|President of Haiti|
|Assumed office |
20 July 2021
|Prime Minister||Himself (acting)|
|Preceded by||Claude Joseph (acting)|
|Prime Minister of Haiti|
|Assumed office |
20 July 2021
|Appointed by||Jovenel Moïse|
|Preceded by||Claude Joseph (acting)|
|Minister of Social Affairs and Labor|
11 September 2015 – 28 March 2016
Jocelerme Privert (acting)
|Prime Minister||Evans Paul|
|Preceded by||Victor Benoît|
|Succeeded by||Jean René Antoine Nicolas|
|Minister of Interior and Territorial Communities|
22 January 2015 – 11 September 2015
|Prime Minister||Evans Paul|
|Preceded by||Réginald Delva|
|Succeeded by||Ardouin Zéphirin|
|Born||6 November 1949|
|Spouse(s)||Annie Claude Massiau|
|Education||University of Montpellier|
Loma Linda University (Master's degree)
Ariel Henry (French pronunciation: [aʁjɛl ɑ̃ʁi], born 6 November 1949) is a Haitian politician and neurosurgeon serving as the acting Prime Minister of Haiti and President of Haiti since 20 July 2021. He later became involved in a controversy due to his refusal to cooperate with the authorities over his links with one of the suspects accused of orchestrating the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse.
Henry served as a resident in neurosurgery with Professor Claude Gros in the French city of Montpellier, from March 1977 to December 1981. He studied neurophysiology and neuropathology at the University of Montpellier's faculty of medicine from 1981 to 1984, and presented his doctoral thesis in January 1982. He also received a certificate in performing electroencephalography from the University of Montpellier in September 1983.
In 1989, he completed his master's degree from the Loma Linda University, in the "international health" field of public health. He also did his postdoctoral studies in "management methods for international health" at Boston University from February to May 1990.
Henry was a professor at the Private Nursing School of Montpellier from September 1980 to June 1981. From January 1982 to December 1983, he was employed as an assistant in neurosurgery to Professor Claude Gros at the Gui de Chauliac university hospital in Montpellier. He also served as an assistant to Professor Philippe Frèrebeau at the same hospital from October 1983 to February 1985, and was employed as an assistant professor during his time there. He later served as the administrator of the Adventist Hospital of Haiti from March 1985 to June 1987.
Henry was employed as a neurosurgeon at the State University of Haiti Hospital from 1987 to 1996, while also serving as a professor of neurosurgery at the hospital from October 1985 to February 1995 and professor of psychophysiology at the university's faculty of human sciences from November 1988 to June 1996. He has been a professor of neurology at the university's faculty of medicine since October 1990.
Henry was also a tutor at the Loma Linda University's "Master of Public Health" program, which was held off-campus, from 1989 to 1991, and a professor of neurology at the Quisqueya University from October 1999 to January 2010. He served as an advisor to the Minister of Health of Haiti from March 1993 to February 1995, as well as a consultant to the Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization from 1993 to 1996.
He was the director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency-Haiti's "Child Survival Project in Urban and Rural Areas" from November 1985 to February 1992, director of "Nutritional Rehabilitation Clinics" program from January 1986 to November 1989, deputy director of its overall programs from 1992 to 1996, and consultant for evaluating its "PL-480" program in 1998. He was also the director of health for the Adventist Church in Haiti, the French West Indies and French Guiana. From 1992 to 1999, he served as the chairman of the board of directors of the Ecumenical Welfare Society.
Henry has served as an associate member of the French Society of Neurosurgery since 1984, a member of the National Committee to Evaluate Polio Eradication in Haiti since it was created in March 1990, and head of the neurosurgery department of the Bernard Mevs Hospital since October 2014. He led the public health response in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the cholera outbreak in 2012. On 26 March 2020, the President of Haiti Jovenel Moïse chose him as a member of the 17-member scientific council tasked to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Henry entered politics as a leader of the Democratic Convergence movement which sought to topple President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was accused of rigging the 2000 Haitian parliamentary election. He and Micha Gaillard led the opposition against the President at international forums. After the 2004 Haitian coup d'état that ousted Aristide, Henry called for a transition government based on consensus and new elections. He later became a part of the "council of sages", consisting of seven members. The council was backed by the United States and elected members of the transitional government.
He supported René Préval after he was elected as the President and was appointed as the director general of the Ministry of Health in June 2006. He remained in the position till September 2008, when he was appointed as the ministry's chief of staff from September 2008 to October 2011. During his tenure, he dealt with the strikes at the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, worked alongside the United States in managing the public health response after the 2010 earthquake, and streamlined the ministry's finances, enabling direct American funding of its programs.
Henry is a member of Inite. He was selected as the Minister of Interior and Territorial Communities in 2015 by President Michel Martelly, after the latter reached a deal with the opposition parties following anti-government protests, many of them led by followers of Aristide. Henry served in the post from 22 January 2015 to 11 September 2015, when he was appointed as the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor by Prime Minister Evans Paul and replaced by Ardouin Zéphirin. He remained in the position till 28 March 2016.
On 5 July 2021, he was selected as the next Prime Minister of Haiti by President Jovenel Moïse, but two days later Moïse was assassinated, stalling the transfer of power. At the time, incumbent Prime Minister Claude Joseph took control of the government, with the backing of the military and was acknowledged by the United States as the rightful prime minister. On 19 July, Joseph announced that he will stand down as prime minister in favor of Henry.
Henry was sworn-in as the prime minister on 20 July. During the ceremony, he called for unity and stated that he will prioritize reassuring people about restoring order and security in the country. He stated on 28 July that he planned to hold the long-delayed elections as soon as possible, and the government would hold dialogue with the civil society on what to do further for Haiti's progress.
After an earthquake struck Haiti on 14 August, Henry declared a state of emergency for one month in the country and stated that all resources will be mobilized to help people affected by the quake. During an address to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States on 20 August, he vowed to hold elections as soon as possible to restore democracy in the country, despite the country reeling from instability following the recent earthquake and Moïse's assassination.
On 6 September, Henry described reducing crime in Haiti as a primary concern of his government. He introduced the draft of a proposed new constitution on 8 September. Among its provisions, the President is given further powers while the position of Prime Minister is abolished to allow government policies to be passed more easily. Government officials, ministers and presidents can also be tried before courts once they leave their office.
Henry was invited by Haiti's chief prosecutor Bedford Claude on 10 September for an interview regarding Moïse's assassination. Claude stated that Henry had been in contact with a main suspect on the day of the assassination. Henry however rejected giving permission on the next day, calling it a "diversionary tactic".
Henry signed an agreement for a consensual transitional government with opposition political parties on 11 September. Under the agreement, a new Provisional Electoral Council will be formed which will include members of Haitian diaspora in its functioning. Meanwhile, the government also agreed to hold a trial for the PetroCaribe scandal; in addition to conducting investigations into the massacres that occurred in La Saline, Bel Air and Delmas 32. The agreement contains provisions for the establishment of a two-headed executive of Haiti, while the country will be governed by the Council of Ministers under the leadership of Henry. It allows the elections to be delayed to late 2022. Over 169 political and civil organizations had signed the agreement till 12 September according to Henry, however he has sought support of more organizations.
Renan Hédouville, the head of the Office of Citizen Protection, demanded Henry's resignation on 13 September, and also called on him to cooperate with the investigation. Claude on 14 September requested the judge investigating the assassination to charge Henry and told the immigration authority to ban him from leaving the country. Henry meanwhile fired him, but a source told the BBC that he had no authority to take such an action.
Renald Lubérice, the secretary general of the Council of Ministers, resigned on 15 September due to the allegations against Henry and accused of trying to obstruct justice. Henry meanwhile fired the Minister of Justice Rockefeller Vincent, who had ordered increased security for Bedford Claude citing threats to him. Henry's office addressed the allegations against him on 16 September, stating that he had received calls from numerous people inquiring about his safety after Moïse's assassination, and it could not identify every caller. It also dismissed suspicions against Henry, stating that contact with a suspect cannot be used to implicate someone in a case.
Ariel Henry is the son of Elie S. Henry, who was a pastor and an elder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Ariel's father died on 20 December 2015. He is married to Annie Claude Massiau and his siblings are named Monique Henry, Edlyne Henry Richard, Elie Henry and Elvire Henry. His brother Elie is also a pastor and is the president of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
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