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Ariel Henry resigns as prime minister of Haiti, paving the way for a new government to take power

Flight from Haiti arrives in Miami
Passengers arrive in Miami on flight from Haiti, more flights scheduled 05:03

Ariel Henry resigned Thursday as prime minister of Haiti, leaving the way clear for a new government to be formed in the Caribbean country, which has been wracked by gang violence. Henry presented his resignation in a letter signed in Los Angeles, dated April 24, and released Thursday by his office on the same day a council tasked with choosing a new prime minister and cabinet for Haiti was due to be sworn in.

Henry, who agreed to resign last month, has been under U.S. Secret Service protection, CBS News has confirmed.

The interim council was set to be installed more than a month after Caribbean leaders announced its creation, following an emergency meeting to tackle Haiti's spiraling and parallel political and crime crises.

The nine-member council, of which seven have voting powers, is also expected to help set the agenda of a new cabinet. It will also appoint a provisional electoral commission, a requirement before elections can take place, and establish a national security council.

Kenya Haiti Armed Force
Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry gives a lecture at the United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, March 1, 2024.  Andrew Kasuku/ P

Gangs launched coordinated attacks that began on Feb. 29 in the capital, Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. They burned police stations and hospitals, opened fire on the main international airport that has remained closed since early March and stormed Haiti's two biggest prisons, releasing more than 4,000 inmates.

The onslaught began while Henry was on an official visit to Kenya to push for a U.N.-backed deployment of a police force from the East African country. 

The international community has urged the council to prioritize finding a solution to Haiti's widespread insecurity. Even before the attacks began, gangs already controlled 80% of Port-au-Prince. The number of people killed in early 2024 was up by more than 50% compared with the same period last year, according to a recent U.N. report.

Over the past few months, the U.S. has evacuated Americans trying to flee the gang violence gripping parts of the country. Helicopters and charter flights from Port-au-Prince to Santo Domingo, the capital of the neighboring Dominican Republic, carried some American citizens fleeing the chaos. 

The U.S. State Department said earlier this month, in an email to Americans in Haiti, that charter flights were not scheduled to continue after April 12.

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