As Haiti faces a deadly resurgence of cholera, gangs continue to foment violence. Secretary of State Blinken “strongly condemn(ed) the acts of violence, the looting, the destruction of the past weeks, including the gangs’ continuing fuel blockade, which has had a devastating impact across Haiti, undermining the health, undermining the safety, of thousands of people.” In response to the crisis, the United States announced new measures to provide support to the people of Haiti and to hold those who continue to foment violence accountable.
The Pan American Health Organization estimates that more than 1.2 million people are at risk of contracting cholera. USAID and Centers for Disease Control staff are on the ground in Haiti, working alongside Haitian health workers and NGOs to respond to the cholera outbreak and deliver care to those who need it. “We will accelerate the delivery of additional humanitarian relief to the people of Haiti,” promised Secretary Blinken.
The U.S. is also working to deploy assistance to the Haitian National Police to strengthen their capacity to counter gangs and re-establish law and order. Over the past 18 months, the United States has allocated more than $90 million in security assistance to strengthen the Haitian Police’s crime-fighting capacity.
In an effort to hold malign actors accountable, the United States issued a new visa restriction policy under the Immigration and Nationality Act against current or former Haitian government officials and other individuals involved in the operation of street gangs and other Haitian criminal organizations. This includes support these bad actors may provide in funding or facilitating arms or drug trafficking. Such actions also apply to these individuals’ immediate family members.
In addition, on a multilateral level, the U.S. and its allies have drafted a resolution proposing specific sanctions measures to enable the international community to hold malign actors accountable for their actions.
“With these actions and others,” said Secretary Blinken, “we will lay out in the days and weeks ahead . . .a clear message that the United States will continue to support the Haitian people during this critical time.”
“We remain committed,” he said, “to working with the international community and the Haitian people as they seek to restore security and democratic order for a more prosperous future.”