Haiti has suffered multiple protracted crises in recent decades. More than half the population of 11.6 million people live below the poverty line and nearly 2.8 million Haitians live in extreme poverty. The July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse deepened a long-standing governance crisis characterized by fractious politics, corruption, and acute violence by criminal gangs. The COVID-19 pandemic has only deepened the desperation of Haitians, leading to new waves of out-migration that were thrust into public consciousness by the recent ill-treatment of Haitian migrants along the southwest U.S. border.
What, if anything, can the international community do to help Haiti overcome its persistent challenges? Why have previous efforts, including a multi-year UN Mission known as MINUSTAH, failed to stabilize the country? What are the consequences for Haiti’s neighbors and the region more broadly of Haiti’s ongoing instability?