ANI Photo | US State Secy Antony Blinken discusses Haiti crisis with Kenyan President William Ruto

The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, spoke with Kenyan President William Ruto on Saturday to discuss the ongoing political and security crisis in Haiti.
During their conversation, both leaders reiterated their commitment to ensuring free and fair elections in the region.
“Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Kenyan President William Ruto to discuss the ongoing political and security crisis in Haiti. They underscored unwavering commitment to the deployment of a Multinational Security Support mission to support the Haitian National Police in creating the security conditions necessary to conduct free and fair elections,” US Department of State official spokesperson, Matthew Miller said in an official statement.
“Secretary Blinken also offered his appreciation for Kenya’s diplomatic work to support peace and security in the Horn of Africa,” he added.
This came after Haitian gang leader Jimmy Cherizier warned of initiating a civil war and “genocide” unless Prime Minister Ariel Henry steps down from his post, reported Al Jazeera.
Jimmy Cherizier, also known as Barbecue, and other armed criminal gangs, who control large swathes of the country, launched a coordinated assault to remove the prime minister when he was out of the country last week.
Haitian PM Henry, who was supposed to step down in February, was in Puerto Rico, a United States territory, on Tuesday after the Dominican Republic refused permission for his plane to land.
Notably, the Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, Al Jazeera reported.
“If Ariel Henry doesn’t resign, if the international community continues to support him, we’ll be heading straight for a civil war that will lead to genocide,” Cherizier, a 46-year-old former police officer who is under United Nations sanctions for human rights abuses, said.
“Either Haiti becomes a paradise or a hell for all of us. It’s out of the question for a small group of rich people living in big hotels to decide the fate of people living in working-class neighbourhoods,” he added.
On February 26, gangs opened fire on police outside the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, as dozens of employees and other workers fled the bullets, Al Jazeera reported.
Following the incident, the airport remained closed on Tuesday, along with schools and banks.
Prior to that, the gangs raided Haiti’s two largest prisons over the weekend, enabling thousands of prisoners to escape.
“Haiti is now under the control of the gangs. The government isn’t present,” said Michel St-Louis, 40, standing in front of a burned-down police station in the capital. “I’m hoping they can keep Henry out so whoever takes power can restore order.”
On March 3, the Haitian government declared a state of emergency after thousands of prisoners escaped from its largest prison, Haiti’s National Penitentiary, during a surge of gang violence that has upended the Caribbean nation for months.
Henry, who came to power under a deal agreed with the opposition following the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, was supposed to step down in February so elections could be held, reported Al Jazeera.

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