The neurosurgeon Ariel Henry assumed the presidency of Haiti on Tuesday. The murdered ex-president, Jovenel Moïse, had appointed Henry as his successor two days before his death, but without the support of local parties.
Upon being sworn in, Henry called for national unity and a joint effort to “stop this race to the bottom.”
The designated agent assured that only dialogue and consultation will allow defining the contours of the policies to be followed during this period, and adopt essential decisions for the transformation of society, especially the living conditions of the most vulnerable.
After the assassination of Moïse, Henry had received the support of the ruling party, the Tet Kale, but that gesture quickly faded..
“Mr. Ariel Henry has shown a selfishness, an egocentricity without limit. It must be realized that there is no way out without a concerted proposal, without something that has the minimum national consensus”, evaluated the doctor and political analyst, Jean Hénold Buteau.
“Anyone who enters into institutional chaos at this time is not only disrespectful, but also totally irresponsible. He will not be able to solve anything.”Buteau added, quoted by the Sputnik news agency.
Who is Ariel Henry
Henry is 71 years old, trained as a doctor at universities in France and Haiti and has experience in public administration: He was part of the Government of Michel Martelly, Moise’s predecessor, for 14 months marked by political instability.
Between January and September 2015 Herny served as Minister of the Interior and then he was in charge of the portfolio of Social Affairs and Labor until March 2016.
Ten years earlier, in 2004, after the forced resignation of former President Jean Bertrand Aristide, Henry formed together with six other personalities, the so-called Council of Sages, body in charge of proposing a new prime minister to the provisional presidency of Haiti.
He was a member of the Social Democratic Party, then the Haitian Revolutionary Progressive Nationalist Party, founded by his mentor Serge Gilles. The doctor also joined the Fusion of Haitian Social Democrats structure and until 2014 was a member of the Patriotic Union, created by former President René Preval (1996-2001 and 2006-2011).
As a health professional, he chaired the board of directors of the Ecumenical Welfare Society from 1992 to 1999, and was deputy director in charge of the programs of the humanitarian agency Adra-Haiti from 1992 to 1996.
He was also part of the Cabinet of the Minister of Public Health from June 2006 to September 2008, and served as Head of Human Resources from September 2008 to October 2011.
Henry was one of the health authorities responding to the cholera epidemic that broke out in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake that killed 300,000 people. The outbreak, awarded to the UN peacekeeping mission, caused another 10,000 victims, according to official figures.
In 2020 he joined the multisectoral commission for the management of Covid-19, which so far has 19,553 patients, 510 deaths, and more than 3,000 hospitalized since March of last year.
At the same time, he directs the neurosurgery service at Bernard Mevs Hospital, one of the most renowned in the country.