Understanding the Rise of Gangs in Haiti

Haiti has been facing a surge in gang violence over the years, with recent events indicating a worrying dominance of armed groups in various parts of the country. The issue escalated following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021, leading to a power vacuum and increased lawlessness. Gang leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier has openly challenged the interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry, accusing him of illegitimacy and calling for his resignation. The situation has deteriorated to the extent that large portions of the capital, Port-au-Prince, are under gang control, causing significant humanitarian crises such as forced displacement and increased violence, particularly against women and young girls. Despite calls for international assistance, the deployment of foreign security forces raises concerns about Haiti’s sovereignty and past experiences with foreign intervention. The complex interplay between political instability, gang violence, and demands for change underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive and sustainable solution to address the root causes of Haiti’s gang problem.