The Haitian Times
Bridging the gap
The United States must stop supporting Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry “so that a Haitian solution to the crisis can emerge,” a group of nearly 140 advocacy and faith organizations in the U.S. and Haiti said in a letter to the U.S. Department of State. The missive sent to the Biden Administration, and ensuing calls over the weekend, came as Haiti has plunged into looting and rioting after Henry said he’d raise fuel prices.
“We have watched in horror as the situation in Haiti has deteriorated to a ‘new normal’ characterized by constant fear of kidnapping and violence, a near total lack of accountability, and a growing humanitarian crisis on every front,” the letter states.
“Haitians have been asking the Biden Administration to stop supporting de facto PM Henry’s rule and PHTK more generally,” the letter states. “Haitians note that the US government insists that de facto PM Henry’s government must be part of any solution. That gives the regime a veto in any negotiations and creates a disincentive for it to negotiate in good faith. De facto PM Henry can simply refuse to meaningfully compromise, as he has done repeatedly, knowing that the US will continue to support him regardless.”
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Addressed to President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols, the letter asked the U.S. to stop supporting any particular party sector and allow for Haitians to lead. Faith in Action International and the Haiti Response Coalition led the coalition of undersigned organizations, including Miami-based organization Family Action Network Movement (FANM). That group has said in a press release that “Haiti is going through the worst crisis in recent history.”
“The cries of the Haitian people fell hollow amidst the deafening silence of the international community. Haiti needs help now. It needs security and safety from the on-going violence. Otherwise, the people will continue to risk their lives in rickety boats to make it to the land of the free,” Marleine Bastien, executive director of FANM, said in the statement.
FANM again asked for the Biden administration to stop deportations.
“We reiterate our call to the Biden administration to provide safe haven and due process for people fleeing violence and grave human right abuses in Haiti now!” FANM’s Political Director Paul Namphy said in the statement.
Immigration Lawyer Ira Kurzban, in FANM’s statement, said: “The United States has a moral obligation to stop the violence in Haiti. We have continued to support an autocratic, anti-democratic government there to the detriment of the Haitian people and over the objection of every major human rights organization and members of Congress. Support democratic leadership and end the violence!”
In addition, a petition that the Haiti Response Coalition posted on MoveOn four months ago garnered more than 600 signatures calling on the U.S. to stop supporting Henry and the Pati Ayisyen Tèt Kale (PHTK) party and its political affiliates.
“A stable and just Haiti – which is in the interest of Haitians and the US government alike – requires that Haitians lead and own their democratic process,” the petition states.
Ashley Miznazi is a Report for America corps member covering the Haitian community in the South Florida/Miami area for The Haitian Times. Her work will heavily feature photography, video and other multimedia storytelling. Previously, Ashley was a multimedia fellow at The Texas Tribune, where she reported on DACA, Afghan resettlement and the foster care system.
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