News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. Mar. 17, 2021: Facing mounting criticism of its response to the crisis in Haiti, the US on Tuesday reiterated it is “committed” to helping the Caribbean country.
The comment at a State Department Press conference came after a reporter asked a question about the US’ position in light of the fact that Russia has expressed its intent to help Haiti restore political stability amid the ongoing violence there.
Jalina Porter, Principal Deputy Spokesperson of the U.S. State Department stated: “Well, again, what I’ll – I’ll just say – I’ll just stress our commitment to the people of Haiti. The United States is committed to helping the Haitian people to build a better future.”
She also noted that in January, the US announced an additional $75.5 million for Haiti, to help in a wide range of issues, which includes democratic governance, health, education, and agricultural development.
Her comments came as #FreeHaiti continues to make waves on social media and as the country’s President, Jovenel Moïse, who many say is clinging to power beyond the legal end of his term last month, has asked the Organization of American States (OAS) for assistance to deal with the security crisis in the French-speaking Caribbean nation, days after the death of four police officers in a botched raid.
Moïse asked for help on Monday when he met with OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro to discuss security.
Their discussion came on the same day that an extraordinary Council of Ministers met at the National Palace and adopted a decree to revise State of Emergency legislation to give the Superior Council of the National Police (CSPN) the means to combat banditry and crime, and to empower the PNH and the Armed Forces of Haiti (FADH) to work in synergy to combat insecurity.
Four police officers were killed and eight injured in an attempted raid on the gang stronghold in the Village de Dieu slum, in the capital of Oort-au-Prince, where kidnapping victims are often kept. Their armored vehicles and high-calibre automatic weapons were also seized. President Moïse denounced the acts as “a declaration of war against society.”
The US Embassy in Haiti on Monday said a group known as Fantom 509 is active throughout Port-au-Prince and is known for its violent actions.
Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova, the spokesman and director of the information and press department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said last week that
Russia can help Haiti restore political stability, secure the country and train its law enforcement.
“As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, we’re closely following the events in Haiti, it raises our concern,” Zakharova said. “Currently, this Caribbean country is going through a new cycle of political instability that has lasted for more than a quarter of a century.”