The Haitian Crisis: Is the US Waking Up?

Embassies, diplomatic missions and international organizations are reducing their operations, closing their doors and repatriating their personnel. Hospitals and other essential services are within hours or days of running out of fuel and ceasing all activities. Criminals are on the attack everywhere, even at police stations, with no response from law enforcement.

As September draws to a close, Haiti is at its worst, from the capital to the provinces.

All parties are looking to the country’s most powerful ally, silently praying — some bitterly hoping — that salvation will come from an awakening of President Joe Biden on the Haiti issue.

Just as one only lends to the rich, so many attribute all that happens in or to Haiti to the Americans, including all of its ills.

The country’s diplomats are at times surprised by all the powers they are believed to wield.

At the same time, it is hard to find a major issue that does not have an American imprint or where they do not have a say and, at times, the final word.

That’s how it is in Haiti.

And after months of dragging their feet, this week there is another tune coming from our neighbors.

Finally, say the most optimistic.

“We continue to stand with our neighbor in Haiti as it faces political-fueled gang violence, and an enormous human crisis, and we call on the world to do the same. We have more to do.”

Biden himself made these comments before the U.N. General Assembly this week.

On Friday, the under secretary of state in charge of Haiti announced that the U.S. will bring a resolution to the U.N. to create a framework for sanctions against gang leaders and those who support, facilitate and finance their activities.

The international community will make up for the disappearance of the Haitian judicial system.

In another announcement made on Friday, for the first time the U.S. has announced a contribution to the U.N. Basket Fund for security in Haiti. “INL is proud to contribute $3 million for Haiti to complement our ongoing assistance to the HNP, which totals more than $48m this year. W/ support from the int’l community, the HNP can continue to strengthen its operational capacity & build security,” read the statement on the American Embassy’s Twitter account.

The Basket Fund, in place since January, had up to now only received a contribution from Canada.

It is time for the U.N. Development Program, which is not known for its efficiency in running mechanisms similar to Haiti’s, to give an accounting of expenses incurred on Haiti’s behalf. Security outcomes lead one to believe that not much was used to reinforce the Haitian National Police.

The latest American initiative on Friday may appear trivial, but it is the most significant:

On Friday, “U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Eric Stromayer met with Director General of the General Administration of Customs Julcène Édouard to discuss Customs operations and to enhance mutual cooperation.”

“At the conclusion of the exchange of more than an hour, the chargé d’affaires took the occasion to congratulate the GCA for its achievements, and to offer the support of the U.S. to the Directorate General of Customs as it continues to improve on its results.”

This news came from the Directorate General of Customs.

As in 1915, Haiti is preparing to receive support from the Americans to reinforce the main point of entry for the taxes and financial resources of the republic.

Customs is a weak link in the security chain because it is in charge of the surveillance and impermeability of the borders.

Justice, security, tax revenue, everything will go through the U.S., if it keeps its promises.

The U.S. is also expected to endorse putting Haiti back on the U.N.’s agenda and that of its main cooperating agencies.

Of course, it is hoped that this reawakening is definitive, and that Haitian political actors and those in civil society will play their part.

In the words of one diplomat, “Help yourself, the U.S. will do the rest.”

About this publication

About Reg Moss 117 Articles
Reg is a writer, teacher, and translator with an interest in social issues especially as pertains to education and matters of race, class, gender, immigration, etc.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply