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To Resolve the Haitian Crisis, the United States Must Stop Playing Backdoor Politics

By Emmanuel Roy*

Published by Haiti Observateur

TRUENEWSBLOG –  The United States has taken the position that the Haitian crisis should be resolved by Haitians, for Haitians. Who can disagree with that?  The truth, however, is that the State Department has been playing favorites, and there is no clear Haiti policy on how to get the country back on the democratic path. While on one side of the mouth, the State Department is saying this crisis should be resolved by Haitians, behind closed doors, something totally different is being said. They are playing the parties against each other. 

The way to address the problem of Haiti is to facilitate a coming together of all the parties to address the issue in a summit-like forum.  Talking to one party and not to all is sending a message that the United States has a horse in the game that it favors.

Since 2015, Haiti has been experiencing a multifaceted and multidimensional crisis. Several proposals have been made over the past four years as a solution to the problem, but none have been successful. And that, for a variety of reasons. Beginning in July 2020, various personalities had called for holding a conference, led by local actors, toward reaching an agreement on the date for President Jovenel Moïse’s departure and provisions that would allow the country to resume with democratic governance.

In that light, the Coalition of Civil Society Actors (CASC) held a forum, with participation of more than 50 organizations and groups from Port -au-Prince, the provinces and the diaspora, to discuss the crisis that was plaguing the country.  At the end of the forum, the groups of committed members of civil society signed a National Memorandum of Understanding, in which they expressed their full support for the process of widening the outreach by getting more signers, in a strategy leading to a stronger and more inclusive political agreement.

At the beginning of March 2021, the commission was finalized under the name of Commission for the Search of a Haitian Solution to the Crisis’ ‘ (CRSHC). It produced the August 30 civil society accord known as the Montana Accord.    During the process, the “Initiative Group of Protestants of Haiti and the Diaspora for the Resolution of the Crisis” known as GIPHADREC. joined CRSHC. After “two joint working sessions on the crisis,” held Wednesday July 14 and Thursday July 15, the parties signed a joint Communiqué on Friday, July 16, 2021.

 In the meantime, several other groups have come forward, each with its own proposals. Now the country finds itself with a multiplicity of agreements and proposals.

First, is the Agreement of July 9, 2021, known as the “National Agreement Protocol” (PEN), signed by a range of political parties including PHTK, DIRPOD, Fusion, AAA, RDNP, En Avant, INITE, FNCD, Vérité, Veye yo, etc.  

Second, is the August 30, 2021 Accord (Montana), widely supported by members of civil society, some political parties, and several organizations from the Haitian diaspora.

Third, is the September 11, 2021 Accord, known as the “Prime Minister’s Accord” or “Ariel Henry Accord,” supported by political parties of various stripes, including some that had signed the National Memorandum of Understanding.

Fourth, is the Agreement signed on the Champs-de-Mars in early October 2021 by a group of young people who initiated a movement called “Popular Youth and Diaspora Initiative.”  According to its promoters, this agreement known as: “Akò Lari a” (The Street’s Accord) is meant to be the real agreement which considers the demands of the underprivileged masses, the inhabitants of the ghettos, the motorcycle taxi drivers, drivers of public transport vehicles, police officers, students and members of the diaspora.

Given the various accords, the deal has turned into an “Accord epidemic” that has quickly spread, with other political groups showing willingness to produce their own accord. Thus, we find ourselves at a dead end.

Some political actors, as well as some members of the international community, are calling for the merging of the agreements. But the parties stick to their positions, each advocating that its agreement is the best, and believing that it can be imposed, without a realistic assessment of the difficulties of its implementation, not considering the balance of power.

The best way to resolve the political standoff is for the American government to stop playing backdoor politics, support a Unity Summit that would bring the various blocks of protagonists around the table to work on one agreement that would be acceptable to all parties. The biggest obstacle about this is the lack of a clear Haiti policy from the State Department and the Biden White House.  All the political factions in Haiti are ready to sit down and negotiate in good faith, but the problem they have, as explained to me, is put in a question: If they reach  a final consensus on the formation of a transitional government, would the State Department and the White House support it and assist in its implementation?  

So, I contend that the U.S. State Department should stop playing backdoor politics and make it clear that they are not taking sides. and allow the parties to negotiate in good faith. If any party were to believe that the State Department favors its accord over the others, it will not negotiate in good faith, thinking that the U.S. will eventually impose that party’s solution.

We can resolve the crisis by bringing all parties to a neutral location and have them negotiate a resolution in good faith, as long as the United States would support the implementation of the final resolution. Until that happens, we will continue on this merry-go-round, at least until February 7, 2022, when Jovenel Moise’s extra constitutional term of office ends, leaving Ariel Henry no basis to argue he is the legitimate Prime Minister of Haiti. 

 At that point, if the Haitian people wouldn’t have come with a resolution of their own, it is more likely that the international community, aka the United States, will impose a solution. The one that the bureaucrats at the State Department favor is a continuation of Ariel Henry as Prime Minister and the holding of sham elections to select a president who will not allow any  investigation of the heist of the $4.2 billion PetroCaribe Fund, and which will keep quiet about the involvement of the Clintons in the Haiti Reconstruction Fund and the $13.5 billion donated to “Build Haiti Back Better” by 130 nations via the United Nations and the multiple Non-Governmental Organizations, after the 2010 earthquake.

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