Student Explainer: What's Happening in Haiti

Monday, July 12, 2021

Professor Marlene Daut talks to PBS NewsHour Extra about the situation in Haiti.

Assassination in Haiti

Haiti police arrested at least 20 people, including two U.S. citizens, in the aftermath of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in his home on Wednesday, July 7. While the Haitian first lady is recovering in a hospital in Florida, the nation’s interim president Claude Joseph asked the U.S. and the United Nations for military help to protect critical infrastructure. The political situation remains highly volatile for the people of Haiti spurred on by the majority of parliament calling for a new government to replace Joseph. Haiti’s turmoil dates back more than two centuries after enslaved Black people there overthrew their French colonial rulers. In 1825, France’s Charles X charged a massive sum for Haitian independence which bankrupted the economy, causing more problems for the people. Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To view the full video and transcript, click here



Discussion Questions 

  • Who was assassinated in Haiti? 
  • What is “ruling by decree”? 
  • Why has there been a power vacuum in Haiti, according to this piece? 
  • Where is the group that allegedly assassinated President Moïse from?
  • How does expert Marlene Daut believe Haitians will react over the next few months to this assassination? 

Focus Questions

  • What do you know about the nation of Haiti?
  • What role do you think the U.S. should take on if asked by the Haitian government?
  • What are some potential negative consequences of the U.S. becoming involved in disputes over power in Haiti?
  • What role do you think an international organization like the United Nations could play?

Media Literacy: Whose voice or perspective in Haiti is represented in this piece? Whose important voices do you think might have been left out?  

Dig Deeper 

  • For a brief history of Haiti, see this website.
  • To learn more about the structure of the Haitian government, see this website.
  • For more of PBS NewsHour’s coverage on the recent events in Haiti, see these videos: 




Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Extra.