Eric Jean Baptiste, the leader of the Rally of Progressive National Democrats Party (RNDP), has been shot dead outside his home in the capital Port-au-Prince. This was not the first attack on Baptiste; he survived an earlier kill attempt where he got a bullet wound.
The assassination comes as the latest in a string of violent gang killings that have overtaken the country in recent years. Last year, Haiti’s president was murdered, and this summer saw brutal gang battles where entire neighborhoods were set-on-fire, and thousands of families were displaced.
Many have left their homes to find a safer place to live and get access to food and water. According to the United Nations, the number of Haitians displaced by recent violence has tripled in just five months.
Since these violent activities are on the rise, law and order have been disturbed, and even the management of the country has subsided.
The International Organization for Migration report found that 113,000 people were internally displaced in Port-au-Prince between June and August this year. Nearly 90,000 of those people left their homes because of “urban violence linked to gang-police, inter-gang, and social conflicts.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been warning lately about the “absolutely nightmarish situation” in Haiti. Gangs have been blocking the movement of fuel and other materials, which is straining the already struggling country.
In the face of sky-high fuel prices and rampant crime, demonstrators in the country’s central cities are demanding Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s resignation. While he is still in control of or influenced in the most populous city, criminals threaten residents’ daily activities with kidnappings for ransom.
Further, many public services have completely collapsed. Garbage is left uncollected on the streets, and storm drains are blocked. As a result, flooding is common, and the stagnant water provides an incubator for disease-carrying mosquitoes. A cholera outbreak has created a humanitarian crisis, with dozens of lives lost.
Now the diplomats of Haiti are requesting the citizens to gather courage and be there for each other to support the fight against these odd times. Their primary focus is to restore law and order situation in the country. The state police can not do this on an individual level as the gangs are equipped with superior weapons and are greater in numbers.
After that, everyone should come together to demand and encourage fair elections in the nation. The top officials have conveyed to the people of Haiti that international organizations are helping their nation conduct elections. It’s time for each citizen to support this at a singular level so that a new framework can be established in the country.
This day-by-day worsening situation in Haiti, with no end in sight to the violence that has engulfed the country, also shows the impotence of international organizations. There are many countries that claim to be the helping hand of this Caribbean country, but no improvements are visible yet.