Positive Caribbean and Latin America News: Daily Updates from News Americas

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Haiti hasn’t had an election in almost 10 years, no one currently in charge has been elected to office, and it’s the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1990, Jean-Bertrand Aristide became the first democratically elected president in Haiti. He was credited with a number of positive reforms but was overthrown in a coup in ’91. In 2004, during his second presidency, Aristide was overthrown by yet another coup.

But during Aristide’s second stint, poverty was rife. For three years, he had failed to stage elections. Civil society, the political opposition and violent gangs demanded his resignation.

When France and the US* withdrew their support, the gangs that had been advancing on the capital, Port-au-Prince, were free to overrun it. *Throughout the 20th century, the US sent soldiers to Haiti to intervene – with varying degrees of success … and failure.

In the ensuing years, new leaders would come and go, with little or no success in alleviating the grinding poverty.

In 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake killed between 100,000 and perhaps more than 300,000 people. No one knows for sure.

The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, in 2021, only added to the chaos, and created a power vacuum.

Most recently, gang violence has forced the current president, Ariel Henry, to resign, in favour of a transitional government. In the meantime, bodies lie in the streets, the victims of gang rampages.

Haiti is the first country ever founded by former slaves, who liberated their island from French colonial rule in a rebellion fought between 1791 and 1804. But more than 200 years later, instead of enjoying that freedom, Haitians are forced to once again fight for their lives.