Canadian armored vehicles arrive in Haiti

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Armored vehicles Canadians arrive in Haïti

Haiti is grappling with an epidemic of violence perpetrated by criminal gangs.

Canadian armored vehicles, ordered by the Haitian government to support the national police in its fight against criminal gangs, arrived in Port-au-Prince.

The delivery of these vehicles was first reported by the American newspaper The Miami Herald and by the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste. The latter estimates the value of the Canadian cargo at 10 million US dollars.

Left Trenton at 8:36 This morning, this Royal Canadian Air Force C-17 Globemaster 702 delivered the armored vehicles ordered by the Haitian government.

In a joint statement with the US government released in the evening, Ottawa indicates that this delivery of armored vehicles and other equipment will allow the [police] to continue their fight against criminals who foment violence and hinder the circulation of essential humanitarian aid.

In collaboration with our international partners, our governments are working with Haitian partners to strengthen the capacity of Haiti to train more police officers and to improve law enforcement activities, further mentions the press release published by the US State Department.

“We urge the parties at the heart of the conflict to set up humanitarian corridors in order to restore the supply of fuel, water and food to meet the basic needs of the Haitian population and to allow hospitals to respond to the emergency. #x27;increased cholera cases in the country. »

— The Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On the ground, the Haitian law enforcement agencies are overwhelmed by criminal gangs who reign terror in the capital and in other cities of the country.

Already ravaged by insecurity, Haiti has been the scene of protests, riots and looting since interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced a fuel price hike in September.

In an interview with RDI, the former Canadian ambassador to Haiti Henri-Paul Normandin clarified that these armored vehicles were not part of the recent request for international aid presented by the Haitian government but that #x27;they were rather linked to an operation planned for several months to allow the Haitian National Police (PNH), short of men and means, to strengthen its intervention capacities in the field.< /p>

“This will allow the PNH to carry out more effective interventions, because unfortunately armed gangs are really very well equipped: it is very difficult to carry out interventions. I think it is a support that has a broad consensus.

—Henri-Paul Normandin, former Canadian Ambassador to Haiti

This is support that Haiti badly needs; Canadian armored vehicles purchased by the Haitian government have arrived in Port-au-Prince to help the police fight the criminal gangs that have been terrorizing the population for months. The UN Security Council will next week consider a US resolution on the deployment of a rapid multinational force. Report by Mélissa François, followed by an interview with author and sociologist Frédéric Boisrond.

In recent weeks, powerful armed groups have also blocked the largest oil terminals in Haiti and cut access to essential roads. Deprived of fuel, drinking water distribution companies have announced the suspension of their activities, which contributes to an upsurge in cholera cases.

Faced with this multidimensional crisis, Ariel Henry agreed to request the assistance of foreign military personnel.

The request was relayed by the Secretary General of the #x27;UN, Antonio Guterres. The latter called for the deployment of a specialized international armed force in Haiti, followed in the medium term by a force led by the United Nations.

Protesters flee tear gas fired by law enforcement during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Ariel Henry.

According to the Miami Herald, the United States is said to have responded to this request for assistance by drafting a resolution for the United Nations Security Council that encourages the immediate deployment of a multinational force of ;quick action.

Only a few days ago, the United States had nevertheless expressed reservations about an American security presence on Haitian soil. Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Brian Nichols, deemed such talks premature.

Chinese and Russian support for the US draft resolution remains uncertain. As permanent members of the Security Council, they could both choose to reject it by exercising their right of veto. In recent months, China has criticized the international community's approach to Haiti and called for a stronger embargo on small arms against the Caribbean state.

In its current form, the United States' draft resolution does not specify what role the various members of the Security Council will play in this mission.

The UN security body is due to meet next Thursday on Haiti.

Inside the country itself, the idea of ​​a new foreign intervention is contested by a part of the population which has bad memories of past interventions. Demonstrators did not hesitate to recall the role of peacekeepers in the outbreak of a cholera epidemic which killed nearly 10,000 people from 2010 to 2019.

It is also a security crisis because gangs are preventing fuel deliveries. It brought the country to a standstill; a large part of the population no longer has access to jobs, but also to drinking water, food and health care. We truly have a humanitarian crisis.

“We really are in a situation where we want to choose the least worst solution. »

— Henri-Paul Normandin, former Canadian Ambassador to Haiti

Still according to Mr. Normandin, attempting to distribute humanitarian aid in the streets of Port-au-Prince, when the security situation there is very bad, would necessarily imply accompanying these intervention services. of a police or military escort.

It comes with security risks, it comes with political risks and it does not guarantee success either, he said. -he called back.

For his part, the sociologist Frédéric Boisrond does not mince his words: with the stranglehold of the gangs on natural resources and energy, the Pearl of the Antilles is currently struggling with an absence of State, a- he said in an interview with Radio-Canada.

Even those in power no longer lead. The state is dysfunctional. […] And even if this foreign military intervention were part of the solution, it would only be the beginning of something. Because yes, we must restore order, but we must build the rule of law in Haiti, and we are far from that, he added.

Strength The police force is not only badly trained and under-equipped, it is also corrupt: it is the international community that has trained this police force, and it is clear that it is incapable of doing its job and that it is part of the problem, as is the government of Ariel Henry, continued the specialist.

He describes the Prime Minister's party as a neo-Duvalierist party in the wake of the Duvalier dictatorships .

“What we see today is the failure of this transition from dictatorship to democracy.

— Frédéric Boisrond, sociologist

According to this sociologist, Canada certainly has an interest in seeing the situation return to normal. After all, he says, the instability in Haiti has a direct impact on the number of migrants crossing the US-Canada border via Roxham Road.

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