US, Canada send armored vehicles to bolster Haiti’s police

By Dánica Coto, The Associated Press

The U.S. and Canada sent armored vehicles and other supplies to Haiti on Saturday to help police fight a powerful gang amid a pending request from the Haitian government for the immediate deployment of foreign troops.

A statement from Global Affairs Canada said the equipment was bought by Haiti’s government, but it did not provide further details on the supplies flown on military aircraft to the capital of Port-au-Prince.

A spokesman for the U.S. military’s Southern Command said he could not provide further details on the supplies sent, though he added it was a joint operation involving the U.S. Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force.

“This equipment will assist (Haiti’s National Police) in their fight against criminal actors who are fomenting violence and disrupting the flow of critically-needed humanitarian assistance, hindering efforts to halt the spread of cholera,” a joint statement from Global Affairs Canada and the State Department and said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that by providing the equipment, Canada is supporting the restoration of security in Haiti.

Trudeau said in a statement posted online the equipment will be used to fight against violent criminal gangs and help improve security.

“Our two countries remain committed to supporting the Haitian National Police’s work of protecting and serving the people of Haiti. And together, we’ll continue to support the restoration of security in Haiti,” his statement said.

The equipment arrived more than a month after one of Haiti’s most powerful gangs surrounded a fuel terminal and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. Demonstrators also have blocked roads in major cities to protest a sharp rise in fuel prices after Henry announced in early September that his administration could no longer afford to subsidize fuel.

Since then, gas stations have closed, hospitals have cut back on services and banks and grocery stores open on a limited basis as fuel, water and other supplies dwindle across Haiti.

The owners of the fuel terminal announced Saturday that armed men had attacked their installations for a second time and fled with more than 28,000 gallons of petroleum products after overpowering surveillance and emergency personnel at the facility.

It was the second time this week that armed men broke into the terminal, which stores more than 10 million gallons of gasoline and diesel and more than 800,000 gallons of kerosene.

60 per cent of Port-au-Prince controlled by gangs

Gang demands are nothing new in Haiti, and they have grown more prominent since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, but previous threats were quickly dealt with by police and assisting U.N. peacekeeping forces.

The U.N. is reporting an estimated 60% of the country’s capital city Port-au-Prince is controlled by gangs.

Haitian officials have warned the international community that the situation is dire, noting that a recent cholera outbreak could also worsen due to the limited availability of water and other basic supplies.

On Friday, UNICEF warned that nearly 100,000 children younger than five are already suffering from severe acute malnutrition and are vulnerable to cholera: “The crisis in Haiti is increasingly a children’s crisis.”

Later in the day, a report from U.N. agencies and international aid groups said a record 4.7 million people in Haiti are facing acute hunger, including 19,000 in catastrophic famine conditions for the first time, all in the gang-controlled Cite Soleil slum of Port-au-Prince.

It is also becoming a crisis for women. The United Nations Population Fund said Friday that 30,000 pregnant women are at risk because roughly three-fourths of Haiti’s hospitals are unable to provide services due to a lack of fuel.

In addition, gangs are increasingly raping women and girls, as well as boys and to some extent men, to exert and retain control over territory, according to a U.N. Human Rights report released Friday.

Helen La Lime, the top U.N. official in Haiti, told reporters that human rights abuses including rape and sexual assault have reached alarming levels.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today