Oct 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

U.S. sends delegation to Haiti, imposes visa restrictions as gang crisis worsens

A bread vendor pushes his cart past a burning barricade during a protest against Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration is imposing visa restrictions on Haitian officials and others it says are involved in gangs and other criminal organizations that have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in Haiti, two senior administration officials told reporters Wednesday

Why it matters: The Haitian government recently requested armed intervention and aid to help stabilize the country, which has been rocked by widespread violence, fuel access blockaded by gangs, and a cholera outbreak. A U.S. interagency delegation, including officials from the State Department and Pentagon, will travel this week to Port au Prince.

  • The visa restrictions are intended to "demonstrate that there are consequences for those who fund and foment violence in Haiti," one senior administration official said.
  • More actions are expected. "These visa restrictions are the first step that you are seeing, but we intend to announce additional steps and sanctions in the days and weeks and months to come," the official added.

What to watch: The interagency delegation to Haiti on Wednesday is expected to meet with government officials, the Montana Group, private sector leaders and social society groups.

  • The officials plan to discuss the prime minister's recent request for international military assistance.
  • When asked if the U.S. had ruled out sending troops to Haiti, one official called it "premature" to talk about a U.S. security presence in the island nation.
  • The U.S. is also seeking to expedite additional assistance for Haiti to help respond to the cholera outbreak and provide support and fuel to critical organizations.
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