US plans to occupy Haiti under the UN umbrella
...or without any cover at all
Haiti is in a humanitarian crisis. One that is exacerbated by gang violence. Several countries, including the United States, are calling for intervention. But what exactly does that mean?
First of all, what exactly is going on in Haiti? The country is struggling with a stagnant economy, food and fuel shortages, a lack of clean drinking water, gang violence and a new cholera outbreak.
Criminal gangs are blocking one of the main fuel terminals in the country and that makes the situation even worse. Gasoline and diesel prices skyrocketed, and there is a huge shortage of fuel. As a result, the transport is almost stationary.
The blockade also causes food insecurity. For four million inhabitants of the Caribbean country, acute famine threatens, says the UN.
An intervention has been called for before. Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry asked other countries for help in early October. He wanted a “specialized armed force” to regain control of the fuel terminal.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the UN Security Council should consider a peacekeeping force for Haiti. The U.S. also thought about it.
It all got a little more concrete when the US and Canada came to the rescue in mid-October. The Haitian government had purchased armed vehicles and other equipment, but its delivery was delayed. The US and Canada helped transport the vehicles so that Haiti’s national police can use them in the fight against gang violence.
A U.S. State Department spokesman said the U.S. will continue to work to strengthen Haitian police.
Meanwhile, the US and Mexico have drafted two resolutions (proposals) that the UN Security Council must decide on. One of them is about sanctions against Haitian gang leaders and their supporters. It was adopted unanimously on Friday.
The second proposal is about a ” carefully defined mission that is not led by the UN. But by a partner country with deep and necessary experience necessary for such an effort to be effective,” said US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Simply put, it is about an international power that must help fight gang violence.
“The people of Haiti can’t wait any longer,” said Judes Jonathas, of the NGO Mercy Corps.
But in Haiti there is also fear of another international force. The Caribbean has a long history of international interference. The UN power that was in Haiti from 2004 to 2017 received a lot of criticism because it was seen by many as a foreign occupation. The UN operation called Minustah is said to have used violence against locals in a suburb of the capital Port-au-Prince, among other things. Minustah is also played a role in the spread of cholera in 2010.