PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — On the streets of Port-au-Prince in February, demonstrators demanded that the Haitian president, Jovenel Moïse, step down because he had overstayed his elected term. His administration had dissolved Parliament after failing to hold elections, and he had illegally packed the judiciary and electoral commissions. Armed gangs, acting with his support, massacred protesters and terrorized poor and powerless citizens. Government agencies were a shambles, as they have been for years.
With the United States and other countries providing unstinting support for Mr. Moïse, Haitian civil organizations realized that the only way Haiti would be saved was if they saved it.