The US will seek to sanction Haitian gang leaders

The United States is preparing to circulate a resolution among members of the United Nations Security Council on Monday that would establish a new framework for punishing Haitian gang leaders and will not rule out international intervention as the country descends into anarchy, according to a note published by the Miami Herald.

Undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian A. Nichols said in an interview with the aforementioned outlet that the gang leaders fueling Haiti’s worst security crisis in decades – and those who finance and support them, including the rendition of firearms— “They are being targeted and their actions to destabilize Haiti will face financial sanctions and international travel impediments.”

The Biden administration expects a swift passage of the resolution “in the next few days,” Nichols said.

“The resolution will create a United Nations framework to impose sanctions on gang leaders and those who support, facilitate and finance their activities,” said. “Those sanctions would target your financial resources and your ability to travel.”

The Haitian government has all but lost control over security in the Caribbean nation, and US officials say the country has reached a crisis not seen since the early 1990s.

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This Friday, specialized teams from the Haitian National Police in Port-au-Prince were still trying to access a women’s prison north of the capital after 145 women escaped. The gangs blocked the police response by setting fire to a police substation and shooting at police officers.

At the same time, a powerful gang leader, an ex-cop named Jimmy Cherizier, “BBQ”, was in his ninth day of holding more than 188,000 barrels of fuel hostage, blocking access in and out of the country’s largest fuel. Terminal.

“You will have access to the terminal when we die,” Cherizier said, directing the remarks at interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry as he held an M-4 automatic weapon and stood amid the burning barricade his coalition of gangs had erected in front of the depot. of Varreux fuel.

“Haiti’s neighbors have called for strong action from the United States and other permanent members of the Security Council. At least one, the Dominican Republic, has publicly called for the return of a multinational peacekeeping force, arguing that instability and rampant violence in the gangs in Haiti they are becoming more and more a threat to the region”, highlights the American newspaper.

Such a move would require Haiti to once again submit to what is known as Chapter 7, which is an article of the UN charter that allows the Security Council to deploy international forces on a peacekeeping mission. After 13 years, it ended in Haiti in 2017 when the UN Security Council, prompted by the United States and others, finally withdrew its military and peacekeeping operations from Haiti. If the Haitian government requests such assistance, “the international community would certainly consider such a request,” Nichols added.

But “Haitian authorities have not asked for boots on the ground,” he said, “and there is currently no discussion of a Chapter 7 response to the situation in Haiti.” Instead of a return of blue helmet peacekeepers, the United States has focused on bolstering the beleaguered Haitian National Police force of more than 12,000 troops.

The Biden administration has been training members of a new SWAT team for the Haitian National Police, as part of an effort with France to train members of a new anti-gang unit in the Haitian capital.

Canada and the United Nations have been lobbying for support for a $28 million security pool, where donors can put their money, to help fund a better-equipped force and a new managed shipping container inspection project. by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Haiti watchers say any sanctions will have to be imposed with force, given the ability of powerful and corrupt figures in the country to wreak havoc when their interests are threatened.

Leading newspaper in the Dominican Republic focused on general news and innovative journalism.

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