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Political Stability Continues to Rock Haiti

Background Information

Haiti’s political climate has been nothing short of troubled essentially since its independence. A result of a weak economy brought on by 17th-century colonial tactics and compounded by numerous natural disasters, Haiti is home to one of the most corrupt and turbulent governments in the world. It is this climate that gave rise to President Jovenel Moise, a man whose presidency was consistently marred with accusations of corruption and dictatorial tendencies. It is also this climate that led to Moise’s eventual assassination at the hands of still at-large gunmen on July 7, 2021. Tensions began to rise immediately afterward, with the line of political succession being called into question. Soon after, on August 12th, a large earthquake rocked Haiti, adding a humanitarian crisis to the already existing political crisis in Haiti.

The Interim Government

Ever since July 2021, an interim government headed by Prime Minister Ariel Henry has been running Haiti. This interim government has also faced massive scrutiny as it works to heal the nation. There have been accusations that Prime Minister Henry was supposedly involved in President Moise’s death, along with accusations of corruption. This interim government‒ and therefore the government officials’ terms‒ ended on February 7, 2022 as this was the day when President Jovenel’s term was supposed to end (he had vowed to step down on this day). While it has been relatively calm since then, it is evident tensions are rising again as various civil organizations call for different plans of action.

The Rise of Civil Society

Following the events of Summer 2021, gang violence began to completely take over many Haitian communities. With the nation’s government in such a weak place, citizens began to turn more and more towards civil society groups to do something about the chaos around them. One of the more prolific of these groups is known as “The Commission for the Search for a Haitian Solution to the Crisis.” The main goal of this group is to restore Haiti’s democracy. They are planning to do this by firstly calling for a two-year transition government, holding fair and safe elections in 2023, and by restoring public order by, in part, dealing with the gang crisis. The detailed plan they published for this is known as the Montana Accord.

What Comes Next for Haiti?

Prime Minister Henry along with the rest of this government have stated that they are planning and organizing elections and adopting a new constitution. However, people are naturally questioning the legitimacy and fairness of these elections. Additionally, many are saying that anything Prime Minister Henry and the rest of his government do is not valid anymore as all of their terms officially ended on the 7th. On the other hand, the Prime Minister’s supporters are saying that he and everyone else that he works with can only be legally be removed by Parliament, which is currently not running as the previous members’ terms expired without new elections being held. 

Either way, the current Prime Minister’s plans are evidently at odds with the Montana group’s plans, which has already decided on who they want their interim President and Prime Minister to be. They have announced their choice of Jean Fritz to be the interim President and Steven Benoît to be the interim Prime Minister, along with several other people in a paired-back version of the current government. 

On top of all of this, the United Nations has chimed in, stating that it would like to see an election in the island nation before the end of the year. As for what comes next? All bets are off with Haiti seeming to venture farther and farther into an era defined by instability.

Sources

https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/assassination-haitian-president-jovenel-moise-what-know 2/19/22

https://www.france24.com/en/americas/20210916-haiti-government-begins-unraveling-as-newly-accused-pm-fires-justice-minister 2/19/22

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/19/world/americas/claude-joseph-haiti-stepping-down.html 2/19/22

https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/02/1112262 2/19/22

https://www.wlrn.org/news/2021-09-28/civil-society-solution-can-non-governmental-groups-fix-haitis-governmental-crisis 2/19/22

https://theglobalamericans.org/2022/02/haiti-betting-on-the-montana-accord/ 2/19/22

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/article258543193.html 2/19/22

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitis-henry-urges-elections-amid-calls-transition-government-2022-02-07/ 2/19/22

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/06/world/americas/haiti-opposition-group-montana-accord.html 2/19/22

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News

The Diplomatic Boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

Background Information

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are set to take place this coming February, meaning that some countries have already begun planning out their delegations. However, things have taken an unexpected twist as in the last month, the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia have all announced that they will be diplomatically boycotting the event. Notably, a diplomatic boycott’s major differentiation from a complete Olympic boycott is that in a diplomatic boycott, only government officials from the countries boycotting the games will be absent instead of all the athletes as well. Additionally, Japan has also proclaimed its intentions to not send an official government group to the Olympics, however, they have not formally stated this to be a flat-out diplomatic boycott. 

Why is this happening?

The United States, the first country to announce its decision to boycott the Olympics, stated that the decision comes in response to concerns over numerous human rights violations by China. Britain, Canada, and Australia’s reasoning for the boycotting echoed similar values, with Australia’s added notes of boycotting because of China’s hostility towards their imports and vocal criticism of Australia’s move to build new nuclear synonyms. 

China’s Response

As you can imagine, China has not responded favorably. It has denied all of the accusations made so far and has claimed that these countries are fabricating lies to make them look bad. They also stated the United States would pay for their actions and that they never wanted British or Australian government officials at the games in the first place. 

Impacts

The fallout with China has been mostly verbal for the United States, Britain, Canada, and Australia since their declaration to diplomatically boycott the games. However, as stated above, China has hinted at retribution, at least against the United States. Notably, both the United States and Australia are slated to host the Los Angeles 2028 and Brisbane 2032 Olympics respectively, so China’s retribution may come in the form of boycotting those games if nothing else. As for a more short-term impact of the diplomatic boycott of the games, it is evident that tensions have only continued to rise between China and the West, and with numerous powerful nations constantly at each others’ necks, who knows what’s to come for the international community?

Sources

https://www.nytimes.com/article/diplomatic-boycott-olympics.html 12/24/21

https://www.reuters.com/world/china/australia-joins-diplomatic-boycott-beijing-winter-games-2021-12-08/ 12/24/21

https://olympics.com/ioc/olympic-games 12/24/21