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Haitian Prime Minister Resigns As Economic And Public Security Collapse Deepens

Haitian President Jovenel Moise (center) and then Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe (in sunglasses) walk at a ceremony in Port-au-Prince last year.
Dieu Nalio Chery
Haitian President Jovenel Moise (center) and then Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe (in sunglasses) at a ceremony in Port-au-Prince last year.

Joseph Jouthe was Haiti's eighth prime minister in six years — a reflection of government chaos in the face of ever-worsening hunger and violent crime crises.

Haiti has had eight prime ministers in just the past six years — and now another one, Joseph Jouthe, has resigned amid one of the Caribbean country’s most catastrophic economic and public security free-falls.

Jouthe had tried to quit once before, but President Jovenel Moïse rejected his resignation. This time Moïse accepted it; and so Wednesday morning Jouthe exited through the revolving door of Haiti’s prime ministership, which is responsible for administering the government. Jouthe had held the post for only 13 months.

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Under Jouthe's brief tenure, Haiti’s economy has imploded and almost half the population faces acute hunger. Violent crime is at crisis levels, including a terrifying ransom kidnapping wave. This week a gang attacked an orphanage outside Port-au-Prince, killing a guard and sexually assaulting children.

Moïse said he’s appointed Foreign Minister Claude Joseph to replace Jouthe. Even so, Moïse wants to eliminate Haiti’s prime minister position and replace it with a vice president.

That and other government reform proposals are part of a constitutional referendum he’s called for June.

Moïse’s critics say that constitutional plebiscite is illegal – and they’re calling for the increasingly authoritarian president to step down as Haiti’s head of state due to the myriad emergencies, and because they insist his constitutional term as President ended this past February — he insists it does not end until next February.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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