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Why is Haiti such a disaster?

No country in the Western Hemisphere is more closely associated with disaster and misery than the Caribbean nation of Haiti. Its latest upheaval centers on news that the country's top prosecutor wants Haiti's prime minister to answer questions about the murder of the president in July. Haiti is again locked in a power struggle among competing factions within its ruling elite.

Why is Haiti still so poor and disaster-prone?

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What We’re Watching: SCOTUS immigration ruling, Barbecue runs Haiti quake relief, Eritreans back in Tigray

SCOTUS brings back "Remain in Mexico" policy: The US Supreme Court has ordered the Biden administration to reinstate a Trump-era immigration rule that requires asylum-seekers who attempt to cross the US southern border to wait in Mexico until their applications get processed. This is bad news for Joe Biden for two reasons. First, he cancelled that policy because it failed to accomplish its stated goal of reducing processing backlogs, while leaving thousands of migrants stranded in Mexico in legal limbo. Second, Biden knows he can't actually implement the policy anew if Mexico doesn't agree to accept migrants whom the US wants to send back. More broadly, the ruling throws yet another wrench into an already testy US-Mexico relationship — with tens of thousands of vulnerable human beings caught in the middle. Biden, who's tied up with the Afghanistan fiasco these days, wants to avoid a tussle with the Mexicans amid record numbers of migrants arriving at the US border so far this year. The Mexicans, for their part, will probably want something in exchange (maybe COVID vaccines) to be helpful.

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What We're Watching: Haitian PM steps down, German floods get political, Biden and crew call out China hackers, Japan's oyster "plague"

Haiti's PM is stepping down: Claude Joseph, who served as Haiti's foreign minister and interim PM under recently-murdered president Jovenel Moïse, said Monday that he would step down, paving the way for his opponent Ariel Henry to become the new PM. Henry, for his part, was actually tapped by Moïse to form a government just two days before the assassination, but never sworn in. Joseph used that detail to take power after Moïse's death, and initially declared a "state of siege." But with violence surging, and international pressure against him from The Core Group — which includes the US, the Organization of American States, and a number of European countries — Joseph agreed to step down "for the good of the nation." The incoming Henry has a daunting task: amid spiraling social, political, and economic crises, he must cool tensions, form a workable government, and restore some semblance of order to allow for fresh elections this September.

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Ben Rhodes: the US should build a coalition to help Haiti’s political turmoil

Haiti is not only grappling with political unrest following the president's assassination — the Caribbean nation also needs COVID vaccines, and is eager to curb gang violence. What should the US do? Former National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes wants America to lead a coalition of nations from the Western Hemisphere that'll "address some of the basic needs" in crisis-plagued Haiti. Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the upcoming episode of GZERO World. Check local listings for US public television.

Biden’s Caribbean surprises

All elected leaders face two problems: crises that weren't on the agenda will strike from unexpected directions, and all possible responses are less than ideal.

Hey, Joe Biden, Cuba's on line one, and Haiti's holding on line two.

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Biden and Merkel will talk China strategy; Cuban economic crisis

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week from Washington, DC, with a look at the upcoming Biden/Merkel meeting, Haiti in crisis, and the ongoing protests in Cuba.

Biden is hosting Angela Merkel in Washington this week. What's on the agenda?

Most important is going to be China. That's not what the headlines are right now. They're all talking Nord Stream and cybersecurity and all that. But the reality is Biden wants to coordinate China policy with his top allies. He's had a lot of success with Japan. He's had success with South Korea. Those are the first two leaders to have been invited to Washington. He's probably going to have some success with Angela Merkel as well, because there is increasingly backlash against Xi Jinping and his efforts to consolidate a Chinese model, vaccine nationalism, lack of transparency on origins of the crisis, and all this kind of stuff. Technology hits, not allowing companies to IPO abroad. The Germans are angry too. And I think that is going to be the top issue they discuss.

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What We're Watching: Haiti's investigation, Iran watching Afghanistan, pro-EU party leads in Moldova, Seoul battles the COVID beat

Who killed Haiti's president? It's the stuff of heist movies: A presidential assassination. Foreign mercenaries. Sabotage. A chaotic struggle for control. The story of what happened to Haiti's president Jovenel Moïse, shot at his residence last week, is still extremely unclear. Haitian police and military say that a handful of mercenaries from Colombia were hired by military contractors (possibly at the behest of Haitian oligarchs) to kill Moïse, who was trying to break a corrupt elite's grip on the country's affairs. At least two of those Colombians were killed in a shootout with police in Port-au-Prince over the weekend. (The plot thickens: their families say that the men were actually brought into Haiti to protect the president and other high-ranking officials.) At least two dozen people have now been arrested in connection with the hit, including a Florida-based doctor with Haitian roots who reportedly had ambitions to return to Haiti and assume the presidency. The US has sent a team to help with the investigation, though the Biden administration hasn't agreed to the Haitian PM's request to send US troops to help keep order. Haiti is now on the brink of full blown implosion in the absence of a functioning government, supreme court, or economy.

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The Graphic Truth: National leaders killed since 1971

Assassinations of national leaders often usher in periods of deep political unrest: Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's killing in Israel in 1995 sounded the death-knell of the Oslo peace process, while the mass shooting of Nepal's royal family in 2001 by its crown prince helped turn the country into a Maoist republic. Today's assassination of President Jovenel Moïse will surely bring further turmoil to chronically unstable Haiti, where his death has left a power vacuum amid already-severe social and economic crises. We take a look at countries where heads of state and government have been killed over the past 50 years.

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