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Crisis meeting on Haiti following the evacuation of diplomats

Photo: Clarens Siffroy AgenceFrance-Presse Residents of Port-au-Prince are leaving their homes as violence linked to criminal gangs escalates in the Haitian capital.

France Media Agency Port-au-Prince

2:38 p.m.

  • Americas

The security crisis shaking Haiti is the subject of an emergency meeting on Monday in Jamaica, at a time when Western chancelleries are evacuating their diplomats from Port-au-Prince, under the control of armed criminal gangs.

The head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, arrived in Kingston to participate in this meeting convened by the Caribbean Community (Caricom), which also invited representatives of France, Canada and the UN.

Mr. Blinken will discuss efforts to “rapidly establish a political transition in Haiti through the creation of an independent, broad-based presidential college, as well as the deployment of a multinational security support mission,” his office said -speech.

The Haitian capital continued this weekend to descend into violence linked to gangs who are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, just like part of the population.

Mr. Henry is still in Puerto Rico, the Border Patrol spokesperson for that U.S. territory said Monday.

Amid the chaos that settled in the capital, Haitian security forces were able to regain control of the port of Port-au-Prince after clashes with gangs this weekend, said the director of the National Port Authority, Jocelin Villier.

Boats have been able to unload containers but the main challenge remains transporting products and food from the port to the outside world, because the main roads are not secure enough, he added.

Crisis meeting on Haiti following the evacuation of diplomats

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds Pool via Associated Press The head of American diplomacy, Anthony Blinken, is preparing to board a plane to go to Kingston on Monday.

Embassy evacuations

On Monday, the UN Security Council called on all Haitian political actors to “serious negotiations” to “restore the democratic institutions” of the country.

The vice-president of Guyana, member of Caricom, Bharrat Jagdeo, declared Sunday that the countries involved “would seek to restore order and restore confidence to the Haitian people” in the face of “criminals ( who) took control of the country”.

Latest sign of the security crisis, the evacuation on Monday of all European Union personnel in Port-au-Prince.

“In response to the dramatic deterioration of the security situation, we have decided to reduce our activities on the ground and have moved the staff of the EU delegation in Port-au-Prince to a safer place outside the country (…). Currently we have evacuated all EU personnel from Haiti,” said Peter Stano, spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

The German diplomatic mission announced a similar move on Sunday, specifying that it had sent its ambassador to the Dominican Republic, the neighboring country from where he would work “until further notice”.

During the night from Saturday to Sunday, the Americans evacuated their non-essential diplomatic personnel by helicopter from Port-au-Prince.

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  • Port-au-Prince “under siege”, controlled by gangs

“City under siege”

The capital is the scene of clashes between police officers and armed gangs, who attack strategic sites including the presidential palace, police stations and prisons. A “city under siege,” according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

A week ago, the authorities declared a state of emergency, with a nighttime curfew, in the West department, which includes the capital, but they do not fully control this territory.< /p>

To remedy this, the UN Security Council in the fall agreed to send an international mission led by Kenya to help the Haitian police, but its deployment is sorely awaited.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry signed an agreement in Nairobi in early March to allow the sending of Kenyan police officers, and has since sought to return to Haiti. At last news, he was still stuck in Puerto Rico, an American territory in the Caribbean.

The country, without a president or parliament, has not had an election since 2016 and Ariel Henry, appointed by President Jovenel Moïse just before his assassination in 2021, should have left office at the beginning of February.

The capital's administrations and schools have been closed for several days, and the airport and port are no longer operating, raising fears of a collapse in supplies for the population of the poorest country in the Americas. Hospitals, targeted by gangs, cannot function normally.

According to the IOM, 362,000 people — more than half of whom are children — are currently displaced in Haiti, a figure that has jumped 15% since the start of the year.< /p>

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116