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Urgent Way Forward in Haiti letter to President Biden

In response to the increasingly dire situation in Port-au-Prince and across Haiti, clergy leaders from A Way Forward in Haiti sent the following letter today to President Biden and Vice President Harris.

March 8, 2024

Dear President Biden and Vice-President Harris,

Haiti has descended into hell. As Haitian Americans and friends of Haiti, we are in agony over the violence and suffering in Port-au-Prince and increasing parts of Haiti.

News reports that the U.S. has withdrawn support for Ariel Henry are a sliver of hope amid great sadness. No one knows whether Henry will ever return to Haiti, but everyone is clear that the Haitian people have no confidence in him. He has made resolving Haiti’s challenges immeasurably more difficult. There are no easy answers to restoring peace to Haiti, but after two-and-a-half years of spiraling violence, it is clear that betting on Henry has failed.

There is an alternative to anarchy, a path that runs through Haitian civil society but has been repeatedly undermined by Henry. Haitians have credible mechanisms to form a coalition government with enough legitimacy to begin restoring governance and security to Haiti. Civic, religious, and political leaders are risking their lives to negotiate a political accord. Their work is very difficult, but not impossible. They need U.S. support, not meddling.

Rather than repeating the mistake of anointing a new Haitian leader to replace Henry, we urge the U.S. and the international community to provide Haitians with the support and space to form a transitional government that can unify the country. The U.S. needs to engage without dictating, support without setting conditions. Above all, the international community must break with the elites who have colluded with gangs to run Haiti into the ground.

We urge you to take the following steps:

  1. Do not waiver in ending U.S. support for Ariel Henry, without which he would not have been able to maintain his disastrous rule;
  2. Undertake intensive consultations with civic, religious, and opposition political leaders and organizations in Haiti and the diaspora to hear directly what support they need to establish a credible transitional government;
  3. Allow Haitians to tell the U.S. and the international community what they need to restore security to their country; do not make U.S. support for a unity government conditional, including on accepting the Multinational Security Support Mission;
  4. Speak publicly about the suffering in Haiti and the U.S. commitment to stand with the Haitian people and follow their lead in resolving the crisis facing their nation.
  5. Provide increased humanitarian assistance to Haiti, prioritizing Haitian-led organizations and initiatives to strengthen Haitian civil society.

Military intervention without ending U.S. support for corrupt elites who have put their interests ahead of the Haitian people will not bring security to Haiti. Foreign forces cannot solve Haiti’s political crisis. Only Haitians can. In Haiti, as in other parts of the world, peace can only come from addressing the underlying causes of violence.

At a moment when many people are questioning U.S. foreign policy, asking whether the U.S. is committed to protecting civilians from violence, we urge you to stand with the Haitian people and not allow their suffering to be swept under the rug.


Dr. Francois Pierre-Louis, Faith in Action Haiti Director
Pastor Dieufort J. Fleurissaint, Board Chair, Haitian Americans United, Massachusetts
Fr. Yves Geffrard, Notre Dame Catholic Mission, Fort Pierce, FL, Haitian Apostolate
Dr. Keny Felix, Pastor Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church
Rev. Lucy Kolin, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
Fr. John Baumann, Founder, Faith in Action International
Bishop Dwayne Royster, Interim Executive Director, Faith in Action
Way Forward in Haiti Steering Committee



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