220 years of independence are being completed on this 1st January haitiWhich is celebrated in the context of an unprecedented political, social, economic and humanitarian crisis, which is a very disappointing outlook for its 11 million inhabitants.
The Haitian independence celebrations did not take place as usual in Gonaïves – known as the City de l’Independence – but on the Champ de Mars in Port-au-Prince, at the National Pantheon Museum (MUPANAH), not far from the National Palace. was not. ,
During the ceremony Prime Minister Ariel Henry stressed, “2024 is an important year in our history. It is a year in which we will face great challenges. In 2024, Haiti will once again take the reins of its destiny. Will happen.” ,
The head of government acknowledged that this should be a year of “a return to normalcy and the return of free movement of people and goods”.
“The situation must change,” Henry promised, in a moment he described as “extraordinary in our national history.” A moment that “has shaped our identity and paved the way for a future of freedom and dignity.”
2024, the year of rebirth?
Henry said that in 2024 “we must make every effort to return Haiti to the path of democracy, the constitution and the rule of law,” noting that the solution includes creating an environment of peace so that elections can take place.
He assured that the government he leads believes in dialogue and is, therefore, ready for the integration of all compatriots who wish to do so. He predicted, “We have decided to move forward with those who want; the rest will also join us.”
His speech also addressed the problem of hunger and the omnipotence of gangs, while he reminded that agriculture requires water.
“I repeat, the Haitian people can count on the Government to continue to protect Haiti’s interests in the equitable use of all transboundary water resources,” Henry said of Haiti’s plans for a canal to take water from the Massacre or Dejabon River. Said to be in apparent reference to the construction of the natural border between that country and the Dominican Republic, an act that officials of the latter country describe as “illegal”.
Promises, Options and Challenges
In his New Year greeting, Henry promised that 2024 would be “a year of growth, jobs, change and organization.”
“We must hold inclusive, transparent and democratic elections that produce representatives freely elected by the people,” he said.
According to him, 2024 is “a year of great challenges that we must face together” to restore the pride of the Haitian people. He expressed hope that “the solidarity of Haiti’s brothers and sisters and the friendly countries” will continue to shine.
A chaotic 2023
Last year, Haiti witnessed massacres against civilians, urban warfare, kidnappings, armed attacks, robberies, and mass rape, with complete indifference on the part of the authorities.
The government has appealed several times to the international community to send troops to help restore peace and security in the country.
According to police union figures, more than 37 police officers have been killed. According to the United Nations, more than 200,000 people have been displaced. Hundreds of these displaced people live in makeshift camps in inhumane conditions that are inadequate for them.
Fleeing unrelenting insecurity and poverty, many thousands of Haitians have left the country, particularly for the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Nicaragua. Those leaving en masse include university professors, graduate students, public and private sector executives and doctors.
country without an elected ruler
Haiti has had no elected representatives since 2021, following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. Whereas Henry has not been able to conduct elections in the country.
Several negotiations between different sectors in Haiti and abroad have failed.
Meanwhile, there are between 200 and 300 armed groups in the country that control 80% of the capital and strategic economic zones such as major highways.
Last October, the UN Security Council approved the creation of a multinational security force that would support that country’s national police to combat armed gangs and restore order. Kenya will be the head of the team, in which other countries will also participate.