US greenlights $60M in military assistance to Haiti amid rampant gang violence

Haitian police officers deploy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 9, 2024. The move would send weapons and equipment to the Haitian National Police as well as to nations supporting the multinational security mission to help quell the violence in Haiti. | Clarens Siffroy/AFP via Getty Images

By Matt Berg & Lara Seligman, Politico, May 4, 2024

The Biden administration has approved a $60 million military aid package to help Haiti quell violent gangs wreaking havoc in the country, according to documents obtained by POLITICO.

The package, the second the U.S. has approved for the Haiti crisis this year, includes mostly small arms but also some armored vehicles. The notification lists at least 80 Humvees, 35 MaxxPro infantry carriers, sniper rifles, riot control gear, firearms, ammunition and surveillance drones.

The move would send weapons and equipment to the Haitian National Police as well as to nations supporting the multinational security mission to help quell the violence in Haiti: Kenya, Jamaica and the Bahamas among others, the memorandum of jurisdiction for the drawdown reads.

The latest package brings the total contribution from U.S. stockpiles for the Haiti crisis to $70 million, after the Biden administration approved a $10 million package earlier this year. The cap for this authority is $75 million and expires at the end of the fiscal year.

Spokespeople for the State Department, Defense Department and National Security Council didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Last month, POLITICO reported that the Biden administration was planning to use its drawdown authority to fast-track $60 million in weapons, ammunition and other equipment to countries that would deploy to Haiti. The move is seen as an apparent attempt to go around Republican oversight efforts, reflecting the growing pressure on the administration to take action.

Since Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in 2021, armed gangs have largely taken over the country, killing thousands of people and displacing hundreds of thousands of others. Due to the thorny history of Western intervention in Haiti, Kenya agreed to lead a U.N. multinational security mission to the nation.

However, the U.S.-backed plan, which would support the deployment of thousands of security forces to Haiti to bolster the nation’s police, has faced intense scrutiny from critics who say it provides few details on how it will lead to success.

The first Kenyan forces are scheduled to land in Haiti on May 23, POLITICO reported.

 

Posted May 18, 2024