Haiti: Trudeau calls on US and Europe to further sanction elites

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Haïti: Trudeau calls on the United States and Europe to further sanction the elites

A child covers his ears due to violence in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that the United States and Europe must do “much more” to sanction Haitian elites who have a role to play in Haiti's insecurity crisis.

For me, the best way to restore stability for Haiti is first to sanction the elites to tell them that they can no longer fund gangs [nor] political instability,” he said during a town hall meeting in Montreal’s Saint-Michel neighborhood.

A member of the audience challenged the Prime Minister about the concerns of the Haitian diaspora, many of whom live in this neighborhood.

Mr. Trudeau recalled that Ottawa has sanctioned 17 people, including several former politicians, since they are considered to be accomplices of the armed gangs which sow terror in Haiti.

The situation in the Caribbean country has reached a critical level in recent months, with gangs raping women and blocking the population's access to essential services.

In November, Canada began sanctioning the first people under its Special Economic Measures Act. This has the effect of freezing the assets of these people in Canada as well as preventing them from making any stay in the country.

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau at a public meeting held in the Saint-Michel district of Montreal.

During an interview with The Canadian Press in December, Mr. Trudeau spoke of a desire to see European countries follow in the footsteps of the Canadian government. We're leading the United States and maybe even Europe to [put forward] their own sanctions too, he said.

On Monday, he went further. The United States started to impose more sanctions. We need them to do a lot more. We need Europe, France to do more, he said.

He also added that the neighboring countries of Haiti had their role to play in this approach. Two, we must ensure that the Haitian National Police have the power to do their job, continued Mr. Trudeau.

He maintained that the holding of elections can only be done once stability is established in Haiti. To vote when you are afraid to leave your house, when there are armed gangs in the street, it is not a real democratic vote, mentioned the Prime Minister.

The last elections in this country go back several years. Ex-president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July 2021 and then prime minister Ariel Henry ran for leader but was not elected.

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