On Wednesday, September 7, thousands of people mobilized throughout Haiti in demonstrations against the de facto government of Ariel Henry. Protests against the government have been growing as insecurity has gotten worse, and the economy continues to decline.
The Quixote Center supports smallholder farmers in Haiti to build sustainable livelihoods. The Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center located in Grepin, Haiti, just outside of the city of Gros Morne, is our primary partner.
The Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center houses a tree nursery, a garden and multiple classrooms. These resources help farmers increase the yields of their farms, find new markets for their products, and gain access to the seeds and technology they need to succeed. The agronomy team from the JMV Center travel throughout the Arrondissement of Gros Morne to deliver workshops organized with a network of small farm associations, the Catholic Church’s Caritas network, and schools.
Haiti Reborn was initially launched in 1991 during a period of renewal in Haiti, following the election of Aristide and the rise of Lavalas, a popular movement for democratic reform. The coup that ousted Aristide later that year led us to focus our efforts on speaking out against United States intervention in Haiti. Today we are still monitoring the impacts of US policy and advocating for change.
In mid-September of 2021 thousands of migrants began gathering at the Del Rio border crossing in Texas. The majority of the estimated 15,000 people who arrived over the course of a few days were from Haiti. The message from the Biden administration was clear: Don’t come! If you do, you will be sent back.
The security crisis in Port-au-Prince continues to deteriorate. In July alone, nearly 500 people were killed when rival gangs warred in Cite Soleil. Armed groups control transportation routes into and out of the capital, extorting and kidnapping travelers.
Early in the morning of 14 August 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwest Haiti, killing 1200 people, injuring 12,000, and causing hospitals, schools and homes to collapse. Hundreds of thousands of people were in immediate need of humanitarian assistance, and many still are.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio promoted his policy ideas for Haiti in a recent op-ed. He called out the Biden Administration for a failure to fully engage what Rubio calls a looming crisis of political collapse and unauthorized migration. Rubio's arguments are similar to other recent opinion pieces in The Washington Post and elsewhere, calling on the administration to “do more!”
[Warning: This post contains descriptions of extreme violence]
Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a statement on March 17, that read, “Armed violence has reached unimaginable and intolerable levels in Haiti…It is crucial for urgent steps to be taken to restore the rule of law, to protect people from armed violence and to hold to account the political and economic sponsors of these gangs.”
The statement offered the following account of recent violence:
In Haiti 4.5 million people are experiencing high levels of food insecurity today, with roughly 45% of the population expected to face severe hunger over the next several months; 1.3. million of them are in an emergency situation. Based on IPC classifications of food insecurity, all of Haiti's regions are at level 3 or 4, meaning that in every department, there is hunger. Level 3 means there is either not enough food, or people can only eat enough if they forego other necessities.
The Washington Post has maintained a consistent editorial line over the past two years: Haiti is becoming ungovernable, Haitians are not able to figure it out on their own, therefore, the United States must step in to solve the problem.
Workers in Haiti's free trade zones are protesting for better wages and improved work conditions. The latest demonstrations began in the CARACOL industrial park near Cap Haitien, but shifted to the industrial zones near the airport in Port au Prince over the last two weeks.
The Biden administration continues to expel Haitian refugees at an alarming rate. 15,920 Haitians have been expelled on 148 flights since the current wave of mass deportations began on September 19. Over 18,000 Haitians have been expelled since Biden took office.
On August 14, 2021, a series of earthquakes struck Haiti’s southern peninsula, leaving 2,400 people dead and doing enormous damage to the area’s infrastructure. Like most of Haiti outside of Port au Prince, the peninsula is a predominantly agricultural area. Damage to roads and bridges, the death of farm animals, and mudslides from the tropical storm that struck the area a few days later, have all conspired to threaten food production.