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, have arrived in Port-au-Prince.

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

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

The Canadian government has yet to officially comment on this shipment of military equipment.

Haitian law enforcement agencies are overwhelmed by criminal gangs that reign terror in the capital and other cities across the country.

Already ravaged by the Insecurity, Haiti has been the scene of demonstrations, riots and looting since the announcement in September of a rise in the price of fuel by the first interim, Ariel Henry.

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 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 on the ground.

“This will allow the PNH to carry out more effective interventions, because unfortunately the 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

In recent weeks, powerful armed groups have also blocked Haiti's largest oil terminals and cut off 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 seek foreign military assistance.

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

Protesters run away from 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.

China's and Russia's 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

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

It comes with security risks, it comes with political risks, and it does not guarantee success either, he recalled.

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