The United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinkensaid Thursday that sending a intervention force to Haiti is under discussion and that the issue will be present in the conversations that President Joe Biden will hold this Thursday during his visit to Canada.
It’s been months since Haitian rulers and the United Nations called for the first time a new international mission to stabilize the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, plagued by gang violence, deteriorating public health, and political instability.
“There are discussions about some kind of multinational United Nations force,” in which the United States “is actively participating,” Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“The president will go to Canada tonight, and we will have talks with the Canadian government about what we could do together with other countries” members of CARICOM, the alliance of Caribbean nations, he said.
He reiterated that the United States will aim to reinforce the fledgling Haitian National Police, which, according to him, does not have “adequate resources.”
The United States has a long history of intervention in Haiti, but Biden has made it clear that he is reluctant to deploy troops abroad and ended the Afghan war at the start of his term.
Clashes between gangs in the capital and other places of Haiti have left 208 dead and more than 150 injured in less than two weeks, the UN reported on Tuesday, renewing its call on countries to “urgently consider” the deployment of a specialized force in the Caribbean nation.
“Clashes between gangs are increasingly violent and frequent,” the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement.
Local human rights group RNDDH estimates that gangs, not state security forces, now control the entire capital, Port-au-Prince, and more than half the country.
The violence between February 27 and March 9 in the capital Port-au-Prince and in the central Artibonite region it has also displaced hundreds of people and forced farmers to abandon their fields as famine looms, officials said.
“The situation is even more alarming for children, who are often subjected to all types of armed violence, including forced recruitment and sexual violence”, indicated the UN in Haiti.
The recent outbreak of violence in central Haiti has been blamed on a gang called “Baz Big Grif”, whose approximate translation would be “Club de Garras Grandes”.
In addition to that, almost 260 kidnappings since the beginning of the yeareither in homes or public places, officials said.
(With information from AP, AFP and Reuters)
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