US triples support for Haiti security mission amid crisis as beleaguered prime minister steps down

Port-au-Prince, Haiti - The US has pledged to increase its financial support for a multinational security mission in crisis-hit Haiti by $100 million to $300 million, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday at a meeting of Caribbean heads of government.

The US will contribute $300 million to a multinational security force set up to deal with the crisis in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
The US will contribute $300 million to a multinational security force set up to deal with the crisis in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.  © REUTERS

Blinken also pledged $33 million in humanitarian aid for the Caribbean country.

At the meeting in Kingston, which was also attended by Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a proposal was discussed to set up a transitional presidential council to resolve the political crisis.

Caribbean community of states CARICOM said that Interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry has agreed to resign.

China punishes Taiwan with alarming encirclement meant to "kill independence"
China China punishes Taiwan with alarming encirclement meant to "kill independence"

A seven-member presidential council will be formed for the transition to elections in Haiti, which will appoint a new interim prime minister, Guyana's President Mohamed Irfaan Ali said late on Monday after the meeting.

At the request of the Haitian government, the UN Security Council authorized an international police operation to combat gang violence in October. Kenya agreed to take the lead and provide around 1,000 of the planned 3,000 police officers. However, the deployment was recently halted by a court in Kenya.

According to a UN spokesperson on Monday, only $10.8 million have been raised so far to finance the mission. The US Congress has not yet released most of the promised funds.

Gang leader threatens "civil war" in Haiti

Gang leader Jimmy Chérizier alias "Barbecue" (l.) has demanded the resignation of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, threatening civil war otherwise.
Gang leader Jimmy Chérizier alias "Barbecue" (l.) has demanded the resignation of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, threatening civil war otherwise.  © Collage: REUTERS & via REUTERS

Per the UN, criminal gangs controlled around 80% of Port-au-Prince even before the current wave of violence began. The situation has escalated dramatically since the end of February and a nationwide state of emergency is currently in force.

The country's two most powerful gangs have joined forces and have demanded Henry's resignation – otherwise there would be a civil war, threatened gang leader Jimmy Chérizier alias "Barbecue."

Large parts of Haiti are paralyzed and flights have been cancelled for more than a week. More than 4,500 prisoners have also been forcibly released from prisons.

China warns of impending war with Taiwan as military moves continue
China China warns of impending war with Taiwan as military moves continue

Diplomats from the EU and the US have since left the country.

The violence is exacerbating the precarious supply situation – according to the UN, almost half of Haiti's 11 million inhabitants are suffering from acute hunger and around 362,000 Haitians are displaced within the country, more than half of them children.

Cover photo: REUTERS

More on World: