Gauging the Odds
The events preceding the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse—and even more so, its aftermath—highlight the near collapse of Haitian public authority. Most alarmingly, they point to a transition from state decay to what is, in fact, the absence of a state presence in most arenas of national governance. As of early 2022, competing civil society and political party platforms are vying to replace the vestiges of the Haitian government vested in its interim prime minister, Ariel Henry. These dynamics converged on Monday, February 7, which was supposed to conclude the late president’s term and (by implication) Henry’s. Now what?
The ongoing political conflict in Haiti raises serious questions about the performance of political leadership and the roles of key sectors in the Haitian polity—notably political parties and civil society—in what is ostensibly a democratic state. Haiti’s collapse also puts three-plus decades of international engagement into question, addressing a full range of political and economic development initiatives. So, where does this leave Haitian governance?