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Haiti’s Prime Minister Resigns in Wake of Gangs Rising to Power

Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry has announced that he will resign as soon as a presidential council is created, causing several politicians across the nation to “scramble for power.” 

“Even if you have a different kind of government, the reality is that you need to talk to the gangs,” said Robert Fatton, a Haitian politics expert at the University of Virginia, referring to the gangs controlling the capital. 

“If they have that supremacy, and there is no countervailing force, it’s no longer a question if you want them at the table. They may just take the table,” he added. 

Gangs in Haiti allegedly have deep ties to the country’s political and economic elite but are now becoming more independent by fueling their operations with large sums of money, earned through kidnapping ransoms. The money is used to smuggle weapons, which allegedly include belt-fed machine guns and .50-caliber sniper rifles used to overpower underfunded police.

According to western media sources, more than 200 gangs are estimated to operate around Haiti, mostly in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. 

“Gangs have become stronger, and they have the upper hand in terms of security,” said Renata Segura of the International Crisis Group. 

“It’s the Haitian people who know what they’re going through. It’s the Haitian people who are going to take destiny into their own hands. Haitian people will choose who will govern them,” Chérizier said.

“The government that I’m running cannot remain insensitive in this situation. There is no sacrifice that is too big for our country,” Henry said. “The government I’m running will remove itself immediately after the installation of the council.”

In the last few weeks, the notorious gangs have engulfed police stations into fire, closed down two of Haiti’s international airports and managed to free more than 4,000 inmates from two of the country’s largest prisons.

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