- BBC News World
The power struggle that emerged in Haiti after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse appears to be coming to an end.
Claude Joseph, the man who took control of the government after the assassination and who previously held the post of prime minister, announced that he will resign on Tuesday and hand over power to Ariel Henry.
The announcement comes after a period of great uncertainty in the country following the assassination of the president.
Henry had been appointed prime minister two days before Moïse’s death, but he was not invested in the position.
The president was assassinated on July 7 when a group of armed men broke into his private residence in Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital.
Haiti was more polarized than ever and several politicians had been at odds, vying for control of the government.
Now Joseph agreed to hand over power to Henry and join a new unity government with the aim of maintaining stability in the country and preparing the ground for elections called for September.
On Monday Joseph announced that he had met with Henry to resolve what he called “the leadership dispute” and that he had agreed to resign. “for the good of the nation.”
“Everyone who knows me knows that I am not interested in this battle or any kind of power grab,” Joseph told the newspaper. The Washington Post.
“The president was a friend. I’m only interested in getting justice done to him,” he added.
Joseph indicated that he would occupy the position of foreign minister in the government of Ariel Henry.
Who is Ariel Henry?
Ariel Henry is a 71-year-old politician and neurosurgeon who studied at universities in France and Boston, in the United States.
He is a member of the Inite, a center-left social democratic party.
It’s one of the leading neurosurgeons in the country.
He worked in France for 19 years and upon returning to Haiti he served as chief of neurosurgery at one of the most important hospitals in the country.
He first entered the political scene in the early 2000s as a leading figure in the opposition Democratic Convergence movement, which was fighting to oust then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power.
When René Préval came to power in 2006, Henry joined his cabinet as director general of the Ministry of Health.
He held various positions in Health and was in charge of the public health response after the catastrophic earthquake that shook the country in 2010.
Later too led the response to the deadly cholera epidemic Haiti suffered in 2012 after Nepalese UN peacekeepers polluted river tributaries in the Artibonite Valley.
Since 2016 Ariel Henry has been Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and later Minister of the Interior and Territorial Communities.
Last year, with the new threat of the covid-19 pandemic, Moïse appointed Henry an advisor to the government’s scientific group to respond to the health crisis.
Henry is the son of Pastor Elie S. Henry, a spiritual leader of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, who died in 2015 at the age of 89.
He is also the brother of Pastor Elie Henry, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America, who in December 2020 captured the attention of the international media when he was the victim of a kidnapping along with his daughter, Irma.
Four days later they were released unharmed.
“Illusion of hope”
On July 5, 2021, two days before the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, Arie Henry was appointed by the president as Prime Minister of Haiti, the position for which he will now be sworn in.
In a short speech to the nation posted online on Sunday, Henry called for political unity and said he would soon announce a consensus government that will lead the country until elections can be held to select a new president.
“I have the honor to address you, in my capacity as Prime Minister, to launch a solemn call for national unity, the union of our forces and the cooperation of all to stop this race to the bottom, climb the slope and protect our country from the many dangers that threaten it, “he declared.
However, some analysts point out that Henry’s inauguration is unlikely to end the volatile political and social situation in Haiti.
The de facto appointment with which Henry obtained the position was greeted with outrage by activists and leaders who believe that it does not take into account the will of the people.
Before his murder, many were calling for Moïse’s resignation and they had said that they would not recognize anyone the president had appointed.
“Will (Henry) change the rules of the game? Is he the right man to address threatened vital national interests? Does he have the political potential to play a neutral negotiating role?” Analyst Michel Eric Gaillard told the Miami Herald. politician based in Port au Prince.
“Most likely not. How will you be able to maneuver on a sinking ship if you are wearing a straitjacket? It is an illusion of hope,” said the analyst.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.