 n'a fait que confirmer que le pays a franchi cette sombre étape.
Type: Analysis and Commentary
Fragility & ResilienceMediation, Negotiation & Dialogue
Thursday, June 9, 2022
By: Georges Fauriol;  Peter Hakim;  Enrique Ter Horst;  Keith Mines
Following last year’s streak of Haiti-related crises — a presidential assassination, earthquake, a migrant emergency at the Mexico-U.S. border and a dramatic consolidation of gang violence — international policymakers were left grappling with the possibility that Haiti was in the initial stages of a full-scale humanitarian crisis. The further deterioration of the Haitian polity in the early months of 2022 has only confirmed that the country has passed that grim milestone.
Type: Analysis and Commentary
Mediation, Negotiation & DialogueFragility & Resilience
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
By: Keith Mines;  Nicolas Devia-Valbuena
Haiti represents the very definition of fragility. The country’s socioeconomic indicators are dire, with stresses on a battered economy reeling from COVID now exacerbated by fuel price spikes following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and last year’s earthquake and tropical storm. The country’s health care system is in shambles. Gang violence restricts economic activity and instills fear. At its core, the economic and security collapse reflects a deep crisis of politics, where a staggering void of governance prevails. Given Haiti’s intersecting crises, the State Department’s announcement last week that the country would be designated as a priority under the Global Fragility Act is both welcome and logical.
Type: Analysis and Commentary
Fragility & Resilience
Wednesday, November 16, 2022
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Tuesday, November 15, 2022
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